Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.
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While the Bemidji football players celebrated Friday's Section 7-4A championship victory over Grand Rapids Lumberjacks head coach Troy Hendricks stood in the background soaking in the view. "I feel like a proud parent," Hendricks said following the 33-18 victory."We are a family and this family has been through quite a bit this year. We have seniors on the team who never had a chance to play. We always had players missing because of injury. It has been a difficult year in many ways. "But throughout everything this team has pulled together.
The Bemidji football players have earned the home field for the Section 7-4A playoff championship game and hope to take full advantage of the rare opportunity when they host Grand Rapids at 7 p.m. today. "I can't remember the last time Bemidji athletes played in a section final at home," said BHS coach Troy Hendricks. "This opportunity is a reward for the work the kids did during the regular season." The Lumberjacks will take an 8-1 record into tonight's contest while the second-seeded Thunderhawks are 7-2.
Blaze orange will be the dominant color in the area forests and fields Saturday as Minnesota sportsmen return to their stands for the 2010 firearms deer opener. The weather forecast calls for near perfect conditions for the hunters as temperatures are expected to reach the 50s during the day and hover near freezing at sunrise.
It's been more than 10 years since Bemidji has had a representative in the girls state cross country meet but that streak will be broken Saturday when Jenna Truedson joins the Class AA field for the 2 p.m. race at St. Olaf. The Lumberjacks eighth grader earned her spot by finishing fifth at last weekend's Section 8AA meet in Fergus Falls. "I'm excited and a little nervous about going to state for the first time," Truedson said. "It would have been nice to have my sister (Kim Truedson) and Bailey Drewes race with me but that didn't happen. When the season started my goal was to get to state.
Jessica and Cortne Solberg have been named the co-Most Valuable Players for Bemidji's girls tennis team while Katie Ditmanson and Emma Nielsen earned the Coach's Award. Girls soccer coach Kelly Schoonover also has announced her team awards and Erin Booth was named the Most Valuable Player. "Cortne provided outstanding leadership as captain and took on the role of No. 1 singles," said BHS tennis coach Mark Fodness. "She was the best player on the team and really showed what dedication and hard work can accomplish. "Jessica led the team in wins and is also very dedicated," Fodness continued.
Despite upsetting Kelliher-Northome last week in the Section 8A volleyball tournament's second round Cass Lake-Bena was supposed to go away quietly Monday night when the fifth-rated Panthers met top-seeded Fosston. CL-B, however, came out with enthusiasm and determination and dominated the first game on way to a 25-14 victory. Fosston eventually lived up to its top billing and went on to advance to Thursday's semifinals at UM-Crookston with a 14-25, 25-11, 25-14, 25-11 victory. The Greyhounds will face No. 2 seed Lake of the Woods in the semifinals.
Extended road trips are nothing new to the Bemidji volleyball team. and tonight the Lumberjacks will endure another when they head to St. Michael. There will, however, be extra zip in their steps tonight because BHS and St. Michael-Albertville are playing in the Section 8-3A semifinals. Because it is election day, no high school event can start prior to the close of the polls so today's match will begin at 8:01 p.m. "It's always exciting to be playing in a section semifinal," said Bemidji coach Teresa Colligan.
Saturday's performance wasn't perfect, but Bemidji High School football coach Troy Hendricks would take such an effort, and the result, every time. The Lumberjacks advanced to next Friday's 7 p.m.
If you run into Bemidji State University football defensive coordinator Rich Jahner, don't be surprised if he is grinning from ear to ear. His nature is to always be in a good mood and his approach to the world around him always takes a positive spin. Well, almost always. Jahner admits that on game-day mornings his demeanor changes. His way of psyching for the upcoming gridiron challenges is to adopt a less cordial persona, at least internally. When the Beavers faced Northern State Saturday at Chet Anderson Stadium, Jahner didn't have to wait very long to return to his old self, however.
For the first time in over a decade the Bemidji girls cross country team will be represented at the state meet. Friday in Fergus Falls eighth grader Jenna Truedson finished fifth individually at the Sectioin 8AA meet and earned a trip to the state competition which will be next Saturday at St.