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BHS inducts five into Athletic Hall of Fame

Former Bemidji High School athletes (left to right) Tara (Hiscock) Helleloid, Ryan Welle, Tom Hill and Bob Glass – as well as unpictured Leo Eugene Cooper, who died in 1979 – were inducted into the BHS Athletic Hall of Fame on Monday at Bemidji High School. (Ryan Pietruszewski | Bemidji Pioneer)1 / 2
Sadie Hamrin and Linaes Whiting were named Lumberjack Athletes of the Year on Monday night at the Bemidji High School Athletic Hall of Fame banquet at BHS. (Ryan Pietruszewski | Bemidji Pioneer)2 / 2

BEMIDJI -- Bemidji High School honored dozens of athletes at the BHS Athletic Hall of Fame banquet Monday night, inducting five into the hall of fame, announcing 12 athletic scholarships, handing out more than 80 senior varsity letters and other awards and naming the male and female Lumberjack Athletes of the Year.

“It was a great night,” activities director Troy Hendricks said. “We had five inductees who were all very deserving. Our male and female athletes are wonderful kids, and we had great senior participation with the letterwinners, 80-plus kids being recognized for their accomplishments. From my standpoint, it’s a great opportunity for us to celebrate all the good things that these kids do at BHS, and the coaches and the work that they put themselves through for our programs.”

This year’s inductees were Bob Glas, Tom Hill, Ryan Welle, Tara (Hiscock) Helleloid and Leo Eugene Cooper, all of whom attended the banquet and made acceptance speeches except for Cooper, who died in 1979.

After the speeches and the awarding of the scholarships, letterwinners and most valuable player awards for this school year, superintendent James Hess announced Eric “Big E” Nelson as the recipient of this year’s Lumberjack Award, and the crowd erupted into a standing ovation.

Seeing the senior student-athletes experience the banquet for the last time in their high school careers, Hendricks said he hopes they realize is “that they’re a part of something special.

“They’re a part of a legacy, a tradition that has been around for decades and decades and decades, and they should be proud of their accomplishments and proud of where they come from, their roots. Because soon they’ll all leave. Maybe some of them will come back, but by and large they go off to college, and you hope that they take something from Bemidji that they can utilize for the rest of their lives like the five inductees said they did from BHS and their time here as Lumberjacks.”

Hamrin, Whiting named Athletes of the Year

As the last item on the banquet program, Hendricks announced seniors Sadie Hamrin and Linaes Whiting as this year’s Lumberjack Athletes of the Year.

Hamrin earned nearly countless varsity letters and went to several state tournaments throughout her time as a Lumberjack. As a senior, she was captain of the cross country, nordic skiing and track and field teams, and she earned most valuable player honors in cross country and nordic skiing this season.

When she found out she won Athlete of the Year, she said she wasn’t expecting it.

“I’m going to be honest, I was surprised,” Hamrin said. “I was surprised, but I was super excited. It’s the best way to end my high school career. It’s unreal.

“It’s amazingly rewarding because I’ve always put sports first. Even if I’m not supposed to, I’ve always put them first. Trying to balance everything, especially the last two years have been crazy busy and it’s been really hard, but sports have always been my No. 1 and it’s so rewarding.”

And perhaps Hamrin’s most impressive skill is away from the courses and tracks, as she plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in violin performance at the Baylor School of Music, starting in the fall.

Whiting has spent time on six different BHS varsity teams, including five in each school year since he was a sophomore. This year he was in soccer, football and cross country in the fall,  basketball in the winter, and this spring he decided to go out for baseball instead of his usual spring sport, track and field.

Listening to the four inductees’ speeches on Monday night, Whiting took interest in their stories.

“Just for them to share all their memories and what it was like for them to be a Lumberjack back then, it’s really inspiring and it’s really cool to see those guys come back,” he said. “A lot of them are successful and happy, and that’s the important thing I think.”

After the banquet, Whiting took some time to look back on his career as a Lumberjack and pick out what he’ll remember most in the years to come.

“I’ll remember all the coaches and all the teammates I’ve had,” he said. “Each team was different. Each coach was different. Each way you find out how to win a game is different. It was just a lot of fun, and I appreciate all the coaches and teammates who made me a better player and a better person.”