Sports

Fri
09
Apr

HS spring sports to finally begin

After missing out on the entire 2020 campaign and the first two-to-three weeks of 2021, Ely’s high school spring sports teams are finally free to practice and play.
Monday, Apr. 12, marks the start of practice for several Ely Timberwolves teams.
A three-week reset at the school sent students into distance learning and put activities on hold, keeping the Wolves’ teams on the sidelines while their counterparts from around the region and state have been able to participate.
Most spring activities began March 29 while others started workouts the week before, putting Ely’s teams behind in early-season preparation.
COVID-19 also doused last year’s spring seasons for all teams across the state.
The delays in Ely have prompted numerous changes to various spring sports schedules, with games set for the week of Apr. 5 postponed first, followed by contests set for the week of Apr. 12 and later early-week contests the week of Apr. 19.

Fri
09
Apr

VCC surges into league play

The Vermilion Ironmen are in an unfamiliar but welcome position as Northern Divison community college baseball play begins this weekend.
With 10 wins in their first 16 contests, the Ironmen are the only team in the North with a winning record and they lead the five-team circuit with the best overall record in non-conference play.
Vermilion hopes to continue its string of recent success during the 16-game divison slate, which starts with doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday against defending champion Hibbing.
“Everyone starts 0-0 now,” said head coach Tom Coombe. “I think we’ve shown so far we can contend for a spot in the postseason and compete in our division, but we’ll have to show that on the field. These games so far don’t really mean anything when it comes to advancing.”

Fri
02
Apr

Two VCC players win weekly awards

Not one but two Vermilion Community College baseball players have been recognized with weekly honors by the Minnesota Community Athletic Conference.
Freshman Terren Sugita has been named Northern Division Player of the Week and classmate Ryan Kling is Northern Division Pitcher of the Week.
The recognition comes on the heels of a week in which the Ironmen won five times in six games to improve to 7-3 for the season.
Sugita, who hails from Anchorage, Alaska, launched three home runs and had 13 runs batted in during his hitting spree.
For the week, he went 11-for-22 at the plate to raise his average to a crisp .452, and the third baseman had home runs in both ends of a Saturday afternoon doubleheader sweep at Northland.
Sugita leads the state in both home runs (three) and runs batted in (14).
Kling, a product of New Richmond, Wisc., was dominant on the mound Sunday when VCC blanked Northland 8-0.

Fri
02
Apr

Ely HS speech team qualifies four for the Section 7A meet

All four members of Ely’s high school speech team have advanced to the section meet.
They qualified Monday, while competing off-campus and virtually in the subsection competition.
Laura Holmstrom, Harry Dammann, Maggie Dammann and Esther Anderson all qualified for the Apr. 16 Section 7A event.
“The kids did fine,” said head coach Donna Kari. “There were a couple of glitches with the technology but they did win. They all made it to sections, which was no sweat.”
Holmstrom advanced with a fourth-place subsection finish in Extemporaneous Speaking, while both Harry Dammann and Maggie Dammann were fifth in Creative and Extemporaneous Reading, respectively.
Anderson moves on after placing sixth in Extemporaneous Reading.
It has been an atypical year for speech students in Ely and across the state, with all meets held virtually this season with students generally competing from their own campuses.

Thu
25
Mar

Floridians handle the cold

Jacob Worley and Jakob Wiirre grew up playing baseball in Florida, and they adjusted Monday to outdoor baseball conditions that had little resemblance to the Sunshine State.
Both Vermilion pitchers adjusted to the elements, and pitched the Ironmen to a community college baseball sweep of rival Mesabi on Monday in Aurora.
Worley was masterful in the second game, striking out 10 batters and allowing only two hits in a 4-1 Vermilion win.
In the opening game, Wiirre overcame some early struggles, settled in and struck out nine while going the distance as the Ironmen prevailed 9-7.
Vermilion improved to 4-2 on the season.
While artificial turf made the twinbill possible, it began in temperatures under 40 degrees on a damp Monday morning.
The sun peaked out by the time Worley took the mound for the nightcap, but conditions were nothing like a warm, sunny day in Florida.

