Male Area Athlete of the Week: Yorek gets win at home race
Little Falls junior is area athlete of the week
Ethan Yorek is hitting his stride.
The Little Falls junior won the Little Falls invite at Camp Ripley in 31:19 for his first win of the year.
“The coaches had some good tips for racing the course and I just trusted what they had to say,” Yorek said.
Little Falls head coach Mattia Hendrickson likes how hard Yorek works in practice.
“He never is worried about how fast he is going,” Hendrickson said. “He just goes as hard as he can the whole time. He just has gotten in better shape as the season has gone on.”
Yorek plays soccer in the fall, so he is a little behind on conditioning at the start of the season.
“He makes up a lot of time when the season gets started,” Hendrickson said. “He’s always been a hard worker and always been a good racer, but I think I saw a change last year at sections. He really laid it all on the line and had a great race at state and I think that was a turning point for him.”
Yorek turned in a fourth-place finish in the Alexandria Invite Jan. 18. He was second at Maplelag Resort Jan. 13 which is the same site as the section race.
Yorek was also second at the Brainerd Invite at the Northland Arboretum Dec. 28. He got another runner-up finish at the Arboretum more recently at the Northstar Conference Invite Feb. 1.
“I love just being out there,” Yorek said. “It’s something my older brothers did and we kind of do as a family.”
Yorek’s brother Grant is on the Nordic ski team and he has been doing the sprint relays most of the year.
“It’s a blast to go out there and be with my brother,” Yorek said. “We push each other and keep each other going.”
Having the taste of the state tournament last year, Yorek wants the team to get back this year.
“We’ve been working really hard at practices and been skiing over the weekends with each other,” Yorek said. “We’ve been pushing each other in the work outs and getting each other better.”
As a leader, Hendrickson says Yorek always has a smile on his face.
“He just brings a lot of positivity to the team which is helpful,” she said. “This is the closest I’ve seen the boys team in a long time.”
Teammate Connor Grant and Yorek often switch off who is the Flyers’ top skier. There seems to be a friendly rivalry between them.
“It’s actually kind of funny because as freshmen Connor was probably a little better,” Hendrickson said. “As sophomores, Ethan was probably a little better and now this year they have been pretty even. They work together at practice. They warmup and cool down at races and I’ve been really proud of them at how well they work together because it doesn’t always work out that way.”
Yorek added: “I wouldn’t call it a rivalry. We are just pushing each other to be better skiers and better people. It’s definitely a good thing to be able to keep each other motivated.”
The biggest improvement to Yorek has been his classic technique.
“Connor has given me a ton of tips in the classic technique,” Yorek said. “It’s improved leaps and bounds.”
Last season, Yorek finished 30th in state missing out on All-State by five spots.
“I think that’s been in the back of his mind,” Hendrickson said. “He’d really like to get in the top 25 at state.”
Other notable performances:
Basketball: Peyton Church, Wadena-Deer Creek, scored 26 points against Bertha-Hewitt.
Zach Jones, Pierz, scored 22 points against Milaca.
Carsen Turk, Crosby-Ironton, scored 29 points against Park Rapids.
Brandon Greenwaldt, Verndale, scored 27 points against Sebeka.
Eli Laposky, Pequot Lakes, scored 21 points against St. Cloud Cathedral.
Hockey: Logan Verville, Northern Lakes, scored five goals last week.
School: Little Falls
Sport: Nordic ski
Highlights: He won the Little Falls Invite in 31:19