Prep notebook: No school pool is not cool for Northeast Range/Ely
Reached by phone Thursday afternoon en route to International Falls, Shayla Zaverl likely spoke for the entire Northeast Range/Ely girls swim team when she said, "I am very tired of being on a bus."...
Reached by phone Thursday afternoon en route to International Falls, Shayla Zaverl likely spoke for the entire Northeast Range/Ely girls swim team when she said, "I am very tired of being on a bus."
During a season that has felt like one prolonged road trip, Zaverl's bus blues were rational. The Nighthawks' home pool is located in Babbitt. Following a summer of construction at the school, it was inaccessible when practice opened in mid-August, and remained that way until Oct. 2.
So the co-op team traveled to Mesabi East in Aurora 2-3 times per week for practice, but it couldn't get in the pool until the Giants were done, typically around 6 p.m. Swimmers from Ely, who comprise 80 percent of the squad, bused to Babbitt after school. There, they spent 90 minutes in the cafeteria doing homework, before boarding another bus for the 30-mile second leg to Aurora. After two hours in the water, they retraced their tracks.
"It definitely required dedication," said Laura Pasmick, who like Zaverl is a senior captain. "You had to want to swim."
The late nights were a grind.
"It's a lot of stress," coach Jason Limp said. "These girls are taking a full schedule of classes. They have activities that they're in. And then on top of that, they have a practice that's over an hour away."
Northeast Range/Ely finally returned home Oct. 2, seven weeks into the season, and hosted its first meet last Tuesday. The dual against Virginia was in jeopardy up until the day before, when practice was nixed because of green, murky water - the result of "issues with balancing the chemicals," Limp said. But the pool cleared up enough by Tuesday for the show to splash on and the Nighthawks to celebrate parents night.
"Oh, my goodness, it was so nice," Pasmick said. "One of my favorite parts was I didn't have to travel."
The Nighthawks also are scheduled to host a triangular Oct. 24.
Limp said a few swimmers left the team early in the year, deterred by the prospect of almost three hours of bus time just to get to and from practice. But the rest stayed afloat.
"They buckled down and were like, 'It is what it is. We're just going to have to deal with it,' " he said.
Team members were thankful for Mesabi East, as well as Veterans on the Lake Resort in Ely, which made its outdoor pool available for three practices.
"We really wouldn't be a team without them," Pasmick said.
Barnum bounces back
By starting 5-2, the Barnum football team has won as many games this fall as it did from 2014-16, when the Bombers were a combined 5-23.
Coach Mike Klyve had a good vibe over the summer that results would improve. Whereas in recent years Barnum struggled to bring a dozen players to Minnesota Duluth's team camp, about 25 Bombers attended this offseason. Similarly, weight-room participation was way up. Klyve mentioned as much to junior quarterback Tyler Nynas one summer day.
"We're just sick of getting beat," Nynas responded.
Nynas has rushed for a team-high 500 yards and passed for another 397. His twin brother, Jacob, is next at 437 rushing yards.
The Bombers, whose four-game winning streak ended Friday in a 36-6 loss to Class A No. 3 Braham, aren't far removed from state-tournament contention. They won Section 7A in 2012 and finished second the following year, to John Larson-quarterbacked Braham. Barnum slumped to 4-6 in 2014 before the wheels really fell off as youngsters were forced into extended action.
They took their lumps, but the Bombers also gained valuable experience. It's paying off now. Case in point: Barnum trailed Hinckley-Finlayson 14-0 at halftime on Sept. 29, only to rally for a 27-26 overtime win.
"It doesn't seem like anything is insurmountable to them anymore," said Klyve, who's in his third year as head coach.
Cloquet-Carlton junior Kendra Kelley ended the regular season with 43 goals in 16 games, a tally that already resides in the state's all-time top 10, according to Minnesota Soccer Hub. The record belongs to Clare Culligan of St. John's Prep, who had 64 in 2012. Kelley has added four more in the Section 7A playoffs. ... From the "brought to you by millennials" department: Proctor is streaming its sporting events and other activities at railstv.net. Once there, click on the big green train, and you'll be redirected to the school's YouTube channel. Not only does it promote Proctor's events, but it exposes interested students to TV and music production. ... Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin freshman Geno Uhrbom is the top-ranked cross country runner among Class A boys. Mesabi East sophomore Ava Hill is fourth in Class A girls. ... Duluth East boys hockey coach Mike Randolph will enter the season with 597 career victories. ... Speaking of hockey, this year's Hilltopper Holiday Classic is Dec. 27-29. The field: host Duluth Marshall, Hermantown, Cloquet-Esko-Carlton, Anoka, Bemidji, Brainerd, Roseville and Wayzata.