Sports

Mon
12
Apr

Experience gives softball team a boost

When Steve Smrekar fills out his lineup card this spring, he’ll probably have a smile on his face.<BR><BR>The veteran Ely softball coach has veterans up and down his lineup, and the Timberwolves appear to be in good position to build on their 10-win season in 2003.<BR><BR>With junior Jackie Lekatz and sophomore Kelsey Ivancich anchoring the pitching staff and several seniors boasting varsity experience, Ely is pumped up for a banner 2004 campaign.<BR><BR>The Timberwolves open the season at 4:30 Tuesday, hosting Eveleth-Gilbert in the first of 20 regular season games.<BR><BR>Ely advanced into the Section 7A quarterfinals last season, and the return of much of the starting lineup could put the Wolves in position for an even longer playoff run.<BR><BR>“We’re going to have lots of experience in many main positions,” said Smrekar. “We have some very good athletes.

Mon
12
Apr

Wolves move up a class, but pitching staff makes it easier

With eight returning starters and a pair of ace pitchers, Ely’s high school baseball team is well stocked for the rigors of the 2004 season.<BR><BR>That’s good for the Timberwolves, who’ll face tougher competition this spring, thanks to realignment that moves Ely out of Class A - Minnesota’s smallest enrollment division - and into the AA division.<BR><BR>But a step up in class hasn’t shaken the optimism of the Wolves, who are primed to improve on a 13-10 season a year ago and make a run at the Section 7AA title.<BR><BR>With pitchers Josh Weckman and Tim Scott leading the way, Ely opens the season Tuesday at Eveleth-Gilbert.<BR><BR>Weckman and Scott combined to win eight games last spring and helped Ely’s American Legion team to a third-place finish in the Division II state tournament during the summer.<BR><BR>Their presence on the mound, along with the return of several senior starters, has third-year head coach Frank Ivanc

Mon
05
Apr

Despite graduation hit, boys have track talent

They graduated several top seniors from a team that finished second in subsection competition a year ago, but Ely’s high school boys track team still has some returning talent.<BR><BR>The Timberwolves put that talent to the test Thursday, when they open the regular season with a meet at Virginia.<BR><BR>Ely won several individual subsection titles and was second-best in the team standings last spring behind a deep senior nucelus.<BR><BR>The Wolves have just three returning seniors this year - with 2003 section meet qualifier Shaun Hall leading the way.<BR><BR>But a host of underclassmen, some of whom got valuable varsity experience last spring, may be ready to step up.<BR><BR>First-year head coach Darren Visser said the Wolves figure to be strong in the mid-distance events.<BR><BR>Hall was part of a section-qualifying relay crew last year, and he’ll likely anchor the Wolves’ relays this time around.<BR><

Mon
05
Apr

Girls track team hopes to build on success

The return of several section qualifiers and plenty of depth are two of the strengths of Ely’s high school girls track team.<BR><BR>Ely placed third in subsection competition a year ago. Most of that team is back, and many of the Timberwolves’ key athletes were either on the school’s section championship cross country running or Nordic ski teams.

Mon
29
Mar

COLUMN: In the front row

For the Tower-Soudan Golden Eagles, it was a dream season.<BR><BR>A number-one state ranking, 24 straight wins and a huge and loyal local following were all part of the 2003-2004 campaign for the Golden Eagles’ boys basketball team.<BR><BR>But while the Golden Eagles and their faithful had their alarm clocks set for Saturday, when the state tournament concluded in Minneapolis, to wake up from their winter-long dream, the Nashwauk-Keewatin Spartans had other ideas.<BR><BR>The March 19 Section 7A final at Hibbing wasn’t a nightmare, Tower-Soudan fans, it was reality.<BR><BR>The Golden Eagles’ hopes for the program’s first state tournament berth in nearly 60 years ended when N-K won 51-37 before a near sellout crowd of 3,500 fans at the Hibbing Arena.<BR><BR>For Tower-Soudan, the loss was a bitter end to an otherwise extraordinary season.<BR><BR>A highly-touted nucleus, who together had won the state sixth-grade ti

Wed
17
Mar

Two Harbors shoots out lights, Wolves

If the Two Harbors Agates always shot as well as they did against Ely, they might never lose a game.<BR><BR>During the regular season, an 80 percent first-half shooting performance lifted Two Harbors to a lopsided win over the high school boys basketball team.

Wed
10
Mar

For Wolves, move up means long trip, tough foe

The Ely Timberwolves won't find nearby foes such as Cook, Mt. Iron-Buhl or Babbitt-Embarrass in the Section 7AA high school boys basketball tournament.<BR><BR>Nor will Ely, 14-9, find perhaps the area's hottest team - undefeated Tower-Soudan.

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