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TRACK AND FIELD: Bemidji opens spring season with home measuring stick

The Lumberjack girls finished second out of 23 scoring teams with 84 points, while the boys were fifth out of 20 teams with 47 points. Those totals put them right near the top of the pack on a day that was viewed as a measuring stick.

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Bemidji senior Mady Schmidt clears the final hurdle of the 60-meter hurdle prelims during the Little Amik meet on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, at the Gillett Wellness Center at BSU.
Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI -- Tuesday marked the first time that the Bemidji High School track and field teams had a chance to knock off the rust.

The Lumberjacks kicked off the spring sports season at BHS with the Little Amik Invite, held at Bemidji State’s Gillett Wellness Center. And it gave Bemidji its first chance to dip its toes in the water.

“Things went really well,” BHS boys head coach Steve Sneide said. “It was our first day of actually getting some real racing in because we’ve been stuck inside. We haven’t been able to do much, so we kind of treated this like a practice to just get out on the track and compete a little bit.”

The Lumberjack girls finished second out of 23 scoring teams with 84 points, while the boys were fifth out of 20 teams with 47 points. Those totals put them right near the top of the pack on a day that was viewed as a measuring stick.

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Bemidji junior Marima Seely takes off from the starting blocks in the 60-meter dash prelims during the Little Amik meet on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, at the Gillett Wellness Center at BSU.
Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer

“We used it to see where our kids are at right now,” Sneide said. “We have really good athletes on our team, so we knew where they were at, but this is a good indicator of where the young kids are. We had a lot of freshmen from last year really improve this year as sophomores. We’ve seen some big jumps out of some young kids, which is real exciting for our program.”

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Across the megameet, BHS tallied 12 top-five finishes on the girls side and another seven on the boys side.

For the Bemidji girls, that count included first-place finishes from Mady Schmidt in the 60-meter hurdles (9.47 seconds) and Regan DeWitt in the 800-meter run (2:32.22).

Elsewhere for the girls, Kennedy Smith was second overall in the shot put (35-04.00), and Jadyn Kelly was second in the high jump (4-10.00). The 4x800 relay team of Aubrey DeWitt, Mia Hoffmann, Regan DeWitt and Josey LaValley also placed second in 10:46.08.

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Bemidji junior Brandon Puschinsky lands in the sand after his long jump during the Little Amik meet on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, at the Gillett Wellness Center at BSU.
Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer

Rounding out the team’s top-three marks, Lauren Berg was third in the pole vault (8-06.00) and 400-meter dash (1:02.71), while Kylie Donat was third in the long jump (15-03.00). Berg also paired with Mary Beth Mathews, Josie Aitken and Regan DeWitt to claim third in the 4x400 relay (4:26.73).

The Lumberjack boys had three wins of their own. Jacob Kelly topped the field in the 60-meter hurdles (8.54), while Isaak McDonald posted the best time of the day in the 400-meter dash (53.43). McDonald, Paul Louvar, Brooks Matetich and Bryce Kondos also won the 4x400 relay with a first-place time of 3:41.08.

Louvar rounded out the team’s top-three marks by taking third in the 400 with a time of 55.17.

The Frazee girls and Park Rapids boys topped the team leaderboards with 91 and 83 points, respectively.

“Overall, I’m real happy with how everybody performed,” Sneide said. “The biggest thing is to stay healthy and to keep improving throughout the year. They’re a fun group to work with, and they work hard. … It’s a nice dynamic for this crew.”

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040222.S.BP.BHSTRACK Steve Sneide.JPG
Bemidji boys head coach Steve Sneide, left, chats with a Grand Rapids coach during the Little Amik meet on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, at the Gillett Wellness Center at BSU.
Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer

BHS is next headed for the NDSU Invite, set for an 11 a.m. start on Saturday, April 2, in Fargo, N.D. The Jacks will be without longtime girls head coach Chris Lehman, who stepped down from his position last week. He had been the girls head coach since 2005.

Sneide said that the coaching vacancy is “still up in the air,” but he noted that “we’ll know more in the next week or two” after going through the proper administrative and hiring channels.

Boys Team Results (Top 10)

1-Park Rapids 83; 2-Grand Rapids 74; 3-Pillager 56; 4-Wadena-Deer Creek 50; 5-Bemidji 47; 6-Hibbing 44; 7-Pequot Lakes 42; 8-Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale 41; 9-Greenway/Nashwauk/Keewatin 27; 10-Fertile-Beltrami 20.

Girls Team Results (Top 10)

1-Frazee 91; 2-Bemidji 84; 3-Hibbing 65; 4-Park Rapids 58; 5-Bagley/Fosston 50; 6-Fertile-Beltrami 30; 7-Grand Rapids 27; 8-Pillager 24; 9-Wadena-Deer Creek 22; 10-International Falls 20.

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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