Wolves cruise in opener

by Tom Coombe
Ely’s high school boys basketball team had an easy time of it in the season-opener, but more difficult challenges await.
The Timberwolves held Hill City without a field goal for more than nine minutes and built a big lead early on en route to a 61-31 home victory.
Guards Joey Bianco and Harry Simons combined for 41 points for the Wolves, who are retooling their lineup after the graduation of three senior starters.
While the overmatched Hornets didn’t put up much of a fight, the Wolves will face obstacles soon enough.
A road meeting with Class AA International Falls was completed after the Echo’s Thursday deadline and a Dec. 17 home showdown looms with Cherry, one of the top contenders in Section 7A.
The Tigers won handily against Ely in a late-season game last March, and they opened this season with a victory over defending 7A titlist Deer River.


Girls build with talented nucleus

by Tom Coombe
The Ely Timberwolves won’t be the largest team in Section 7A - whether in number or height.
But section opponents would be ill advised to look past an Ely high school girls basketball team that’s looking to take a significant step forward this winter, despite some obstacles that have been thrown the Wolves’ way.
Ely, which made its 2021-22 debut Thursday night after deadline at Nashwauk-Keewatin, has several key players back from a team that went 8-10 during a Covid-19-disrupted 2020-21 season.
The Wolves’ lineup has also been bolstered by the return of junior Madeline Perry, who averaged more than 10 points per game during her freshman year but missed her sophomore campaign. She joins All-Arrowhead Conference honorable mention selection Grace LaTourell and fellow sophomore Sarah Visser, both sophomore guards, in forming what appears to be a solid nucleus.


Two Wolves make All-District team

by Tom Coombe
Ely’s high school football team has a pair of all-district honorees.
Senior Eddie Prijatel and junior Erron Anderson were selected to the North Sub-District 9-Man All-District Team, as picked by league coaches.
A third Ely player, senior Mason Davis, gained honorable mention.
The recognition comes on the heels of a difficult season for the Wolves, which started with a win over Carlton/Wrenshall but was followed by six straight defeats.
Prijatel was a two-way starter for the Wolves and helped lead the Ely defense.
The senior linebacker had a team-best 70 tackles and also recovered two fumbles.
Prijatel also saw time at running back and amassed 50 yards for the season.
Anderson was Ely’s leading back for much of the year, scoring three times and surpassing the 100-yard mark in the season-opening victory.
For the fall, Anderson finished with just over 500 yards on the ground and 50 yards receiving.


Record setting section swim meet

by Tom Coombe
Program and personal records were shattered as Northeast Range/Ely finished the 2021 season at the Section 7A high school girls swimming meet.
Junior Lily Tedrick was the Nighthawks’ highest finisher - contending for a state berth and settling fourth place in 7A in the 200 yard individual medley - and the Nighthawks compiled their best outing of the year in the two-day event that wrapped up Saturday at Duluth’s Lincoln Park School.
“It was a great meet,” said head coach Cheri DeBeltz. “We had an average of 85 to 90 percent lifetime best times, along with four school records.”
Tedrick capped off a banner season with a program-best time of 2:25.52 in the 200 IM, and she set a new school record in the 100 butterfly (1:05.49) on the way to a medal-winning seventh-place showing in the section.
She was also part of two relays that set new NRE standards.


Covid pushes back opening of high school musical Beauty and the Beast

Director Sarah Mason announced this week that the schedule for the high school musical Beauty and the Beast had to be pushed back a week due to Covid.
“We have had to postpone our show by one week due to Covid related concerns. Performances will now be Nov.19 at 7 p.m., Nov. 20 at 7 p.m., and Nov. 21 at 1 p.m.,” said Mason.
Online tickets: If you have already purchased tickets for the show (families eligible for presale) you are currently being emailed your new tickets.
Tickets will be transferred over to the following weekend. For example, if you purchased tickets for Friday, Nov. 12, you still have those tickets but for Friday, Nov. 19 instead.
If you require a refund, please contact Mason at and she will fulfill that request.
All performances are being held at the Vermilion Community College Theatre.


