Prep sports teams begin work today

by Tom Coombe

Summer vacation is all but over for high school athletes in Ely and around the state.<BR><BR>Practice sessions for all of Ely High School’s fall sports teams begin today.<BR><BR>With season openers set for the end of the month or early-September, athletes begin their preparations this week.<BR><BR>After a section championship season and an appearance in the state meet in 2003, Ely’s high school girls cross country team has high hopes for the 2004 season.<BR><BR>Coach Jayne Dusich’s squad will have its first meet Sept. 2 at Babbitt.<BR><BR>Ely’s high school football team, under the direction of sixth-year head coach Darren Visser, has two-a-day workouts and the program’s annual fitness pentathlon on tap.<BR><BR>The Timberwolves, 4-5 a year ago, are gearing up for a Sept. 4 opener at Greenway.<BR><BR>Coach Nancy Smrekar welcomes back a veteran high school girls swimming and diving team at today’s first practice. The senior-dominated Wolves participate in the Virginia Relays Aug. 26, with the first dual meet slated for Sept. 9.<BR><BR>Mindy LaTourell is in her second year in charge of Ely’s high school volleyball program. The Wolves travel to Silver Bay for an Aug. 31 debut.<BR><BR>Details related to the start of practices include:<BR><BR>• Football - All boys in grades 8-12 are to report to the high school locker room at 8 a.m. Bring cleats and shorts to this first session. Boys in grades 10-12 will practice at both 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. through the first week. Boys in grades 8-9 will practice from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.<BR><BR>• Girls Swimming and Diving - Practice begins today and a sign-up meeting was held late last week. Those who missed the meeting or those with questions should call Smrekar at 365-5439.<BR><BR>• Girls Cross Country - Girls in grades 7-12 interested in joining the cross country running team should report to the girls locker room at 7 a.m., bring shoes and practice clothes, and be ready to run.<BR><BR>• Volleyball - The first practice session for girls in grades 7-12 is from 3 to 5:30 p.m. today. All players should report to the gymnasium.<BR><BR>All students must have physical examination forms on file before they will be allowed to practice.<BR><BR>Parents or athletes with questions are asked to call athletic director Tim Omerza at 365-6166, extension 217, or to contact their coach.