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.


Swimmers taste victory

by Tom Coombe
Northeast Range/Ely picked up back-to-back wins in narrow fashion.
A one-two finish in the 400 freestyle relay helped the Nighthawks erase a deficit and pull out a 49-45 high school girls swimming victory over visiting Cloquet on Saturday.
It was the second straight win for the Nighthawks, who pulled out a 48-39 road win over Chisholm on Sept. 24, again with the meet-ending relay providing the margin of victory.
“The girls are swimming very well,” said NRE Head Coach Cheri DeBeltz. “We are very happy with how well the girls are swimming at this point in the season.”
Saturday’s meet was a seesaw affair, with two ties and a couple of lead changes.


Football, volleyball return

by Nick Wognum
High school football and volleyball are back in Ely and across the state of Minnesota.
Action Monday by the Minnesota State High School League’s board of directors reversed an August decision to move those sports to the spring and placed them back in what will be an abbreviated fall season.
Practices have started and games begin in just under two weeks in both sports, although volleyball games will be held without spectators because of state restrictions related to the coronavirus.
But up to 250 fans will be allowed at outdoor events, and the lights will go on at Ely School Stadium either Oct. 14 or Oct. 15 for the home football opener with Cook County.
The developments made for a hectic week at Ely High School, with practice plans and game schedules coming rapidly into place for seasons that had been put on hold.


Football, volleyball, after all?

by Nick Wognum
A new scoreboard at Ely School Stadium, set to be installed this week, may get some use yet this fall.
What seemed improbable only a week ago now looks possible, with the Minnesota State High School League poised to vote Monday on proposals to reverse an earlier decision to move both football and volleyball to the spring.
If approved, an abbreviated football season could begin as soon as Oct. 2, while volleyball games would start later in the month, according to plans addressed earlier this week during a nearly four-hour MSHSL board workshop.
The sudden turn of events has put Ely in a state of limbo, with school officials waiting for Monday’s MSHSL vote before making further determinations related to the two sports.
It was the board workshop where the “Let Them Play” movement generated more steam, with several board members voicing support for what started as a grassroots effort to get the MSHSL to reverse course.


Giants swim past NRE

by Tom Coombe
Mesabi East piled up points early and cruised to a 97-69 victory over visiting Northeast Range/Ely, in a Sept. 10 high school girls swimming meet at Aurora.
The Giants won most of the individual and relay events, with one-two finishes in three of the first four events to take control of the dual meet.
Lily Tedrick had NRE’s only contested individual win, dominating the 200 yard freestyle in 2:20.03 and winning with almost six seconds to spare.
Later, Tedrick teamed with Morgan McClelland Cedar Ohlhauser and Kelly Thompson on a 400 freestyle relay unit that finished first in 4:26.76.
McClelland bagged a pair of runner-up showings, taking second in both the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke, with times of 1:05.98 and 1:18.54, respectively.
The Nighthawks also scored points as follows:
• 200 medley relay - 3. Esther Anderson, McKenna Coughlin, McClelland, Alice Wolter, 2:28.71;
• 50 freestyle -3. Thompson, 30.47;


Diving in to a new season

by Tom Coombe
Cheers may have been muffled by masks and parents could only watch via live webstreaming, but high school sports returned to Babbitt on Tuesday in the form of the first girls swimming meet of the season.
Visiting International Falls dominated much of the fall opener, winning all but two events en route to a 60-34 victory over Northeast Range/Ely.
But the result may have taken a backseat yesterday to the circumstances, as the meet marked a formal return to high school competition in the area, after a nearly six-month hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The coronavirus wiped out the spring seasons while two fall sports - football and volleyball - are on hold until the spring.
Swimming is one of a handful of activities allowed by the Minnesota State High School League and NRE, under first-year head coach Cheri DeBeltz, has been practicing since mid-August.


Fall sports season begins

by Tom Coombe
The longest hiatus in the history of Ely High School athletics comes to an end this week.
For the first time in nearly six months, Ely teams will be back in action as the fall sports season begins.
The combined Ely and Northeast Range girls swimming team is first on the docket, hosting International Falls in a 3 p.m. dual meet Tuesday at Babbitt.
The following morning, it’s the season debut for the Timberwolves’ boys and girls cross country teams, who face of with host Virginia and Hibbing at 8 a.m., kicking off the Virginia Triple Tri.
Girls soccer is also part of the Ely lineup for the first time ever, with one Timberwolf joining the Mesabi East Area squad in a newly-formed cooperative.
The fall sports season begins amid unique circumstances - in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and after a spring season that ended last March before it truly began.


The “abnormal” fall season

by Tom Coombe
Ely high school athletes mixed typical with atypical, the usual with a few new twists, normal and abnormal this week.
Mid-August brings the start of fall sports practices and an early sign that summer is nearing its end, and that played out Monday morning across the state including near the U.S. Forest Service headquarters, where Ely’s boys and girls cross country teams gathered officially for the first time this season.
Down the road in Babbitt, members of the combined Northeast Range/Ely girls swimming team dove into the pool to open the 2020-21 campaign.
One Ely athlete also ventured off to Aurora, where the girls soccer team hosted by Mesabi East began its workouts.
But one of the few things typical about the workouts was the calendar, as high school sports began on time but amid strange circumstances, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.


Ely crashes hard in Final Four

A cold day at the plate and a few defensive breakdowns brought Ely’s Senior Babe Ruth (Legion) baseball season to an abrupt halt.
After losing just twice in 20 contests, Ely fell twice in a matter of hours Saturday at Aurora, during the Eighth District Division II Final Four.
Esko scored nine runs in the last three innings to prevail 10-1 in a winners’ bracket tilt, while Eveleth scored six runs in the top of the sixth to rally for a 7-3 victory in the elimination bracket.
Ely, which finished 18-4, scored only four runs on the day after exploding for 15 runs and 17 hits just two days earlier.
On defense, Ely committed six errors in a disastrous sixth inning against Eveleth.
“It was the wrong time to have a bad day,” said Ely Head Coach Tom Coombe. “We had played so well, but things just snowballed on Saturday. It was one thing after another.”
Ely couldn’t solve Esko ace Noah Furcht in the opener.


Split verdict for fall sports, dates set in Ely

The landscape of high school fall sports has changed dramatically, in Ely and across the state.
While some activities will start as scheduled next week, both football and volleyball will be moved to the spring because of the coronavirus pandemic, following action Tuesday by the Minnesota State High School League.
In a series of rulings that sent shockwaves across the high school sports community, the MSHSL board voted to allow boys and girls cross country, girls swimming and soccer to proceed during the fall season, with some restrictions.
But both football and volleyball, which are considered higher-risk activities than the sports allowed to proceed, will move to a condensed spring season tentatively set for mid-March through early-May.
The traditional spring sports, such as baseball, softball, track and golf, will slide back to a fourth activity season that will run from May, past the end of the school year and perhaps into July.


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