Ely sends three to state: Prigge, Olson, Schwinghamer advance from wet, windy 7A meet

by Tom Coombe
The Ely Timberwolves won’t return to the state cross country meet as a team, but the program will be represented nonetheless when Minnesota’s elite prep runners gather next weekend.
Ryne Prigge, Luke Olson and James Schwinghamer all punched their individual tickets to state Thursday on a damp morning in Cloquet.
That’s where the Section 7A meet was held, and despite a fourth-place team showing by the Ely girls and a fifth for the boys, the Wolves still made their mark.
Prigge, a senior, made her last section meet her best.
She finished second only to Mesabi East’s Anna Hill a nd was the runner-up in a field of 108 competitors, finishing in 20:18.2.
“Ryne had a super-awesome race,” said Ely Head Coach Jayne Dusich. “She came up from 14th place to move up during the race and a fight to the end with three other girls.”

HAPPY IT’S OVER _ The Ely Girls Cross Country team posed for the wrapup at the Raif Olson/Section meet. Photo by Diane Dalberg

Prigge moved up in the pack after a slow start, and just six seconds separated second through fifth in a tight finish.
The boys’ race followed regular season patterns, with Olson leading the Ely boys and earning his third straight state appearance.
The sophomore was sixth in 17:24.6, about a minute behind freshman phenom and 7A individual titleist Geno Uhrbom of Greenway and within 10 seconds of fourth.
Schwinghamer, a fellow sophomore, will also return to state after taking 11th in 17:45.1.
The cool, wet weather wasn’t the only obstacle facing Olson and Schwinghamer. Both were under the weather.
“They both felt awful during the race,” said Dusich.
The top two teams in both boys and girls advance to state, which is slated for Northfield and the campus of St. Olaf on Saturday, Nov. 4.
Neither Ely team was in the mix after advancing both in 2015 and 2016.
The Ely girls came closest this time around, taking fourth among 14 programs and winding up 12 points out of second place.
Senior Emma Terwilliger was the next-highest finishing Ely runner. She placed 12th in 21:03.3, just two seconds and a place in front of seventh-place teammate Zoe Devine.
“Zoe had an amazing race moving up to right behind Emma,” said Dusich.
Next in the Wolves’ lineup were senior Evelyn Bercher (33rd, 22:26.3) and sophomore Kalyssa Eilrich (35th, 22:33).
Ninth-grader Julia Schwinghamer was 65th (23:59.7) followed by sophomore Sarah Isbell (85th, 25:20.1).
Proctor won the team title and North Shore gained second, by virtue of a tiebreaker, over Mesabi East.
Olson and Schwinghamer were true to form in leading the Ely boys, while senior Ben Gustafson finishe his prep running career by taking 31st in 18:21.7. Freshman Emmett Faltesek made his 7A debut and wound up 35th in 18:29.5.
Rounding out the Wolves’ lineup were Jasper Johnston (66th, 19:31.5), Raif Olson (76th, 19:42.7) and gabriel Pointer (77th, 19:43.2).
North Shore won the 7A boys crown and Greenway took second to pick up the second team berth out of the section.
Esko was third and the Wolves were five points behind fourth-place Moose Lake-Willow River in the field of 20 teams.