Ely runs away with second win

by Tom Coombe

Ely’s high school girls cross country team faced some of the best competition in northeastern Minnesota at Thursday’s Virginia Invitational.<BR><BR>The Timberwolves were more than up to the challenge.<BR><BR>Paced by a second-place finish by Casey Sovil, Ely won the Class A division and was second overall among 19 schools.<BR><BR>It was the second straight Class A win for the Wolves, the defending Section 7A champions.<BR><BR>“That was a surprise,” Ely Head Coach Jayne Dusich said after the meet. “I was thinking we’d do well, but you never know. The times were fast and everybody did real well.”<BR><BR>Sovil, an individual state meet qualifier last fall, continued to shine for the Wolves. <BR><BR>She completed the 4,000-meter course in 14 minutes, 54 seconds, and was the runner-up to Cromwell’s Samantha Smith (14:37).<BR><BR>“Casey was right there with her most of the way,” said Dusich.<BR><BR>Senior Jenna Klein also landed a spot in the top-10, even though she wasn’t at the top of her game.<BR><BR>Hampered by a cold for much of the week, Klein shook off the sickness and placed ninth in 15:23.<BR><BR>“She wasn’t feeling well,” said Dusich. “Jenna had a good first lap, but in the second lap she was kind of hurting.”<BR><BR>Ely also got a boost with the return of sophomore Carolyn Freeman, one of their top runners from a year ago.<BR><BR>Sidelined from the season-opener because of injury, Freeman made her 2004 debut with a solid 16th-place run of 15:54.<BR><BR>Teammate Jen Zupancich took 22nd (16:13).<BR><BR>“For Carolyn, it was her first race and we were just hoping she would finish but she came out and had a really good race,” said Dusich. “Jen was right there with her for most of the race.”<BR><BR>Ely’s Mary Anderson also had her first run of the season, taking 31st in 16:31. Taryn Cunningham was the sixth Ely runner to crack the top 40, placing 35th in 16:39.<BR><BR>The rest of the varsity lineup included Amelia Donars (50th, 17:07), Sarah Markwardt (86th, 18:22), Mary Bruels (100th, 18:53) and Naomi Weckman (111th, 19:16).<BR><BR>“Everybody had super times, and the course was very fast,” said Dusich.<BR><BR>Duluth East won the overall team title with 76 points, with Ely taking the small-school crown at 80. Hibbing (118) and International Falls (124) followed in the overall standings.<BR><BR>In the 2,500-meter junior high race, Ely was second among three teams.<BR><BR>Ely runners were:<BR><BR>• Sarah Anderson, 13th, 10:30;<BR><BR>• Kit Anderson, 14th, 10:31;<BR><BR>• Abby Zupancich, 16th, 10:36;<BR><BR>• Glenn Hartman-Mattson, 23rd, 10:56;<BR><BR>• Mariah Barker, 33rd, 11:27;<BR><BR>• Thea Gessler, 39th, 11:51;<BR><BR>• Alex Stene, 40th, 11:53;<BR><BR>• Maggie Jesme, 43rd, 12:30;<BR><BR>• Kahsha Hyde, 50th, 13:55.<BR><BR>Ely returns to action Tuesday with a meet at Hibbing.<BR><BR>