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Ely runs away with second win

Ely’s high school girls cross country team faced some of the best competition in northeastern Minnesota at Thursday’s Virginia Invitational.The Timberwolves were more than up to the challenge.Paced by a second-place finish by Casey Sovil, Ely won the Class A division and was second overall among 19 schools.It was the second straight Class A win for the Wolves, the defending Section 7A champions.“That was a surprise,” Ely Head Coach Jayne Dusich said after the meet. “I was thinking we’d do well, but you never know. The times were fast and everybody did real well.”Sovil, an individual state meet qualifier last fall, continued to shine for the Wolves. She completed the 4,000-meter course in 14 minutes, 54 seconds, and was the runner-up to Cromwell’s Samantha Smith (14:37).“Casey was right there with her most of the way,” said Dusich.Senior Jenna Klein also landed a spot in the top-10, even though she wasn’t at the top of her game.Hampered by a cold for much of the week, Klein shook off the sickness and placed ninth in 15:23.“She wasn’t feeling well,” said Dusich. “Jenna had a good first lap, but in the second lap she was kind of hurting.”Ely also got a boost with the return of sophomore Carolyn Freeman, one of their top runners from a year ago.Sidelined from the season-opener because of injury, Freeman made her 2004 debut with a solid 16th-place run of 15:54.Teammate Jen Zupancich took 22nd (16:13).“For Carolyn, it was her first race and we were just hoping she would finish but she came out and had a really good race,” said Dusich. “Jen was right there with her for most of the race.”Ely’s Mary Anderson also had her first run of the season, taking 31st in 16:31. Taryn Cunningham was the sixth Ely runner to crack the top 40, placing 35th in 16:39.The rest of the varsity lineup included Amelia Donars (50th, 17:07), Sarah Markwardt (86th, 18:22), Mary Bruels (100th, 18:53) and Naomi Weckman (111th, 19:16).“Everybody had super times, and the course was very fast,” said Dusich.Duluth East won the overall team title with 76 points, with Ely taking the small-school crown at 80. Hibbing (118) and International Falls (124) followed in the overall standings.In the 2,500-meter junior high race, Ely was second among three teams.Ely runners were:• Sarah Anderson, 13th, 10:30;• Kit Anderson, 14th, 10:31;• Abby Zupancich, 16th, 10:36;• Glenn Hartman-Mattson, 23rd, 10:56;• Mariah Barker, 33rd, 11:27;• Thea Gessler, 39th, 11:51;• Alex Stene, 40th, 11:53;• Maggie Jesme, 43rd, 12:30;• Kahsha Hyde, 50th, 13:55.Ely returns to action Tuesday with a meet at Hibbing.

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