Young runners get taste of varsity competition

by Tom Coombe

The team standings at Tuesday’s Eveleth Invitational showed Ely, defending section champion Ely, well behind the rest of the field at the high school girls cross country meet.<BR><BR>Sometimes, results can be more than a little misleading.<BR><BR>It wasn’t an unexpected off day for the Wolves or really any cause for concern.<BR><BR>With the biggest meet of the season on the horizon --last Saturday’s prestigious Swain Invitational at Duluth - Ely Head Coach Jayne Dusich opted to hold all of her varsity and junior varsity runners out of last week’s event at Eveleth.<BR><BR>The result was some varsity time for many of Ely’s younger athletes, members of the junior high squad.<BR><BR>They seemed to hold up well against varsity competition.<BR><BR>Ely was last among five teams in the Class A standings, but the Wolves still managed some impressive times.<BR><BR>“They did real well,” said Dusich. “Four of them had never run 4,000 meters before. I thought all of them did a nice job. Looking at the people they raced agaisnt, most of these other kids had been running this distance all season.”<BR><BR>The only two Wolves who had run the full 4,000 meters before, eighth-graders Abby Zupancich and Kit Anderson, were Ely’s top two competitiors.<BR><BR>Zupancich placed 24th overall in 19 minutes, 33 seconds, while Anderson was right behind in 25th (19:34).<BR><BR>“Abby and Kit both ran ‘JV’ at the Babbitt meet and both did 21-something,” said Dusich. “So both ran two minutes faster. I think they did really well.”<BR><BR>Sarah Anderson was next in the Ely contingent, placing 27th (19:45).<BR><BR>Also running the varsity race were Glenn Hartman-Mattson (31st, 20:20), Mariah Barker (36th, 22:33), and Thea Gessler (41st, 24:19). <BR><BR>Travis Cunningham of Ely made his debut in the boys varsity race, and the sophomore placed 13th in a field of 46 in the 5,000-meter competition.<BR><BR>“I told him to stay in the middle of the pack, and he stayed right up there with other kids that have been running,” said Dusich. “He did real well.”<BR><BR>• In the 2,400 meter girls junior high event, Ely’s Maggie Jesme was 18th (12:27) and Kahsha Hyde placed 21st (14:04).<BR><BR>Jay Wilmunen took 17th in the boys race (10:04).