Seniors make final home splash

by Tom Coombe

The seniors on Ely’s high school girls swimming and diving team competed for the last time in their home pool last week, fueling a pair of wins that maintained the Timberwolves’ perfect mark in dual meets.<BR><BR>Senior Ali Schulze had a hand in three first-place finishes and classmates Meghan Furnstahl and Kelly Chaudoin both picked up individual wins as Ely downed Babbitt-Embarrass-Soudan-Tower 50-42 in Thursday’s home finale.<BR><BR>Two days earlier, Schulze was a quadruple winner in a 59-37 rout of Two Harbors.<BR><BR>Heading into a weekend meet at Hibbing, the Wolves’ last dual event of the fall, Ely had a 9-0 record and appeared to be clicking on all cylinders before a two-week preparation period for section competition.<BR><BR>The Wolves went into their taper with a memorable week of home meets for a deep senior group.<BR><BR>“The seniors had a hard time saying good-bye to their pool,” said Ely Head Coach Nancy Smrekar. “They’ve put in a lot of time the last four years and they really are an exceptional group. They’ve had an exceptional season.”<BR><BR>Ely prepped for the section meet with a contest at Hibbing, the site of the section preliminaries and finals.<BR><BR>“We’re looking pretty good for our taper,” said Smrekar. “We’ve had some pretty good times and the girls are excited about the chance to swim in Hibbing.”<BR><BR>Ely 50, BEST 42<BR><BR>The score could have been more lopsided, but Smrekar elected to swim both the 160 and 400 freestyle relays as exhibitions.<BR><BR>Ely got out to a big lead - 31-11 after five events - with a sweep of the meet-opening 160 yard medley relay and one-two finishes in two other events.<BR><BR>Schulze, Angie Mackie, Chaudoin and Furnstahl combined to win the 160 medley relay in 1:34.64, while the Wolves’ combination of Beth Wilmunen, Maren Gotchnik, Betsy Guck and Nicole Charles was eight seconds back.<BR><BR>Schulze (1:55.51) and Guck (2:02.61) grabbed the first two spots in the 160 individual medley, while Chaudoin (1:10.06) and Guck went one-two in the 100 butterfly.<BR><BR>Furnstahl added a win in the 60 freestyle (35.55) and Audrey Kothe outlasted the field in the 500 freestyle (6:10.21).<BR><BR>Schulze completed Ely’s collection of first-place finishes with a triumph in the 100 breaststroke (1:15.08).<BR><BR>Ely also had point-getters in the following events:<BR><BR>• 200 freestyle - 2. Marlayna Whiting, 2:17.87; 3. Laura Schulze, 2:23.14;<BR><BR>• 100 freestyle - 2. Mackie, 59.20; 3. Whiting, 1:02.68;<BR><BR>• 500 freestyle -3. Amber Adams, 6:39.28;<BR><BR>• 100 backstroke - 2. Wilmunen, 1:15.08; <BR><BR>• 100 breaststroke - 2. Gotchnik, time not available.<BR><BR>BEST was led by Lizzy Carpenter, who won the 100 and 200 freestyles, and was part of winning 160 and 400 freestyle relay teams.<BR><BR>Ely 59, Two Harbors 37<BR><BR>Ali Schulze continued a torrid pace, winning the 100 breaststroke (1:14.73), 160 individual medley (1:55.58) and taking part in two first-place Ely relays.<BR><BR>She joined Mackie, Chaudoin and Furnstahl on the 160 medley foursome (1:35.41), and was part of the first-place 400 freestyle unit with Furnstahl, Guck, and Whiting (4:08.72).<BR><BR>In all, the Wolves won seven of 11 events against the visiting Agates.<BR><BR>Mackie sprinted to a 34.08-second, first-place effort in the 50 freestyle. Furnstahl was right behind in second (34.52).<BR><BR>In the 500, Kothe won in 6:13.70 and Adams came in second (6:24.88).<BR><BR>The Wolves also gained a win in the 160 freestyle relay, as Chaudoin, Gotchnik, Laura Schulze and Whiting came up with a swim of 1:29.41.<BR><BR>Also earning second-place finishes were Whiting (200 freestyle), Chaudoin (100 butterfly), Mackie (100 freestyle).<BR><BR>Guck had a pair of thirds, one in the 160 individual medley and the other in the 100 butterfly.<BR><BR>Ely picked up third-place points from Wilmunen in the 100 backstroke, Gotchnik in the 100 breaststroke and Furnstahl in the 100 freestyle.<BR><BR>The Wolves had third-place relays in the 160 medley, 160 freestyle and 400 freestyle.<BR><BR>Two Harbors’ Megan Flackman won two events - the 100 and 200 freestyles.<BR><BR>