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2012 YEAR IN REVIEW: Another great season for Bemidji High School sports teams

Bemidji baseball players celebrate the eight-inning victory over Eden Prairie in the state semifinals. The runner-up finish at the state tournament was one of the 2012 highlights for the Bemidji High School sports programs. Pat Miller | Bemidji Pioneer1 / 4
Bemidji captains Jess Yost, Blake Bardwell and Allie Heifort celebrate winning the Section 8-3A volleyball championship earlier this year. The Lumberjacks capped their season by winning one of three matches at the state meet. File photo2 / 4
Jess Solberg capped her senior season by advancing to the state girls tennis tournament. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer3 / 4
Steph Frey capped her senior season by finishing second at the state meet in the 200 individual medley and the 200 free. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer4 / 4

BEMIDJI – Another great year for Bemidji High School athletes and their teams has passed and it will be difficult for the programs to duplicate that success in 2013.

The past year began with numerous individuals representing BHS at the winter state high school meets and ended with the volleyball, girls swimming, boys cross country and football teams all winning section titles.


As a team the wrestlers were slowed by injury and illness and lost 43-30 to St. Cloud Apollo in the opening round of the section tournament.

Individually, however, the bright spots were 106-pounder Brian Maas and heavyweight Alex Johnson. Both advanced to the state meet and Maas returned with the third-place medal.

Another wrestling highlight in 2012 was the induction of former Lumberjacks coach Howie Schultz into the Minnesota Wrestling Hall of Fame.

The girls hockey team had a new look in 2012 as Bob Brink assumed the head coaching duties.

Since his arrival Brink has done a wonderful job rebuilding the program.

Last year the Jacks finished 13-11-1 and were seeded fifth in the section, falling to No. 4 Sartell 4-1 in the first round.

“We had an eight-game winning streak and we earned the No 5 seed. I think we accomplished much more than many people thought we would,” Brink said.

“Looking back, I couldn’t be more proud of this team and of the effort the girls gave. It was a heck of a year.”

This year the Jacks started 0-5-4 but they ended 2012 with four straight victories and a 4-5-4 record following last week’s 6-0 win over Brainerd-Little Falls.

The gymnasts were led by senior Katie Jensen who bounced back from ACL surgery late in her junior year. BHS scored 132.425 in the section meet and finished third. Jensen missed a trip to the state in the vault by 0.05 after scoring a 9.20.

An unusually warm winter forced the Nordic skiers to scan the northern half of the state looking for snow and places to compete. By season’s end the boys placed second in the section meet but Tony Sagedahl and Kyle Sagedahl qualified for the state competition.

Kyle finished 52nd and Tony 61st.

The boys hockey team was seeded No. 2 in the section with a 14-11 record. The Jacks blanked River Lakes 6-0 in the tournament opener but the season ended in the semifinals when Brainerd upset Bemidji 3-1.

The girls basketball team had a tough year, finishing 11-15 after losing 74-36 to No. 2 St. Michael-Albertville in the first round of the section tournament.

The boys basketball team fared better, especially in the postseason. Despite being seeded No. 6 Bemidji defeated Elk River 67-64 and Rogers 44-41 to advance to the title game. The season ended, however, with a 44-41 loss to Moorhead in the 8-3A championship battle.

After the season coach Jeff Brown announced his retirement.

“I’ve been coaching since I was 22 years old and I know I’m going to miss the kids and miss working with them. But this is something I felt I needed to do,” Brown said.

Dan Ninham was hired to replace him.

Tyler Hemp represented Bemidji at the state swimming meet in the 200 breast stroke and finished 25th with a time of 1:03.68.

“We were very happy with Tyler’s swim,” said BHS coach Woody Leindecker. “When you come to the state meet and swim your best time it’s a great accomplishment.”


Few Lumberjacks fans will forget the success of the 2012 baseball team. On the strength of a dominant pitching staff, a potent offense and stingy defense, Bemidji compiled a 19-1 record during the regular season and was the No. 1 ranked team in the state’s high school QRF ratings.

The Jacks continued that success in the postseason sweeping their first three section games to advance to the 8-3A title series against St. Cloud Apollo.

Bemidji lost 4-0 in the series opener but made the most of the rematch, nipping Apollo 2-1 and earning a berth in the state tournament.

The state event was delayed a day because of rain so the Jacks had to play the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds on the same day.

They thumped Hill-Murray 5-0 in the opener and overcame Eden Prairie and a blown call by the umpires 8-6 in eight innings in the semifinals.

On a Monday night the Lumberjacks faced Eastview at Target Field for the state championship and, for one of the few times all year, Bemidji’s offense was silenced. Eastview posted a 1-0 win to deny Bemidji of its title.

“We did so many things to stay in that game,” said BHS coach Mike Fogelson. “We kept battling the entire way. We just couldn’t manage to scratch that one run across.”

