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Ely CC teams top Arrowhead foes

by Tom Coombe

Ely’s high school cross country teams outraced their Arrowhead Conference  opponents and held their own against larger-school competition - all in a span of a week.

The Timberwolves won the early-season Arrowhead Conference Championships, hosted Sept. 14 by Deer River, and had a solid day Tuesday at Grand Rapids’ Paul Bauer Invitational.

It included a third-place finish by the Ely girls with two  young Wolves - ninth-grader Molly Brophy and eighth-grader Mattie Lindsay - among the top 16.

Ely junior Caid Chittum was 10th in the boys race.

“I was surprised the girls got third as there were around 20 teams,” said Ely Head Coach Jayne Dusich. “And Caid ran really well.”

The Wolves got their big week going at the Arrowhead meet - a smaller event that featured only a handful of schools.

The Ely boys claimed the team title with four runners placing in the top-10

Chittum led the way and was second overall in 17:58.3, falling just a second behind winner Rylen Niska of Mt. Iron-Buhl.

Ely junior Silas Solum was third in 18:11, while teammates Brooks Brenny (eighth, 19:00.5) and Eli Olson (ninth, 19:07.2).

The Wolves showed off impressive depth as Mason Kurnava (19:27.9) was 14th, followed by Leo Stalmer (19:35.2) and Milo McClelland (19:47.9) in 15th and 16th, respectively.

In the girls race, Ely edged past International Falls by five points to take the team title and Brophy was fifth overall with a run of 20:36.3 on the 5,000-meter course.

The rest of the Ely lineup placed as follows:

9. Claire Blauch, 21:53.6;

12. Grace LaTourell, 23:38.5;

14. Elsa Ellerbroek, 23:49.8;

16. Anna Dunn, 23:59.8;

20. Ava Skustad, 25:20.1.

Ely had the top-four finishers in the boys JV competition at the Arrowhead, with Oliver Hohenstein taking first place 20:17.7 and nosing out teammate Dylan Durkin by a tenth of a second.

The Wolves’ Aksel Skustad and Trenton Bishop were third and fourth, respectively.

Among JV girls, Ely’s Rachel Carter won in 27:23.6 with teammates Aila Harding and Molly Lindsay placing second and third.

Ely’s dominance extended to junior high action as eighth-grader Grant Chittum (9:48.2) beat classmate Wyatt Devine by two seconds to win the boys race.

Blake Houde (sixth), Liam Kurnava (ninth) and Oren Solum (10th) were all in the top-10.

Lindsay dominated the junior high girls race and won in 10:02.7, beating her next nearest foe by 34 seconds. Seventh-grader Katie Brophy was fourth.

• The competition level was much more rugged Tuesday at Grand Rapids, where the host Thunderhawks, Duluth East, Hibbing and Cloquet were all part of a large field.

The Ely girls still wound up third, with Molly Brophy placing 13th in the 5,000-meter race with a time of 20:57.6, about two minutes and 20 seconds off the pace set by winner Rowan Bixler of Duluth east.

Lindsay made quite a splash in her step up to varsity, taking 16th among 78 runners in 21:34.1

Blauch was 25th (22:17.2), and both LaTourell (37th, 24:05.2) and Ellerbroek (38th, 24:07) were in the top half of the field.

Kiarstin Eaton placed 49th in 24:46.5 and Dunn (51st, 25:02.2) rounded out the Ely lineup.

Caid Chittum, who went to state as a sophomore got a ribbon and was 10th in 17:46.2.

Duluth East, led by first-place runner Sam Blascyk (16:37.7), had five of the top-six boys varsity runners.

Next best among the Ely boys was Brenny, who completed the course in 19:36.1 and got 43rd.

Stalmer (19:49.1) placed 48th and Olson finished 51st (20:00.1) with McClelland in 53rd (20:02.1).  Kurvava (56th, 20:12.1) and Durkin (58th, 20:35.3) completed the Ely lineup.

• The Wolves are set to take part in Tuesday’s Hibbing Invitational.

That’s their last action until Thursday, Oct. 5, when the Wolves host numerous area schools in their lone home meet of the season, set for 4 p.m. at the Ely Golf Course.

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