Olson 7th, boys 12th at state

Standout senior gains all-state recognition for third year in a row

by Tom Coombe
Luke Olson saved his best for last, and the result was another high finish in the state cross country meet and a personal record to boot.
The Ely senior finished seventh in Saturday’s Class A state meet at Northfield, the same as he did a year ago.
Olson’s time of 16 minutes. 4.5 seconds, however, was his best and good enough to be right at the top of the field in some years.
The seventh-place finish by Olson capped a chilly day on the campus of St. Olaf for the Ely boys team, which finished 12th among 16 Class A squads. The Wolves had qualified as a team on the strength of a second-place finish in Section 7A the week before.
Olson, a state track champion earlier this year, won all-state recognition for a third straight year and was part of an elite pack at the head of the Class A boys race.
At the 1500 meter mark, reports from the course indicated that Olson was in fourth place.
He was part of a group that chased, but couldn’t catch, repeat Class A champion Geno Uhrbom of Greenway-Nashwauk-Keewatin.
A junior, Uhrbom set a blazing pace on the trail and won in 15:27.6 - a 15-second margin of victory on the 5K course.
Olson wound up seventh at the finish line, trailing sixth-place Cameron Stocke of Virginia (15:51.1) and beating out a Perham runner by two seconds to take seventh.
The rest of the Ely lineup, all making their state cross country debuts, were further back in the pack.
Next up was junior Emmett Faltesek, who had a top-10 finish in the 7A competition, and wound up 88th in the state with a time of 17:23.4.
Junior Jasper Johnston flirted with a top-100 showing and settled for 101st in 17:31.7.
Next up was Gabriel Pointer, a sophomore, who cracked the 18-minute mark and wound up 127th (17:54.9).
Rounding out the Ely lineup were senior Dylan Fenske (158th, 18:55.7), senior Ethan Bremner (163rd, 19:12.2) and sophomore Harry Simons (170th, 19:49.7).
Perham won the Class A team title, while 7A champion GNK was ninth.
Ely was 12th and ahead of four other schools.
The Ely runners were recognized the day before the meet during a send-off ceremony and pep rally at the high school, and the Wolves had a strong following of parents, relatives and students at the state meet, held on a chilly and windy 30-degree day.
• There was at least one other Ely connection in the Class A meet.
Grant Strukel, a senior at Blue Earth Area, placed 56th in Class A with a time of 17:03.4.
He is the son of Joe Strukel, a 1992 Ely High School graduate.