HS sports teams begin practice

by Tom Coombe -

For high school athletes in the Ely area, there’s an early end to summer vacation.
That’s because practices for all area high school sports teams get underway Monday.
It will be more than three weeks before classes begin at local schools, but the 2017-18 school year gets off to an unofficial start this week as preseason workouts begin for prep football, cross country, volleyball and girls swimming teams here and around the state.
After state tournament trips in four of the last five seasons, Ely’s high school football team begins its quest for another this week.
Head Coach Brian Lamppa will welcome back about 30 players, including three-year starting quarterback Carter Gaulke and all-conference running back and linebacker Blaise Lah.
The Timberwolves open defense of their section title Aug. 31, when it hosts Ogilvie at 6 p.m. in the first of four regular-season home tilts at Ely School Stadium.
State competition isn’t exclusive to Ely’s football program.
For the last two years, both the Ely boys and girls cross country teams advanced to state.
Both squads have key personnel back including Ryne Prigge and Emma Terwilliger on the girls team and Luke Olson and James Schwinghamer on the boys.
The Wolves start their season Aug. 31 at Virginia.
The cross country teams are under the tutelage of Jayne Dusich, the Bemidji State University Athletic Hall of Famer who has led the program since its inception in the mid-1990s.
Ely won a playoff volleyball match last year, highlighting the first season for coach Andrea Thomas, who returned to the sidelines after a long hiatus.
Top hitters Brielle Kallberg and Erika Mattson and senior Kalley Fischer are among the returnees for the Wolves, who open the 2017 campaign Aug. 29 with a home match against Northeast Range.
Those who participate in girls swimming require additional dedication - and time - given a cooperative agreement hosted by Northeast Range.
Coach Jason Limp leads the combined Northeast Range/Ely team, which conducts all practices and home meets in Babbitt.
The upcoming (Aug. 24) Virginia Jamboree launches a long season that leads up to section competition in early-November.