Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.
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At Friday's second round of the 8AAA girls golf meet Bemidji's Meg Phelps had to be at the top of her game just to survive. The junior was in a group that featured the girls who would eventually finish one-two-three in the 36-hole tournament and some golfers would feel intimidated by such a pairing. Phelps, however, viewed it as a stroke of good fortune. "Actually, being in that group helped me play better," Phelps said.
State meet berths will be on the line today when the Bemidji boys and girls track and field teams join their 8AA peers at the second day of the section competition in Brainerd. On Tuesday Selina Gilbertson qualified for the state meet in the girls discus as she captured the section title with a person-best throw of 122-11. Gilbertson will try to qualify for state in a second event today when she competes in the shot put along with teammates Allie Heifort and Callie Johnson. The Lumberjacks girls team had a pair of athletes gain today's finals after doing well in Wednesday's preliminaries.
Meg Phelps enters today's second round of the Section 8AAA golf tournament in fourth place and a state meet berth is well within her reach. During Thursday's 18 holes at the Long Prairie Golf Course Phelps shot 39-49-88. She trails only Maggie Leland of Alexandria (76), Katie Kruchien of Apollo (81) and Megan Davis of Buffalo (84) in the individual scoring. BHS had two other girls shoot under 100, Emily Frosaker who finished at 93 and Shelby Sauer who fired a 95.
The Cass Lake-Bena baseball team extended its season-long unbeaten stretch to 24 games Thursday as it downed Nevis in the subsection semifinals and slipped past Fosston in the 8AA East championship game. Both games were played at the Bemidji State diamond. In between the CL-B contests Fosston eliminated Lake of the Woods 10-0 behind a no-hitter by Steve Lyseng to set the stage for the game against the Panthers. Thursday's wins vaulted the Cass Lake-Bena into Tuesday's Section 8A title series at BSU as the top seed from the East. CL-B will open the action at 1 p.m.
Bemidji High School senior Selina Gilbertson captured the discus title at Wednesday's Section 8AA track and field meet in Sauk Rapids and earned a berth in the state meet which will be June 11-12 at Hamline. "Winning the discus was a shock," said Gilbertson, who finished second in the event at last year's section meet. "We were all seeded very close and I'm just glad I happened to have a good day." Gilbertson was in the final group of discus throwers to compete Wednesday and in an earlier heat a rival threw over 118 feet. "My first throw was one inch farther than hers," Gilbertson said.
The Section 8A baseball tournament shifts to Bemidji State University today for the East Subsection semifinals which begin at noon. Cass Lake-Bena will battle Nevis in today's opener and Lake of the Woods will face Fosston at 2:30 p.m. Those winners will qualify for the Section 8A semifinals and will lock horns at 5 p.m. today to determine the Subsection's seeding. On June 8 the East champion will meet the West runner-up at 1 p.m. at BSU and following that game the East runner-up will face the West champion. Those winners will play at 4 p.m.
Ann Aitken has an eye on the future when talking about her high school accomplishments. "Many of the things I have done in my high school career I did for my family and my little sister, 6-year-old Josie," said Aitken, who just graduated from Cass Lake-Bena. "I want to show Josie that she can accomplish anything she wants in life if she puts her mind to it." Aitken's most recent accomplishment occurred Tuesday at the Bemidji Town & Country Club when she qualified for the Class A state golf tournament for the third consecutive spring. Aitken carded a 99 and tied for third among the golfers
Trey Dale, Joe Welle and Rylee Curb put themselves into a position to qualify for the state meet as individuals after placing among the leaders at Wednesday's section meet in Sauk Centre. In order to advance to state a golfer must place in the top five among the competitors not on the state tournament team qualifier. That team will be either Moorhead or Alexandria as the Spuds shot 295 Wednesday and the Cardinals 299. A distant third was Brainerd at 318.
The season ended for the Bemidji softball team Wednesday as the Lumberjacks dropped a 2-1 decision to Big Lake in the loser's bracket final of the Section 8AAA tournament. Brainerd eventually claimed the title and its reward, a state tournament berth, by downing Big Lake 3-0. BHS (17-6) played much better than it did Monday when the defense committed nine errors in the 4-3 loss to Big Lake. "It was a good game," Jacks coach Brad Takkunen said. "We reduced our strikeouts to six and cut our errors from nine to three.
The Bemidji girls golf team are not favored to win the Section 8AAA team title today and Friday but BHS coach Jeff Nelson believes that the Lumberjacks could make an impact in the individual portion of the tournament. "The top team and the top six individuals not on the winning team advance to state and I think we have a shot at some of those spots," Nelson said. Long Prairie is the site of the 36-hole tournament and the Jacks have been honing their skills to counter the quirks of the course. "The course is long and demanding," Nelson said.