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This Week at BHS: Lumberjacks begin their fall seasons

Although classes at Bemidji High School don’t begin until Sept. 2, by the end of this week four of the fall Lumberjacks sports teams will have been in action and before the month is over all eight programs will be involved in competitions.

The excitement that is Bemidji High School athletics is underway.

On Monday the girls tennis team was scheduled to open the 2014-15 BHS athletic schedules at the Pine City Invitational but that tournament was postponed until today because of rain. The Jacks are the defending champions and coach Mark Fodness was eager to see if this year’s squad could defend the title but, because of the one-day delay, many of the teams cannot make it to Pine City today and the invitational format has been adjusted.

Among those teams are Rochester Lourdes, Mounds Park Academy, North Branch and Red Wing.

The new schedule finds Bemidji playing dual matches against South St. Paul at 10 a.m., Pine City at noon and Litchfield at 2 p.m. Instead of leaving on Monday and being refreshed for their 10 a.m. opening match, the Lumberjacks planned to make the long trip to Pine City early Tuesday morning.

“The forecast is still questionable for Tuesday and I would hate to drive down on Monday and then find out we can’t play Tuesday morning,” Fodness said. “We are going to leave at 5:50 a.m. and go straight to the high school.

“It is disappointing that we could not defend our title in the original format. We looked forward to playing some of the high-ranked teams that were going to come to the tournament, including Rochester Lourdes. But playing in a dual format gives us a chance to send many different kids onto the court.”

The Jacks appear very strong at singles and balanced at doubles. During today’s action Fodness plans on adjusting his lineup to give everyone playing time. He will continue that trend Wednesday when Bemidji hosts Alexandria at 10 a.m. and Friday when it entertains Hibbing at noon.

“We have seen the girls throughout the summer and we’re anxious to see them this week,” the coach said. “We will put a very strong singles lineup onto the court and I think the biggest battles will be in doubles. We have many girls equal in ability but, in time, the roster will sort itself out.”

Today’s matches will include four singles and four doubles battles and Fodness plans to use as many as six different doubles alignments.

The four singles players include exchange student Finja Mahl of Germany, freshman Abbie Kelm, junior Alexis Konecne and eighth grader Taylor Offerdahl.

Among the Jacks expected to see doubles duty are seniors Erin Edlund, Mattie Osborn and Sarah McNallan, juniors Sydney Ewert and Nikki Weir-Anderson, sophomores Valerie Davis, Shelby Eichstadt and Olivia Jones plus freshman Sam Edlund.

The boys and girls soccer teams also will make their debuts at home this week. On Friday both squads will entertain Little Falls at the middle school pitch. The girls will hit the field at noon and the boys at 2 p.m.

On Saturday the boys will return to the field to take on Hillcrest Lutheran Academy at 1 p.m.

Friday’s schedule also finds the girls swimmers and divers at their traditional season opening invitational hosted by Willmar. The day will begin at 1 p.m. with the diving and the swimming competition will start at 4 p.m.

The volleyball team will host its annual scrimmage starting at 9 a.m. today. BHS will hit the court from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. In the afternoon session Bagley, Clearbrook-Gonvick and Cass Lake-Bena will be among the featured squads.

The football team will travel to Detroit Lakes on Saturday for its scrimmage. Expected to join the Lumberjacks and Lakers are Fergus Falls, Moorhead and Perham.

Troy Hendricks’s football team will play for real on Aug. 29 at home against Grand Rapids. The volleyball team’s opener is Aug. 26 at Perham and on Aug. 25 the boys and girls cross country teams will head to Moorhead for their initial action.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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