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This week at BHS: Bemidji winter sports teams begin seasons

The weekend’s snow was proof that fall has officially given way to winter. Another sign of the seasonal change can be found by looking at the activities directory at Bemidji High School.

The Lumberjacks girls hockey team has been playing since Nov. 9 and six games into its schedule BHS has four ties and two losses.

Over the weekend the Lumberjacks dropped a 3-1 decision to St. Cloud and tied Sartell-Sauk Rapids 2-2.

The Jacks will have two opportunities this week to collect that elusive first victory as they travel to Warroad tonight and host Chaska 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Bemidji Community Arena.

Next week Bemidji has only one game, a Dec. 6 home contest against Grand Rapids.

Boys hockey opens today

The boys hockey team makes its debut 7:30 p.m. today at the BCA when it hosts Grand Rapids. Last year the Jacks finished 15-12 and saw their season end with a loss to Brainerd in the section semifinals.

Graduation took a heavy toll on the roster and this year’s team returns only seven players who saw time with the varsity.

“It’s a little different this year because of our inexperience,” said Bemidji coach Wade Chiodo. “Right now we’re trying to find out who the top 12 forwards, the top six defensemen and the top two goalies are. And there is some strong competition for those spots.”

Seven returners include sophomore goalie Gabe Heifort, senior forward Matt Serratore, junior forward Brett Isensee, sophomore forward Mike Sauer, senior defensemen Sam Starkey and Logan Mistic plus junior defenseman Sam Bruestle.

“The kids understand that this year is going to be a process,” Chiodo said. “They understand that we are going to shuffle kids at least through December because we want to find out who the top 20 kids are and have a set lineup in place by January.”

Complicating tonight’s picture are nagging injuries that could keep as many as five players out of the lineup.

“The injuries aren’t anything serious and we should have everybody back within a week,” Chiodo said.

The Lumberjacks will take their first road trip Thursday at St. Cloud Apollo.

Girls basketball visits Pequot

In recent years the varsity girls basketball coaches have been working with small rosters and that trend will continue this winter.

Bemidji will open the 2012-13 schedule tonight at Pequot Lakes and head coach Rick Kehoe will suit 10 varsity players. Among them are seniors Jess Yost, Dani Gronhovd, Greta Steever, Jessa Lusby and Suzanne Myhra.

Yost, Gronhovd and Steever were starters last season.

“Pequot Lakes usually is a very strong Class 2A team and we’ll have to play well to win on Tuesday,” Kehoe said. “Pequot Lakes doesn’t have many 6-footers but it does have a bunch of 5-8 to 5-11 kids who like to rebound and play physical basketball.

“This will be a good test for us,” the coach added.

In addition to the seniors Bemidji’s roster includes juniors Anna Fogarty, Casey Palmer and Rachael Riley plus sophomores Kelsey Olson and Alexa Greendahl.

Junior Cheyenne Woods will also be on the bench although she will miss the year after undergoing knee ligament surgery during the summer.

“Our strength will be our defense. When we work hard on the court we will be a tough team to score against,” Kehoe said.

“But I think we’ll struggle to score. We have some kids who can score but whether we can do that consistently remains to be seen.”

The Lumberjacks will make their home debut Dec. 4 against Thief River Falls.

Wrestlers host Deer River

A group of veterans will anchor Bemidji’s wrestling team this year and headlining the cast are Brian Maas at 120 and heavyweight Alex Johnson.

Last season Maas took third place at the state meet in the 106-pound division. Johnson also competed at state, dropping his only bout.

The Lumberjacks begin their 2012-13 campaign Thursday when they entertain Deer River. On Saturday they head to Fosston-Bagley.

Thursday’s probable lineup will have Indi Farris at 106, Tyler O’Beirne at 113, Maas at 120, Dylon Sauceda at 126, Logan Crosby at 132, Craig Maas at 138, Robert Treuer at 145, Gannon Strain at 152, Drew Peterson at 152, Kade Johnson at 170, Josh Dreyer at 182, Brody Wilander at 195, Ethan Houser at 220 and Johnson at heavyweight.

December openers

Bemidji’s boys basketball, skiing, gymnastics and boys swimming teams all will open the second week of December.

The gymnasts begin their schedule Dec. 7 when they host Park Rapids while the boys and girls skiers are at Grand Rapids on Dec. 8, the same day the boys swimmers travel to St. Cloud Apollo.

The boys basketball team will be home Dec. 7-8 when it opens with the annual Woods and Lakes Classic.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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