Prigge lands top honor: Ely senior standout named Arrowhead Athlete of the Year

by Tom Coombe -

Ryne Prigge probably needs a few shelves in her bedroom to display the countless accolades and awards she has earned in a storied high school athletic career.
Now, the graduating senior has to make room for one more - a prestigious one at that.
Prigge has been named co-winner of the 2018 Arrowhead Conference Female Athlete of the Year Award.
After multiple trips to the state meet in cross country, Nordic skiing and track, Prigge was honored by athletic directors from across the area and joins Mesabi East phenom Ava Hill as a co-winner.
Prigge also follows in the footsteps of her former teammate Erin Bianco, a 2017 Ely graduate who won the award last year.
That’s heady company, but Prigge, who is bound for Bemidji State University to run both cross country and track, has proved to be up to top billing
Prigge earned all-state honors in Nordic skiing both this winter and last, and was part of Ely’s 2017 state title-winning teams.
“Ryne has had success in skiing since the day she joined the team in 8th grade. She was an integral part of a seven person team that won the 2017 state championship,” said Paula Anderson, head coach of Ely’s Nordic skiing team. “She placed 18th out of 160 competitors that day. While she was thrilled for herself, she was mostly thrilled that she could contribute to and share in the victory of the entire team. In 2018 she again helped to lead her team to a state meet berth, and placed 11th out of a field of 160 skiers. While success contributes to Ryne’s individual motivation, it is her connection and commitment to her teammates that remains at the core of what motivates her.”
Prigge was a three-time qualifier for state in Nordic skiing and a five-year member of the varsity team.
But both before and after skiing season, Prigge stood out on the Wolves’ cross country and track squads.
Three times, Prigge advanced to state and she ran her way to three top-10 section finishes, including a runner-up performance at last fall’s Section 7A competition.
She was a four-year member of Ely’s cross country varsity team, contributing to 7A runner-up team showings in both 2015 and 2016.
The honor student also was a two-time all-state academic selection.
Prigge competed Thursday, after deadline, for another trip to state in track.
She was part of a four-by-800 Ely relay team that went unbeaten in both 2016 and 2017 until the state meet, with Section 7A first-place showings both years.
Prigge is believed to have the school record in the 800 run and she has piled up victories in that event this spring, en route to the 7A meet.
She has competed in the 7A track meet every year since 2015.
Whlle Prigge has made her mark on the field of competition in each activity, Anderson said her contributions extend far beyond.
“When I think of Ryne, she stands out because of her ability to make connections with both her peers and with the younger skiers. She is compassionate and caring, and has a big heart. She is an extremely easy athlete to coach in that she asks for very little and gives much. As a coach, I couldn’t ask for a better role model than Ryne and I will miss her greatly next year.”
Tate Olson, a multi-sport standout at North Woods, was named Arrowhead Conference Male Athlete of the Year.