The young but promising Bemidji High girls track team was honored Tuesday night at its annual Awards Night at the high school Commons.
It attracted a good turnout to honor the team that made steady improvement through the year and will return most of its top scorers in 2010.
Coach Chris Lehman was emcee for the night, thanking the parents, coaches and athletes for their support and dedication through the spring.
"This has been my finest year in coaching," he said "with a great group of kids to work with who improv4ed every day."
He also introduced the freshmen and senior members of the group with Steve Sneide introducing the sophomores and Sue Hendricks the juniors.
Point leaders for the year were Jenna Sagedahl for the frosh, Bailey Drewes for the sophs, Abby Hendricks for the juniors and Jessy Bruns for the senior class.
Lehman pointed to better weather, the first home meet in four seasons and the additions of Justin Smith, Adam Wilson and Dick Phelps to the coaching staff as major improvements this spring.
He also cited Bemidji bettering its times and distances in every event at the section meet this year from its 2008 totals.
"While we have a long way still to go to get up with the section leaders, we did double our point totals this year and move up from 15 to 12 in the standings."
He pointed to the team's balanced scoring with the senior class producing 24% of the final total, the juniors 28%, sophs 22% and freshmen 26%.
This should lead to a far better team next spring, he said.
But, he stressed, the improvement will be largely determined by the amount of time spent by his forces in this summer's track program which will run all summer on Tuesday nights from 6-7:30 for 7-12 graders. Cost of the eight week's sessions is only $25. It includes an entry to a mid-summer meet at Detroit Lakes July 17.
The underclassmen presented gifts of appreciation to the six graduating seniors. Captains plaques went to Bruns, Sam Drewes and Hendricks for their leadership this year.
Hendricks will return as captain next year, joined by Selina Gilbertson and Katie Verchota, chosen by their peers.
Hendricks, Bailey Drewes, Amanda Hunt and Gilbertson were honored as section place winners with Gilbertson earning Bemidji's only berth in the state meet, finishing second in the discus.
Athletes of the Year Awards went to Serena Glass for sprinters, Bailey Drewes for distance runners, and Gilbertson for field events.
Kate Schulze was named Most Improved Athlete and Sam Drewes the Coaches' Award winner.
Bruns was the team's Most Valuable Athlete.
Performers of the Week were Bruns (twice), Schulze, Hendricks McKenzie Timms, Allie Verchota and Kim Truedson.
This year's captains extended their thanks to their teammates for their hard work this year and presented the coaches with a series of gag gifts.
Bemidji finished in the top five in 10 of its 12 meets this year, ending lower only at the True Team section and the MSHSL section meets.
Earning their 2009 letters were;
SENIORS; Jessy Bruns, Sam Drewes, Serena Glass, Emily Lawrence, Suzann Nordquist and Laura Rogers.
JUNIORS: Selina Gilbertson, Abby Hendricks, Olivia Hruby, Tiffany Mason, Kirsten Sharpe and Katie Verchota
SOPHOMORES: Bailey Drewes, Maren Erpelding, Sarah Heisler, Amanda Hunt and Kate Schulze
FRESHMEN; Hanna Felix, Ashley Long, Alex Lyren, Jenna Sagedahl, McKenzie Timms, Kim Truedson and Allie Verchota.
The baseball Awards Night will be held today at Diamond Point Park at 5:30.
Yet to be announced are the softball and tennis banquets.