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Bemidji HS girls swim team hosts 14 team Invite on Saturday

The Bemidji High swim team stages its 23rd annual Invitational swim meet today with 14 teams expected to compete.

Diving will begin at 9 with the swim events in the early afternoon.

Willmar will defend its title. The Cardinals made their first trip to Bemidji last season and took home the title, stopping Red River by 16 points in a close race.

Bemidji finished a strong third with 271 points, 27 ahead of Detroit Lakes.

Rounding out the field will be Mesabi East, Warroad, Moorhead, International Falls, Crookston, Thief River, Fosston, Grand Forks, Central, Roseau and Baudette. Only Baudette failed to attend the 2008 meet.

Willmar gradually pulled away from a tight five-team field in the last five events. Bemidji again was hurt by its lack of depth with its top competitors among the leaders in many events.

Record setters were Detroit Lakes Melissa Paakh in the fly and the Warroad 200 free relay of Thompson, Bahnmiller, Tyler and Sylvester.

Bemidji has had two outings this year, taking third at the Willmar Invitational and bowing to Brainerd 107-79, the identical score it fell to the Warriors by in 2008, its only loss in 10 dual meets.

Bemidji has been getting extraordinarily good balance with six seniors seven juniors, five sophs and six freshmen scoring thus far. The frosh piled up 116 points at the Willmar meet and 26½ against Brainerd led by Stephanie Frey, Maris Jahner and Lexie Hendricks.

The meet offers teams a larger entry than normal.

Bemidji will go with two medley teams with Danielle Luby, Frey. Jamie Vanasse and Jahner the top unit.

Selina Gilbertson, Katie Verchota and Laura Yourd led a six swimmer 200 freestyle group.

Alicia Papke-Larson, Amy Mahle, Hendricks and Taylor McLean top a seven member IM crew.

Jahner, Katie Krause and Mackenzie Timms are the top entries in the 50 free where nine swimmers will enter.

The divers are Jana Hedstrom, Tayler Heinle, Hailey Erickson and Jade Hovet. Vanasse, Frey, Jahner and Mariah Smith will swim the fly.

Gilbertson, Yourd, Luby and Kirsten Sharpe are the low four in the100 free.

Verchota, Hendricks and Mahle top the 500 free contingent.

Bemidji will have five teams in the 200 free relay led by Frey., Jahner, Gilbertson and Verchota.

In the backstroke, Luby Ashlin Hasson, Taylor Hedges and Bethany Scholl will be the only entrants.

Frey, Papke-Larson, McLean and Timms are the low four in the breaststroke.

The three 400 relay teams are led by Verchota, Yourd, Luby and Gilbertson.