Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.
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The Bemidji boys swimming team had no trouble with Thief River Falls Tuesday as the Lumberjacks breezed to a 105-64 dual-meet victory at Thief River Falls. BHS won nine of the 11 events and setting the tone was the 200 medley relay squad of Tyler Hemp, Matt Arndt, Dylan Hoven and Seth Olson which won the event in 2:00.09. The Prowlers took the 200 free but the Jacks captured the next six events to end any suspense. "There was no diving because the pool is too shallow and the meet took only about an hour," said Bemidji coach Woody Leindecker.
The reconstruction of the University of Minnesota football program is underway and Bemidji High School senior Ernie Heifort Jr. will be part of that process. After spending the weekend at the U of M and meeting Gophers head coach Jerry Kill and his assistants, Heifort verbally committed to the Gophers.
The winter sports seasons begin in November and continue into March and five months of seemingly never-ending practices and competitions can take their physical and emotional toll. "We've been working hard since November and we need a week or two of rest in order to give our bodies a chance to heal," said BHS wrestling coach Rance Bahr. "This is the time to do that. We don't have a meet until Saturday (the Thief River Falls Invitational) and we're going to take mostly junior varsity kids to that. For the varsity, we're going to take it easy this week and take the weekend off.
The Bemidji High School boys Nordic ski team finished fourth in Monday's 16-team Little Falls Invitational at Camp Ripley. St. Cloud Tech took team honors with 464 points while the Lumberjacks were in the hunt with 440. In between were Anoka with 451 and Little Falls with 441. Little Falls is considered among the favorites to win the section meet, so BHS coach Mark Walters was very pleased with how his team competed. "The boys did super well," Walters said.
The Blackduck/Cass Lake-Bena/Indus wrestling team is enjoying a resurgence under coach Jay Reiplinger. Saturday the Bears scored 90 points and saw Devon Staples capture second place in the 130-pound division of the Rick Lee Invitational hosted by Bemidji. On Friday BCLBI went 2-1 at a meet in Mahnomen, losing 64-18 to Crookston before blitzing RLCC 66-14 and edging UNC 41-36. Those results gave the Beavers a 5-7 dual-meet record. At the Rick Lee meet Staples upped his individual record to 14-7 by going 2-1.
After spotting Roseau a 2-0 lead the Bemidji boys hockey team caught fire and blitzed the Rams 7-3 Saturday at the Community Arena. Saturday's triumph extended the Lumberjacks' winning streak to seven games and upped the overall record to 14-1-1. Roseau fell to 7-7. "We were reacting a little slowly in the first period but we picked it up in the second and by the third period we were clicking," said BHS coach Wade Chiodo. "It was a heck of a third period. The kids were flying." As good teams do Bemidji improved as the game continued.
The end of the regular season for the Bemidji girls hockey team is less than three weeks away and the Lumberjacks are making their push to enter the section playoffs at the peak of their game. Saturday afternoon at Nymore Arena the Lumberjacks continued their improved play as they knocked off Brainerd-Little Falls 6-5. The Flying Warriors are among the elite teams in the section and they entered Saturday's contest 11-2-2.
The Bemidji wrestling team recorded three champions and two runners-up on way to fifth place at Saturday's Rick Lee Invitational in Bemidji. Logan Crosby won the title at 119 as did Kade Johnson at 145 and Brenden Fredrickson at 171. In the team competition, BGMR took the title with 207 points while Aitken had 195, Perham 174.5, Royalton 152 and Bemidji 148.5. Trailing the pack were Nashwauk with 91, BCLBI with 90 and Roseau with 76. "Any time you advance five kids to the finals and get three champions it's a good day," said BHS coach Rance Bahr.
Katie Jensen scored 33.4 in the All-Around to lead the Bemidji gymnastics team at Saturday's Moorhead Invitational. Friday night the Lumberjacks competed in the Alexandria tournament and the athletes were asked to do back-to-back competitions. "It was a long night," said BHS coach Don Papreck. "I think it affected us. We were a little shaky on the beam and had some hesitations on the bars." Saturday's meet attracted five teams. Edina, Moorhead and Bemidji formed the top pool and Park Rapids faced Frazee in the other.
Bemidji sports fans are offered a full day of action today as three BHS teams enjoy the local spotlight. The home schedule begins at 10 a.m. with the start of the annual Rick Lee wrestling invitational. At 1 p.m. the girls hockey team drops the puck at Nymore against Brainerd-Little Falls and the day will conclude with the boys hockey team entertaining Roseau 7:30 p.m. at the Community Arena. Today's lone road outing sees the gymnastics team heading to the Moorhead Invitational. Today's marquee matchup sees the boys hockey team hosting Roseau.