The Jacks ended the year 25-3.

The softball team was the No. 2 seed in the section but the postseason ended early when Bemidji was blanked 1-0 by No. 7 Rocori in the quarterfinals. Bemidji pitcher Jess Yost fanned 14 and gave up only three hits but the offense never surfaced.

The Lumberjacks finished the year 14-7.

The girls track team sent three individuals and a relay to the state meet.

Maea Wall was 14th in the long jump, Allie Heifort was 10th in the shot and seventh in the discus, and Jenna Truedson was fourth in the mile. The 4x400 relay team of Amy Carey, Megan Serratore, Truedson and Wall was eighth.

Brady Schmidt represented BHS at the state boys track meet but missed the state finals. Also at state was the 4x800 relay team of Scott Huslebus, Sam Carlson, Gunnar Nelson and Elias Hendrickson. The relay team placed ninth.

The boys tennis team lost to Becker in the section semifinals and the first doubles tandem of Adam Holter and Kyle Fodness finished fourth at the section meet.

Trey Dale represented Bemidji at the state golf meet and placed 33rd with rounds of 77-80-157. Katelin Craft and Morgan Williams make it to the second day of the section tournament but neither can make the state cut after both shot 184.

At the annual spring athletic banquet Kim Truedson was named Bemidji’s Senior Female Athlete of the Year and Cody Rutledge received the boys honor.

Truedson competed in cross country, Nordic skiing and track. Rutledge excelled in football, basketball and baseball.

Former BHS coach Lyman Brink received the Lumberjack Award for being instrumental in the development and success of Bemidji athletics.

The BHS Athletic Hall of Fame welcomed four new members: Kristy Wallner, Kevin Bohlig, Troy Hendricks and Fred Swenson.


The girls tennis team had a tremendous fall, posting a 14-1 record and losing only to St. Cloud Tech in the section final.

Individually, Jess Solberg comes through to win the True Second match at the section meet and advanced to the state tournament. The senior dropped both of her state matches but had a banner senior season.

The boys soccer team also had a year to remember as it won the Lakes to Prairie Conference title with a 7-0-1 record, earned the top seed in the sub-section and advanced to the section title game where it fell 3-1 to St. Cloud Cathedral at St. Cloud State, ending the campaign with a 13-2-2 record.

“I think this team has set the standard for future teams to follow,” said coach Rick Toward. “A few years ago we were barely .500 but now look where the program is.”

Isak Sommer was named to the Coaches All State first team.

The girls soccer team was seeded No. 2 in the sub-section with a 10-6 record but its dream of repeating as Section 8A champion died when the Jacks lost 4-3 in overtime to Detroit Lakes in the sub-section semifinals.

BHS finished 11-7 and Erin Booth was named to the All State first team.

The volleyball team received a taste of the state tournament experience in 2011 and this year the Lumberjacks were determined to make a return appearance.

During the regular season BHS went 20-7 and, as it did the previous fall, Bemidji saved its best for the postseason.

In the section meet the Jacks blanked Alexandria, rallied for a 3-2 win at Monticello and hammered Fergus Falls 3-0 to win the championship.

At the state meet Bemidji lost to Blaine in its opener but thumped Owatonna 3-1 in the consolation semifinals for the program’s first state tournament win.

The season ended the next day with a 3-1 loss to Roseville. Bemidji ended 24-9 and Jess Yost was named to the state meet All Tournament team.

State tournament appearances are nothing new to the football program and this fall Bemidji defeated Duluth Denfeld, Cambridge and Chisago Lakes in the section tournament to advance to the state Class 5A event.

In the state opener the Jacks stopped Moorhead 35-14 as Brady Schmidt ran for 320 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries.

The season ended a week later at the Metrodome when Bemidji (9-4) lost 23-0 to eventual state champion Totino-Grace.

“This group worked hard to find their identity and found a way to have a great season. This is a very special bunch of players,” said BHS coach Troy Hendricks. “They came back from the Metrodome with hardware and for me, this is a year I will never forget.”

Also claiming a section title was the boys cross country team. Behind the top-19 individual finishes of Sam Carlson, Elias Hendrickson, Kyle Sagedahl, Adam Lewis and Billy Freyholtz the Lumberjacks won their first section crown since 1998.

BHS finished sixth at the state and Carlson was 23rd individually.

Jenna Truedson and Megan Serratore represented the girls at the state meet. Truedson placed fifth and Serratore 56th.

A section title was also won by the girls swimmers and advancing to the state meet were Lexie Hendricks, Steph Frey, Erin Arndt, Kylei Grosfield, Libby McRae and Alyssa Wright plus all three relay teams.

Frey finished second at state in the 200 individual medley and the 200 free. Hendricks was ninth in the 500 free and the 400 free relay squad of Danielle Hoven, Frey, Maris Jahner and Arndt was 10th.

As a team Bemidji placed 15th.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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