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BHS boys swim team honored at annual banquet

The record-breaking Bemidji High swim team was honored Tuesday at its annual Awards Night.

The event drew a full house to the Crying Wolf Room at Hobson Union.

Bemidji finished fourth in its first venture into the Class A meet with 145 points, both school records.

Assistant coach Jen Belisle introduced the two dozen swimmers, thanking them for their efforts this season.

Coach Woody Leindecker extended his thanks to his swimmers, their parents and fans, calling the group a "great bunch of swimmers and great group of kids to work with.

Starting with only 16 candidates, he quickly elevated a number of eighth graders to the varsity who proved extremely valuable in the team's success.

This year's Middle School numbers tripled those of last year giving a bright future for the program in coming years.

Bemidji went unbeaten in its six duals ending 5-0-1 with the tie with Duluth East in the final meet of the year.

"The fine season was no surprise to the coaching staff," Leindecker stated. "We knew we had a group of disciplined, dedicated athletes with a great attitude and great work ethic." It was team that set is goals high at the start of the year and achieved them, " he added.,

The state meet, he pointed out was a "fun weekend, one in which Bemidji reached a peak at the right time to achieve remarkable goals.

It included a state champion in Matt Wilcox, five individuals and two relays in the finals and a sixth individual in the consolation finals.

And it was done with only four swimmers, two of them juniors.

Four new school records went into the books before the meet ended.

The team also broke numerous pool and meet records during the regular season.

"The key word to this team was chemistry," Leindecker said. It came together from the first day of practice and grew stronger all season long."

Ryan Ohnstad presented two awards to his three-diver unit giving the Smack Award to newcomer Anthony Hanson and the Most Improved Diver Award to Dylan Tillemans.

Leindecker and Belisle announced the swimmers awards.

They included Most Improved-Matt Arndt

Rookie of the Year-Nick Gubbels

Coaches Award-Adam Falk

Most Valuable Swimmer-Matt Wilcox.

Captains Wilcox and Paul Voss were cited for their season-long leadership.

State relay certificates were presented to Wilcox, Voss, Dylan Hover, Falk and alternate Nick Nyberg

School records set at the state included the 100 and 200 free by Wilcox, 50 free by Hoven and the 400 relay.

The three seniors, Wilcox ,Voss and Hanson were given recognition for their efforts and wished well in their future endeavors. They received a series of gifts from the Boosters Club for their efforts.

Leindecker pointed out that increasing numbers of Bemidji High swimmers have gone on to star at the college level.

For the returnees, he urged BASS participation in the off season to gain improvement for next year and challenged them to step up to fill the big shoes leaving this year.

Voss and Wilcox presented special gifts to the coaches for their efforts in teaching the sport and developing the team this year.

The rubber duck mascot was passed on from Voss to Falk for next season.

Wilcox urged the underclassmen to put themselves into the record book next year, hoping that his own marks would not linger long.

Earning 2010 swim letter s were:

SENIORS; Matt Wilcox, Paul Voss and Anthony Hanson

JUNIORS: Dylan Hoven, Adam Falk, Nick Nyberg,, Jared Becker and Seth Olson

FRESHMEN: Pat Voss and Nick Gubbels

8TH GRADERS: Dylan Tillemans, Gunnar Nelson, Eli Wright and Matt Arndt.