Timbergals' relay lands state bid

by Tom Coombe

Ely’s high school girls track team knew that it would take an extraordinary performance to advance one or more of its athletes to the state meet.<BR><BR>But an extraordinary performance was exactly what the Timberwolves got out of their 3,200 meter relay team, which shaved over 20 seconds off its season-best time, finished second overall at the June 4 Section 7AA meet in Duluth and qualified for state competition by time standard.<BR><BR>Seniors Julie Anderson and Raychal Zupancich, junior Jenna Klein and ninth-grader Casey Sovil formed the relay team, which led for three-fourths of the race but fell to second in the final leg, completing the course in 9:49.22.<BR><BR>“To better our time by almost 22 seconds was just phenomenal,” said Ely Head Coach Todd Hohenstein. “We thought going into the section meet that basically we had to take first to go to state. The qualifying time seemed too far out of reach.”<BR><BR>It proved not to be out of reach as the foursome landed Ely’s first spot in the State Class A meet, held over the weekend at Blaine, since Letitia Dusich won the 300 hurdles five years ago.<BR><BR>The qualifying effort was bittersweet, however, for the relay.<BR><BR>Klein was unable to take part in the state meet because she left town Tuesday for a previously scheduled trip to Germany. She was replaced on the relay by alternate Kelly Chaudoin, a junior.<BR><BR>“They (the Kleins) explored some other options where she would be able to run in the state meet and get a later flight to Germany, but it just didn’t work out,” said Hohenstein.<BR><BR>Nonetheless, the relay took part in the state meet and the section performance was one of several highlights for the Wolves, who placed ninth overall with 31 points.<BR><BR>Ninth-grader Carolyn Freeman had Ely’s best individual finish, taking third overall - and just missing out on a state bid - with a time of 48.65 seconds.<BR><BR>“It was a pretty good section meet, with a lot of our girls going and getting experience,” said Hohenstein. “And Carolyn Freeman ran a very solid race. It was her best time of the season.”<BR><BR>Anderson, one of the area’s top distance runners this spring, placed third in the 3,200 run in a time of 12:03.33.<BR><BR>Junior Ali Schulze scored points for the Wolves with a sixth-place time of 1:02.57 in the 400 dash.<BR><BR>Jen Zupancich placed eighth in the 200 (28.02) and Sovil was eighth in the 800 (2:30.03).<BR><BR>Ely qualified in three other relays, and all scored points.<BR><BR>The 1,600 relay of Klein, Chaudoin, Freeman and Schulze was sixth in 4:17.63.<BR><BR>Chaudoin, Mary Anderson, Raychal Zupancich and Jen Zupancich were on the Ely 800 relay that took sixth (1:53.15).<BR><BR>In the 400 relay, Mary Bruels, Mary Anderson, Jen Zupancich and Raychal Zupancich were sixth (54.96).<BR><BR>Bruels (triple jump), Tomi McDonald (400) and Mary Anderson (200) also qualified but did not place in the meet held at Griggs Field, on the campus of the University of Minnesota-Duluth.<BR><BR>International Falls won the team title and Hermantown was second.<BR><BR>Babbitt-Embarrass-Soudan-Tower’s Whitney Johnson was fourth in the triple jump and eighth in the long jump.