Bemidji High School athletics: Section realignment affects Jacks
The long-awaited resectioning of the Minnesota State High School League was announced Friday, moving Bemidji down a class in both boys and girls basketball and football while the boys hockey team has opted to return to 8AA.
Two years ago when Bemidji enrollment dropped the Jacks into Class A it accepted the move while the girls opted to remain in the AA ranks.
Bemidji will join River Lakes, Becker, Buffalo, Brainerd, Monticello, Moorhead and Northern Lakes in the larger group won by Moorhead this winter.
The Spuds reached the state title game before falling.
One of Moorhead's losses this winter came at Bemidji 3-2.
The basketball teams were on the bubble as the smallest school in Class 4A.
When at least one school exercised its option to move up a class, it opened the door for Bemidji to drop.
It will now perhaps be the largest school in 3A. Class 4A is limted to 64 teams.
The boys will shift to Section 8-3A to join Little Falls, Thief River, Sauk Rapids, Fergus Falls, Rocori, Detroit Lakes, St. Cloud Apollo and Sartell.
They faced all but Fergus in regular-season play this year but could add the Otters to the schedule again next season.
Its slate against the 10 Central Lakes Conference teams is on a rotating basis.
The girls were shifted to 7-3A where they will battle Grand Rapids, Cloquet, Duluth Denfeld, Hermantown, Hibbing, Proctor and Milaca.
Bemidji faced the Rapids, Central, East and Cloquet this year going 4-1, dividing its two games with Grand Rapids which captured the section title once again.
Bemidji bowed in the 8-4A semifinals to Elk River which bowed to Buffalo in the title games.
The football team will be join the girls in shifting both down and east, moved into 7-3A where it will battle the three Duluth teams, Grand Rapids, Hibbing, Hermantown and Cloquet.
The Rapids and Hibbing were longtime Bemidji rivals through the years while the Jacks battled the three Duluth teams for a decade in the past when those teams were in the same section.