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Pat Miller: This Week at Bemidji High School - Spring sports programs hope that spring is truly on the way

In spring optimism reigns supreme and the most optimistic people in northern Minnesota are the coaches and players of the high school sports programs.

A year ago that optimism was countered by the reality of so much snow on the ground that the start of the spring sports seasons were delayed by as much as a month.

And this year the conditions do not seem to be much better.

Sunday’s warmth provided a hint of what is to come but it will take more than a few days of above-freezing temperatures to melt the two feet of snow that still covers the ground. When that snow does melt the water may not have anywhere to go because the frost line is so deep that little saturation will occur and the snow on the landscape will be replaced with standing water and mud.

Hopefully the optimists are correct this year and the weather will cooperate to the point where the spring seasons can start on time.

Bemidji’s track and field programs know that they will be able to get in their early-season meets because of the Gillett Recreation and Fitness Center at BSU.

The facility will be home to three indoor meets this spring, starting with the Lions Invitational on March 22.

The area track teams will return to BSU on March 25 for the Paul Bunyan Invitational and the indoor season will end April 1 with the Little Amik.

A year ago the Rec Center hosted two extra meets because the outdoor seasons were pushed back a month and the athletes were hungry for competition. This spring the BHS track teams are scheduled to begin their outdoor campaigns April 8.

An early spring is always on the Christmas wish list for the Lumberjacks baseball, softball, golf and boys tennis players. But their wishes are not always fulfilled.

The tennis players will hold their first practice on March 24 and 10 days later the Lumberjacks are hoping to entertain Perham in the season opener. The meet is one of only five home appearances for the Jacks while they will be on the road for 11 meets.

On April 10 the Lumberjacks are scheduled to entertain Park Rapids and Grand Rapids and on May 6 Bemidji will host Detroit Lakes and East Grand Forks.

The other home appearances are May 12 against Crookston and May 13 against Moorhead and Thief River Falls.

The baseball team has a schedule that is stacked with home games. Beginning with a doubleheader against Moorhead April 10 at BSU, the Jacks will be home 11 times, including May 16-17 for the Des Sagedahl Wooden Bat Invitational.

Baseball schedules, however, are subject to change on a day-by-day basis so only time will tell how many home games BHS will get in this spring.

The same is true for spring softball in northern Minnesota. The Lumberjacks begin the year with seven listed home dates, including May 12 against International Falls and May 15 against Grand Rapids to end the regular season.

The season openers are also scheduled to be played at BHS as Detroit Lakes and Thief River Falls plan to visit on April 11 for a triangular.

Bemidji’s other home dates will be April 22 against Duluth East, April 29 against West Fargo, My 2 against Brainerd and May 9 against Fergus Falls.

The schedules for the Lumberjacks girls and boys golf teams are still in flux. The coaches know where and when they want to play but their travels are dictated by the weather and by which courses are available.

Once the snow melts and the area courses open the teams will spend every weekend and many week days playing golf somewhere.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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