The young, small Bemidji High wrestling squad was honored Tuesday night at its annual Awards Night ceremony at the Commons.
Special guests were the 22 letter winners who completed the season.
Rance Bahr, completing his initial season at the helm, served as emcee for the program.
He inherited an 18 member squad, by far the smallest in the Jacks 55 year history, and saw it rise to a high of 24 during the year with all but two completing the season. Newcomers joined the ranks into the final month of wrestling..
Prospects of an increase in numbers seem good for upcoming years with a far higher turnout at the Middle School this year.
Bahr rated the year as "enjoyable. One that exceeded my expectations."
He praised the work of his coaching staff which included Dale Gullickson, Adam Johnson, Brent Mason, Dillon Fogarty and Matt Shaver, Mason a former Lumberjack wrestler.
Middle School coaches Tim, Larson, Kyle McMarten and Vince O'Beirne were also praised and a host of volunteer instructors in the Bemidji Wrestling Club and Northern Elite mat club which attra0cted more than 150 youngsters this winter in grades K-6.
Also cited was the work of the Bemidji Wrestling Club which raised funds through the year to provide transportation and equipment for the team.
Introduced and praised for their leadership were captains Corey Huber, Dale Norton, Jake Crosby and Colton Doty.
The latter pair will return for next year with one or two more expected to be added before the start of the season.
Also introduced and receiving certificates were the top `16 scorers from the youth wrestling ranks.
Erica Ward introduced her cheerleaders, praising them for their efforts this winter.
Gullickson introduced the letter winners which included only two seniors and four juniors, three of the juniors first year wrestlers.
Eight sophs, six freshmen and two 7-8 graders completed the cast.
Johnson reviewed his JV season, mostly wrestled as exhibitions, with Bemidji lacking the numbers to field a complete unit.
Earning awards were sophomore Dustin Greenman for most wins (17), points (85), reversals (18) and near fall points (60).
First year juniors Tyler Molitor and Gary Molash topped the falls (11) and takedowns (23) categories where Greenman was second.,
Bahr cited the team for its academic achievements, earning a 3.70 grade point average to make the state All-Academic state team .
The Jacks finished 6-18 this year, doubling its win total from 2009.
"It was an up and down season, one typical of young teams," he said. "On our good nights, we could stay with most teams. On our off nights, we were not competitive."
Only eight of the 22 letter winners were on last year's varsity with eight of the other 14 new to the sport. The coaching staff was also new which required some adjustments.
The team, however, improved appreciably as the year progressed and should do far better next year. Bahr said.
The high point of the year came in a 33-31 loss to Totino Grace, a team that gained the state tournament.
More numbers and good health will be keys to next season, Bahr added. The team lost one of its top three wrestlers, Doty, to a December injury and regained another, Kodi Craft midway through the year from another injury.
He sees the section as being not as strong next year with Apollo losing heavily to graduation after taking the past two titles.
Huber dominated the varsity awards.
He paced the team in team points (199), wins (37), falls (19), and takedowns (102) while Norton paced the near falls points (95) and freshman Logan Crosby in reversals (17).
Jake Crosby was named the team's Outstanding junior, Doty the Outstanding sophomore and Logan Crosby the Outstanding freshman, new awards instituted this year.
Sophomore Brenden Fredrickson earned the Most Improved Wrestler award.
Huber was voted Most Valu able Wrestler.
Another new award this year found Alex Johnson earning the Off Season Dedication Award for his work on and off the mat from March to November.
Another addition to the awards list was the Suzette Andersen Award going to persons making major contributions to the wrestling program..
The initial recipients were Gus and Theresa Wilander and Sheila Guest.
The award honors the memory of long-time mat supporter Suzette Andersen who succumbed to a long battle with caner earlier this year.
He husband Steve and son Joe, a former six-year Lumberjack starter, now at St. Cloud State, made the presentation.
Joe is second on the all-time Jacks victory list with 206.
Three freshmen were singled out for their outstanding seasons, combining for 61 wins. They were Craig Maas (22). Logan Crosby (20) and Johnson (19).
In closing, Bahr urged all of his wrestlers to remain in top shape during the off season, spending time, in the weight room in particular and competing in other sports. Summer camp brochures were distributed. The staff will sponsor a Monday night technique program to hone wrestling skills.
Earning their 2010 wrestling letters were:
SENIORS; Corey Huber and Dale Norton
JUNIORS: Jake Crosby, Gary Molash, Tyler Molitor and Logan Knutson
SOPHOMORES; Colton Doty, LeRoy Pacheco, Cody Thoring, Brenden Fredrickson, Kodi Craft, Dustin Greenman, Nick Conner and Brandon Larson
FRESHMEN: Craig Maas, Logan Crosby, Alex Johnson, Josh Dreyer, Russ Mason and Nick Ness
8TH GRADE; Kade Johnson
7TH GRADE: Tyler O'Beirne