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Jacks develop in positive way during indoor track season

Bemidji High School junior Amanda Hunt clears 5' 2" in the high jump event at the Little Amik II track meet on Tuesday afternoon at Bemidji State University. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

The indoor season for the Bemidji track and field teams ended Tuesday night at the Little Amik and Lumberjacks boys coach Steve Sneide and girls coach Chris Lehman are pleased with how their athletes developed during their three competitions at the Gillett Rec Center.

"We're anxious to head outdoors but we are grateful to have Craig Hougen organize the indoor meets and have the Rec Center in our back yard," Sneide said. "We're also fortunate that Craig allows us to run as many kids as we want in the events because by having everyone compete we can accurately assess our talent."

It seemed that every team in the area had the same idea as the Rec Center housed 26 boys teams, 26 girls teams and 1,580 total athletes Tuesday. The infield was overflowing with competitors awaiting their events while the staging area was constantly filled with runners waiting for their opportunity to head to the starting line.

The meet offered a final opportunity for the Bemidji athletes to impress their coaches and solidify spots on the roster for next Friday's outdoor meet at Moorhead.

"When we go outdoors we are limited to the number of kids we can put into any one event," Lehman said. "During the indoor season we discovered that we have talented athletes. We also learned that the freshmen are ready to challenge the upperclassmen.

"Our youth appears to be our strength and I hope our freshmen can motivate the upperclassmen and encourage them to do their best," Lehman added.

Sneide was pleased with how his athletes performed during the three indoor events and believes that the foundation has been set for a successful outdoor campaign.

"I have seen subtle improvements in most of the kids," Sneide said. "In the field events I'm seeing better heights and better distances even if the kids are not moving up in placings."

BHS won the boys 4x800 relay in 8:27.90, was eighth in the 4x200 and finished first-second in the 4x400.

Individually the Jacks were led by John Buckanaga's second-place finish in the 1600 (4:44.25). Contributing a third was Matt Lee in the 800 (2:10.46) while Brady Schmidt was fourth in the 55 (6.98) and Jacob Urban fourth in the 1600 (4:56.00).

In the 400, Alex Schoneberger was fifth (55.49), Peter Humeniuk sixth (55.96), Grant Mitchell eighth (56.31) and Isak Sommer ninth (56.91).

Also placing in the top-10 in the 1600 were Richard Seado who was sixth (4:58.00), Andy Berube who was seventh (4:59.04) and Dan Clemenson who was ninth (5:00.26).

Brady Schmidt was eighth in the 200 (25.02), Zach DeClusin was eighth in the high jump (5-6) and Andy Berube was 10th in the 800 (2:18.70).

In the girls division Bemidji was third in the 4x800 (10:43.80), 10th in the 4x200 and sixth in the 4x400.

Bailey Drewes had a productive day as she was second in the 800 (2:30.14) and ninth in the 400 (1:07.43).

Also contributing runner-up efforts were Amanda Hunt in the high jump (5-2), Tiffany Mason in the pole vault (8-0), Alli Heifort in the shot put (34-10.5) and Selina Gilbertson in the discus (92-8).

Olivia Hruby was fourth in the long jump (14-9.5), Katie Verchota was sixth in the discus (84-5), Laura Edwards was seventh in the 400 (1:06.98), Maren Erpelding was eighth in the 55 hurdles (10.45), Jenna Truedson (6:03.48) and Danielle Gronhovd (6:08.64) were eighth and 10th in the 1600 and Heifort was eighth in the discus (82-1).

"It was great to have these indoor meets but the weather has been beautiful and it is time to go outside," Lehman said. "The kids are ready to make the move."

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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