Swimming: Bemidji Invite a thriller down to the last race
Heading into the final event, the 400 free relay, three teams were in the hunt for the championship of Saturday's Bemidji Swimming Invitational.
"It was a very competitive meet with several lead changes among the top four teams throughout the day," said BHS coach Woody Leindecker. "It was so close between Bemidji, Hibbing and Grand Forks Central that figuring out what each team had to do in the last race to win the championship was almost impossible."
When the final swimmer touched the pad Hibbing hung on for the team championship with 347 points. Grand Forks Central finished second with 344 and the Lumberjacks were third with 338.
GFC overtook Bemidji for second in the final standings by winning the relay. The Jacks were third as Erin Arndt, Maris Jahner, Steph Frey and Danielle Hoven finished in 3:53.55, one second behind Moorhead which took second.
Hibbing led heading into the final race and its fourth-place finish in the relay provided just enough team points for the Bluejackets to capture the title.
"We had to beat Central in the relay to hold onto second and perhaps overtake Hibbing for first," Leindecker said. "That didn't happen but I'm very happy with how we swam.
"In Friday's double dual wins we placed our swimmers into different events and everybody performed well. Saturday they returned to their top events and, once again, swam very well."
BHS won four events, including the 200 free relay. Hoven, Jahner, Arndt and Frey combined for a 1:45.41 in the event and won the race by almost 2.5 seconds.
Individually, Hoven claimed the 50 free (26.59), Jana Hedstrom won the diving (196.45) and Frey set the pace in the 200 breast stroke (1:09.19).
Bemidji excelled in diving as seventh-grader Kylie Grosfield was second only 0.20 points behind Hedstrom. BHS also was seventh and 14th in diving as Hailey Erickson was awarded 152.50 points by the judges and Amy Carey 125.85.
"Our top four divers were outstanding," Leindecker said. "We scored 56 team points in the event and if we continue to dive this well that event will be a big weapon for us."
Also contributing second-place finishes were Frey in the 200 free (1:59.19) plus Arndt in the 200 individual medley (2:27.96) and in the 100 fly (1:08.30).
Other top-10 performances included the 10th of the 200 medley relay unit of Kayla Hewitt, Kenzie Timms, Libby McRae and Jahner (2:10.44), Lexie Hendricks' eighth in the 200 free (2:11.48) and sixth in the 500 free (5:47.13), Jahner's fourth in the 200 free (1:00.86), Kayla Hewitt's eighth in the 100 back (1:15.10) and Hoven's fourth in the 100 breast stroke (1:17.11).
"Everybody did everything they could," Leindecker said. "Our times for this stage of the season are fast and if we keep things going we should be on our way to a good season."