In the front row - VCC basketball

by Tom Coombe Echo editor

Hoping to climb in the Northern Division after a pair of sub-par seasons, the Vermilion Ironwomen have bagged two key recruits - including one from Ely- that could give the community college basketball team a tremendous boost.<BR><BR>Kylee Seboe, a 6-0 center from Barnum who helped the Bombers to a fourth-place finish in the State Class A Tournament, and Ely senior Kelsey Ivancich have both committed to attend Vermilion in 2006-2007.<BR><BR>Both figure to make immediate contributions to a Vermilion program that picked up just one win this winter and struggled a year ago as well.<BR><BR>Seboe and Ivancich both bring something different to the floor for the Ironwomen.<BR><BR>An all-area and all-state tournament player, Seboe should provide a strong presence in the paint, something Vermilion lacked this year.<BR><BR>“She’ll bring a lot of athleticism and experience from a good high school program like Barnum,” said Vermilion Head Coach Ray Podominick. <BR><BR>Ivancich battled back from a knee injury that forced surgery last year, and was one of the Timberwolves’ most consistent outside shooting threats.<BR><BR>“It was nice to see Kelsey come back and even though they lost to Tower-Soudan in the playoff game, Kelsey really stepped up and had a good game,” said Podominick.<BR><BR>Seboe and Ivancich head a recruiting class that also includes Breanna Hubbard, a guard from Robbinsdale Cooper.<BR><BR>Podominick is working to add to that group as Vermilion looks to bolster its nucleus in an attempt to put a run together next winter.<BR><BR>• Both Seboe and Ivancich are three-sport (volleyball, basketball, softball) athletes in high school and could join one or more of the other women’s sports teams at Vermilion.<BR><BR>• Roger Laine, one of Ely’s foremost college hockey fans, was in Milwaukee earlier this month to take in the Frozen Four, NCAA Division I hockey’s national semifinals and championship game.<BR><BR>You probably won’t find a bigger Minnesota Golden Gopher hockey booster than Laine, so he was a little disappointed when the Gophers were upset by Holy Cross earlier in the tournament and didn’t make it to Milwaukee.<BR><BR>“I wasn’t as emotionally involved with the Gophers out of there,” said Laine. “The wheels came off this year. The biggest thing you see is the different style of play from the eastern to the western teams. And Milwaukee has a really nice facility. The Bucks play there and I thought it was going to be a basketball arena, but it’s built for hockey. It’s really a great facility.”<BR><BR>Laine watched Wisconsin take the national title and found time to take in a Brewers game at Miller Park as well.<BR><BR>He was one of several Ely natives there, along with Albie Zupancich, Tom Berrigan, Greg Serafin and John Logar.<BR><BR>• After an early-season slump, Embarrass native Josh Mathson has caught fire at Iowa Central.<BR><BR>In a span of just over two weeks, the sophomore has raised his batting average by over 100 points. He’s now batting .321 for the Tritons with team-highs in home runs (five) and runs batted in (31).<BR><BR>Mathson had a monster game April 9, going four-for-four with a pair of home runs and seven runs batted in against Kirkwood.<BR><BR>The Tritons are 24-11.<BR><BR>• Kevin Pope of Ely has started in 24 of 25 games for the baseball team at Minnesota-Morris.<BR><BR>The sophomore second baseman is hitting .207 with six runs batted in and 17 walks for the Division III Cougars (8-17).<BR><BR>Two of Pope’s former Ely High School and Ely American Legion teammates - Tony Carlson and Cory Lassi - are making contributions at Vermilion.<BR><BR>Carlson starts in right field and has settled in to the leadoff spot in the lineup. Lassi is getting at bats at first base and designated hitter.<BR><BR>A fourth member of Ely’s class of 2004 - Josh Weckman - is on the pitching staff at Itasca.<BR><BR>• It’s hard to believe, but some area baseball coaches were worried in March that there would be a late start to the 2006 season.<BR><BR>Instead, the opposite has occurred as fields cleared and dried in record time and early-season schedules have proceeded without much interruption.<BR><BR>• On the baseball coaching staff at Esko is Tom Zbacnik. He’s in his second season there and also coaches the American Legion baseball team in the summer.<BR><BR>• Former Ely Timberwolf Jill Manning is listed on the softball roster at Hibbing Community College. <BR><BR>• Eli Tintor, the only Iron Ranger currently playing professional baseball, is with the Beloit Snappers, a Twins Class A affiliate in the Midwest League.<BR><BR>The Twins have converted the Hibbing native from catcher to outfield. He’s hitting .308 through seven games.<BR><BR>Tintor is the son of Rick Tintor, a former Twins farmhand during the 1970s and a longtime baseball coach in Hibbing.<BR><BR>• The Ely Timberwolves didn’t last long in the Section 7A high school boys basketball playoffs but senior Eric McDonald was named to the all-tournament team.<BR><BR>That was largely on the strength of a 48-point outburst against Silver Bay in an opening round win.<BR><BR>