Three from Ely named to All-District team

by Tom Coombe
Ely’s high school football season has been capped with individual honors for three Timberwolves.
Senior Lane Anderson, junior Eddie Prijatel and sophomore Jason Kerntz were all named to the All-District Team, as selected by district coaches.
The recognition comes on the heels of a winning regular season for the Wolves, their first since 1987.
Anderson, a multiyear starter, played a key role in that success.
The 250-pounder anchored the offensive and defensive lines and came up with 39 tackles, second-most on the team.
Ely also utilized Anderson as a running back out of its “Heavy Jumbo” set, and he delivered, amassing 178 rushing yards and plowing into the end zone a team-high five times
Prijatel was a two-way starter for the Wolves and helped anchor the Ely defense, leading the team with 59 tackles for the season. He also started at running back and picked up 131 yards on the ground.


Lassi steps away from sidelines Ely

by Tom Coombe
For 11 seasons, Cory Lassi has been the common denominator when it came to Ely Timberwolves football.
But that will change in 2021, after Lassi’s announcement last week that he is stepping down from his post as high school football coach.
Lassi spent the last three years leading the Wolves and was an assistant for eight years prior to that, playing a key role in a resurgence of the football program including four state tournament berths in a six-year run.
The 2004 Ely High School graduate is moving on from coaching, at least for now, to spend more time with his family, including a daughter due to be born this week.
“My number one job right now is being here for my family and I want to make sure I am,” said Lassi.
A former Timberwolf football standout, Lassi joined the football coaching staff in 2010 and guided the defense.


Football season ends in Bigfork

by Tom Coombe
There was no dramatic finish or rousing victory. Instead, Ely’s high school football season ended on the cold turf in Bigfork Tuesday night with the host Huskies scoring a dominant 52-6 playoff win.
Yet that the Wolves played at all, and finished a season as odd in any in school history, provided memories nonetheless.
Ely finished the season 3-3, with an opening round defeat in the Section 7 9-Man playoffs and the program’s first winning regular season since 2017.
The Wolves also got to play, albeit a bit late, this fall in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. That may have been the biggest victory at all, given the times, and head coach Cory Lassi offered some perspective after Tuesday’s defeat.


Schedule in pencil for unbeaten Ely

by Tom Coombe
For the Ely Timberwolves, scheduling has at instances been literally one day at a time.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the high school volleyball team has already dealt with a rash of postponements, cancelled or moved dates and substitute opponents, as well as a long layoff.
Friday night, the unbeaten Wolves were set to travel to Carlton for their first match in eight days, and to kick off a late-season stretch that will include six matches in a span of a week-and-a-half.
That’s the COVID-related reality for the Wolves, who have been largely spared from disruptions in their own lineup but have watched as a series of opponents have had to cancel or delay contests.
The Wolves host Northeast Range at 7 p.m. Monday, then travel to Bigfork Thursday and North Woods the following day as they wind down a late-starting regular season.


A pick-six and an Ely win

by Tom Coombe
In an instant, Mason Davis reversed the Ely Timberwolves’ fortunes and deflated Northeast Range.
The Nighthawks were driving, perhaps toward a game-winning score, when Davis stepped in front of a pass, returned it 70 yards for a touchdown, and fueled a 20-14 high school football victory Oct. 30 at Aurora.
The sudden turnabout helped the Wolves, who returned to the gridiron after a 16-day layoff, their second win in three tries this fall.
It wasn’t easy, as Northeast Range, led by senior speedster Bralyn Lislegard, had the Wolves on the ropes.
Lislegard broke free for a 60-yard scoring run in the third quarter, tying the game at 14, and the Nighthawks turned to their leader on what was set up to be a drive to put them in the lead.
But the Wolves’ defense threw Lislegard for a loss on second down, forcing the Nighthawks to pass on third, and it led to the Davis interception and score.


Times drop at sections for NRE swimmers

So 2020: Swimming
in the dark
Last weekend at the Section 7A Swim meet in Aurora. For the final event, the 400 freestyle relay had to swim in the dark.
“We had lost power and we had to use the emergency lights and the girls used cell phone flashlights to light up the pool,” said head coach Cheri DeBeltz. “We also have a team GPA average of 3.75, we received Gold standard for the MSHSL. This small and very young team has done a wonderful job this season. We are very proud of them.”


Sections loom for NRE swimmers

by Tom Coombe
An unconventional season will end in unconventional fashion for Northeast Range/Ely.
While the Nighthawks compete Saturday in the Section 7A high school girls swimming meet, they’ll face only rivals Eveleth-Gilbert and Mesabi East in person at the pool in Aurora.
At the same time, eight other teams will participate in the section event at pools in Duluth and Hibbing.
Times in each event will be compiled at each site and at the end of the day, individual and team standings will be determined.
The split section event is one of the numerous changes put in place this fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has made for a season full of adjustments for high school athletes across the state, including the NRE swimmers.
“It has been such a challenging year, both mentally and physically,” said head coach Cheri DeBeltz. “Especially once the school went to hybrid. It’s taken its toll.”


Serves fuel road sweep

by Tom Coombe
The serving line proved to be a potent weapon for the Ely Timberwolves.
Madeline Kallberg and sisters McKenna and Rachel Coughlin combined for 17 ace serves Tuesday as the visiting Wolves dominated Northeast Range in a high school volleyball sweep.
Ely improved to 2-0 for the young season with a 25-15, 25-17, 25-10 victory.
The opening game was evenly-contested until the Wolves closed it out with a 10-1 run, much with senior McKenna Coughlin on serve.
Kallberg delivered several aces during a second-game romp while Rachel Coughlin used her jump serve to befuddle the Nighthawks and pile up points for a young Wolves team.
Ely has five new starters and lost heavily to graduation after reaching the section semifinals the last two years, but the Wolves are reloading with new talent.


Late Virginia rally sinks NRE Blue Devils pull out 48-46 win

by Tom Coombe
Up eight points midway through the meet, Northeast Range/Ely couldn’t hold on as visiting Virginia rallied and pulled out a 48-46 high school girls swimming victory on Tuesday.
The Blue Devils pulled ahead with a one-two finish in the next-to-last event and hung on despite a victory by the Nighthawks in the meet-ending 400 freestyle relay.
Virginia secured the narrow win with second and third-place points in the same event.
NRE had five firsts overall, with Lily Tedrick (50 freestyle), Kelly Thompson (100 freestyle) and Morgan McClelland (200 freestyle) claiming wins.
All three joined Anna Larson on a first-place 200 freestyle relay unit, and the trio teamed up with Cedar Ohlhauser to pick up a decisive win in the 400 freestyle relay.
Lauryn Devich had two firsts and was part of a winning relay for the Blue Devils.


Sections next for Timberwolves

by Tom Coombe
With section competition looming, Ely’s high school cross country teams tuned up with solid showings at the Iron Range Conference meet.
The Ely boys finished second and the girls were fourth in their respective divisions Tuesday at Coleraine, and overall, five Wolves runners bagged top-10 individual finishes at Coleraine.
Ely’s second meet in five days came in advance of the Section 7A meet, which will be held over two days at Cloquet with the girls running Monday and the boys meet to follow Tuesday.
The postseason event, which was only recently added to a season abbreviated because of the COVID-19 pandemic, follows a regular season full of impressive outings for the Wolves.
That continued at the IRC event, where Zoe Devine recorded the highest overall Ely finish - taking second in a field of 47 varsity girls runners.


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