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Bemidji High School Friday sports preview: Sections begin for boys hockey, boys swimming

The Bemidji High School swim and boys hockey teams head in opposite directions today for their sectional tournament openers.

The swimmers head south to St. Cloud Apollo to battle for berths in the state tournament next week at the University of Minnesota pool.

The hockey team heads north to Warroad to begin quarterfinal action in the 8A tournament, facing Baudette's Lake of the Woods in the late game.

Thief River Falls and Park Rapids will clash in the opener.

The quarterfinals opened Thursday when top-seeded Warroad defeated Kittson County Central 11-0 and fourth-seeded Crookston defeated fifth-seeded East Grand Forks 4-3.

The swimmers are seeking state qualifiers mainly today but would like to move up in the team standings.

They finished fourth last year behind Brainerd, which is the odds-on choice to repeat as the champ tomorrow night.

Preliminaries will be held tonight, with the top eight advancing to Saturday's finals and the second eight to the consolation finals. Scoring will be from 20 down to one with double that score for the relays.

Bemidji will again be a threat in all the freestyle events that they have dominated for the most part this season.

Most of the Jacks' top five of Tucker Asper, Jared Vanasse, Nick Lee, Matt Wilcox and Dylan Hoven drew high seeds in their events.

Behind Brainerd, there should be spirited competition among Bemidji, Alexandria, Elk River, Tech, Moorhead and Buffalo for positions, with Apollo generally conceded eighth place.

With the relays yet to be set, Bemidji will go with:

200 freestyle: Asper (3), Lee (5) and Derek Buckanaga (14)

200 IM: Wilcox (1) and Adam Falk (25)

50 freestyle: Hoven (1), Vanasse (3) and Nick Nyberg (25)

Diving: Anthony Hanson and Dylan Tillemans

100 fly: Paul Voss (11) and Falk (22)

100 freestyle: Wilcox (1). Vanasse (6) and Hoven (9)

500 freestyle: Asper (1), Lee (5) and Buckanaga (9)

100 back: no qualifiers

100 breast: Jakob Peterson (25) and Pat Voss (28)

The numbers in parenthesis are the seeds.

Last year Bemidji sent Vanasse in the 50 and 100 free and both freestyle relays to the state.

Vanasse bettered state qualifying times to advance in his two events while both relay were second to Brainerd.

They went on score 37 points at the state and finish 10th, one of their best showings ever.

Only Abe Cummings graduated from the state entrants.

This year's team will lose Asper, Vanasse and Lee.

Bemidji had had a fine week of practice to complete its taper and is anxious for the meet to start.

Jacks seek repeat

The hockey team will be out to repeat a win over Lake of the Woods.

That came in the varsity's debut at the new Bemidji Community Arena by a slim 3-2 margin.

Bemidji scored twice in the second period to snap a 1-1 tie and hold off the Bears in the third.

Bemidji outshot the visitors 33-16 that night, with Derek Dudgeon rejecting 14 in the Jacks' net and Alex Lyon 30 for the Bears.

Mike Rees scored twice and Jared Bergquist once.

The two teams are not that far apart with LOW seventh in the final section standings at 4-6-1 while Bemidji was fourth at 3-4.

All four losses came to the top two teams, Warroad and Thief River.

Bemidji ended 13-11-1 on the year and Baudette 11-13-1. But Bemidji's strength of schedule gave it the higher seed.

First-round winners Tuesday were Lake of the Woods 8-0 over 10th-seeded Bagley, Park Rapids 8-2 over 11th-seeded Walker-Hackensack-Akeley and ninth-seeded KCC 5-4 over eighth-seeded Red Lake County Central in the only upset.

Last year, Bemidji bowed out to Thief River 2-1 in the quarterfinals.

The Jacks hope to advance at least one more round this time around. Should it win tonight, Bemidji would likely face Thief River for a third time Monday at 7.

The final is scheduled Thursday at 7.

The Thursday night winners will square off Saturday in the first semifinal.

No lineup changes are foreseen.

Bemidji should go with Bergquist, Jesse Nemgar and Brady Devescovi on the first line; Rylee Curb, Max Hazelton and Rees on a second; Luke Burns, Lucas Philips and Kris Maggert on a third; and Will Bruestle, Chris Blotske and Steve Heller or Jake White on a fourth.

On defense, the Jacks will go with Kevin Larson and Matt Hietala as one pair, Joe Welle and Isaac Bitter as another and Cam Dahedl alternating in.

Dudgeon will be in the net backed by Brett Dokken.

River Lakes, Buffalo, Moorhead and Roseau won then 8AA quarterfinals. Buffalo ousted Brainerd 6-2, Moorhead blanked River Lakes 6-0, Roseau bombed Monticello 10-0 and Tech topped Northern Lakes 3-0.