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GYMNASTICS: Senior-studded core entering home stretch for Lumberjacks

Two years ago, the Bemidji High School gymnastics team didn’t have a single senior on the roster. Now, that class holds the four pillars of the program.

Bemidji competes against Alexandria in gymnastics
Bemidji senior Lauren Berg ends her floor routine in a meet against Alexandria on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, at the Gym Bin.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI -- Two years ago, the Bemidji High School gymnastics team didn’t have a single senior on the roster.

Now, that class holds the four pillars of the program.

“They’re a huge part of what has made our program over the past few years,” BHS head coach Briana Fleischhacker said. “They are definitely leaders on the team and play a huge part in the success of every event.”

That was evident on Tuesday, when Lumberjack seniors won each of the four events to lead Bemidji to a 141.725-134.725 win over Alexandria at the Gym Bin.

“Tonight was not perfect, and there were definitely some things that could be better,” Fleischhacker said. “But the score we put up tonight -- for having a night that wasn’t our best -- it gets you excited to know what we’re capable of.”

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Bemidji competes against Alexandria in gymnastics
Bemidji senior Leah Lucas competes on the beam in a meet against Alexandria on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, at the Gym Bin.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer

BHS has four seniors on the roster in Lauren Berg, Leah Lucas, Tatum Offerdahl and Mady Schmidt. And Fleischhacker wasn’t overselling their impact: That group is responsible for eight of the program’s 15 all-time state berths, and they’ve broken nine of 10 school records.

But Fleischhacker is just as impressed with the impact beyond their scores.

“They’ve really stepped in,” Fleischhacker said. “It makes me proud to see them at practice, they take it just as seriously as us coaches. They are very dedicated and want the team to be as successful as we can be.”

Those seniors walked the walk on Tuesday, too.

Berg had a pair of individual wins, placing first overall on beam (9.3) and vault (9.25). Berg also placed third on floor.

Bemidji competes against Alexandria in gymnastics
Bemidji senior Madysen Schmidt dances in her floor routine during a meet against Alexandria on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, at the Gym Bin.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer

Schmidt won the floor event with a score of 9.45, and Offerdahl conquered the uneven bars with a first-place finish of 9.325. Lucas was busy herself, placing second on vault (9.2) and third on beam (9.15).

Elsewhere, freshman Aubrey DeWitt was second on bars at 8.55, and eighth-grader Samara Osborn followed in a tie for third on bars at 8.4 to round out the team’s top-three performances.

In the all-around, Schmidt placed second at 34.05. Berg was third at 33.2, the two only losing out to Alexandria’s Ailynn Fettig (35.025).

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Next in line for the Jacks, DeWitt was fourth with an all-around score of 25.9, and Lucas was eighth at 18.35.

Bemidji competes against Alexandria in gymnastics
Bemidji senior Tatum Offerdahl hangs from the high bar in a meet against Alexandria on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, at the Gym Bin.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer

Osborn also placed ninth (16.95), Chloe Worman 11th (15.8), Offerdahl 12th (9.325), Addison Hill 14th (8.85) and Kennedy Olson 16th (8.45).

“To watch them start to gain a little more confidence… is pretty cool,” Fleischhacker said. “I feel good about where we’re getting. We still have a little bit of ways to go for where we want to be.”

Fleischhacker is also excited for more consistency on the calendar. Tuesday’s meet was just the fourth of the season for Bemidji, but four more follow this month before sections arrive in mid-February.

“Over this next month is really the bulk of our competition,” Fleischhacker said. “The consistency of competing can put a little bit more drive in them and give them a little bit of an opportunity to get consistent with their skills. … Just to be consistently competing is going to be really beneficial for us in these next few weeks.”

BHS will next be back in action at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, for an invite in Moorhead.

Bemidji All-Around Scores

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2-Schmidt 34.05; 3-Berg 33.2; 4-DeWitt 25.9; 8-Lucas 18.35; 9-Osborn 16.95; 11-Workman 15.8; 12-Offerdahl 9.325; 14-Hill 8.85; 16-Olson 8.45.

Bemidji competes against Alexandria in gymnastics
The Lumberjacks cheer for Aubrey DeWitt after she completed her bar routine in a meet against Alexandria on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, at the Gym Bin.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer
Bemidji competes against Alexandria in gymnastics
Bemidji sophomore Chloe Workman competes on the vault in a meet against Alexandria on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, at the Gym Bin.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer
Bemidji competes against Alexandria in gymnastics
Bemidji eighth-grader Samara Osborn makes contact with the high bar in a meet against Alexandria on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, at the Gym Bin.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer
Bemidji competes against Alexandria in gymnastics
Bemidji freshman Aubrey DeWitt competes on the uneven bars in a meet against Alexandria on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, at the Gym Bin.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer
Bemidji competes against Alexandria in gymnastics
Bemidji senior Lauren Berg performs on the vault in a meet against Alexandria on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, at the Gym Bin.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer

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