Sports Roundup: Schools team up for girls hockeyThe local girls high school hockey team will have some new blood this season as more teams will be combined with them.
The local girls high school hockey team will have some new blood this season as more teams will be combined with them.
Ely and Babbitt are jumping on board with Silver Bay-Cook County. Two Harbors could also take part, though no players have signed up from that city yet. Last year the team had four Two Harbors players
“It’s the most unique situation in the state of Minnesota,” head coach Mike Guzzo said.
For the first few weeks of the season, Ely and Babbitt players will go to Silver Bay to practice every day. The rest of the way, they are expected to come down a few times a week while they will practice in their region the other days.
Guzzo said Babbitt and Ely didn’t have enough kids to field a team so they joined up. Last season, Ely and Babbitt were a combined team.
Guzzo said his main focus is to give those kids a place to play and forming an all-star team is not his priority.
He said having players from Ely and Babbitt will allow them to have a varsity and junior varsity team. Guzzo had driven to Ely to meet the parents of players.
“It’s what’s best for our program,” Guzzo said. “[We] have done it for years with Cook County.”
Guzzo warned that players traveling that distance need to manage their time well by studying during trips to Silver Bay. Nine players from Babbitt and Ely are expected to contribute, while Silver Bay will have 14 and Cook County will have one player.
Among those leading the charge this year will be junior centers Taylor Guzzo (last year’s leading scorer) and Marina Carter (18 points), both of Silver Bay. Other forwards on the team will include senior Taylor Skelton (Babbitt-Ely) and ninth-grader Anna Carman (Cook County).
Top defenders on the team will be seniors Brianna Aho and Bailey Rykken (both from Babbitt), junior Shay Viola and sophomore Rebecca Dilley (both of Silver Bay). Goalies on the team include senior Nikki Mealey and ninth-grader Phoenix Lillis (both in Silver Bay), and sophomore Cassie Swanson (Ely).
They will try and make up for graduates Kirstin Sandstrom, Jessica Solberg, Stevi Rannetsberger, and Andrea Lorntson.
Last season the team finished with a record of 7-18-1 losing to a tough Chisago Lakes team in overtime in the first round of the playoffs.
“We will try and build off the end of last season,” Guzzo said. He said the team has a depth at many positions this year.
Assisting Guzzo will be Mike Hoff (Silver Bay), Bruce Carman (Cook County), and Ron Rykken (Ely-Babbitt).
The team’s first game of the season will be at Duluth Heritage Sports Center at 7:30 p.m. Thursday against the Duluth Northern Stars.
Two Harbors-Cook County cross country
Two runners from the Two Harbors-Cook County cross country team will be competing in the state meet this year at St. Olaf in Northfield Saturday.
Ailee Larson and Kieran Scannell, both of Cook County, qualified for the state meet at sections Friday at the Cloquet Country Club. Scannell finished second with a time of 16:20.2, with first coming in .9 seconds ahead of him. Scannell set a personal record. Larson finished fifth with a time of 15:51, also a personal record. The boys and girls teams both finished fifth.
“Now, for the ninth year in a row, it is down to St. Olaf in Northfield for the State Cross Country meet to cheer on Ailee and Kieran,” head coach Chris Hegg said. “Ailee is a top 50 contender, with an outside shot as a top 25 All-State place. Not to put any pressure on him, but Kieran is running at an all-state level right now.”
Josh Ensign of Two Harbors finished 18th with a personal best time of 17:49. Anna Schield of Two Harbors finished with a time of 16:54 at No. 21.
Only top 10 finishers and overall team winners qualify for the state meet. Schield and Ensign will both be graduating this year.
Originally the section meet was supposed to be held Thursday, but was delayed because of bad weather.
“We weren’t too stressed when the Section 7A meet was postponed from Thursday to Friday because of a 10 inches of snowfall at the Cloquet Country Club on Wednesday,” Hegg said. “[The team was surprised when] we pulled up to the golf course and saw there was still a couple of inches [remaining] on the ground. We checked, but the officials said no skis allowed. Fortunately, Coach April Wahlstrom had stopped and picked-up a bunch of longer track spikes to deal with snow and ice.”
Silver Bay volleyball
The Silver Bay volleyball team lost to Babbitt-Embarrass 23-25, 25-13, 25-22, and 25-20 in the second round of the Section 7A playoffs last Wednesday. The Mariners defeated Ely in the first round of the playoffs last week.
“We played our best match against Babbitt-Embarrass,” head coach Tom Frericks said. “We had a chance to win in the third game. I don’t think Babbitt-Embarrass was ready for us.”
Against Babbitt-Embarrass, Marina Carter had 12 kills and five blocks while Shay Viola had seven kills and 12 digs. Brittany Duresky had five kills and three blocks and Taylor Guzzo had 21 set-assists.
Among those who will be graduating this season include defensive specialist Katie Geissler and outside hitter Nikki Babbitt. The Mariners finished 10th in the Polar League.
“We definitely improved from the beginning to the end,” Frericks said. “I feel good about where we’re at [for next season].”
Frericks was assisted by Andrea McMillen.
Two Harbors volleyball
The Two Harbors volleyball team’s season ended Wednesday with a loss to Greenway 25-13, 25-13, and 25-8 in the first round of the Section 7AA playoffs. The Agates finished the regular season in ninth place in the Polar League.
Among those who graduate this year include senior defensive specialist Sarah Stark, setter Lindsey Kaminski, and outside hitter Taylor Rowray.
“We will be returning a solid crew, so I am hoping we can work hard in the offseason and come back stronger then we ended this season,” said Brooke Chaffee, first-year head coach. “We have a lot of potential and some young talent, so with hard work and dedication over the summer we should have a strong outlook for next season. I am happy to be returning some girls with a few years of varsity experience, namely Sasha Fjeran, Kaley Peterson, and Madison Olson.”
Two Harbors swimming
Sections begin next Thursday in Hibbing for the Two Harbors swimming team. Finals will be Nov. 13.
Last year, the Agates had diver Rebecca Ronning qualify for the state meet for a second year.
Last year the team placed seventh out of the nine teams in the section.