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Lumberjack wrestlers relish chance to rest and heal

The winter sports seasons begin in November and continue into March and five months of seemingly never-ending practices and competitions can take their physical and emotional toll.

"We've been working hard since November and we need a week or two of rest in order to give our bodies a chance to heal," said BHS wrestling coach Rance Bahr.

"This is the time to do that. We don't have a meet until Saturday (the Thief River Falls Invitational) and we're going to take mostly junior varsity kids to that. For the varsity, we're going to take it easy this week and take the weekend off. This is a week we're going to use as a chance to heal and get ourselves healthy for the rest of the year."

The Lumberjack wrestlers are coming off a strenuous few days which saw them defeat Hibbing 49-28 on Thursday and finish fifth at Saturday's eight-team Rick Lee Invitational.

Individually BHS produced three champions, two runners-up and a third-place finisher at the Rick Lee. The Lumberjacks also collected a fifth and three sixths.

"We had five kids make the finals and to have three of them win the championship is exciting," Bahr said. "We have a talented group of younger kids coming up in the program and our future looks very bright."

BHS also captured its seventh dual victory of the winter last Thursday and has already surpassed last year's total of six. The pre-season goal was to reach 12 victories and the Lumberjacks seem on their way to accomplishing that feat.

"We're on schedule," Bahr said. "The program is definitely improved and as the year progresses I'm sure we'll see more improvement.

"The key will be to stay healthy and that is why it is important for us to take some time off this week," the coach added. "The season is a long grind for the kids and at this time of the year our bodies are wore down. We need to energize and we'll do that this week."

Girls hockey team has busy week

While the wrestlers take a break from the rigors of the season the girls hockey team will play three games in five days. The marathon schedule begins tonight at Cloquet and the Lumberjacks return home Thursday against Warroad and Saturday against Sartell.

BHS is 6-10-2 after Saturday's 6-5 upset win over Brainerd-Little Falls. The Flying Warriors were 11-2-2 heading into the contest and are among the challengers for the No. 1 seed in the section.

If B-LF doesn't earn that seed, however, it will be because Bemidji owns a win and a tie over the Flying Warriors this winter.

Cloquet will take a 7-9-1 record into tonight's game.

Girls BB team hosts Crookston

The BHS girls cagers will be at home tonight and again on Thursday against Crookston and Brainerd. Crookston (6-5) heads to Bemidji for today's 7:30 p.m. contest. It is a make-up of the season-opener which was postponed because of a blizzard.

Brainerd took a 4-7 record into Tuesday's home game against Little Falls.

Boys hockey team continues to roll

At some point in time the Let's Play Hockey pollsters will have to notice that Bemidji is the hottest team in northern Minnesota.

In its most recent poll LPH had the Lumberjacks ranked 17th in the Class AA bracket, just behind Moorhead and just ahead of Roseau.

Saturday the Lumberjacks rallied from a 2-0 deficit to batter Roseau 7-3 and extend their winning streak to seven games. Overall BHS is 14-1-1.

If the Jacks can reach nine straight wins, everyone will have to take notice. Friday at 5:30 p.m. Bemidji entertains Brainerd and Saturday it hosts Hermantown at 4 p.m. Both games will be played at Nymore.

Brainerd heads north with an 11-4 record and has a 2-2 Section 8AA mark. Bemidji is 4-0-1 against section foes.

Hermantown could provide an even stiffer challenge as the Hawks begin this week with a 13-1 mark.

Boys BB team heads to Little Falls

Following last week's 67-42 victory at Thief River Falls the boys basketball team will take a 10-1 record into tonight's game at Little Falls. The Flyers are 8-4.

Saturday the Jacks will host Duluth Central (7-5) to complete the week's action.

Bemidji will continue to play shorthanded as Cody Rutledge will be sidelined with a broken foot and Harley Kroening is expected to be on the bench because of a pulled muscle.

Carey Woods leads the offense with a 25.5 points per game average. His 87 total rebounds also represents a team high.

Ryan Rude is averaging 12.8 points while Rutledge is contributing 11.7 points per outing.

Mitch Brown averages 9.5 points, Grant Richardson 6.5 and Ben Hengel 5.5.

Collectively the Jacks are connecting on 48 percent of their field goal attempts and 35 percent of their 3-point shots.

Swimmers, skiers, gymnasts also busy

The BHS swimmers head to Thief River Falls today and travel to Hibbing on Saturday. The Lumberjacks are coming off Friday's fourth-place finish at the Bemidji Invitational.

Capturing event wins for Bemidji at the meet were Dylan Hoven in the 50 free and 100 free, Adam Falk in the 100 fly and the 200 free relay unit of Falk, Nick Gubbels, Nick Nyberg and Hoven.

The gymnasts are off until Saturday when they entertain Little Falls. Over the weekend BHS scored 131.5 at Alexandria and 127.925 at Moorhead.

The skiers competed at Little Falls Monday and will return to the trails Saturday when they stage their annual pursuit invitational at Buena Vista. Action is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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