Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.
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The Nordic ski teams begin their competitive seasons today as the Bemidji High School boys and girls squads host the Bemidji Relays at the middle school trails. Among the teams expected to join the Lumberjacks are Brainerd, Deer River, Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls and Trek North. Today's action is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. The junior varsity athletes will ski a 5-km skate course.
Thursday's home debut for the Bemidji boys hockey team was a memorable one as the Lumberjacks upped their record to 6-0-1 with a 5-2 victory over Thief River Falls at The Sanford Center. After opening the winter with six consecutive road games the Lumberjacks finally played a home game and they made sure from the opening faceoff that the Prowlers were not going to spoil the homecoming. "The kids played very well, especially in the second and third periods," said BHS coach Wade Chiodo.
When the season began the Bemidji boys hockey players were faced with the task of playing their first six games on the road and dealing with all of the problems and obstacles such a schedule would throw at them. The road trip began with a trek to East Grand Forks and the next night BHS headed to Monticello. During the next week the Jacks would board the bus four more times and stop in Sartell, Moorhead, St. Cloud Apollo and Warroad. "When you are gone that much it is tough to stay healthy, keep up on the academics and perform at a high level," said Bemidji coach Wade Chiodo.
Heading into Thursday's home opener against Thief River Falls Bemidji boys swimming and diving coach Woody Leindecker was anxious to see how his athletes would perform and, overall, he was pleased. "Fundamentally our younger kids did well and many of our upperclassmen matched their taper times from last year's section meet," Leindecker said following Bemidji's 126-54 victory. "I also saw that the split times of the second laps of some races were slower than the lead laps and that's a conditioning thing.
When the season began the schedule makers stuck the Bemidji boys hockey team with a monumental task: opening the winter with six road games. The marathon finally ended Tuesday in Warroad with a 1-0 victory and BHS defied all odds in posting a 5-0-1 record. Steve Heller swatted in a rebound of Tyler Follis' breakaway shot 10:41 into the middle period for Tuesday's lone goal and netminder Jeremiah Graves preserved the victory with 34 saves. "This wasn't a pretty win but anytime you win at Warroad it's a great victory," said Lumberjacks coach Wade Chiodo.
A schedule which included three games in as many days got the better of the Bemidji High School girls hockey team as the Lumberjacks dropped Saturday's 3-1 decision to Moorhead at The Sanford Center. The current stretch of games started Thursday when BHS lost 1-0 to Grand Rapids. Friday saw the Jacks blitz Holy Angels 10-0 but on Saturday the wear and tear of the schedule took its toll. "The kids tried their best but they didn't have anything left in the tank," said Bemidji coach Matt Menne.
The winning ways continued for the Bemidji High School boys hockey team as the Lumberjacks dominated Apollo 6-0 Saturday in St. Cloud. The victory upped Bemidji's overall record to 4-0-1 and the Lumberjacks will conclude their exhausting season-opening road swing Tuesday when they visit Warroad. BHS will finally make its home debut Thursday when it hosts Thief River Falls at The Sanford Center. "We had a lot of shots and kept peppering the net but you could tell that the guys were a little tired," said Bemidji coach Wade Chiodo.
Jake Crosby posted a 4-1 overall record and captured third place at 125 pounds to lead Bemidji High School at this weekend's Paul Bunyan Invitational in Brainerd. After winning twice on Friday Crosby lost Saturday's opener but he rebounded to win his next two matches.
Bemidji High School boys basketball players gave coach Jeff Brown the perfect birthday present Saturday as the Lumberjacks capped a 2-0 record at the Lakes and Woods Classic by downing St. Cloud Cathedral 89-76. Saturday's victory kept the Lumberjacks unbeaten at 4-0. After playing four games in eight days, BHS can now take a breather as the Jacks are off until Dec. 21 when they entertain Sauk Rapids. "Winning Saturday and going 2-0 was a good birthday present," Brown said.
The Bemidji High School boys swimmers and divers participated in the Apollo Relays Saturday and coach Scott Leindecker was pleased with what he saw. "Every event was a relay. There was no individual racing so it was more an exhibition than a meet," Leindecker said. "But it was live racing and we got what we needed out of it. "Many of our swimmers had times that were better than their final times of last season and that was great to see," the coach added. Bemidji begins its dual season Tuesday when it hosts Thief River Falls.