A sunny Four on the Fourth

New winners crowned as 246 take part in run, walk around Trezona

by Tom Coombe
One event, two races, three winners and sunny skies produced a spectacular start to the Fourth of July in Ely.
The Janet Gensler Memorial Ely 4 on the 4th attracted 246 participants, three more than in 2016, and new winners in both the men’s and women’s divisions.
Harrison Hirsch of Vadnais Heights was the overall winner, completing the four-mile run around the Trezona Trail in 22 minutes, 27 seconds.
Hirsch outlegged Santi Ocariz of Rochester to the finish line. Ocariz was the only other contestant to crack the 23-minute mark and was second overall in 22:57.
The women’s title was shared, as high school track teammates Erin Bianco and Ryne Prigge raised their hands as they crossed the finish line in 28:53
The event doubles as a fundraiser for Ely’s self-funded high school track teams, and the Timberwolves were well represented in the annual Independence Day event.
James Schwinghamer, who advanced to the state track meet as a distance runner this spring, was second in the Age 15-19 group, behind only Hirsch with a time of 24:41.
Ely girls track coach Jayne Dusich, meanwhile, took second in the age 50-59 women’s grouping with a time of 31:04.
Age group winners and runners-up were as follows:
• Men, 14 and under - 1. Jacob Gontjes, Duluth, 25:31; 2. Joey Pierce, Ely, 26;31;
• Women, 14 and under - 1. Hailey Highland, Centerville, 30:51; 2. Ellie Retzlaff, Eden Prairie, 30:55;
• Men, 15-19 - 1. Hirsch; 2. Schwinghamer;
• Women, 15-19 - 1 (tie). Bianco and Prigge;
• Men, 20-29 - 1. Daniel Isaacson, 23;12; 2. Jussi Ollinoura, 25;35;
• Women, 20-29 - 1. Emily Usset, Mendota Heights, 32:37; 2. Sarah Doolittle, Excelsior, 34:55;
• Men, 30-39 - 1. Ocariz; 2. Brent Allen, Plymouth, 25:53;
• Women, 30-39 - 1. Kate Mills, Duluth, 29:01; 2. Dorota Sawicz, 30:04;
• Men, 40-49 - 1. Mike Freitag, Morgan, 28:57; 2. Dominick Damm, Slayton, 29;06;
• Women, 40-49 - 1. Janelle Gomez, Proctor, 29:14; 2. Miriam Castillo, Glencoe, 34:02;
• Men, 50-59 - 1. Kenneth Ripp, Cloquet, 27:07; 2. Ron Davies, Eagan, 30:13;
• Women, 50-59 - 1. Sharon Alcalay, 28:53; 2. Dusich;
• Men, 60-over - 1. Steve Kraemer, St. Louis Park, 33:02; 2. Mike Hieb, Duluth, 34:37;
• Women, 60-over - 1. Mary McGrory Usset, 36:09; 2. Toni Dauwalter, Ely, 37:49.
As always, the event also attracted dozens of walkers, with William Parish of Knoxville, Tenn., the first to cross the finish line. He was followed by John Parish of St. Louis and former Ely mayor Roger Skraba in third.
The walk was truly a family affair with three more Parishes topping the women’s division with Allie and Ann of St. Louis followed by Madeline of Knoxville.
The event is named after the late Janet Gensler, who was instrumental in starting the race several years ago.
Complete results from the race may be accessed online at www.northlandrunner.com.