NORDIC SKIING: Bemidji girls advance to state; multiple Jacks claim titles
One year after finishing third at the Section 8 meet and missing an invite to the state meet by 13 team points, this year’s Lumberjacks left no doubt in Callaway.
CALLAWAY – The Bemidji High School girls Nordic skiing team is returning to state.
One year after finishing third at the Section 8 meet and missing an invite to the state meet by 13 team points, this year’s Lumberjacks left no doubt in Callaway. They finished with 382 team points, 20 clear of third-place Sartell/Cathedral and just two shy of section champion Brainerd.
And since the top two teams advance to state, Wednesday was a day of celebration.
“It's sweet revenge,” BSU head coach Mark Walters said. “We were actually quite surprised at our last big meet how well Sartell/Cathedral came up. It's a school that we never see. And we got nipped by Moorhead as well. It was pretty neat (to finish second today). They were very, very pumped.”
Anna Renn and Ella Simula finished first for Bemidji in the sprint relay with a time of 18:45.6, while Mary Beth Mathews placed second in the pursuit at 34:08.6, earning her fourth career opportunity to ski at the state meet. Mia Hoffmann finished fifth in pursuit at 34:42.7, with Regan Dewitt placing 13th at 35:44.7 to cap the Jacks’ scorers.
The BHS boys finished fourth in the team competition, but will send the sprint relay pair of Louis Morrissey and Seth Lindgren to state. The duo topped the sprint field with a time of 16:00.4, just eight-tenths of a second faster than the second-place finishers from Little Falls.
“It was some really exciting racing,” Walters said. “These sprint relays have just added a really amazing piece of dynamics to our strategy. It's turned a checkers game into chess.”
Jack Mueller notched Bemidji’s best individual finish in the pursuit, a tenth-place time of 30:44.4. It could have been even better, but Mueller ran into some complications on the course.
“He broke his ski yesterday halfway through the race,” Walters said. “The conditions changed so rapidly that the snow began to stick to the kick zones in the classic (race). And what it caused him to do was to lurch forward on a downhill and his body weight snapped his right ski. It was a tough deal. Plus, he broke his pole at the same time.”
The TrekNorth boys earned a ninth-place finish as a team. Trey Godding and Sam Wielenberg finished eighth of 12 sprint relay pairs with a time of 21:08.8. Josh Godding was the top individual finisher for the Sundogs with a 37th-place time of 37:20.8.
The Sundog girls finished in a tie for 10th in the team competition, earning 238 points to match St. John’s Prep. Caitlynn Wittner had the best individual finish with a time of 45:47.7, placing 43rd. Mags Mascia and Iris Jensen finished 10th in the sprint relay at 26:07.3.
The state meet will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 16, and Thursday, Feb. 17, at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.