Runners set for home course

In advance of lone Ely meet, boys team rolls to another victory

ELY BOYS roll to a victory at the J.A. Curran Invitational in Grand Rapids. Photo by Karen Pick.

by Tom Coombe -

For Ely’s high school cross country teams, it’s time to make the most of a single opportunity.
Road warriors for the rest of the season, the Timberwolves host their only home meet of the year at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Ely Golf Course.
Several teams from across the region and as many as 200 runners could take part in the event.
The home meet, which includes a junior high race and separate, five-kilometer boys and girls varsity events, comes in the midst of a strong start for both Ely teams, particularly the boys.
Earlier in the week, the Ely boys won their third team title in as many meets while the girls were second at the J.A. Curran Invitational, held at Grand Rapids.
Both Ely teams advanced to the state Class A meet in 2015, and the boys have already solidified their position as a section favorite again this fall.
Depth has been the Wolves’ strong suit, with five Ely runners among the top-11 individual finishers at Grand Rapids, a similar showing at the Sept. 15 Eveleth-Gilbert Invitational, and two different runners setting the pace in three meets.
The Ely girls, who have been hampered by injuries early in the season, also seem to be rounding into form and making a push for the top in Section 7A.
Erin Bianco and Ryne Prigge were third and fourth, respectively, in the varsity girls competition at Grand Rapids and Ely placed second among seven teams.
The boys topped a 10-team field with ease, pulling away from runner-up Greenway-Nashwauk-Keewatin by 25 points.
Freshman James Schwinghamer extended an early-season stretch of solid performances by taking second among the boys in 17:22.7, about 20 seconds behind winner Ethan Olson of Moose Lake-Willow River.
Schwinghamer led what proved to be a parade of Ely red-and-white near the top of the heap.
Senior Teddy Pierce (17:50) and freshman Luke Olson (17:53.9) were sixth and seventh, respectively, while Joey Pierce (18:06.7) and senior Simon Stouffer (18:07) were split-seconds apart in 10th and 11th.
Ben Gustafson (22nd) and Ethan Hasz (26th) rounded out the Ely lineup.
The Ely girls were in second, behind only Greenway-Nashwauk-Keewatin, on the strength of runs by Bianco and Prigge.
Bianco was third in 20:50.5, and Prigge was three-tenths of a second behind in fourth place.
The Wolves placed two other runners in the top-20: Emma Terwilliger (15th, 22:55.6) and Evelyn Bercher (18th, 23:30.3).
Eveleth-Gilbert Invite
With the second, third and fourth-place finishers, not to mention the ninth and 11th, Ely ran away with the boys title at the Eveleth Lions Invitational.
Teddy Pierce was 40 seconds behind the lead runner, but ahead of the rest of the pack in 18:01.9.
Schwinghamer followed with a time of 18:05.2 to take third, while Joey Pierce, an eighth-grader, had a fourth-place time of 18:09.4.
Olson (ninth, 18:33.1) and Stouffer (11th, 18:47.1) were next with Gustafson (22nd, 19:28.3) and Hasz (32nd, 19:42.3) also cracking the top-half of the field.
With 29 points, Ely had a whopping 60-point edge over second-place North Shore and dominated the 14-team field.
Ely’s girls were third in their 10-team contest, behind only Proctor and South Ridge.
Prigge topped Bianco in what turned out to be another three-four Ely showing, with Prigge running in 21:05 and Bianco 20 seconds behind.
Terwilliger made it into the top-20 and wound up 17th (23:15), with fellow junior Bercher in 29th (24:23.6).
The rest of the Ely varsity lineup included Lindy Dalberg (50th, 27:56.1), Lucy Stouffer (63rd, 32:18.3) and Cari Eibler (64th, 33:15.4).