Olson reaches finals with top time - There it is: Ely has a state track champion.

by Tom Coombe -

Ely's Luke Olson will battle for a state high school track championship on Saturday.

After Friday's preliminaries, the Ely junior is in first place in the 800 meter run at the state meet in St. Paul. Olson had the fastest time among 18 runners competing in three heats on a sweltering 90-degree day on the campus of Hamline University.

The Section 7A champion finished in 1:55.84 and was one of nine competitors to move on to the finals, set for approximately 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

Olson was the only Ely athlete to reach the finals - as the remainder of the Wolves' state individual and relay qualifiers were unable to advance past the preliminaries.

Junior Eric Omerza came the closest to moving on, finishing one spot away and taking 10th in the triple jump. Teammate Raif Olson competed in the 300 hurdles and was 16th, while the Ely boys' four-by-400 relay of Omerza, Nate Nettifee, Emmett Faltesek and Raif Olson was also 16th.

Ely's only female qualifer- junior Brielle Kallberg - was 15th in the long jump and the four-by-800 relay will compete Saturday.

Olson is vying to become Ely's first boys state track champion since Larry Berkner in the 1970s.