Fri
19
Mar

Johnston fifth at state

by Tom Coombe
Jasper Johnston closed out a stellar prep career with yet another stellar finish.
For the fourth year in a row, the Ely senior earned all-state acclaim in Nordic skiing and had a grand finale at the Mar. 12 state meet at Giants Ridge.
After taking seventh in the opening race, Johnson saved his best for last and was fourth in the four-kilometer freestyle and settled for fifth overall, in a field of 160, in the boys division.
Johnston, who is bound for Michigan Tech, was one of four Wolves to compete in the two-day state event, joining Ely boys teammate Gabriel Pointer as well as individual qualifiers Zoe Devine and Phoebe Helms from the Wolves’ girls team.
Johnston was the only Ely skier to gain all-state recognition, and was within 1.4 seconds of third place overall.

Fri
19
Mar

COVID, Floodwood combine to derail Ely girls’ playoff run

by Tom Coombe
Even with a mile-wide hole in their lineup, the Ely Timberwolves put up a fight.
The high school girls basketball season came to an end Wednesday night, when seventh-seeded Floodwood got past Ely 47-35 in the opening round of the Section 7A tournament.
But it was an odd matchup typical of an odd season, after COVID-19 protocols decimated the Wolves’ roster on the eve of the postseason and after the team had put together a late-season surge.
The Wolves, who finished 8-10, were without part of their starting lineup as well as several key reserves, forcing first-year head coach Max Gantt to go with a makeshift lineup against the Polar Bears.
Sophomore Lily Tedrick and junior Laura Holmstrom stepped into the lineup and eighth-grader Clare Thomas got her first extended varsity action of the season.
The Wolves still competed well, but were done in by a pair of Polar Bear runs and scoring droughts of their own.

Fri
12
Mar

Little League in need of help

After a year off, Little League baseball is poised to resume in Ely later this spring.
But first, the local organization needs some help - from parents and families.
If Little League is going to resume and Ely’s youngest boys and girls of summer are going to participate, parents need to step forward to assist a core group working to keep youth baseball alive.
“We’re in need of new board members, coaches at all levels, volunteers, somebody to schedule umpires,” said Kevin Marolt, one of two remaining board members.
In a transition from Little League’s last full season in 2019 to this year, the group is losing five of seven board members as children graduate up to higher age levels.
That leaves the Ely group scrambling to reassemble after the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of the 2020 sesason.
“We missed a whole year,” said Marolt.
For Little League to move forward this year, the group needs help on multiple fronts.

Fri
05
Mar

Johnston a repeat winner as Ely sends four to state

by Tom Coombe
Jasper Johnston continues to reign atop Section 7, while three of his Ely teammates have punched their own tickets to state.
Those were the key particulars Wednesday, when the section Nordic skiing meet was held at Giants Ridge.
Johnston, a three-time all-state honoree, repeated as Section 7 individual boys champion after winning both the classic and freestyle races on a mild, early-March afternoon.
Ely sophomore Zoe Devine was the top Timberwolves girls finishers, taking third in the section and earning another trip to state.
Two other Wolves will also move on as individuals, with junior Gabriel Pointer taking seventh overall in the boys competition and sophomore Phoebe Helms advancing after placing 11th among the girls.
Both Ely teams were a spot away from qualifying for the state meet as they came home Wednesday with respective third-place finishes.

Fri
05
Mar

Wolves win an OT thriller

by Tom Coombe
Less than two weeks before the playoffs begin for real, the Ely Timberwolves passed a significant playoff test.
In a game that had a playoff feel, the Timberwolves outlasted South Ridge 67-64 in a Feb. 26 overtime thriller at the high school gymnasium.
Will Davies picked up a loose ball and drove for the go-ahead hoop with just over a minute left in the extra session, and fellow senior Brock LaTourell picked off a long-distance pass with two seconds left to seal the Wolves’ biggest win of the year.
Ely (9-3) also blew out Cook County 76-22 on Tuesday but the signature win of the week if not the season came against the Panthers, who were led by 6-6 Austin Josephson.
Josephson scored only 12 points but was a dominant force inside, while the Panthers had at least three other players 6-3 or taller against the much tinier Wolves, who don’t start a player over six feet.

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