The Bemidji High swim team overcame a slow start with a strong finish Tuesday to pull out a 101-85 victory at Detroit Lakes.
It lifted Woody Leindecker's swimmers to 5-2-1 in duals and set the stage for their first trip ever to the state True Team meet Saturday at Minnesota University.
Detroit Lakes won eight of the nine individual events and one of the three relays.
But Bemidji matched DL's wins through depth and finished strong, sweeping the final two relays and 100 freestyle to pull away at the end.
"I was not pleased with the first half performance," said Leindecker. "But I was proud of the way the girls regrouped and raced well the rest of the night to get the win. Good teams find a way to win on off nights."
DL's talented trio of Melissa Paakh, Libby Larson and Shayna Dugger won five events as expected.
But the home team also got wins from Miranda Olson in the IM and Ashtin Spies in the backstroke to keep pressure on Bemidji all the way.
The visitors matched the DL wins with 2-3-4 finishes throughout, never trailing by more than four points. That came after diving at 41-37 where Dugger reached 206 points to top Jana Hedstrom by 15.
A 2-3-4 in the fly reduced the deficit to two and a 1-3-5 led by Gilbertson in the 100 free pushed Bemidji two points ahead.
It became four after a 2-3-4 in the 500 led by Katie Verchota and ten with a 1-3 finish in the 200 free relay. Steph Frey, Maris Jahner, Gilbertson and Verchota made up the winning unit.
DL sliced two points off the lead in the backstroke. Bemis got them back in the breaststroke and closed with a 1-3 in the 400 relay with Verchota, Dani Luby, Frey and Gilbertson.
Bemidji welcome back Frey from the injury list though she was limited to freestyle events only. Hopefully she can return to the breaststroke Saturday.