Bemidji High skiers honored on Awards Night

The Bemidji High Nordic ski teams were honored Tuesday night at their annual Awards Night ceremony at the Beaux Arts Ball Room in the Hob son Memorial Union.

The Bemidji High Nordic ski teams were honored Tuesday night at their annual Awards Night ceremony at the Beaux Arts Ball Room in the Hob son Memorial Union.

The teams completed one of their finest seasons with the boys' team returning to the state meet and placing fourth while Jill Smith and Maggie Manske reached the girls' individual competition where Smith finished ninth.

Coaches Mark Walters and Ryan Aylesworth, completing their fourth season at the helm, served as emcees.

Aylesworth termed the season "an awesome year." He was especially proud of his seniors who he inherited as freshmen his first varsity coaching year and had had two years previously at the Middle School.

"The growth and improvement of this group was remarkable," he said.


At the same time he challenged the returning skiers to begin preparing now to take over leadership roles next winter and keep the team at the upper level of the area.

"From a weather standpoint, this was the worst year in our history," said Walters. "We had practically no snow all year which hampered practice and made us scramble to find places to hold meets. But the team held together well and seemed to enjoy the hard times."

He pointed out the large turnout this year which included 12 seniors plus a pair of foreign exchange students.

"This group proved to be great role models for the younger skiers and because of it our future looks very, very promising."

He pointed in particular to the dominant season of the boys' JV team which won almost every race it entered.

He also thanked the seniors for four wonderful years.

To the returning cast he said the coaching staff is preparing a program for summer workouts which will be distributed later this spring.

Participation certificates were given to all skiers. Present were five freshmen, 14 sophomores, seven juniors and all 14 seniors.


The 23 letter inners were introduced, 12 boys and 11 girls with the determining factor participation in at least 25% of the varsity meets.

Zach Oelrich and Jessie Bruns were named the Most Improved Skiers while Smith and Matt Nistler were selected by their peers as the Most Valuable Skiers.

Smith also earned an All-State Academic Award.

Smith and Waylon Manske have qualified for the Junior Olympic National this week end at Salt Lake City, Utah.

Special recognition went to this year's captains, Jill Smith, Brynn Stember, Waylon Manske Derek Smith and Tom Roetman.

State tournament certificates were presented to the seven members of the boys' team plus Smith and Maggie Manske from the girls.

The girls captains presented gifts to both coaches and their wife and fiancée before conducting the annual Captains Roast.

Both sets of captains thanked the coaching staff for its dedication and devotion during the season and urged their younger teammates to work hard next year to maintain Bemidji at the top of the area teams.


Named to lead the 2008 ski teams were Jared Davis and James Powell for the boys' team and Maggie Manske and Rachel Smith for the girls.

Aylesworth announced that Walters has been chosen as Minnesota skiing's co-coach of the year.

In departing, Walters encouraged his seniors to pursue collegiate careers in the sport but, if not, to continue skiing through the rest of their lives.

2008 ski letterwinners


SENIORS: Derek Smith, Waylon Manske, Matt Nistler, Tommy Roetman, Matt Fossen, Zach Claussen , Chris Gustafson and Leif Voltz

JUNIORS; James Powell and Jared Davis

SOPHOMORES: Wes Rogers and Zach Oelrich



SENIORS: Jill Smith, Brynna Nelson, Brynn Stember and Linda Rogers

JUNIORS: Maggie Manske and Laura Wagner

SOPHOMORES: Laura Rogers, Jessie Bruns and Emily and Sarah Lawrence

FRESHMAN: Molly Manske

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