Nordic skiing season underway with two meets in five days

THE TOP ELY BOYS FINISHER at the Dec. 16 season-opening meet at Hidden Valley was Simon Stouffer (6). The senior completed the 5.5-kilometer course at the Ely Classic race in 17:15.7, good enough for seventh place in a field of about 40 skiers.

by Tom Coombe -

Ely’s high school Nordic skiing teams are quickly making up for lost time.
Conditions finally allowed the skiers to get their season underway and the Timberwolves competed twice in five days - including a Dec. 16 season-opening event at Ely.
The highlight, however, came Tuesday as the defending section champion Ely girls team upended rival Duluth East and the rest of their foes to take first among nine teams at the Grand Rapids Invitational.
The Ely boys, who are in more of a rebuilding mode, were eighth at the same event.
A combination of strong individual efforts and depth did it for the Wolves at Grand Rapids, where senior Erin Bianco - who missed the season-openeer - debuted with a fourth-place individual showing.
The all-stater finished the five-kilometer course in 16:03.3, about 45 seconds behind winner Anna Johnson of Mesabi East/Virginia.
Bianco was one of three top-10 finishers for the Wolves as junior Emma Terwiliger took seventh in 16:22.1 and Ryne Prigge glided to an eighth-place finish (16:31.5) in the freestyle event.
Laura Pasmick placed 18th (17:52.2) and was followed by teammates Caroline Homer (21st, 18:14.5), Evelyn Bercher (26th, 18:36.5) and Taryn Osthoff (35th, 20:17.9).
The depth was the difference as Ely piled up 367 points and topped Mesabi East/Virginia by two points, with Duluth East a close third.
In boys action, Grand Rapids, Duluth East and Brainerd dominated the team standings but the Wolves had the fifth-place individual skier: Ben Gustafson.
The Ely junior crossed the finish line in 14:23.7. Simon Stouffer of Ely also cracked the 15-minute mark and was 15th (14:58.4), while the Wolves’ Ethan Hasz wound up 20th (15:25.5).
Some of Ely’s younger skiers also had big days, with Ely dominating both junior varsity races.
Among the girls, Kalyssa Eilrich was the winner (18:12.7) with teammates Brooke Pasmick (fifth, 19:54.4), Lindy Dalberg (sixth, 19:58.7) and Ana Bercher (10th, 21:03.7) in the top-10.
The JV boys race featured a sea of Ely red-and-white, with freshman Gavin Blauch winning in a convincing 15:28.3, with teammates James Schwinghamer (15:54.6), Raif Olson (15:59.5) and Henry Dirks (16:26.7) taking the next three slots.
Chase Eilrich (sixth, 16:45.7), Ethan Bremner (seventh, 16:48.6), Nate Netiffee (eighth, 17:17.3) and Jeremiah Kari (10th, 17:54.5) were close behind.
Eighth-grader Jasper Johnston won the junior high boys race, completing a 3.1K course in 10:20.8, about nine seconds in front of his nearest foe. Gabriel Pointer was 10th (12:37).
The Wolves’ Julia Schwinghamer was the runner-up in the junior high girls race (12:31.8) and seventh-grader Tesla Humphreys finished eighth (13:26.3).
Ely Classic
The skiers went with the classic style for the Dec. 16 debut at Hidden Valley, with the hosts taking second to Duluth East in the girls varsity competition. The Ely boys were sixth.
Key finishers for the Wolves in each race were as follows
Varsity Girls (5.5K)
4. Prigge, 19:20.3;
7. Terwilliger, 19:40.9;
10. Laura Pasmick, 20:36.6;
18. Evelyn Bercher, 21:57.2;
20. Homer, 22:09.1;
Varsity Boys (5.5K)
7. Stouffer, 17:15.7;
11. Hasz, 17:45.2;
21. Elijah Olson, 18:57.3;
JV Girls (5.5K)
1. Eilrich, 21:15.7;
2. Brooke Pasmick, 21:57.4;
3. Dalberg, 22:42.2
7. Lucy Stouffer, 24:11.7;
9. Anna Nelson, 24:14.5
12. Cate DeRemee, 24:35.8;
JV Boys (5.5K0
2. Schwinghamer, 18:28.6
4. Raif Olson, 19:21.7
5. Dirks, 19:37.8;
6. Bremner, 20:12.7;
7. Netifee, 20:13.9;
9. Kari, 20:37.1
Jr. High Boys (3.6K)
1. Johnston, 12:33.8;
6 Pointer, 14:40.8;
7. Jon Hakala, 15:25.1
Jr. High Girls (3.6K)
4. Schwinghamer, 15:40.8;
7. Tesla Humphreys, 16:50.