Ely girls place first, boys second at opening ski meet
Ely’s high school Nordic ski teams couldn’t have asked for a much better start.The girls squad dominated a Dec. 11 meet at Giants Ridge, taking six of the first nine places and rolling to victory in a meet that attracted skiers from 14 schools.And the surprise of the day may have been turned in by the Ely boys, who finished ahead of everyone except defending state champion Duluth East en route to a second-place standing.“It was a great first meet,” said Ely Head Coach Paula Anderson. “Everybody had a good race from the top on down, from the varsity through down to the junior high... The girls were strong and the boys did really super. They were second and there were some big teams there.”With nearly all of their top skiers returning and a host of young skiers itching to move up, the girls team is expected to contend again at the state level following a third-place finish last winter.The Timberwolves picked up where they left off a year ago, with senior Jenna Klein gliding to victory and five of her teammates landing in the top-nine.Klein completed the 5.3-kilometer course in 20 minutes, 22 seconds, finishing nearly a minute ahead of her next-closest competitor.Ely senior Kelly Chaudoin came in third in 21:23, while junior Ellen Anderson (21:39) and senior Ali Schulze (21:56) were fifth and sixth, respectively.Sophomores Carolyn Freeman (22:20) and Casey Sovil (22:26) took the eight and nine slots to complete an Ely domination of the top spots.“Carolyn made a big jump and she was really excited,” said Anderson. “I wasn’t really surprised to see her make that jump.”Three other Wolves competed and were in the top half of the 72-skier field. Taryn Cunningham was 23rd, Anne Kellerman took 27th and Mary Bruels finished 29th.The Wolves piled up 389 points and topped several large-school foes, including area rivals Grand Rapids (361) and Duluth East (334), who were second and third, respectively.Duluth East was expected to run away with the boys meet and the Greyhounds lived up to top billing, but the Timberwolves outshined Bemidji, Grnad Rapids and several other squads to take second.Leading the way was junior Adam Shultz, who placed fourth in 18:03.Willy Vosburgh, like Shultz a state competitor a year ago, also finished in the top-10 with a ninth-place ski of 19:35.The Ely boys also placed all of their varsity lineup in the top half, with Nick Peterson placing 13th in 20:29, and teammate David Erickson at the 25th spot in 21:43.Duluth East had 385 points, with Ely recording 353, five points ahead of third-place Bemidji.The Wolves’ big day extended to their younger skiers, as well.Sophomore Amelia Donars won the junior varsity girls race in 24:59 and Ely had three of the top-five skiers and a second-place overall showing.Zoe Lampman was second in 25:58 and Audrey Kothe placed fifth (26:28). Also competing was Cassie Leoni (32nd, 32:32).In junior high action, the Ely girls were second and the boys team came in fourth.The Wolves’ Peter Schurke, a seventh-grader, was second in the three-kilometer junior high event with a time of 15:34.Other Ely boys to compete were:17. Peter Donars, 17:57;19. Jacob Dahlberg, 18:05;31. Isaac Olson, 20;13;37. Jay Wilmunen, 21:3545. Alec Osthoff, 23:09;46. Jon Haaverson, 23:14;53. Connor Peacock, 27:50.The Ely junior girls were second with Cora Bybee (sixth, 19:12), April Levar (10th, 19:56) and Kathryn Van Every (17th, 21:44) leading the way.The rest of the Ely junior high girls lineup included:19. Grace Beers, 22:03;20. Emily Haag, 22:27;21. Maggie Jesme, 22:28;23. Becca Klein, 22:37;26. Thea Gessler, 22:53;29. Jennifer Hakala, 23:40;33. Samantha Halwix, 25:04;36. Kahsha Hyde, 26:09;38. Chelsea Hultman, 27:00;44. Jenna Potter, 31:44.The junior high teams hosted Mesabi East over the weekend while the varsity skiers are off until the Mesabi East Invitational, set for Jan. 8.In the interim, several Wolves were to compete in last weekend’s Junior Olympic qualifying event in Michigan.