Bemidji’s Colton Hinrichs, Liberty Dickerson named Lumberjack Athletes of the Year

Nobody was better than Liberty Dickerson or Colton Hinrichs in a Lumberjack uniform over the past few years.

052921.S.BP.AOTY Colton Hinrichs and Liberty Dickerson
Colton Hinrichs (25) and Liberty Dickerson (2) were named Bemidji High School's 2021 Athletes of the Year on Thursday. (Pioneer file photos)

BEMIDJI -- Nobody was better than Liberty Dickerson or Colton Hinrichs in a Lumberjack uniform over the past few years.

The Bemidji High School seniors proved as much on the field, mat and track over their prep careers, and on Thursday, the two were named Female and Male Lumberjack Athletes of the Year.

BHS activities director Troy Hendricks announced the winners on KBUN 104.5.

Hinrichs was a stud on the gridiron and on the wrestling mat.

In football, the linebacker led the team in tackles as a senior and twice earned the North Central Red Sub-District Defensive Player of the Year award. He was also a two-way player, racking up four touchdown runs on the year and tallying six rushing scores in his career. He was a member of the 2018 section championship team, and as a senior, he helped Bemidji to a 5-2 record and a Section 8-5A semifinal win (with no championship game due to COVID-19).


“Colton was a force on both sides of the ball in 2021,” football head coach Bryan Stoffel said. “On defense, teams made it a habit to run away from him, but he still led the team in tackles. Offensively, he was a jack of all trades: run the ball, block or receive, Colton could do it all. He is one of the best football players we have had in my time at Bemidji High.”

On the wrestling mat, Hinrichs was just as lethal. He posted a 27-5 record his senior year and eclipsed the century mark for wins in his career. His 103 career wins ranks among the top 25 all-time in BHS history. Hinrichs reached the state tournament twice as an individual and helped the Jacks get there twice as a team, where they placed fourth in 2019. In both his junior and senior seasons, Bemidji also set new program records for wins in a year.

Dickerson is a four-sport athlete who isn’t even done competing yet. She is a three-time letterwinner in track and field and a team captain. She lettered once in cross country and also dipped her toes into Nordic skiing last winter, where she earned the program’s Rookie of the Year award.

But Dickerson’s calling card came on the pitch. She helped lead the girls soccer program to Section 8A championships in 2018 and 2019, plus a runner-up finish in 2020. Primarily holding a defensive role, Dickerson had two goals and an assist as a senior and never allowed opponents to average more than 1.3 goals per game each year.

“Liberty Dickerson has played a massive role in the success of the BHS girls soccer program for the past three years,” girls soccer head coach Logan Larsen said. “Her year-round dedication to multiple sports enabled her to compete at a higher pace than the vast majority of her competition, and her knowledge of the game alongside her leadership skills allowed her to control the game from the field. She faced adversity in her senior season as a result of COVID-19 but still managed to be an inspiring leader and positive role model despite that adversity. She has endlessly been an amazing player, teammate, leader, role model, and all-around hard-worker.”

Both winners will continue their careers in some new colors next year. Hinrichs is staying home and will play football for Bemidji State, while Dickerson is off to play soccer at Minnesota State Moorhead.

For the second consecutive year, the Athlete of the Year winners were announced virtually due to the cancellation of the school’s annual Hall of Fame banquet. As a result, BHS did not induct any new members to its Hall of Fame in 2020 or 2021.


Lumberjack Athletes of the Year

2021: Colton Hinrichs and Liberty Dickerson

2020: Silas Hess and Katie Alto

2019: Ryan Bieberdorf and Kinley Prestegard

2018: Linaes Whiting and Sadie Hamrin

2017: Isaac Berg and Laura Bieberdorf

2016: Caleb Appleton and Morgan Williams

2015: James Hendricks and Jenna Trudeson


2014: Sam Carlson and Hanna Olson

2013: Connor McNallan and Ali Heifort

2012: Cody Rutledge and Kim Truedson

2011: Ryan Rude and Bailey Drewes

2010: Corey Huber and Abby Hendricks

2009: Simon Anderson and Meg Claypool

2008: Ryan Sullivan and Sarah Erickson

2007: Andrew Hengel and Coutney Josefson


2006: Greg Skerik and Lindsey Gullickson

2005: Jesse Echternach and Rebecca Hougen

2004: Brent Mason and Tara Hiscock

2003: Darren Caspers and Lindsey Gregg

2002: Jason Fairchild and Kristy Wallner

2001: Eddie Johnson and Shannon Whelan

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.
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