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Bemidji High School 4x800 relay team wins state championship

The Bemidji 4x800 relay team of (from left) Jake Urban, Isak Sommer, Alex Schoneberger and John Buckanaga won a state championship Saturday in St. Paul. Submitted Photo

At 9:30 a.m. on a Saturday many of us are relaxing at the kitchen table, sipping on our second cup of coffee or tea and scanning the newspaper.

Saturday morning is a time to relax and decide what the rest of the day will bring.

The Bemidji boys 4x800 relay team had a different Saturday agenda, however. For the four Lumberjacks on the relay, relaxation had to be put on hold because they were trying to win a state championship.

Jake Urban set the tone with a personal-record split on the first leg and his teammates Isak Sommer, John Buckanaga and Alex Schoneberger followed the example. Their combined efforts were rewarded as Bemidji's 4x800 relay team outraced the competition and was crowned the state champion with a time of 7:49.15.

"We were here to do a job and we went out and did it," Buckanaga said.

Urban stayed with the leaders during the opening leg and the Jacks were in third place when Sommer took the baton.

"We were within a second or two of the guys in front of me and I just tried to catch them," Sommer said. "By the end of the first lap I was ahead of them but the guy from Rosemount (Sam Temple) passed me at the end."

Buckanaga handled the third leg and he knew what he had to do.

"Jake and Isak did great jobs setting me up," Buckanaga said. "They both had PRs (personal record times) and I wanted to maintain our second-place position. I was able to gain a little ground (on Rosemount) with my 1:57 (another PR) and when I gave the baton to Alex I thought we would win."

Schoneberger wasn't in any hurry to make his move on the leader.

"My strategy was to sit on the kid in front of me (Dye Chandler of Rosemount) and wait for the right time to pass," Schoneberger said. "With about 200 meters to go the kid from Wayzata (Brian Jarvey) was closing in on me and that is when I had to go. That is when I made my move."

Schoneberger zipped past Jarvey and Dye and hit the tape with a 1.5-second cushion. In addition to capturing the state title the Lumberjacks set a school record.

"We did exactly what we were supposed to do and executed our plan very well," said BHS distance coach Ryan Aylesworth.

"The kids ran the perfect race," said Bemidji head coach Steve Sneide. "There were many fast times in this race and we ran the fastest. The boys went out, seized their opportunity and earned the win."

A few hours after the relay race Schoneberger ran in the open 800 and finished seventh with a time of 2:00.41. Eric Gebeke of White Bear Lake won in 1:53.39.

"I was a little tired," Schoneberger said. "The relay is what we were targeting and I'm fine with everything that happened Saturday."

In Friday's late Class A action Analisa Huschle of Bagley-Fosston successfully defended her long jump championship as she soared 18-2.5.

The victory was Huschle's third straight in the event. In 2009 she took the title with a state-record leap of 19-2.25 and last spring she captured her second Class A long jump title by soaring 18-4.75.

Finishing second to Huschle Friday was Bree Woelber of Pipestone who jumped 17-10. A distant third was Danielle Larson of St. Peter at 17-1.75.

In Saturday night's Class A action Huschle competed in the triple jump, 100 and 200.

During Friday's preliminaries the senior set the pace in both of the track events, winning the 100 in 12.37 and the 200 in 25.68 and claiming the top seed in Saturday's finals.

She also was the top seed in the triple jump as she qualified for state with a leap of 38-7 during the Section 8A meet.

Brittany Wagner of Clearbrook-Gonvick also competed Friday and the sophomore tied for 13th in the high jump by clearing 5-0.

In Saturday's Class A boys division Mark Goss of Bagley-Fosston competed in the high jump.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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