Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.
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Rance Bahr wanted an early-season barometer which would show the potential of the Bemidji wrestling team in the Section 8AAA playdowns so he scheduled tonight's trip to Willmar. "Sauk Rapids and Willmar are the teams to beat in the section so this triangular will give us a good idea as to where we stand in the section," Bahr said. "We look to push both teams and I think we should because we match up well." The evening begins at 5 p.m. when the Lumberjacks tangle with Willmar. Following that match BHS will take on Sauk Rapids. "I'm optimistic that we can leave with two wins," Bahr said.
The winter sports seasons at Bemidji High School expand by two more teams this week as the gymnasts and the boys swimmers begin their schedules. After Saturday only the cross country skiers remain solely in practice mode as they will be off until Dec. 18 when they host the Bemidji Relays. The gymnasts host Park Rapids Friday at 6 p.m. and entertain Fargo South on Saturday at the Gym Bin.
Laura Bieberdorf of Bemidji couldn't wait until today, because the 11-year-old is making her first trip to the Metrodome to see the Vikings play football. "This will be my first time being at a Vikings game and I'm nervous, excited and a whole bunch of other feelings," Bieberdorf said. The youngster is nervous and excited because today's trip is more than a casual journey to the Twin Cities to watch some football.
Superman was known as a quick-change artist as, whenever danger threatened, he would race to an alley to switch from his Clark Kent clothes to the Man of Steel cape and leotards. Saturday afternoon at the Nymore Arena the Bemidji girls hockey players gave Superman a run for his money as they dismantled River Lakes 4-1 and promptly changed from hockey gear to formal wear as they prepared for the annual winter event. "I don't know what to expect," BHS coach Matt Menne said before the game. Apparently the girls are able to separate work from fun as they staged a relentless attack and dominated
Carey Woods hit 15 field goals and finished with 32 points to lead the Bemidji boys basketball team to a 77-55 season-opening victory Friday night at East Grand Forks. Cody Rutledge added 10 points and Ryan Rude had nine. Another three players contributed seven points. "It was a nice win," said Bemidji coach Jeff Brown.
Chaniel Nelson scored from the slot 3:32 into the third period and the defense made the tally stand up as the Bemidji girls hockey team blanked North St. Paul 1-0 Friday at the Nymore rink. Friday's victory was Bemidji's first after opening the year with five losses, four of them on the road. BHS will shoot for its second straight win 1 p.m. today when it hosts Rocori, also at Nymore. Neither team could find the scoreboard during the first two periods but the Jacks finally broke the scoreless duel when Becca Gregg gained control in a scrum and passed to Nelson who was camped in the slot.
Alumni, parents and fans had plenty to cheer about Friday night as the Bemidji wrestling team dismantled Deer River 51-18 at the BHS gym. A year ago the Lumberjacks posted a 6-18 record and Bemidji coach Rance Bahr began this season believing that his team could double that victory total. Friday's performance gave evidence that the Jacks might be able to reach the coach's hoped-for victory total. After spotting Deer River a 6-0 lead at 103 BHS took complete control with five consecutive wins.
For the second time in two nights the BHS boys hockey team was victorious on the road. Thursday the Jacks won 4-1 at East Grand Forks and Friday they downed Monticello 6-3. Tyler Follis and Matt Serratore each had a pair of goals Friday. Jordan Heller and Steve Heller also scored. Bemidji took a 3-0 lead after the opening stanza and was ahead 4-2 after the second period. Third-period goals by Steve Heller and Follis iced the victory. Jeremiah Graves had nine saves in the BHS net while the Jacks sent 41 shots at the Monticello netminder. Bemidji's B-team also is 2-0.
The inability to maintain possession proved fatal to the girls basketball team as Bemidji committed 42 turnovers during Thursday's 42-38 home loss to Sauk Rapids in the season opener. "Most of the turnovers were what I call 'scared' turnovers," said BHS coach Rick Kehoe. "Too many of our kids were playing scared and we need to get after it and see if we can fix those problems." The Lumberjacks led 20-14 at intermission but Sauk Rapids (1-1) opened the second half with a 12-2 run to take a lead it would never relinquish. "We played well for stretches but we weren't consistent," Kehoe said.
A pair of Bemidji winter sports teams begin their seasons today when the wrestlers host Deer River at 7:30 p.m. and the boys basketball squad heads to East Grand Forks for a 7:30 p.m. start. Joining the wrestlers in the home spotlight today will be the BHS girls hockey team which entertains North St. Paul at Nymore. The boys basketball squad will also be in action as it heads to Monticello for a 7 p.m.