The Bemidji High School wrestling team capped its state-tournament campaign Thursday when the Lumberjacks held their annual season-ending banquet at the high school.
A year ago BHS compiled a 6-18 record and coach Rance Bahr challenged this season's athletes to double that victory total.
His wrestlers took those words to heart and by early February the Lumberjacks had accomplished that goal.
They continued to add to the victory total the rest of February and by the time the campaign ended at the state tournament in March Bemidji had fashioned a 21-11 dual record.
"The 21 wins in a season is the second-highest total in team history," Bahr told his athletes, parents and boosters at Thursday's event.
In 2006 BHS posted 24 wins in a season that culminated with a fourth-place finish at the state meet.
This year's state trip was the sixth in the program's history. The Lumberjacks gained state in 2000, 2001 and 2002 under coach Jim Carlson and again in 2004 and 2006 when Rob Strand was the coach.
Equally important to this year's team success on the mat, according to Bahr, was the success in the classroom. Bemidji earned All-State honors for carrying a team grade point average of 3.47.
"We are very proud of our athletes, both on and off the mat," Bahr said. "We take great pride as a team in being honored with this academic award for the second consecutive year."
Among the awards distributed at Thursday's dinner was a special honor to Bemidji Pioneer sports editor emeritus Jim Carrington from the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association. Carrington was presented with the 2011 Publicity Award for his 52 years of covering wrestling.
Carrington was at the home debut of the Lumberjacks wrestling program in 1955 and has not missed a home meet since. In addition to writing about the BHS wrestling program he also serves as the public address announcer.
Other varsity team awards which were announced at Thursday's dinner included:
Most wins (30): Jake Crosby, Colton Doty
Most team points (169): Jake Crosby
Most near fall points (84): Kade Johnson
Most reversals (23): Kade Johnson
Most takedowns (66): Craig Maas, Doty
Steve Castagna Dedicated Wrestler: Tyler O'Beirne, Kodi Craft
Jim "Bob" Graves Memorial Most Falls (23): Alex Johnson
Most Valuable: Jake Crosby
2011-12 captains: Doty, Craig Maas, Craft
Off-season Dedication: Kade Johnson
Most Improved: Robert Treuer
Section 8-3A Head Coach of the Year: Rance Bahr
Section 8-3A Assistant Coach of the Year: Dale Gullickson
Suzette Andersen Parent Dedication: Vince and Jodi Walker-O'Beirne, Susie Solberg
Earning letters for the 2010-11 wrestling team were:
Seniors: Jake Crosby, Tyler Molitor, Gary Molash, Nick Maggert
Juniors: Colton Doty, Kodi Craft, Brenden Fredriksen, Dustin Greenman, Cody Thoring
Sophomores: Alex Johnson, Logan Crosby, Craig Maas, Isaiah Moore, Josh Dreyer
Freshmen: Kade Johnson, Ryle Masterson, Robert Treuer, Dylan Hardy
Eighth grade: Brian Maas, Tyler O'Beirne
Seventh grade: Michael Fogarty