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GYMNASTICS: Bemidji trio shines in program’s greatest state performance

Lauren Berg, Mady Schmidt and Tatum Offerdahl combined for three top-15 performances at the Class AA state meet on Saturday.

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Bemidji juniors (from left) Mady Schmidt, Tatum Offerdahl and Lauren Berg competed at the Class AA state meet on Saturday, March 27, 2021, at Champlin Park. (Submitted photo)
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CHAMPLIN PARK -- It’s no stretch to say that Bemidji High School gymnastics had its greatest day ever on Saturday.

The Lumberjacks shattered all previous state meet program benchmarks, capping the season with a mighty turnout at the Class AA individual state finals in Champlin Park.

“It’s very, very cool,” BHS head coach Briana Fleischhacker said. “It’s a testament to how hard these girls have worked and how far we’ve come. It’s an incredible feeling to be up there with the best.”

Not only did Bemidji compete in all four events for the first time ever, but all three gymnasts who participated finished higher than any Lumberjack has ever placed previously.

“It’s really incredible for them to be rewarded in that way, to witness it and be a part of it,” Fleischhacker said. “But it isn’t surprising to me from what I’ve seen from them over the years and where I figured they would be at this point. I’m very, very proud of what they’ve accomplished.”

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Lauren Berg ascends the rankings to become the top state finisher in BHS history, tying for fourth on vault with a score of 9.775. Berg’s mark also becomes the program’s best-ever individual score, better than her own 9.475 she earned on vault a year ago.

In her state debut, Mady Schmidt was right behind Berg on Saturday, joining her on the podium by placing in a tie for fifth on the floor with a 9.475 showing.

Tatum Offerdahl was also a top-15 gymnast on the uneven bars. The four-year state veteran posted her best-ever finish by placing 11th with a score of 9.3.

The junior trio’s placings all beat the program’s best placing at state, which Offerdahl set in 2020 when she tied for 15th on bars.

“We had girls finishing on the podium at state today,” Fleischhacker said. “It wasn’t because somebody else fell or whatever. That’s where they deserved to be, and that’s where they are compared to their peers in the state.”

Berg rounded out the Lumberjacks’ performances, taking 45th on beam with a 7.6.

Sartell-St. Stephen’s Marley Michaud earned the all-around individual title on Saturday, fueled by first-place finishes on vault (9.875) and bars (9.725). Forest Lake’s duo of Claire O’Gorman (9.65) and Keely Sisco (9.575) placed first on floor and beam, respectively.

Sartell-St. Stephen won the Class AA team state championship with an all-around score of 148.05.

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BHS finishes the season with plenty of pride in repping the First City on the Mississippi so well.

“Honestly, it was an awesome experience,” Fleischhacker said. “The girls came in relaxed and ready to have fun. I think they all knew they had a chance to do as well as they did, but their confidence in their skills and abilities has really shined through the last season. It was great. It was everything we could have asked for.”

Related Topics: GYMNASTICS
Micah Friez is the sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he joined the Pioneer in 2015 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Lumberjack and Beaver updates.
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