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Hoven, Wilcox, Voss and Falk head to state swim meet

Bemidji's (from left) Dylan Hoven, Matt Wilcox, Paul Voss and Adam Falk will compete at the Minnesota State Swimming and Diving Championships beginning today at the University of Minnesota. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

The Bemidji Lumberjacks swim team is out to make history this weekend as it competes in the Minnesota State Meet at the University of Minnesota.

This marks the 38th season for the Jacks in the pool.

While it has sent as steady stream of performers to the state, it has yet to crack the 100 point mark.

Its best previous total was 99 registered in 1999, the sixth and final year of Derek Berg's career.

Last year, Bemidji had its second best finish, scoring 77½ points to also finish ninth.

Both of those came when the sport was either a one class sport or after its division competed in Class 2A.

This year Bemidji dropped to single-A and took third place at the section.

But it sends six individuals and two relay teams into action today at noon in the preliminaries.

The top eight will move to tomorrow's finals, The second eight advance to the consolation finals.

Bemidji's chances of achieving its goal brightened after the seedings came out with the Jacks showing three top seeds, a second and a third.

Two of the top seeds were its 200 and 400 free relays which could earn upwards of 80 points with victories.

Dylan Hoven, Adam Falk Paul Voss and Matt Wilcox will make up the 200 and change positions in the 400 which will go with Falk, Hoven, Voss and Wilcox.

Wilcox is also the top seed in the 200 freestyle and seeded second in the 100. Hoven is the third seed in the 50.

Hoven is also 11th seed in the 100 and Voss is seeded seventh in the 500 and 10 in the 200.

"Its the highest group of seeds we've ever had," said Coach Woody Leindecker.

"The seeds are fine but it has to be done in the water."

Today's preliminaries are critical with scoring from 20 to 11 in the finals tomorrow but only 9-1 in the consolation finals. Relays count double.

It is especially vital for the two relays who can generate most of the 100 points tomorrow if they succeed.

The Breck/Blake coop in Class A and Edina in Class AA are looking to defend their titles.

For Edina it would be the third straight for a school that has dominated the sport for three decades.

Breck/Blake won three individual events last year and swept all three relays. To defeat St. Thomas Academy by 29 points. The champs have qualifiers in every event this year except the breaststroke.

In all, seven individual champs and all three relays are back from last year's meet.

All eight schools who placed are back in the medley topped by Breck/Blake with Fergus Falls, Hutchinson and Willmar 2-3-6 from Section 3A last year.

Wilcox has the best qualifying time in the 200 free at 1:45.21 and faces a top rival in defending champ Nathan Yueh of Breck-Blake.

Two-time defending champ Mike Hurley of Fergus leads the IM entrants. He also has the best qualifying time this year.

Tim Walker of Dassel-Cokato-Litchfield, the 3A champ, returns to defend his 50 free title.

Two time defending champ Turner Eckstrom of Red Wing leads the diving corps one of three returning medal winners.

In the 100 fly, runner-up Kyle Engren of Red Wing is the top returnee from last year.

Walker returns for a shot at his second gold in the 100 free after finishing second to Wilcox at the section meet.

Yueh of Breck/Blake is after his third win in the 500 and has the best qualifying time Three additional medalists also return.

Four team that medaled are back in the 200 free relay. But Bemidji brings the best qualifying time of 1:29.32 and has been improving its finish in almost every meet down the stretch.

Both Wilcox and Hoven are veterans of national AAU competition and should be right at home this weekend.

Defending champ Mitch Foster of Breck/Blake is back in the backstroke

Detroit Lakes' Quillan Oak, the 3A winners, tries to move up one spot from his second place state finish in 2009.

All eight schools who medaled have teams back in the closing 400 relay. Among them are Breck/Blake and runner-up Fergus Falls.

Bemidji, which placed eighth in AA last year, has the top qualifying time.

Saturday's finals will also begin at noon with the AA championships in the evening.