Ski season is in home stretch

Nordic Wolves host meet on Feb. 1, sections soon to follow

BREAKING AWAY FROM THE PACK on the course were Ely’s Laura Pasmick, Emma Terwilliger and Ryne Prigge. Photo by Diane Dalberg.

by Tom Coombe -

It may seem like it has only just begun, but the high school Nordic skiing season is rapidly winding down.
The Ely Nordic Wolves will host their section rivals next Thursday, Feb. 1, in the final regular season meet of the 2017-18 campaign.
It’s one final tune-up, with the same format that will be used for the Section 7 competition, which will be held Feb. 8 at Giants Ridge.
Despite an early winter, the Wolves got a late start to the season because of a lack of snow in December.
They’ve made up for lost time in January, including last weekend’s Duluth Marshall Sprints and another event set for Duluth Friday, after deadline.
The season still boils down to just a handful of weeks, and the Wolves are gearing up for a Giants Ridge showdown with section rivals including perennial powerhouse Duluth East.
The top two teams in both the boys and girls divisions advance to state, set for Feb. 15 at Giants Ridge, and regular season results are often misleading given differing formats and the absences of some top skiers.
The Ely meet, however, could provide a sneak preview and show where the Wolves sit in a highly-competitive section.
Marshall Sprints
The Jan. 20 event at Marshall’s football field is perhaps the Wolves’ most unique event of the season.
After a 1.2-kilometer qualifier, the top skiers enter a series of sprint races to determine an overall champion.
The Wolves were well represented in both divisions, with two Ely girls in the top-five overall and another three in top-dozen.
In the six-person final, the Wolves’ Ryne Prigge took third, behind winner Emma Stertz of Grand Rapids and Duluth East’s Calra Kramer.
Ely’s Emma Terwilliger placed fifth overall, while three more Wolves made the “B” final, with Laura Pasmik winning it to take seventh overall, followed by Evelyn Bercher (ninth) and Kalyssa Eilrich (11th).
Elijah Olson was the only member of Ely’s boys team to make the final race, taking fifth overall.
Jasper Johnston took 10th and teammate Nate Netifee was 11th.
The overall winner was Sam Stertz of Grand Rapids.
Those that didn’t qualify for the series of sprints, which began with 24 skiers, were entered into a 2.4-kilometer consolation races.
Ely’s highest finisher was senior Lindy Dalberg, who was ninth in the consolation event.
Adam Williamson of Ely was 26th.
Junior High Sweep
Junior high competitors got in on the action in Duluth as well, with Ely dominating a pair of 2.4K freestyle races.
Gabriel Pointer, an eighth-grader, continued his run of high finishes by winning the boys event in 7:40.8.
Pointer blew away the field, topping his next-nearest opponent, fellow Ely skier and eighth-grader Jon Hakala (8:08.3) by nearly 30 seconds.
Ely eighth-grader Micah Larson placed fifth (8:33.1).
The junior high girls race was all-Ely, with 11 Wolves in the top-15.
Seventh-grader Zoe Devine won it in 9:11.47, with eighth-grader Gracie Pointer (9:32.37) in third and eighth-grader Tesla Humphreys (9:37.15) in fourth.
Phoebe Helms (10:02.4) was fifth, followed by Ely’s Kelly Thompson (sixth, 10:11.32), Cora Olson (seventh, 10:21.4), Cedar Ohlhauser (eighth, 10:26.61) and Courtney Eilrich (11th, 10:51.98).
The 13th, 14th and 15th slots were taken by Ely’s Grace Sundell, Madison Hasz and Sydney Durkin, respectively.