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Skiers back on the trails

Skiing photos
Photos by Chris Ellerbroek.

by Tom Coombe

Ely’s Nordic Wolves returned from a holiday hiatus with a pair of top-four performances at Cloquet.

The Ely girls were second among seven teams while the boys took fourth in a nine-team field at the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Freestyle Meet, held late Tuesday afternoon.

The event served as a tune-up of sorts in advance of Ely’s participation in the state’s largest regular season event - this Saturday’s Mesabi East Invitational at Giants Ridge.

Nonetheless, the Wolves had some strong showings and again showed off their impressive depth - particularly at the younger age levels.

In varsity competition, two Wolves were in the top-10 in a five-kilometer girls race with better than 50 athletes.

Senior all-stater Zoe Devine took third in 16:42.2, while junior Claire Blauch finished sixth in 17:52.6.

In all, the Wolves had 10 skiers in the race, with junior Ava Skustad placing 12th (18:18.9) and senior Phoebe Helms in 19th (18:56.7).

The rest of the Ely lineup went as follows:

22. Kelly Thompson, 19:35.4;

25. Anna Dunn, 20:40.6;

27. Sydney Durkin, 20:47;

30. Rena Johnston, 21:17.5;

33. Anna Larson, 21:33.1;

38. Morgan McClelland, 23:52.1.

Duluth East downed the Wolves by 21 points for first, while Ely topped third-place and host C-E-C by 10 points.

In varsity boys action, Duluth East dominated the field with junior James Kyle winning in 14:54.2 and leading a pack of five Greyhounds to sweep the top-five places.

Ely sophomore Eli Olson took 11th (17:01) and was the Wolves’ top finisher, followed closely by Silas Solum (17:08.7) in 13th and Dylan Durkin (17:16.4) in 14th. Both are sophomores as well.

Two more sophomores were next in line for Ely as Tory Hughley placed 24th (19:27.5) and Milo McClelland came in 26th (20:01.7).

In junior varsity action, Ely’s Elsa Ellerbroek (23:25.3) took 19th among the girls and teammate Aila Harding (23rd, 24:02.2) was next in line.

The junior high boys race, a 2.5K affair, belonged to Ely, with the Wolves sweeping the top-three places and winding up with six in the top-nine.

Eighth-grader Aksel Skustad led the way and crossed the finish line first in 10:01.5, winning comfortably.

Fellow eighth-grader Oliver Hohenstein (10:29.2) edged out teammate Caleb Larson (10:31.9) in the battle for second and third while George Sponholz (sixth, 11:47.5), Brooks Brenny (seventh, 11:53.1) and Tyde Brecke (ninth, 12:06.2) all made the top-10.

Top finishers for Ely in junior high girls racing were Molly Brophy (seventh, 12:33.2), June Nelson (eighth, 12:39.5) and Mattie Lindsay (11th, 13:05.4).

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