Chittum paces Ely CC runners
Photos by Chris Ellerbroek
by Tom Coombe
Ely’s lone state meet boys runner picked up where he left off, while a strong girls team was a bit shorthanded at Wednesday’s season-opener.
Fueled by a strong run from junior Caid Chittum, who went to state a year ago, the Ely boys were fifth overall but first among Class A schools in a field of 16 teams at the Rock Ridge Invitational, held under sunny skies at the Virginia Golf Course.
The Ely girls were 10th, but the Timberwolves were missing two key contributors from their 2022 state tournament team in freshman Molly Brophy and senior Claire Blauch.
All in all it was a strong day for the Wolves, according to longtime head coach Jayne Dusich.
“It was a good meet to get everybody out there,” said Dusich. “I thought Caid did well, and Silas and Mason and Milo, and the others did fine for just getting out there and doing a varsity race.”
Chittum opened the season by taking 13th overall with a time of 18:45.
“That was good, and faster than he ran there last year,” said Dusich.
Silas Solum had Ely’s next-best finish, coming in 30th place at 19:28.
Two other Wolves placed in the top-45, with Mason Spate-Kurnava taking 44th (20:00) and teammate Milo McClelland one spot back in 45th (20:06).
“For Milo, that was two minutes faster than last year,” said Dusich.
Ely trailed four larger schools - Hibbing, Grand Rapids, Rock Ridge and Chisago Lakes - in the team standings but topped all other Class A opposition.
The Ely girls were 10th among 10 teams but the results were deceiving, given the absence of Brophy - the Section 7A runner-up in 2022.
Also absent was Blauch, another key returning runner.
Of the Wolves who took part, Elsa Ellerbroek had a team-best run of 24:32.2, good for 49th overall.
Grace LaTourell opened her season by placing 55th (25:05.6) while teammates Ava Skustad (25:49.2) and Anna Dunn (25:53.1) took 62nd and 63rd, respectively.
Rachel Carter, a newcomer to the Wolves’ program, placed 70th (27:42.1) in her debut in an Ely uniform with Kiarstin Eaton (28:41.4) in 77th and Aila Harding (29:13.7) 81st. Rounding out the Ely lineup was Molly Lindsay (33:23.2) in 93rd.
Hibbing edged Proctor for the team title while Chisago Lakes’ Kaia Osmundson won the individual crown in 19:15.9.
In junior high action, Ely’s Molly Lindsay was fifth among the girls with a time of 14:13 on a 3,200 meter course.
Also competing for Ely in the girls event were Lucy Dunn (28th, 18:39), Naomi Fedders (36th, 20:23) and Aubrey Gregory (38th, 20:47).
Ely’s Grant Chittum took 12th in the junior high boys race with a time of 13:28.
He was followed by teammates Blake Houde (47th, 15:14), Oren Solum (54th, 16:11) and Liam Spate-Kurnava (56th, 16:14).
The Ely teams return to action Thursday at the Eagle Ridge Course in Coleraine for a meet hosted by Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin.