Lumberjacks' Nordic skiers honored at annual awards night
The Bemidji Nordic ski teams were honored Monday night at then annual Awards Night ceremony at the Hobson Union. Special guests were the boys and girls varsity teams which enjoyed banner years this winter. The boys returned to the state meet for ...
The Bemidji Nordic ski teams were honored Monday night at then annual Awards Night ceremony at the Hobson Union.
Special guests were the boys and girls varsity teams which enjoyed banner years this winter.
The boys returned to the state meet for the first time in over a decade. The girls qualified Jill Smith for the second straight season.
The boys went on to finish sixth at the state while Smith ended 15th in the girls' individual pursuit race.
The girls also took sixth and the boys seventh in the 24-team coaches' relays.
Coach Mark Walters served as emcee extending his thanks to the parents for their continued support through the season.
Assistant Ryan Aylesworth pointed to the increased numbers this winter as a sure sign the program is heading in the right direction. He challenged the returning skiers to set higher standards for 2007 and begin working now to achieve them. He stressed that off season conditioning is a must if the team is to achieve success.
Walters stressed the team's unity as its strongest suit with almost every skier more interested in team success than individual attainments.
"Its top goal," he stated, "is to send both full teams to the state meet next winter."
"Our improvement," he said, "is not going unnoticed among other coaches and other teams who now recognize Bemidji as a top opponent in the section and area."
He pointed to the newly constructed cross country trails in the school forest as a major step forward, negating the half hour bus trip to Buena Vista to practice each day and allowing for more time spent on the course.
"The trails," he added, "have unlimited possibilities not only for high school skiing but also cross country running, hiking, recreational skiing and other uses."
The team's increased size and depth were other strong suits with the JV boys often claiming the top 5-10 places in their meets.
Only Croix Fylpaa skied in all 14 boys' meets this winter and only Jill Smith, Brynna Nelson and Brynn Stember in all of the girls' meets.
But teammates always filled the gaps when starters were missing to keep the teams winning.
After citing his 39 skiers individually for their efforts this year, he named Sue Bruns as the recipient of the Volunteer of the Year Award for her contributions to the program this winter.
Ski-a-thon certificates were presented to those skiers who took part in that event which raised around $1,000 for the team.
After extending special recognition to his four departing seniors, he named Rachel Smith (JV) and Laura Rogers (varsity) as the Most Improved girls skiers and Nick Hudson (JV) and James Powell (varsity) as the Most Improved boys.
The Most Valuable Skiers Awards were won by Smith and Fylpaa.
Smith and Stember were reelected to serve as girls captains in 2007. Waylon Manske and Tommy Roetman were named to head the boys' team succeeding Eric Bruns and Fylpaa.
The captains extended their special thanks to their two coaches presenting special gifts to each along with team pictures from the conference meet at Walker.
Special gifts of picture albums went to the four seniors.
Walters ended by citing the addition of new uniforms this year as another boost to the program. He estimated that upcoming ninth graders next year contrasted to the small graduation loss should swell the ranks to 50 or more skiers next winter.
Earning their 2006 ski letters were;
SENIORS: Kelsey Dunn, Eric Bruns, Croix Fylpaa and Scott Huffman
JUNIORS: Jill Smith, Brynna Nelson, Brynn Stember, Linda Rogers, Waylon Manske, Matt Nistler, Tommy Roetman, Derek Smith, Matt Fossen, Zach Claussen, Leif Voltz and Chris Gustafson
SOPHOMORES: Maggie Manske, Laura Wagner, Laura Rogers, Emily Lawrence and James Powell.
The letter criteria was participating in 25 percent of the varsity meets.
The second winter banquet, the girls hockey fete, was held last night.