Runners notch third straight victory

by Tom Coombe

A wet and muddy course slowed down the Ely Timberwolves, but not enough to stop them from picking up another victory.<BR><BR>Ely made it three-for-three for the 2004 high school girls cross country season by winning the Class A team title at Tuesday’s Hibbing Invitational.<BR><BR>Casey Sovil and Jenna Klein finished third and fourth overall, respectively, while five other Wolves were among the top 20 finishers.<BR><BR>“It was a good race,” said Ely Head Coach Jayne Dusich. “It was more of a race this time, not a run, and we did very well even though we had four people with colds and it was kind of damp.”<BR><BR>Steady rains prior to the meet resulted in a soggy course and less than ideal conditions.<BR><BR>“You wouldn’t believe how muddy it was,” said Dusich. “There was water and mud everywhere.”<BR><BR>That resulted in slower than usual times for some of the Wolves, but their competitors were affected as well and Ely remained the class of the A field.<BR><BR>Sovil and Klein stayed with overall winner Samantha Smith of Cromwell for part of the race. They faded, but not by much, down the stretch as Smith and Hermantown’s Melissa Engemeier claimed the top two spots.<BR><BR>Sovil took third on the 4,000-meter course in 16 minutes, 11 seconds. Klein was next, just five seconds behind.<BR><BR>“Casey and Jenna went out like they were supposed to,” said Dusich. “I told them to go out there and try to stick with (Smith and Engemeier) and they did. On the second loop they kind of fell back a little.”<BR><BR>Sophomore Jen Zupancich of Ely placed 10th overall in 16:16, and teammate Carolyn Freeman was next (11th, 16:59).<BR><BR>The Wolves showed off their depth by placing three more runners in the top-20.<BR><BR>Mary Anderson took 17th (17:51), Taryn Cunningham was 19th (17:59) and Amelia Donars placed 20th (18:25).<BR><BR>Ely had 36 points in the team standings, easily topping runner-up International Falls (54) and third-place Hermantown (92).<BR><BR>Rounding out the field were Proctor (105), Mt. Iron-Buhl (114), Chisholm (143) and AlBrook (159).<BR><BR>Zoe Lampman had the best finish of an Ely runner in the junior varsity race, completing the course in 18:51.<BR><BR>“That was two minutes faster than last year at this race, and last year it was dry,” said Dusich. <BR><BR>Sarah Markwardt (19:44), Mary Bruels (19:54) and Naomi Weckman (20:20) also ran in the ‘JV’ race for the Wolves.<BR><BR>In junior high action, Ely placed a number of runners in the 3,000-meter race.<BR><BR>Kit Anderson and Abby Zupancich led the way with top-10 finishes.<BR><BR>Anderson took seventh (14:09) and Zupancich was eighth (14:10).<BR><BR>The rest of the Ely field included:<BR><BR>• Sarah Anderson, 11th, 14:21;<BR><BR>• Glenn Hartman-Mattson, 14th, 14:37;<BR><BR>• Mariah Barker, 18th, 14:59;<BR><BR>• Thea Gessler, 26th, 16:36;<BR><BR>• Alex Stene, 27th, 16:38;<BR><BR>• Maggie Jesme, 29th, 16:50;<BR><BR>• Kahsha Hyde, 35th, 18:56.<BR><BR>“This was the longest race that these girls have run so far,” said Dusich. “I was watching these girls and they were running, when a lot of the others were jogging.”<BR><BR>Ely’s junior varsity and junior high racers will take part in a meet at Eveleth Tuesday, while the varsity squad is gearing up for its toughest race of the year - this Saturday’s Swain Invitational at Duluth.<BR><BR>The Swain is one of the state’s largest cross country meets, bringing teams from all over Minnesota.<BR><BR>