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Bemidji’s participants at the Section 8-2A individual tournament huddled with Jessica Solberg (holding the oversized racket) who finished second in singles play and earned a berth in the state meet. Pictured with Solberg are: front row (left to right), Amy Frosaker and Annika Johnson. Back row, Olivia Dickinson, Kenzie Schultz and Claudia Bellew. Submitted Photo

This week at BHS: Bemidji ready for Section 8A semifinal

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=A week’s worth of activities for the Bemidji High School teams will be compacted into four days as the Lumberjacks and the Minnesota State High School League take a weekend break for MEA.

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BHS teams will be in action today and Wednesday and, hopefully, again on Thursday.

Today is the busy day of the week as the volleyball, cross country, swimming and boys soccer teams all are in action.

Wednesday’s schedule features the football team ending its regular season at home against Sartell and Thursday the boys soccer team hopes to be in St. Cloud for the 7 p.m. Section 8A championship game.

Boys soccer in semifinals

Bemidji’s mission this fall has been to play in the state tournament and the Lumberjacks (12-2-2) can take another step toward accomplishing that goal today when they host Sartell at 4 p.m.

The Jacks, who are seeded No. 1 in the North Sub-Section, began the section tournament Saturday with a workmanlike 4-0 victory over East Grand Forks.

Today they will take on Sartell which is seeded third in the South Sub-Section. Sartell (12-5-1) advanced to today’s contest by blanking Little Falls 3-0 in its playoff opener and upsetting St. Cloud Apollo, the No. 2 seed in the South, 2-1 in a shootout on Saturday.

The teams tied 1-1 through overtime but the Sabres outscored the Eagles 4-2 in the shootout.

In late September BHS lost 1-0 in Sartell but Jacks coach Rick Toward believes his players can fare better today.

“Our keeper Connor McNallan was gone that day and we had to put Matt Bitter in goal,” Toward said. “That had a ripple effect on our lineup and our play.

“We also had to travel 2.5 hours on Homecoming weekend for a noon game so I don’t think we were at our peak. I have to believe that we have a better opportunity to win on Tuesday.”

McNallan will be in the net today and helping him on the defensive side of the field will be Gunnar Nelson, Bitter, Wyatt Miller and Devin Barrett.

The midfielders will be Austin Kovach, Isak Sommer and Joel Johannsen while the strikers include Riley Brooks, Seth Wall and Alex Schussman.

“If we play the type of game we are capable of we can win this game,” Toward said. “We’re not a deer in the headlights when it comes to section games. We’ve been here before and if we play to our ability and to our strengths, we’ll do well.”

Solberg to state

Few section tournaments are as physically draining as tennis, especially the way Section 8-2A handles its event.

Held in a four-court indoor complex in Sartell, last weekend’s individual tournament began at 1:30 p.m. Friday and concluded at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Bemidji’s Jessica Solberg played six times during that span, competing late into the night on Friday and resuming her tournament Saturday afternoon.

The marathon effort was very well rewarded, however, as the senior earned a berth in the state tournament Oct. 23-26 by claiming True Second in the singles tournament.

Solberg won her first three matches but then lost 6-2, 6-4 to eventual champion Taylor Tarrolly of St. Cloud Tech.

She kept her hopes of a state trip alive, however, by belting Karlee Jorgenson of Thief River Falls 6-1, 6-2 in the third-place match.

That victory also set up a True Second match against Rebecca Lukes of Alexandria and Solberg dominated the action, coasting to a 6-0, 6-0 victory.

“This is awesome,” Solberg said after punching her state ticket. “Last week when we placed second in the section team tournament I told myself that I still had a shot at state in the individual tournament. And I took advantage of the opportunity by laying it all on the court.”

“In the True Second match Jess splayed the best she has ever played,” said BHS coach Mark Fodness. “Not just the best she has played this year. But the best she has EVER played.”

Today’s schedule

The swimmers and divers close their home season 6 p.m. today with a meet against Fosston-Bagley. The Lumberjacks are in the middle of their taper training and will be sore and tired today, especially after competing in Saturday’s Section 8A True Team meet at Warroad.

Some coaches try to have their athletes peak for the True Team while others, including Bemidji coach Woody Leindecker, simply consider the True Team as part of the training and do not worry about placing high in the meet.

The Park Rapids coaching staff does try to win the True Team and the Panthers accomplished that feat Saturday. Park Rapids scored 1,436.5 points to claim the title while Bemidji was a close second at 1,321.

Fosston-Bagley was sixth in the eight-team field with 799.

Individually the Jacks claimed all three relays and had individual championships from Steph Frey in the 200 free and Libby McRae in the 500 free.

Frey set a Section 8A and a Warroad pool record in the 200 free with a time of 1:59.53. Bemidji’s 400 free relay unit of Erin Arndt, Danielle Hoven, Frey and Maris Jahner also set a section record as they combined for a time of 3:51.69.

McRae captured the 500 free in 5:48.89. The 200 medley relay quartet of Arndt, Hoven, McRae and Frey won in 1:59.73 while Hoven, Arndt, Jahner and Frey teamed for a win in the 200 free relay (1:45.50).

The BHS volleyball team ends its regular season today with a trip to Lake of the Woods. The Lumberjacks are coming off Saturday’s runner-up finish at the Alexandria Invitational.

In pool play the Jacks stopped Grand Rapids 16-25, 25-22, 15-6, swept the host team 25-15, 25-22 and toppled Rocori 25-21, 25-20.

Bemidji faced North St. Paul in the title match and fell 25-23, 25-22.

The Lumberjacks take an 18-7 record into today’s match.

The cross country teams will host Trek North, Moorhead and Crosby-Ironton 4 p.m. today at Greenwood Golf Course.

BHS will return to Greenwood Oct. 25 for the 8-2A meet.

The Lumberjacks have been off since Oct. 6 when they competed at Alexandria. That day the boys placed third in the 22-team fild while the girls were 13th.

Also ending the regular season Wednesday is the football team. Bemidji, fresh off Friday’s 41-20 home win over Sauk Rapids, will entertain Sartell at 7 p.m.

The Sabres and Bemidji share 5-2 records. Sartell opened with wins over St. Cloud Apollo, Big Lake, Sauk Rapids and Grand Rapids but lost 35-28 to Fergus Falls.

After downing St. Cloud Tech 21-20 earlier this month, Sartell dropped a 28-21 home game to Willmar last Friday.

BHS began the fall 2-2 but is on a three-game winning streak with victories over Grand Rapids, Alexandria and Sauk Rapids.

Volleyball clinic

The Bemidji High School volleyball coaches and players will host their annual clinic Thursday at the high school gym for girls and boys in grades kindergarten through fifth grade.

The event begins at 9 a.m. with registration and the clinic will run from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Registration is $20 and includes prizes and snacks.

For more information contact BHS coach Teresa Colligan at 333-3744.

Rickers to national meet

Former Lumberjack Zach Rickers advanced to the National Junior Athletic Association golf tournament by tying for second place in the region event Oct. 1-2 in Brainerd.

Rickers is a member of Central Lakes Community College in Brainerd, shot rounds of 72-81-158 at Cragun’s Golf Course and trailed only Lucas Gervais of Fergus Falls CC.

Fergus Falls also won the team tournament.

The top five individuals not on the winning team earned trips to the national meet which will be held next spring.

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Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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