The Bemidji High wrestling team faces a big weekend, traveling to Hibbing tonight for a dual meet and returning home Saturday to host the 25th annual Rick Lee Invitational.
It will test the inexperienced young team to the fullest.
Hibbing won last year's meeting 53-15 at Bemidji with Corey Huber and Travis Utley scoring falls and Evan Olson winning a decision for the 15 Bemidji points.
Only Huber of that trio is still available.
The Bluejackets series dates back to the original season of Bemidji wrestling in 1956 with Hibbing beginning the sport only one or two years prior to Bemidji.
The Jacks long domination over Hibbing ended in recent years with the decline of the Jacks program. And Hibbing is always a threat on its home mat.
This year, it shows wins over Blaine, Virginia and Aitkin in eight duals and was 10th in the 31-team field at the Big Bear at Cass Lake.
The teams have faced only one common foe, both losing decisively to Cambridge.
The Jacks are 2-6, beating Roseau and Zimmerman.
They trailed the field last Saturday at the Cambridge meet and are still hampered by injuries that seldom enable them to field a complete team.
They had five open weights at the Cambridge meet and entered only two varsity wrestlers at the Rumble on the Red at Fargo.
Tonight, however, Coach Rance Bahr hopes to have 12 wrestlers on the mat open only at 103 and 215.
He will go with:
135-Cody Thoring or Josh Dreyer
140-Dreyer or Thoring
The JV will have only seven wrestlers with Brian Maas or Nick Ness at 103, Gary Molash 119, Dustin Greenman 145. Russ Mason 152, Logan Knutson 160, Nick Conner 171 and Tyler Molitor 189 .
Perham will be back to defend its Rick Lee title, its first in the history at the meet.
That meet actually began in 1957 under the sport's original coach Jack Willhite with Bemidji winning the title.
Willhite left for Madison to coach football the next year and the meet died until revived by Rick Lee in 1987 during his coaching tenure. It has been run annually since.
Bemidji has won 13 times including seven straight from 1999-2005.
BGMR has five titles and Hibbing three with Aitkin, Sibley and Perham each winning once.
Bemidji also has nine JV division titles with Aitkin winning four and Little Falls and Hibbing three.
Bahr will use tonight's lineup Saturday.
The Jacks finished a strong third at last year's event but well behind Perham and BGMR.
Aitkin, Royalton, Roseau and Cloquet were the next four with BCLB and Nashwauk-Keewatin-Coleraine 9-10,
All of that group will be on hand today with only eighth place Detroit Lakes missing from last year's field.
Of this year's Jacks team, Huber won the 169 pound title . Peterson was third and Jake Crosby and Craft fifth.