Ely skiers ranked second

by Tom Coombe

As the high school Nordic skiing season hits its home stretch, the Ely Timberwolves seem primed for another run at the top. <BR><BR>The Ely girls, fresh off a strong performance at the Jan. 21 Duluth Marshall Sprints, are ranked second in Minnesota, behind only defending state champion Grand Rapids in a coaches’ association poll released last week. <BR><BR>Senior Jenna Klein is second overall in the individual girls rankings and Adam Shultz of the Ely boys team has cracked the top-10 with a seventh-place listing. <BR><BR>The poll comes just as the Wolves gear up for section competition - set for Feb. 10 at Giants Ridge near Biwabik - and possible bids in the state meet there the following week. <BR><BR>It also follows a good showing by both the Ely boys and girls at Duluth Marshall, where nearly 200 skiers from nine schools competed in a unique, sprint-style format. All of the skiers competed in a qualifying event, and the top-16 in each division raced down to one winner tournament-style. <BR><BR>The winners of four brackets moved on to a championship heat and the second-place finishers competed for a consolation title. <BR><BR>“The Marshall meet was great and it was the first time for most of the kids with sprint skiing,” said Ely Head Coach Paula Anderson. “It’s a great spectator event and a newer format for cross country skiing. It evolved as a demand for spectator-friendly events have come about. It’s a little less than a kilometer long and you can almost see the whole course. And the kids get the chance to ski head to head with other kids. Our kids had a blast.” <BR><BR>Especially junior Ellen Anderson. After advancing from the qualifier, Anderson won two more races to take first overall. Teammate Kelly Chaudoin also advanced to the finals and placed fourth. <BR><BR>Two more Wolves - Jenna Klein and Casey Sovil - reached the consolation heat and were second and third, respectively, for overall sixth and seventh-place finishes. <BR><BR>Ely’s success wasn’t limited to the varsity girls. Shultz advanced to the consolation heat in the boys race and won it for a fifth-place overall showing. Teammate Willy Vosburgh was right behind for a sixth-place finish. <BR><BR>The Wolves claimed three of the top five spots in the junior varsity boys competition, with Andrew Osthoff taking first overall. Stephen Markwardt was fourth and Peter Schurke took fifth. <BR><BR>Amelia Donars gave Ely a win in the junior varsity girls race, topping the field. Zoe Lampman sprinted to a third-place standing and Anne Kellerman was 10th. <BR><BR>The Ely teams were set to take part in the Cook County Invitational Friday as preparations for section competition continue. <BR><BR>A year ago, the Ely girls were ranked first in the state heading into the postseason. The Wolves won the section title and placed third at the state meet. It looks again that Ely will be in the thick of the battle for the state title. <BR><BR>“I’m happy with the ranking,” said Paula Anderson. “I think it relieves the pressure a little bit. In this sport, it’s very difficult to do rankings because many kids don’t ski against other kids until the state meet... It’s going to be close and it’s not really possible to call it.” <BR><BR>• Three Wolves competed at a Jan. 22 meet at Grand Rapids. Vosburgh was eighth and Nick Peterson took 15th in the boys race, and Taryn Cunningham had a ninth-place showing in the girls competition.<BR><BR>