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Bemidji HS girls swimming team honored at annual banquet

The Bemidji High girls swim team was honored Sunday night at its annual Awards Night in the Crying Wolf Room of Hobson Memorial Union.

Special guests were the 31 members of the swim team that competed this fall.

It culminated its drop Class A this fall by winning the Section True Team sectional and competing at the state meet.It then finished a close third at the Section 8A tournament and sent six swimmers and divers to the state high school meet.

Coach Woody Leindecker served as master of ceremonies, thanking the team, parents and friends for their continued support to of swimming during the year.

The 31 squad members was one of the largest turnouts in recent seasons with a good split between the top four grades that should keep the program strong for coming years.

The section meet found 26 members posting their best times of the year.

The fast finish came after the team battled illness and injuries during much of the year which kept it short handed.

It still finished 7-2-1 in duals, the tie coming at Park Rapids 93-93, a rarity in swimming.

Team awards, voted on by the squad members, were:

Most Improved Swimmer-Clare Lawrence

Rookie of the Year- Stephanie Frey

Spirit Award- Cydni Sycks

Hardest Worker- Katie Verchota

Coaches Award- Frey

Most Valuable Swimmer-Selina Gilbertson

Singled out for special honors were the six state qualifiers, Jana Hedstrom, Verchota, Gilbertson, Frey, Dani Luby and Maris Jahner.

Diving Coach Ryan Ohnstad named Hedstrom as Most Improved Diver and Brittany Maxwell winner of the Smack Award.

Captains Gilbertson and Verchota presented gifts to their three coaches in appreciation of their efforts during the season to develop the team.

Leindecker introduced the nine graduating seniors, citing them for their leadership this year and urging the underclass swimmers to devote their off season to improving their skills in order to replace them next fall.

Rich Jahner presented a 20 minute slide show of highlights of the year.

Assistant Coach Megan Fuller thanked the swimmers for making her first year on the staff a memorable one.

Named to lead the 2010 swim team were Alicia Papke-Larson and Laura Yourd.

Earning their 2009 swim letters were:

SENIORS: Selina Gilbertson, Katie Verchota, Tayler Heinle, Kirsten Sharpe, Hannah Sweep, Brittany Maxwell, Mariah Smith, Sasheen Loisel and Larissa Milne.

JUNIORS: Dani Luby, Laura Yourd, Alicia Papke-Larson, Bethany Scholl and Tayler McLean

SOPHOMORES: Mackenzie Timms, Ashlin Hasson, Jana Hedstrom, Clare Lawrence, Jordyn Olson and Hailey Erickson

FRESHMEN: Stephanie Frey, Maris Jahner, Jamie Vanasse, Lexi Hendricks, Katie Krause and Taylor Hedges.

The swim banquet was the final event of the fall.