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Bemidji boys, girls shine at Beaver Relays

Bemidji’s Nick Gubbels takes the handoff from Gunnar Nelson in the 4x800 during Friday’s Beaver Relays at BSU’s Gillett Recreation and Fitness Center. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI – Friday’s Beaver Relays began on a whirlwind note for the Bemidji High School boys track and field team. The goal for the 4x800 relay unit was to finish fast enough to qualify for next week’s Hamline Elite meet but the Lumberjacks did even better than they expected.

The team of Gunnar Nelson, Nick Gubbels, Sam Carlson and Elias Hendrickson blew away the competition, completing the race in 8:06.75. Perham was well back in second place at 8:14.70 while Moorhead claimed third in 8:29.24.

The winning time should assure the Lumberjacks a berth in the Hamline meet because it is probably the fastest time this season in the state.

“Before Friday the fastest time that we knew of this year was Wayzata’s 8:11,” said BHS coach Steve Sneide. “Running 8:06 is a phenomenal performance. A few years ago we won the state 4x800 championship and this time is faster than that relay team was running at this point in the season.”

Later in Friday’s meet Hendrickson won the 800 individual race, posting a time of 1:59.08. During the relay the senior was clocked in 1:56.

BHS also capped the meet in fine fashion as it tok the 4x400 relay. Behind the efforts of Nick Gubbels, Carlson, Wakinyan Moore and Hendrickson the Jacks posted a time of 3:35.07. Grand Forks was second in 3:41.10. Bemidji’s second team took fourth in 3:43.07.

The Lumberjacks’ 4x200 relay quartet of Brady Schmidt, Adam Loisel, Nick Gubbels and Moore also had a productive day as it claimed second in 1:35.58.

Individually, Carlson captured second in the mile (4:34.68) while Seth Neubeck was sixth (4:51.43) and Caleb Appleton 13th (4:59.99).

Schmidt was third in the 200 (23.95) and Loisel was 10th in the race (25.02). Tanner Phillips also provided a third place finish in the 60 hurdles (9.02) while Nate Gubbels was eighth (9.56).

Nate Gubbels paced the Jacks in the 200 hurdles as he finished fourth (28.14). BHS went 4-5-11 in the 400 behind Jake Letson (55.85), Logan Hatfield (55.88) and Neubeck (58.22). In the 60 dash, Schmidt was fourth (7.29) and Moore eighth (7.58) and Hatfield contributed a fifth in the long jump (19-8.5).

Andrew Steffes placed sixth in the pole vault (11-6) and Freyholtz was seventh in the 3,200 (10:43.52).

Alex Schussman completed Bemidji’s top-10 finishes with a seventh in the triple jump (37-4).

Girls meet

The prestigious Hamline Elite meet is next Friday and the Bemidji High School girls track and field team traditionally is well represented at the competition.

The goal of most high school athletes is to compete at the Hamline Elite meet but not everyone can because it is invitation-only and the invitations are based on performance.

Normally the invitations are determined by times during the outdoor spring meets but this year’s extended winter has prevented most teams, including Bemidji, from stepping outside. Consequently, Friday’s indoor version of the Beaver Relays at the Gillett Recreation and Fitness Center provided another opportunity for the Lumberjacks to punch another ticket or two to Hamline.

“We limited the girls to two events so we could rest them,” said BHS girls coach Chris Lehman. “We wanted to be fresh so they could run their best times and we could qualify as many kids as possible for the Hamline meet.”

The tactic seemed to work as the Lumberjacks won the 4x400 relay plus four individual events.

“We had a very good meet,” Lehman said.

Claire Laakso, Dani Gronhovd, Jenna Truedson and Maea Wall combined for the relay triumph in a time of 4:09.78. Detroit Lakes was a second behind the Jacks and Moorhead was a distant third, hitting the finish line more than nine seconds behind Bemidji.

“The relay set a fieldhouse record and all four girls had great legs,” Lehman said. “Claire and Dani ran very well, Jenna gave us the lead and Maea held everybody off at the end. It was a fun race to watch.”

The four BHS individual wins came from four different athletes. Amber Peterson dominated the pole vault, soaring 10-4 and winning by 10 inches. Gina Balstad of Bagley-Fosston took second at 9-6.

Wall captured the long jump with a distance of 15-10.5. Teammate Madison Maki was ninth in 14-1.

Allie Heifort continued her stranglehold of the shot put titles at the BSU facility as she heaved the ball 42-9.

Bemidji’s Callie Johnson placed 13th with a 30-11 effort.

Jenna Truedson claimed the 800 with a time of 2:23.07, winning the event by 3.5 seconds.

Bemidji also fared well in the 400 as Wall captured second (1:00.22) and Truedson third (1:00.46). Gronhovd finished sixth (1:05.6) and Jordan Mills 17th (1:09.78).

Also contributing a second-place finish was Emily Falldorf in the high jump with a height of 4-10. Adriane Rickert was sixth (4-8) and Maura Chadwick was 13th (4-6).

Laakso took third in the 60 hurdles (10.06) and Leanne Oakes added a fifth (10.69). Megan Serratore finished sixth in the mile (5:39.10) and Atomic Thorson was 20th in the event (5:59.95).

The Lumberjacks’ 4x200 relay unit of Brittney Beck, Falldorf, Rickert and Greendahl placed eighth (1:59.51) and Falldorf added a ninth-place finish in the 60-meter dash (8.76).

Bemidji’s other top-20 finishers were Mills in the triple jump (28-5.5) and Greendahl in the 200 (30.92).

TrekNorth placed in the top 20 in two events. In the 800, Sarah Hamrin and Sadie Hamrin were seventh (2:37.63) and 12th (2:44.17). Sarah Hamrin also was fifth in the mile (5:37.75) while Sadie Hamrin was 11th (5:49.14).

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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