Editorial: Volleyball trip to state capped an amazing fall - Ely should be proud

What a season! What a team!
It’s not often that a local group of kids can capture the attention and hearts of an entire community, but that’s exactly what the Ely Timberwolves’ volleyball team did over the course of the last few weeks.
An unbeaten season led to the school’s first-ever section title and state tournament berth and ultimately, a sixth-place finish in Class A.
The Wolves took much of the Ely area along for the ride.
Fans came out in droves for Ely home games.
It wasn’t all that long ago the balcony in the Memorial Gymnasium was closed during volleyball games.
This year it was filled with people, particularly for a pair of home playoff games that all but filled the gym and created an atmosphere not seen there since the days when enrollment was triple what it is now, and the place was packed on home basketball nights.
The fans followed along on the road, first for section semifinal and final dates and then on to St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center for the state tournament.
You’ll find coverage of the games and plenty of photos in our special section this week, along with a few tidbits about the atmosphere and the many from Ely who were at the Xcel for the tournament.
There’s no doubt the Wolves had a stellar season, one that will go down in local sports history.
Much has already been said about the school-record 30 wins and Ely’s prowess on the court.
We found it even more satisfying to hear what was said about the Wolves in St. Paul, particularly by their bus driver, who saluted the team not for their efforts on the court, but their conduct off of it.
That’s another thing to be proud of.
So too was the announcement that the volleyball team earned a Gold Academic Award, compiling a grade-point average of better than 3.75 and earning what is essentially an all-state academic award.
The girls swimming team, which is based in Babbitt but is almost exclusively made up of Ely area swimmers, joined the volleyball team in earning all-state academic acclaim.
Those academic honors don’t get the fanfare of section championships or the big lights of a state tournament stage, but their meaning shouldn’t be lost.
Our student-athletes clearly take the student part of that equation seriously, and that’s one more thing to be proud of.
The fall season included academic honors, a history making year in volleyball, a state meet trip by our girls cross country team and a trip to state by Caid Chittum of Ely’s boys cross country team.
Great job, Wolves!