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Bemidji High School swimmers Maris Jahner (left) and Steph Frey officially signed their collegiate Letters of Intent Thursday. Jahner plans to attend and swim for MSU Moorhead while Frey will continue her academic and athletic careers at UND. Pictured with the two Lumberjacks is BHS activities director Troy Hendricks. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

NEW CHALLENGES: Bemidji swimmers Frey, Jahner announce college plans

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BEMIDJI – Steph Frey and Maris Jahner have been major contributors to the Bemidji High School girls swimming program for many years and Thursday both athletes officially announced their intentions to challenge themselves at the next level.

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Frey, who holds most of the program’s individual event records, has signed a Letter of Intent to attend and swim at the University of North Dakota. Jahner will take her academic and athletic talents to MSU Moorhead.

“UND is the right fit for me, school wise and swimming wise,” Frey, who capped her prep career last fall with second place finishes in the 200 individual medley and 100 free at the state Class A meet, said.

“The school isn’t too big or too small and it gives me scholastic options. Because it’s a Division I program the swimming is competitive but it is a step below a conference like the Big Ten. I think it’s perfect for me.”

UND is a member of the Western Athletic Conference and last season it posted an 8-7-1 record in dual events.

Frey, who participated in every swimming event for the Lumberjacks during her career, is leaving her competitive options open.

“The events I’ll swim are still to be decided,” she said. “UND seems to be interested in having me do the freestyle sprints but that could easily change, depending upon what the team needs.

“I’m okay with anything,” Frey continued. “I wouldn’t mind being a sprinter or middle-distance swimmer but I’ll do whatever we need.”

Frey had other collegiate offers and she did consider an invitation from the coaching staff at Northern Iowa. But UND was always her first choice.

“It was a tough decision but it came down to the fact that the North Dakota program is more competitive at this time than the program at Northern Iowa,” Frey said.

“Swimming in high school was the best thing ever for me but I’m ready for a new challenge, a new team, a new coach and new experiences.”

Jahner also is eager to begin the next phase of her athletic career.

“I chose Moorhead because I enjoyed the girls on the team and the coaching staff,” Jahner said. “I enjoyed how head coach Todd Peters relates and commits to each of the girls. He seems like the perfect coach for me.”

Jahner hopes to compete in the sprints and the relays but she will allow Peters to make those decisions.

“I’m happy, nervous and excited,” Jahner, who ended her prep career by helping the BHS 400 free relay finish 10th at last year’s state meet, said. “I’m ready to start today. I considered other places, including St. Cloud, but I know that Moorhead is the place for me.”

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Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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