Ely rallies around three high school teams playing in state tournaments

On the front page of last week’s Ely Echo there were two stories that appeared to be at opposite ends of the spectrum. One was on how proposed copper-nickel mining has created division in the community. The other was on Ely High School sending three teams (football, boys cross country and girls cross country) to the state tournament level.
From the excitement around town this week, it appears the community has come together to support a group of student athletes who have defied the odds and launched Ely into the state spotlight.
Ely Memorial is far from the largest school in the state, in fact we’re on the small side. Our football team competes in the 9-man division. The reason for the 9-man division? To help schools who don’t have a large enough student body to field competitive 11-man teams.
In cross country there are only two divisions, Class A and Class AA which makes the feat of our local teams all the more impressive. Ely’s boys team took top honors at the Section 7A meet while the girls finished second, sending both teams to the state meet in Northfield today.
But regardless of division or school enrollment, Ely has much to be proud of. To send three teams to state in one season, no matter the size, is impressive. For Ely, it’s unprecedented and we venture to guess when all of the fall sports are completed, there will be few if any other schools to have accomplished this feat.
We’re pulling for the Wolves on Friday night to gain some revenge on Underwood, turn the tables on a 2013 state semifinal loss and give themselves one more, one last and one very memorable road trip: to TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis and this year’s Prep Bowl.
It was 1987 when Ely made it as far, and this team has the opportunity to put itself in elite company.
The attention turns to Northfield Saturday and the state cross country meet.
Not so long ago Ely didn’t even have a boys cross country team. Now, with a combination of returning veterans and a couple of speedy seventh and eighth-graders, the Wolves are the best in Section 7A.
Ely’s girls team was the section runner-up and they’re competing at state as well, riding a strong nucleus who have made for a sea of red-and-white at the top of the standings all season long.
Hats off to the coaches, Brian Lamppa in football and Jayne Dusich in cross country, as well as their assistants and the athletes themselves for an extraordinary fall.
There’s plenty to be proud of when you live in Ely and to have three teams competing in the state tournament at the same time is something to pound your chest about.
Congratulations to all those involved who have given us something we can all agree on: Let’s go Wolves!