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Runners win at Duluth, crack state rankings

Several early-season wins showed that Ely would be a strong contender to defend its Section 7A high school girls cross country championship.But the Timberwolves’ performance at the Oct. 2 John Swain Invitational cemented their position as a section favorite and vaulted them into the state rankings.Ely, behind four top-20 finishes, topped a field of 24 Class A teams at the prestigious Duluth meet, held on a cool, windy fall afternoon at Enger Park Golf Course.The victory was impressive enough to earn Ely a spot in the State Class A rankings, which were released Monday.For the first time in program history, Ely cracked the top-10 and was rated fifth (see box).At Duluth, the Wolves’ deep roster did in their foes, which included Class A opponents from both northeastern Minnesota and throughout the state.Sophomore Casey Sovil was 10th in a field of 170 runners, completing the 4,000-meter course in 16 minutes, 39 seconds.Three teammates were close behind, as senior Jenna Klein took 11th (16:44), sophomore Jen Zupancich was 16th (17:15) and sophomore Carolyn Freeman finished 18th (17:18).That allowed the Wolves to cruise to victory, compiling 111 points, well ahead of runner-up Glencoe (137), third-place Amery, Wis. (148), and fellow state-ranked opponent Minnehaha Academy (167).Junior Mary Anderson was Ely’s next-best finisher. She took 56th overall with a time of 18:15. Senior Taryn Cunningham was 57th, three seconds behind.Amelia Donars, a sophomore, rounded out the Ely varsity contingent by taking 89th (19:01).In the junior varsity race, Ely’s Zoe Lampman placed 30th with a time of 19:18. Mary Bruels came in 52nd (20:08).The Wolves’ season now hits the home stretch. They take part in the Iron Range Conference meet on Oct. 19, a final tune-up before the Section 7A competition, scheduled for Oct. 28 at Cloquet.

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