Girls move on to state

Second-place finish in section Nordic meet leads to berth; Ely boys take fourth but will send Pointer, Hakala on as individuals

by Tom Coombe
Ely will be very well represented at this week’s state Nordic ski meet.
The high school girls team is advancing after a second-place finish at Wednesday’s Section 7 competition at Giants Ridge, while seniors Gabriel Pointer and Jon Hakala are advancing as individuals.
It was a near-miss for the boys team overall, which placed fourth in a tight section meet, and senior Micah Larson was two spots away from qualifying as an individual.
In some ways, the section meet mirrored the regular season finale at Ely the week before, with area powerhouse Duluth East dominating and Ely battling other rivals for the second and final team slot for state.
The girls made it, with juniors Zoe Devine and Phoebe Helms finishing third and ninth, respectively and sophomore Ava Skustad coming in 12th.
Ely slid into second place and downed Grand Rapids by nine points, and the Wolves were also aided by a fourth-place finish from Sydney Durkin and Gracie Pointer in the newest wrinkle to the section meet - the relay race.
Among the boys, Pointer punched a return ticket to state by placing fourth and Hakala was eighth.
Larson slipped after placing second in the morning classic race and fell to 12th overall during the afternoon freestyle.
In the boys relay, Otto Devine and Silas Solum wound up fifth and the boys and Ely finished with 366 points, nine points behind Proctor and five back of third-place Mora.
The state meet will be run over two days this year, another change from the past, with the individual races spread out over two days.
The relays will be held on Thursday morning.
Final section results were:
Girls (Classic and Freestyle)
3. Devine, 36;16;
9. Helms, 38:32;
12. Skustad, 39:53;
22. Anna Dunn, 42:07;
26. Claire Blauch, 43:04;
Boys (Classic and Freestyle)
4. Pointer, 33:18;
8. Hakala, 34:08;
12. Larson, 35:09;
23. Dylan Durkin, 37:10;
24. Liam Lacey, 37:26.