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.


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.


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