The Bemidji High Nordic ski teams were honored Wednesday night at their annual Awards Night at the Crying Wolf Room in the Hobson Memorial Union.
Special guests were the eight girls and 16 boys who competed this winter, each team taking second at the Section 8 meet and sending five skiers to the state at Giants Ridge.
Coach Mark Walters served as emcee.
His assistant of seven seasons, Ryan Aylesworth, thanked the skiers and their parents for their hard work and cooperation during the year.
He pointed out that of the 24 skiers, nine had never skied before, several coming out from the fall cross country team to join skiers from that squad.
He cited the rapid improvement of those nine who became integral members of the team before the year ended.
While all but three are coming back next year, he reminded them that they can not wait until next December to resume skiing but must stay in shape through competing in oth4r sports during the off year.
Walters also pointed to the rapid improvement of the newcomers and cited the veteran members for their aid in helping the newcomers learn the ropes this winter.
Nearly every skier met or exceeded the pre-season goals he or she set for s themselves before the year began.
He first introduced the eight non-letter winners praising them for their contributions to the team.
Named Most Improved Skiers were Kristina Lengerhuis, the senior German exchange student who took up the sport for the first time and John Buckanaga, one of the cross county team's newcomers, who was one of the top skiers on the JV this season.
Earning Most Valuable Skier Awards were Bailey Drewes and Matt Lee, both of whom gained the state tournament after finishing in the top four at the section meet.
Next introduced were the 16 letter winners who were praised for their accomplishments this year.
Captains Lee, Lucas Brokl Drewes and Laura Yourd received Captains Plaques and were praised for their leadership during the year.
Elected by their peers to captain the 2011 Nordic teams were Adam Holter, Zach Hewitt, Downs and Yourd.
Drewes, Molly Manske, Lee, Holter and Tony Sagedahl were presented their state tournament certificates for competing in the big meet.
The captains, in their turn, presented a series of gifts to their coaches including blankets to both Waters and Aylesworth and corsages to their wives
Previously unannounced was the fact that the girls took 19 in a field of 27 teams at the Charlie Banks Relays with Tiffany Mason 25 and Lengerhuis 52 in classical and Yourd 26 and Alicia Papke-Larson 34 in freestyle.
The boys were 25 in a field of 30 with Sam Dwyer 36 and Brokl 50 in classical and Kyle Sagedahl 34 and Eli Rassler 58 in freestyle.
Both teams were hampered by the lack of the five skiers who competed at the state meet the following ay.
Earning their varsity ski letters were:
SENIORS: Molly Manske, Tiffany Mason, Kristina Lengerhuis and Matt Lee
JUNIORS; Bailey Drewes, Laura Yourd, Alicia Papke-Larson, Lucas Brokl and John Buckanaga
SOPHOMORES: Kim Truedson, Sam Dwyer, Carl Graefe and Eli Rassler
FRESHMEN; Kyle and Tony Sagedahl
The next scheduled banquet is the swim fete March 11 at the same site