The Bemidji Lumberjacks opened the Rance Bahr era in good style Tuesday night, stopping Roseau 49-27 before a fine turnout at the field house.
Much of the crowd was attracted to honor Bemidji coaching legend Ken Schmoker who was inaugurated into the National Wrestling Hall of Fane.
He will be enshrined in the Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
The official state inauguration will be held April 17 at Owatonna.
Presenting the award was Spencer Yohe, President of the Minnesota Chapter of the Hall of Fame. He was assisted by John Grygelko, a board member, who was former Robbinsdale High and Augsburg College wrestling coach. He now resides in the Bemidji area. Presenting the laudatory speech was one of Schmoozer's greatest wrestlers Tom Ritchie, a Hall member himself after a lifetime of coaching in Alaska.
He flew home to present a heartwarming address praising his former coach as a breeder of men who taught his wrestlers life lessons in addition to wrestling skills.
Dr. James Hess presented Schmoker with a lifetime pass to all Bemidji High activities. His players and coaches presented him with a special Hall of Fame blanket from the Bemidji Wooden Mills while ex wrestlers Bob Whelan and Bill Spieker read a proclamation from Mayor Dick Lehmann proclaiming the Day Ken Schmoker Day in Bemidji.
Schmoker, as is his way, spoke humbly of his opportunity to coach at Bemidji and gave thanks to his fellow coaches and wrestlers for his success.
He was joined at the festivity by his wife Madel, son in law and grandson.
Former assistant Howie Schultz, who organized the evening, served as emcee for the affair.
Matmen cap day
The Jacks wrestling team added to the festivities with a one sided triumph.
The match paired two relatively young and inexperienced teams.
But Bemidji received some encouraging showings from its younger segment getting key wins from Logan Crosby, Kade Johnson, Craig Maas, and Cody Gardner to pile up a 37-9 lead after nine bouts, enough to withstand three straight falls by the Rams that narrowed the gap to 37-27 with two matches remaining.
But Bemidji won both with Corey Huber getting a forfeit at 213 and Alex Johnson ending the night with a first period fall.
Bemidji won nine of the 14 matches, recorded five pins and a default victory to go with the forfeit to record 42 of the 49 points.
Roseau opened with a pin at 103 over seventh grader Nick Ness, making his first start of his career.
But Bemidji won the next five matches to go ahead 25-6 with Logan and Jake Crosby getting pins, Colton Doty an injury default when leading 17-3 and Maas a major 13-1 verdict.
Roseau momentarily stopped the surge when Braden Stroot shaded Drew Peterson 3-1 at 140 in perhaps the best wrestled match of the night using a second period takedown to spell the difference, Each wrestler negotiated an esc ape.
Back came the Jacks with falls from Dale Norton and Gardner for its 37-9 lead before falls from Tyler Crabtree, Travis Peterson and Cole Bailey brought Roseau back within 10.
But the Rams juggled their lineup to achieve that goal before forfeiting to Huber and seeing Johnson deck outweighed Ryan Carl at 1:15 to close the night.
Bemidji held a 13-9 takedown lead. There were no period rides.
The Jacks will get a far stiffer test this weekend at the Brainerd Investigational, a two-day, 16-team event that attracts many of the northern area's top teams each year. It will give Bahr a more realistic look at his young group that figures to learn under fire much of the year.
More wrestlers would still be welcome to join the squad.
The two teams wrestled 22 exhibition matches combining JV and Middle School wrestlers. Bemidji had only six JV wrestlers.
103 Darius Sikorski, Ros. pinned Nick Ness 0:29
103 Logan Crosby, Bem.. pinned Brett Jerome 2:47
119 Kade Johnson, Bem. decisioned Jesse Eastman 9-3
1 25 Jake Crosby, Ben. pinned Jarek Ludwick 1:39
130 Colton Doty, Bem. won by injury default over Kyle McCourt 4:00
135 Craig Maas, Bem. decisioned Austin Scholl 13-1
140 Braden Stroot, Ros. decisioned Drew Peterson 3-1
145 Dale Norton, Bem. pinned John Kruger 3:55
153 Cody Gardner, Bem. pinned Kevin Peterson 1:22
160 Tyler Crabtree, Ros., pinned Russ Mason 2:38
171 Travis Peterson, Ros. pinned Nick Conner 2:51
189 Cole Bailey, Ros, pinned Logan Knutson 1:14
215 Corey Huber, Bem. won by forfeit
Hwt. Alex Johnson, Bem. pinned Ryan Carl 1:15
Referee: Bruce Murphy, Fosston