Bemidji High School swimmer Matt Wilcox was the first Lumberjack honored in a new tradition at the high school Monday afternoon when he walked the gauntlet through the school to the cheers of his fellow students and faculty.
Wilcox claimed the 100-yard freestyle in a school record 45.96 seconds, a mark that also earned him All-American recognition.
Wilcox becomes only the second Bemidji swimmer ever to win a state swimming event.
Scott Welle was the first when he led the breaststroke in the 1995 state meet.
Activities Director Troy Hendricks announced that in the future, the school will continue the gauntlet walk for both individuals and teams earning state championships.
School was let out early for the event, with hundreds of students lining the long hallway from the gymnasium to the Blue Office at the south end of the Commons, giving Wilcox a rousing round of applause as he completed his walk.
All ninth and 10th graders lined the hallway from the gym to the auditorium, with 11th and 12th graders completing the route through the Commons.
Wilcox and teammates Paul Voss, Dylan Hoven and Adam Falk led Bemidji to a school record fourth-place finish and 145 points at state, well above their former marks of ninth place and 99 points.
The school plans to continue its sendoffs for teams heading to state meets.
Wilcox's college plans are as yet uncertain.