And then there were two.
The top two seeds have raced through the Banner Bracket field for a championship showdown, but only one can be crowned as the ultimate winner in our quest to find the greatest state championship team ever assembled at Bemidji High School.
Will it be Chuck Grillo’s 1973 baseball team, which won the program its lone state title behind near-untouchable pitching throughout the state tournament? Or will Eric Niskanen’s dominant 1997 golfers usurp the throne with a rare upset? Your vote will help decide.
Both ran away with victories in the semifinals. The baseball team garnered 62.5% of readers’ votes over the fourth-seeded 1989 boys golf team, while the ‘97 golf team accumulated 57.4% of votes over the third-seeded 1948 boys basketball team.
The 1973 baseball team’s path to the championship also included a first-round victory over the 16th-seeded 1975 boys golf team and a quarterfinal victory over the eighth-seeded 2004 girls golf team. The 1997 golfers topped the 15th-seeded 1956 boys golf team in the first round and the 10th-seeded 1936 boys basketball team in the quarterfinals.
Championship voting will remain open for 48 hours, closing at noon on Thursday, April 2. Cast your ballot below.
View semifinal matchups and results here.
UPDATE: Read the history of the championship winner here.
(1) 1973 baseball vs. (2) 1997 boys golf
1973 baseball: The boys of summer are the top seed for a reason. Earl Sargent threw a no-hitter in the state tournament opener, also driving in the game’s only run for a 1-0 win over Glencoe, and Andy Kannenberg tossed back-to-back four-hitters in the semifinals and finals. Led by head coach Chuck Grillo and assistant Des Sagedahl, the Lumberjacks finished 18-4 and captured their lone state crown with a 3-1 victory over Winona.
1997 boys golf: The 1997 team may be the most dominant of all Bemidji boys golf squads. The Lumberjacks only lost once all year under head coach Eric Niskanen, and it came when the BHS B Team upended the BHS A Team at the Bemidji Invitational. The Jacks still rolled to the state championship with a team score of 625, and no school in Minnesota has more state titles (seven) or appearances (25) than the Jacks.
(1) 1973 baseball 32% (2) 1997 boys golf 68%
Which was the greatest state championship team in Bemidji High School history?
Thank you for voting!
(1) 1973 baseball
(2) 1997 boys golf