Pointer, Devine ski to wins

by Tom Coombe
Ely’s Nordic Wolves made the most of a challenging course and picked up two individual first-place finishes and a team win at last Saturday’s Grand Rapids Invitational.
Senior Gabriel Pointer won the boys race and junior Zoe Devine was first among the girls, and the Wolves had a strong day overall in the event at Mount Itasca, the team’s second meet of the young season.
“Saturday was a good confidence booster and a number of skiers skied very smart races,” said Ely Head Coach Paula Anderson. “It was a skiathlon, also called a continuous pursuit on a multiple lapped course and very hilly with fast downhills.”
Pointer took the lead from the start and maintained in easily in the boys competition.
The veteran Ely skier won with nearly 30 seconds to spare, completing a 7.6-kilometer, six-lap course in 24:44.3.
Fellow Ely senior Jon Hakala took third (25:33.7) and Micah Larson was fifth (25:02.7).
The boys race featured only skiers from Ely and Mesabi East.
The girls event had a larger field and Devine made a strong surge in the second half of the race, which moved from freestyle to classic skiing, and won in 27:27.9.
“Zoe hung behind the leaders for the first three laps, then made a very quick exchange and gapped them out of the transition zone,“ said Anderson. “She continued to increase her lead throughout the classic laps. She paced herself very well. The rest of the Varsity girls skied very strong races and looked good considering how little we’ve been skiing.“
Ely junior Phoebe Helms placed fifth in the field of 24 in 29:42.1, while sophomore Ava Skustad (seventh, 30;26.9), senior Gracie Pointer (10th, 31:32.2) and junior Sydney Durkin (42th, 32:08.5) followed.
The Ely girls edged Grand Rapids by a point to take the team title.
Other Ely results were:
JV Boys (5K)
1. Silas Solum, 17:01.3;
3. Otto Devine, 17:11.5;
4. Dylan Durkin, 17:19.7;
5. Eli Olson, 17:32;
6. Liam Lacey, 18:38.9;
9. Nathan Hoffmeister, 19:13.3;
12. Tory Hughley, 19:34.6;
14. Milo McClelland, 20:46.7;
17. Henry Lowe, 23:14.9;
18. Robert Towley, 37:52;
JV Girls (5K)
2. Anna Dunn, 20:05.8;
3. Claire Blauch, 20:14.9;
6. Rena Johnston, 20:35.5;
8. Raymus Cavalier, 21:44.9;
9. Anna Larson, 22:04.9;
10. Morgan McClelland, 22:27.9;
12. Juliet Stouffer, 22:43.5;
15. Esther Anderson, 23:05.8;
Junior High Boys (3.3K)
1. Aksel Skustad, 11:47.3;
2. Oliver Hohenstein, 12:11.5;
3. Caleb Larson, 13:18.6;
6. Brooks Brenny, 14:41.8;
7. George Sponholz, 15:12.6;
8. Tyde Brecke, 15:51.2;
Junior High Girls (3.3K)
3. June Nelson, 14:41.6;
4. Addison Forsman, 15:18.2;
5. Elsa Ellerbroek, 15:19.4;
8. Aila Harding, 16:35.5;
9. Alison Poppler, 17:10.8;
10. Molly Brophy, 17:12.2;
15. Alyssa Ice, 19:57.3
The Ely teams return to action with a Jan. 4 meet at Hidden Valley.