There will be another gauntlet at Bemidji High School this week as the students, teachers and administrators will honor the Lumberjacks wrestlers, swimmers and diver who qualified for this weekend’s state meets.
On Friday and Saturday Brian Maas, Logan Crosby and Kade Johnson won individual Section 8-3A wrestling championships in Brainerd and punched their tickets to the state meet.
At that same time at the BHS pool, Tyler Hemp and Sam Howard earned trips to the state swimming and diving meet along with Bemidji’s 200 medley relay and 400 free relay teams.
The 200 medley relay unit included Nate Gubbels, Hemp, Matt Arndt and Nick Gubbels while the 400 free relay team featured Nate and Nick Gubbels, Wyatt Yartz and Hemp.
Lumberjacks swimming coach Woody Leindecker was ecstatic following Saturday’s Section 5 meet and is excited about the progress his athletes made all year.
“In swimming a team should never be judged until the final race and final meet,” Leindecker said. “Don’t ask me about our won/lost record because I have no idea what it is. To me that doesn’t matter. In my mind the entire season can be judged by how you do at one meet – the section meet.
“And these kids did great.”
In Saturday’s opening race the 200 medley relay squad faced a daunting task.
“During the regular season we couldn’t beat Fergus Falls, Park Rapids, Detroit Lakes or Alexandria,” Leindecker said.
Saturday, however, the swimmers rose to the challenge, finishing second to Fergus Falls and earning a trip to the state meet.
“We gave Fergus a run for its money and we found a way to beat Park Rapids, Detroit Lakes and Alex,” Leindecker said. “We entered the section meet five seconds over the state meet cut time but on Saturday our time was 1.5 seconds under the qualification time. We shaved seven seconds off our time and in that race seven seconds is phenomenal.”
The Lumberjacks also capped Saturday’s meet in style as they bettered the state standard in the 400 free with a time of 3:27.19 and earned a lane at the state meet.
“We were seeded seventh going into the race but the kids put it all together,” Leindecker said. “They did more than I ever dreamed they could do.”
Hemp was solid in both the 200 free where he finished third and the 100 breast stroke where he placed second. Howard also was in prime form as he captured third place in diving.
“Sam was very consistent with all of his dives and I didn’t expect time drops this dramatic from the swimmers,” Leindecker said. “I am elated by how well we performed Saturday and I’m excited to see how we will do at the state meet.”
Bemidji claimed three individual titles at the Section 8-3A event and hopes to continue that success when the state meet begins on Thursday.
Brian Maas (37-3) will be the team’s representative at 113 pounds and the sophomore will open against Brandon Moen (32-7) of Owatonna.
In the 126-pound weight class, Lumberjack Logan Crosby (34-3) will face Grant Bolduan (25-12) of White Bear Lake in his first match. Kade Johnson (37-4) will meet Jackson Graham (27-13) of Apple Valley in his 170-pound opener.
Bemidji’s girls team was seeded No. 7 in the Section 8-4A tournament field and today the Lumberjacks will make the long drive to Rogers to face the No. 2 seed in the quarterfinals.
While today’s other section games will begin at 7 p.m., Bemidji’s contest has been pushed back to 8 p.m. as the second game of a doubleheader hosted by Rogers. At 5:30 p.m. the Rogers boys squad will face neighborhood rival Buffalo in a regular-season contest.
Today’s other section quarterfinals have No. 8 Brainerd visiting No. 1 St. Michael, No. 4 St. Cloud Tech hosting No. 5 Buffalo and No. 3 Elk River entertaining No. 6 Moorhead.
Today’s winners will battle in Saturday’s semifinals at St. Cloud State.
The Lumberjacks boys team closes its regular season this week with three games. On Monday BHS traveled to Thief River Falls and Friday the Jacks will host Detroit Lakes at 7:30 p.m.
The regular season will end 1:30 p.m. Saturday with a home game against Duluth Denfeld.
Bemidji saw its season come to a close Saturday when it fell 5-1 at Moorhead in the Section 8-2A boys semifinals.
The Lumberjacks ended the year 8-17-2. Moorhead will battle Brainerd 7 p.m. Wednesday at St. Cloud State for the section title.
In Saturday’s other semifinal Brainerd edged Roseau 4-3.
Moorhead and Brainerd are the section’s top two seeds.