Area high school teams took a brief break for the Labor Day holiday. Once school started on Tuesday, however, those squads were once again busy on local fields, pitches and courts.

CROSS-COUNTRY

Cambridge-Isanti hosted an invitational at Isanti Middle School on Friday, Sept. 6, and the boys finished third in a very tight competition that saw just 16 points separate five teams from second to sixth place in a nine-team race. The Bluejackets scored 115 points, with sophomore Jaxon Jones placing 13th to lead the way with an 18.14.2 clocking.

The C-I girls finished sixth with 134 points against a very strong field. Senior Jordan Merwin led the Bluejackets with her time of 20:39.3, good for eighth place.

VOLLEYBALL

North Branch kept up its undefeated record by scoring three-set sweeps over Forest Lake and St. Francis last week. Like the Vikings, Forest Lake is on a two-year state tournament streak (in Class AAA), but the annual battle between the former section rivals went to the small school this year, 25-10, 25-21, 26-24.

The Vikings began their fight for a potential Mississippi 8 Conference title by beating St. Francis, 25-18, 25-22, 25-14. Cianna Selbitschka led the offense with 29 kills across the two matches.

The Vikings played C-I on Tuesday, Sept. 10 (after press time), and are due to host Chisago Lakes on Thursday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m. On Saturday, Sept. 14, the Vikings will host their annual tournament beginning at 9 a.m. The traveling trophy has not had to leave the Vikings’ case for two years; attempting to change its address will be Carlton, Cloquet, Esko, Hibbing, Princeton, Sartell and St. Francis.

Braham lost at Onamia on Thursday, Sept. 5, in the teams’ Great River Conference opener.

Cambridge Christian opened its season with a three-set home loss to Rochester Area Home School on Saturday, Sept. 7, at the Armed Forces Reserve and Community Center. The Warriors were led by Brooke Simonson, who finished with 10 kills and also had an ace.

“This is one of the tougher teams in our league, so I was pleased with how we worked hard against a really tough team,” Cambridge Christian coach Rachel Newton said. “We have a younger team, and it took us a little time to get into a groove. This was an encouraging start; I was super-excited to play so well against a good team.”

Cambridge-Isanti split two matches last week and is now 2-2 on the season. The Bluejackets began the week with a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to Anoka on Tuesday, Sept. 3, but bounced back to sweep three sets against Chisago Lakes in their Mississippi 8 opener two days later.

“There are times when we get down our ourselves, but to be successful we have to have emotion in our game,” C-I coach Colin Dickey said after Thursday’s win. “There are no ‘easy’ games in the conference, and we knew Chisago Lakes wouldn’t quit when they lost the first two sets. But when we play with emotion and swing hard, we can have success.”

Rush City fell on the road at Becker in three sets on Tuesday, Sept. 3, but bounced back to even their record with a home victory over Hinckley-Finlayson on Thursday, Sept. 5, 25-15, 25-10, 25-21. The Tigers stand 1-0 in Great River Conference play as a result; currently leading the league is Pine City at 3-0. The Tigers will host the Dragons on Thursday, Sept. 12, at 7:15 p.m. in what stands to be an early bellwether of GRC supremacy.

SOCCER

Cambridge Christian opened the season with a home loss to Rochester Area Home School on Saturday, Sept. 7. The 5-2 score did not do justice to the game itself: After allowing two goals early and falling behind 4-0 at halftime, the Warriors rebounded with second-half goals by Julia Fryc and Josiah Sedler.

“In the first half we did not come out ready to play, but in the second half we came out with energy and turned things around,” coach Justin Roble said. “While the score shows a three-goal loss, if we can carry the momentum and work ethic of the second half into the next game, that would be very heartening.”

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