7A swimming: Records fall, medals won, section honor

by Tom Coombe
The season couldn’t have ended on a much higher note for the Northeast Range/Ely Nighthawks.
While the girls swim team won’t be sending anyone on to state, the Nighthawks set three team records and had four medal-earning performances at the Section 7A meet, which wrapped up last Saturday at Hibbing.
The Nighthawks also brought home an academic honor while both head coach Cheri DeBeltz and assistant coach Lynn Gulbrandson won respective Section 7A Coach of the Year honors.
“We had a great section meet,” said DeBeltz. “Overall, we had 95 percent lifetime or season-best swims and we had our best finish at the section meet.”
Overall, NRE was eighth among 11 teams in a field that included many schools with much higher enrollments.
Ely senior Lily Tedrick closed out a banner prep career with two top-five finishes in the section, while fellow senior Morgan McClelland also medaled by taking eighth in Saturday’s championship heat of the 200 yard freestyle.
Tedrick, McClelland, senior Kelly Thompson and sophomore Anna Larson also teamed to take fifth in the 200 medley relay in 2:01.07, taking fifth place in the process and setting a new team record.
The same foursome also established a new NRE record in the 200 freestyle relay, finishing in 1:47.65 and taking sixth in the section.
Tedrick, who returned to the pool barely two weeks after suffering a broken thumb, fought through the injury and came within two spots of a state meet berth, placing fourth in the 100 breaststroke with a team record time of 1:13.55.
In the 200 individual medley, Tedrick was fifth in 2:27.45.
McClelland also earned an individual medal - taking eighth in the 200 freestyle in 2;10.10.
The Nighthawks also advanced swimmers to Saturday’s consolation heats with the following results and final places:
• 200 freestyle - 14. Via DeBeltz, 2:16.94
• 500 freestyle - 10. McClelland, 6:03.15;
• 100 backstroke - 11. Thompson, 1:12.03;
• 100 breaststroke -16. DeBeltz, 1:21.22;
• 400 freestyle relay - 10. Larson, Tuuli Koivisto, Esther Anderson, DeBeltz, 4:12.13
NRE collected 132 points, finishing well ahead of Two Harbors/Silver Bay, Chisholm and Duluth Denfeld in the team standings.
Grand Rapids ran away with the team title while Hibbing and Mesabi East were second and third, respectively. NRE also trailed Rock Ridge, Cloquet and Proctor-Hermantown and wound up just one point back of seventh-place International Falls.
• The Nighthawks earned a Gold Academic Award, as recognized by the state’s coaches association.
The team grade point average is 3.81.
• DeBeltz was recognized as 7A Head Coach of the Year while Gulbrandson was similarly honored as 7A Assistant Coach of the Year.
DeBeltz called the recognition “very humbling and completely unexpected... What an honor for our program.”