Double-win for Ely in CC
by Tom Coombe
In the span of a week, Ely’s cross country teams defended their home turf and scored an impressive victory.
The Timberwolves’ boys and girls teams had matching third-place finishes - placing only behind larger schools - at the Oct. 5 Ely Invitational.
Ely then followed up with both boys and girls victories at Tuesday’s Hial Pike Invitational at International Falls.
The wins came with some big individual performances, as Molly Brophy topped a field of 123 runners at the home event while Caid Chittum shaved seconds of his previous best - and had a first-place finish - at International Falls.
“Molly had a great day in Ely, that was some smart running,” said Ely Head Coach Jayne Dusich. “And Caid on Tuesday, that was his best time.”
The Wolves, who compete at the Iron Range Conference championships in the Oct. 17 regular season finale, are lining up as a potential Section 7A contender in both boys and girls at the section meet later in the month.
“We know GNK (Greenway-Nashwauk-Keewatin) will probably win the boys race but we could be right there for second (and a state berth),” said Dusich. “And for the girls, South Ridge did not run all of their runners in Ely. That’s one team to watch out for. And maybe Carlton-Wrenshall. But our girls’ times are starting to come down.”
The Ely girls were third among nine teams in the home meet, with Brophy setting the pace.
The ninth-grader won in 19:34.8, outracing the rest of her competition with ease on a cool, rainy day.
Eighth-grader Mattie Lindsay, a recent addition to the Ely varsity lineup, placed 14th in 21:41.2, while Claire Blauch (24th, 22:09.7), Elsa Ellerbroek (42nd, 23:08.2) and Grace LaTourell (45th, 23:17) were the Wolves’ next-best finishers.
Among the boys, Chittum placed fourth in 17:36, trailing winner Jack Kendall of Rock Ridge by about 30 seconds.
Fellow junior Silas Solum had a strong day and took 13th (18;10.4) in a boys race that had a whopping 182 competitors.
Ely freshman Brooks Brenny took 26th (18:54.5), with Eli Olson 33rd (19:09.6) and freshman Oliver Hohenstein in 44th (19:25.2).
The Ely girls were third behind Proctor and Rock Ridge while the boys were third to Cloquet and Rock Ridge.
“Despite the weather, it was a good day,” said Dusich. “Nobody really complained.
“One thing is the advantage of our home course. Our kids knew the hills and all of that, but I thought it was good competition, especially for the boys to have Cloquet and North Shore and different teams here.”
• In junior high action, Wyatt Devine placed fourth in the 2.6-kilometer boys race, finishing in 9:36.1.
Ely’s Grant Chittum took 12th (10:01.9) and Blake Houde was 30th (10:54.6).
The top-three Wolves in the junior high girls race were seventh-grader Katy Brophy (12th, 11:35.2), Lucy Dunn (27th, 12:53.6) and Naomi Fedders (31st, 13:20.5).
Overall, the races in Ely attracted 14 schools and about 480 total runners.
• The Wolves were part of a much smaller field Tuesday at International Falls, taking first among four teams and winning the three-team girls event as well.
Chittum dominated, winning the 5,000 meter event in 18:28.2 and topping his next-nearest foe by almost 20 seconds.
The boys top-10 was filled with Ely red-and-white, as Brenny was fourth in 19:02.6, followed by Solum (fifth 19:10.7), Milo McClelland (sixth, 19:36.6), Mason Kurnava (seventh, 19:37.1) and Hohenstein (eighth, 19:44.2).
Aksel Skustad (11th, 20:05.1), Trenton Bishop (12th, 20:06.9), Leo Stalmer (15th, 20:50.2), Dylan Durkin (16th, 20:50.3) and Drew Marolt (20th, 21:39.1) followed with Max Cochran in 27th (23:38.2).
Lindsay led the Ely girls with a third-place individual finish in 21:24.8, and Blauch was right behind in fourth at 21:26.2.
Other Ely girls finishers were:
7. Ellerbroek, 22:59.8;
8. LaTourell, 23:02.6;
10. Anna Dunn, 23:39.1;
15. Kiarstin Eaton, 24:25.8;
16. Ava Skustad, 24:54.1;
22. Aila Harding, 26:49.1;
23. Rachel Carter, 26:49;3;
27. Molly Lindsay, 29:40.7