Olson, Devine run to state

Pointer just two places away; Ely boys take third in Section 7A

by Tom Coombe -

Luke Olson punched a return ticket to state while Zoe Devine broke through with her own state-qualifying performance.
Those were the highlights in rainy Cloquet on Thursday, when the Timberwolves competed in the Section 7A high school cross country meet.
Olson, an all-state honoree as a sophomore, finished third in a field of 134 runners and easily qualified for the state meet, set for next weekend at Northfield.
An eighth-grader, Devine made sure the Ely girls will be represented at state by taking seventh, out of 117 competitors in the 7A girls competition.
There were also some near-misses for the Wolves.
Freshman Gabriel Pointer was two places shy of also advancing to state, and the Ely boys took third among 19 teams. The top two teams advance.
“It was a good day,” said Ely Head Coach Jayne Dusich. “The boys had some good races, some bad, and the girls all had good races. It was rainy and slippery.”
Olson, who had a string of high finishes to his credit already this year, was behind only Greenway’s Geno Uhrbom and Virginia’s Cameron Stocke in the boys race.
The junior finished in 16:32, about 45 seconds behind Uhrbom and 27 seconds in back of Stocke.
“Luke’s race was good,” said Dusich. “He felt good, but a boy with a dog walked right in front of him at a mile-and-a-half, and that slowed him up and he tripped and it kind of screwed everything up. He would have had a personal record, probably.”
Now, Olson can turn his attention to the state meet, where he finished 21st a year ago. Olson nearly had some company at state, as Pointer was just two seconds away from moving on.
He finished in 17:20.6 and was part of a group of seven runners that finished within four seconds of each other.
“He just missed it,” said Dusich. “He ran a great race.”
None of the remaining Ely boys were in contention for a state berth but three others were in the top half of the field
Sophomore Emmett Faltesek took 37th (18:08.2) while exchange student Kjetil Midttun shaved a minute off his previous best time and took 43rd (18:14.9), seven seconds and four spots in front of sophomore teammate Jasper Johnston (47th, 18:21.9).
Ely sophomore Raif Olson was 72nd (19:13.1) and senior Ethan Bremner wound up 85th (19:23.3).
The boys were behind only Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin and International Falls.
The girls race played out as most have this year, with Devine leading the Wolves.
“Zoe did really well,” said Dusich. “She knew she needed to be in teh top-10 to make it to state.”
Devine did just that, placing seventh in 19:56.5.
Another Ely eighth-grader, Phoebe Helms, was in the top-third of the standings and placed 39th in 21:53.5.
The rest of the lineup included Sarah Isbell (68th, 23:15), Brynn Vollom (84th, 24;10.1), Julia Schwinghamer (93rd, 24:29.1), Cora Olson (102nd, 25:26.7) and Lucy Stouffer (116th, 28:48.2).
The Ely girls wound up 12th among 17 teams.
Mesabi East’s Ava Hill won the individual title (18:54.5) and her Giants were also the team titleists.