BHS Saturday preview: Frigid temps dereail skiers
Most winter high school sports programs schedule their events for indoor venues and, as long as teams can make it to the facility, the games or meets will be played.
The lone exceptions, however, are the Nordic ski squads which continually brave the elements with outdoor practices and competitions. Cold temperatures are commonplace for the skiers but Minnesota State High School League officials have placed a cap on cold-weather competition.
If the temperature is 4-below-zero or colder sanctioned high school meets are not supposed to be held. Thursday night in the Bemidji area the thermometer dipped to -35 and by noon Friday the temperature had risen only to -8.
Today's predicted high (as of Friday morning) was 2-above-zero but exactly when the mercury was supposed to creep above the zero mark was a mystery.
The BHS Nordic ski teams were supposed to hold their annual pursuit invitational starting at 10 a.m. today at Buena Vista. But, because of the iffy forecast, Lumberjacks coach Mark Walters made the decision Friday morning to postpone the invitational until Tuesday.
"It was a tough decision to make," Walters admitted. "If it would have looked like Saturday's temperatures were going to be above zero in the morning, I would have considered holding the meet. But it just didn't look like it was going to be warm enough."
All but one of the original teams indicated that they will be able to come to Bemidji Tuesday so expected to join BHS at Buena Vista are Brainerd, Little Falls, Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Trek North and Summer Elleffson who is a home-schooled athlete from the Park Rapids area.
"If it is colder than -4 it is not any fun for anybody on and around the course," Walters said. "I've been on both sides of such a decision. Calling it off ahead of time is better than postponing it an hour or two and then sending the skiers out (when it is borderline legal).
"We must follow the guidelines for the safety of the athletes, volunteers, spectators and parents," Walters added.
If the ski meet was scheduled for Nymore Arena it probably would have to be postponed as well because of the frigid temperatures but the boys and girls hockey teams will brave the conditions with home games today.
The girls squad will host Sartell-Sauk Rapids at noon while the boys will entertain Hermantown at 4 p.m.
The Lumberjack girls are 6-12-2 following Thursday's 6-0 home loss to Warroad. Against Section 8AA opponents the Jack are 2-3-2 and still in the hunt for a home playoff game.
Sartell is 12-6-2 overall and 4-2-1 in the section.
Bemidji's boys hockey team hosted Brainerd Friday night and faces a red-hot Hermantown squad today. The Hawks improved to 15-0-1 Thursday when they destroyed Ashland (Wisc.) 11-0. Hermantown is ranked second in the state Class A poll and its only blemish is a 2-2 tie Dec. 29 against Thief River Falls.
BHS, however, also is on a hot streak as the Jacks owned a 14-1-1 record prior to Friday's game against Brainerd.
Also owning the home spotlight today is the boys basketball team as the Lumberjacks entertain Duluth Central at 3 p.m.
BHS is 11-1 while the Trojans head west with an 8-5 record. Bemidji, which is currently ranked fourth in the state Class 3A poll, battered defending section champion Little Falls 73-58 Tuesday in what was supposed to be a more evenly-played game.
The Minnesota Swimming Coaches Association has divided the state Class A teams into six sections and each will hold its True Team meet today.
Bemidji has been aligned with the Iron Range squads and heads to Hibbing along with Chisholm, Crookston, Eveleth-Gilbert, Grand Rapids, International Falls, Mesabi East, Thief River Falls and Virginia.
Today's champion will advance to the True Team state meet.
Bemidji will battle Little Falls today at 1 p.m. The Lumberjacks are coming off a 127.925 performance at last weekend's Moorhead Invitational.
Thursday at Willmar Little Falls reached 134.625.
Bemidji coach Rance Bahr will use a predominantly junior varsity lineup today when the Jacks compete at the TRF Invitational.
The lone varsity wrestlers making the trip are Kodi Craft at 145 and Tyler Molitor at 152.
"Today's goal is to get varsity experience for some of our younger kids and build their confidence," Bahr said. "Anytime we can give our younger wrestlers exposure at the varsity level it is a positive for the program."