Back in the swing of things: This week and beyond in Bemidji High School fall sports

With the arrival of the 2021-22 school year, here’s what to look for during week one of high school fall sports.

101020.S.BP.BHSGTEN Savannah Haugen duplicate
Bemidji's Savannah Haugen follows through on a return during a No. 1 singles match in the 2020 Section 8AA Tournament against Detroit Lakes at BHS. (Pioneer file photo)
We are part of The Trust Project.

Fall sports are ready to take center stage once again at Bemidji High School, as the Lumberjacks get set to raise the curtain on a new season at the fields, courts, course and pool.

With the arrival of the 2021-22 school year, here’s what to look for during week one of high school fall sports.

The girls tennis team has the busiest week of all, and they’ve already kicked off the season with a third-place showing at Monday’s Pine City Power Tournament . Longtime ace Savannah Haugen won the No. 1 singles bracket, while Darby Neis and Maddie Jensen captured the No. 3 doubles title.

The team is back in action Wednesday, Aug. 25, for its home opener, hosting Alexandria at 2 p.m. and then Thief River Falls under the lights at 7:30 p.m. BHS won’t get much of a break from there, as it has home matches on Thursday against Eveleth-Gilbert and Perham, as well as Friday against Hibbing.

The Bemidji volleyball team ushers in a new campaign against one of its most heated rivals. The Jacks will host an annual adversary in Alexandria at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 26. BHS will also take part in Saturday’s Breakdown Tip Off Classic at Hopkins High School.


110420.S.BP.BHSVB Allie Lillquist.jpg duplicate
Bemidji's Allie Lillquist (1) hits from the right side in a November 2020 match against Brainerd at Bemidji High School. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

The Bemidji soccer teams kick off the year on Saturday, Aug. 28, with a doubleheader at St. Cloud Cathedral. The boys play at noon and the girls at 2 p.m. The Lumberjacks will get their first taste of playing at home the following week, with the girls hosting Detroit Lakes on Sept. 2 and the boys hosting Moorhead on Sept. 3.

Cross country will also be off and running by 9:30 a.m. Saturday, when BHS will compete at the Perham Invite. The Lumberjacks will have to wait until Oct. 19 for a home meet, but they’ll sooner be close to home for the Bagley Invite on Sept. 21.

The wait for the regular season is a little longer for the football and girls swimming and diving teams. The swimmers will go first, heading to the Detroit Lakes Invite on Aug. 30 before a road dual at Brainerd on Aug. 31. The BHS pool will welcome in a myriad of swimmers on Sept. 11 with the Bemidji Invitational.

And the football team will finally return to the gridiron at 7 p.m. on Sept. 2 for a home game against Rogers.

All of these teams missed out on a chance to compete at state in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns throughout Minnesota. The girls tennis team captured the Section 8AA championship, and, just hours later, the boys cross country team did the same behind Nathan Alto’s medalist performance.

The football team won a Section 8-5A semifinal game but didn’t get to play for the title because state restrictions shut down the playoffs, and the volleyball team didn’t even make it to the postseason before meeting the end of the line.


Mady Schmidt also had an unbeaten diving season in the pool and captured the individual Section 8A championship in 2020.

So, as the fall sports season returns to a full-fledged affair in 2021, be ready for a bevy of Bemidjians to make new headlines.

Micah Friez is the former sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he worked at the Pioneer from 2015-23 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing.
What To Read Next
Bemidji’s best event was the 400-yard free relay. Moses Son, Walker Erickson, Tanner Johnson and Adam Allery took first, and Brayden Anderson, Kyle Yoder, Matthew Winkle and Will Termont took second.
Isaac Severts laid in the game-winning bucket with 1.6 seconds left to lift Bemidji over West Fargo on Thursday night. The Lumberjacks erased a nine-point deficit in the final two minutes.
Facing Roseau in a key Section 8AA matchup, the Lumberjacks fell behind almost immediately. That set the tone for a game of quick scores, which the Rams excelled at in a 6-2 victory.
At its board of directors meeting Thursday, the MSHSL approved a switch in the number of weight classes in wrestling and voted on a proposal to seed all eight teams in football state tournaments.