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Bemidji HS Nordic Ski teams open state meet today

The Bemidji High Nordic ski teams begin competition at the state meet today at Giants Ridge at Biwabik.

Five of the group will await tomorrow's High School League meet.

Eight others will ski today in the Charlie Banks Coaches Relays.

Those will be 4 x 3 events with two skiers in classical legs and two others freestyle. The four times will be combined to determine team standings.

The relays are limited to skiers who did not qualify for Thursday's state meet either as team members or individuals.

That will give schools with the majority if not all of their team members available, a major advantage in the relays.

Bemidji once won the boys title with a full team on hand.

Missing five of its top skiers today, their chances of a high finish are slim.

The boys will go with Eli Rassler and Lucas Brokl in classical and follow with Sam Dwyer and Kyle Sagedahl in freestyle. All but Brokl return next year.

The girls open with Tiffany Mason and Kristina Lengerhuis skiing classical and Alicia Papke-Larson and Laura Yourd freestyle. Yourd and Papke-Larson are underclassmen.

Both teams ended sixth last year, the boys in a 26 team field and the girls in 28.

Wes Rogers, Jon Carpenter, Chris Bowman and Max Roszkowski made up the boys unit and Bailey Drewes, Emily Lawrence, Laura Rogers and Jess Bruns the girls.

All but Drewes have graduated and Drewes will be in the MSHSL event tomorrow.

She and Molly Manske qualified individually with a 3-4 finish at the Section 8 meet.

Matt Lee, Tony Sagedahl and Adam Holter will ski in the boys division after ending 2-9-12 at the section but 2-6-8 among skiers not on the champion Little Falls team.

Little Falls swept both titles to contend for the state crowns tomorrow.

The Relays were once a part of the state meet before it switched from freestyle to a pursuit format many years ago. The event was retained by the Ski Coaches Association after attempts to have the MSHLS sponsor the event failed.

Lee and Manske will be making return trips to the state meet, Lee taking 83 and Manske 86 in large fields in 2009.

Zac Oelrich, who finished 24 to earn All-State honors. graduated.