Skiers back on the trails
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).