Bemidji High School baseball team's success caps special year
Monday's 1-0 loss to Eastview in the championship game of the state Class 3A baseball tournament signalled the end of the 2011-12 Bemidji High School athletic seasons.
And what a year it was.
"Our success this year was unbelievable," said Bemidji activities director Troy Hendricks. "I cannot remember a year in which our programs had as much success. Every year you want to have a good group of kids in your programs but this group set the bar and they set it very high."
The success of the Lumberjacks sports programs first surfaced during the fall and leading the way were the girls soccer and volleyball teams.
Capping the fall success was the state championship run of the football team.
Bemidji High School also was represented by the swimming team as four individuals and two relays advanced to the state meet.
"Some programs had set benchmarks of going to state for the first time and this year we had teams that accomplished those benchmarks," Hendricks said. "In the fall we had volleyball and girls soccer make their first trips to state and that set the tempo for the rest of the Jacks programs.
"Winning is contagious and when one team starts winning every other program wants to be a part of it."
BHS girls soccer coach Kelly Schoonover took note of her team's accomplishment after the Jacks lost 4-0 to Blake in the state quarterfinals.
"This is a team that paved the way for the program," Schoonover said. "Hopefully we'll get back here."
Volleyball coach Teresa Colligan echoed those sentiments following Bemidji's first-ever action at the state tournament.
"We set the stage for volleyball in Bemidji," the coach said. "We made it to state for the first time and now this is something we would like to see become and annual event."
For the past three years the football team has been a state tournament participant but last fall the Lumberjacks extended their state experience all the way to the Class 4A title game, losing 17-10 to Rocori in the tournament finale at the Metrodome.
"I'm going to remember everything about this season," said senior linebacker James Bofferding. "I'm going to remember all of the good times together."
The state swimmers and divers included Steph Frey who finished third in the 200 IM and third in the 100 free, Jana Hedstrom who placed sixth in diving, Lexie Hendricks who was 16th in the 500 free and 18th in the 200 free and Erin Arndt who was 20th in the 100 fly.
Also representing BHS were Danielle Hoven, Kenzie Timms, Erin Arndt and Frey who formed the 200 and 400 relay teams.
Although no teams during the winter seasons advanced to state Bemidji was represented at a pair of individual state tournaments.
Brian Maas and Alex Johnson carried the Lumberjacks banner to the state wrestling meet and Maas returned with a third-place finish. Johnson dropped his opening match.
Brothers Kyle and Tony Sagedahl advanced to the state cross country ski meet. Kyle finished 52nd while Tony was 61st.
The girls hockey team didn't make state but, under the guidance of new head coach Bob Brink, the Lumberjacks steadily improved and by season's end had fashioned a winning record of 13-12-1.
The boys hockey team advanced to the section semifinals where it fell to Brainerd while the gymnasts placed third at their section competition.
"To be only a couple tenths of a point behind the leaders in most of the events was a phenomenal performance for us," said BHS coach Don Papreck. "The kids really stepped up."
The boys basketball team flirted with a state tournament appearance as the Jacks lost 56-52 to Moorhead in the section final.
The girls basketball squad started strong but injuries took their toll and a shorthanded team fell to St. Michael in the opening round of the playoffs.
Bemidji offers six spring sports and this year the Jacks sent representatives to four of the state competitions.
Trey Dale placed 35th at the state golf meet. At the state track meet Jenna Truedson was 11th in the 1,600, Allie Heifort 10th in the shot and seventh in the discus, and Maea Wall was 14th in the 400 and also competed in the long jump.
The girls also sent their 4x400 relay team of Truedson, Amy Carey, Megan Serratore and Wall to the state competition.
On the boys side, Brady Schmidt qualified for the state in the 100 and the 4x800 relay unit of Scott Hulsebus, Gunnar Nelson, Sam Carlson and Elias Hendrickson placed ninth.
The tennis team made it to the section semifinals where it lost to Becker and individually Kyle Fodness and Adam Holter gained the section doubles semifinals.
Capping the school year was the magical run to the state championship game for the baseball team. A year ago BHS also qualified for state but lost both of its games. This spring only a fantastic performance by Eastview pitcher Evan DeCovich kept Bemidji from winning a state title.
"As I look back on what some of our boys accomplished this year it would have been nice to return from the Metrodome and Target Field with state championships in football and baseball but most kids would have been happy just to play in one championship game," Hendricks said. "We are very fortunate to have so much success this year but that success was only possible because these kids have worked for it. They deserve everything they accomplished.
"This is a year I know I'll never forget," Hendricks continued. "And I also think it is a year that the boys and the girls will also always remember."