Wolves go down in five

by Tom Coombe
First a set and then a point away from their first ever berth in the Section 7A finals, the Ely Timberwolves couldn’t quite close out South Ridge on Wednesday night.
It proved costly as the Panthers staved off elimination in the third set and match point in the fifth and rallied for a 21-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-21, 16-14 win in a 7A high school volleyball semifinal clash at Hibbing.
The Wolves, who finished 21-7, led 22-20 in the third set before South Ridge rallied with five straight points to stay alive.
In the fourth, South Ridge broke a 21-all deadlock with a four-point run and its most impressive Houdini act came in the decisive fifth set.
After a Raven Sainio ace put Ely ahead 14-13, the Panthers scored the next three points to secure both the victory and a Saturday afternoon championship game tilt with Northeast Range.


Swimmers take down Chisholm

by Tom Coombe
Northeast Range/Ely made the most of its last home meet of the season, defeating Chisholm 59-34 in high school girls swimming dual meet action.
The Nighthawks’ junior varsity also eked out a 39-36 victory Tuesday afternoon at Babbitt, and it was a solid day all-around for the swimmers, according to head coach Cheri DeBeltz.
“All the girls had some really great races,” said DeBeltz. “They are all gaining confidence and experience with every race they swim. We are getting ready now for our section meet.”
Sections are approaching Nov. 11 and 13, and the Nighthawks are heading toward the postseason with plenty of momentum.
That continued with the second win this fall against the Bluestreaks,


Historic year for VCC volleyball

The Vermilion Ironwomen earned a spot in the Region 13B tournament for the first time in 20 years and are seeded third. The tournament will be hosted by Central Lakes College in Brainerd and semifinal games will take place Friday night. Top seed Central Lakes will play fourth seeded Hibbing followed by Vermilion will take on second ranked Northland at 8 p.m. Winners will advance to the championship game at noon on Saturday, Oct. 30. Pictured are: Back row (l-r): Naomi Bollman, Kaelynn Kudis, Mia Mattfield, Head Coach Krystal Brodeen; Middle row: Morgan Hirsch, Thea Baier, Aubrea Smieja; Front row: Misty Bozich, Trinity LaLonde.


Wolves earn top seed in 7A

by Tom Coombe
After going unbeaten but with postseason play wiped out because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 campaign ended an empty note for Ely’s high school volleyball team.
A year later, the Timberwolves finally have a chance to make their mark when it counts - with play beginning this week in the Section 7A tournament and on the heels of another banner regular season.
Winners of 19 of 25 regular season contests, including four in a row, the Wolves will most likely have the number one seed in the north half of Section 7A when rankings are determined over the weekend.
It means Ely will open play at home, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, against an opponent to be determined.
The Wolves would also have another game on their home court Friday should they advance, with the 7A semifinals and finals slated for Hibbing the following week.


Ironmen bottled up in home loss

by Tom Coombe
Momentum was fleeting for the Vermilion Ironmen.
A week after an impressive home victory over Minnesota West, the community college football team struggled in all phases of the game - falling at home 42-6 to Central Lakes.
The Raiders completely bottled up the Vermilion offense, and the Ironmen’s only score during the Oct. 9 home contest at Ely School Stadium came on special teams.
Freshman Breaton Vann ran a kickoff back for a touchdown in the second quarter, but by then the Ironmen were already trailing to the Raiders (3-4).
Vermilion (2-5) had less than 150 yards of total offense in the game and a fourth-quarter stretch told the tale.
After a VCC interception gave the Ironmen the ball at the CL 35-yard line, VCC quarterback Keith Baker was sacked on three consecutive plays.
The Raiders reached double digits in sacks and the Ironmen could get no running game established.


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