WRESTLING: Lumberjacks back in section finals with playoff sweep

Bemidji will compete for its 18th section championship all-time when it meets Willmar on Saturday, March 13, in Sauk Rapids.

031321.S.BP.BHSWRES Colton Hinrichs happy.jpg
Bemidji senior Colton Hinrichs, right, high fives a teammate after defeating Brainerd/Pillager’s Mason Callstrom in the 195-pound match in the Section 8-3A team semifinals on Wednesday at the BHS Gymnasium. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji High School wrestling team has booked its spot back in the section championship.

The two-time defending 8-3A champs raced through the quarterfinals and semifinals on Wednesday, defeating Sartell-St. Stephen 48-15 and Brainerd/Pillager 41-21 at the BHS Gymnasium.

“We’re always looking to get to the state tournament and to get to the state finals. We just go one match at a time,” head coach Rance Bahr said. “We’re really proud of the kids and how they’ve wrestled, and the season that they’ve had so far this year.”

The Lumberjacks made history by winning their 29th match of the season, breaking the program record of 27. They’ll go for No. 30 when meeting top-seeded Willmar at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 13, for the section championship in Sauk Rapids.

The winner will meet the Section 7-3A winner in the ensuing state quarterfinals that afternoon. The Class 3A state semifinals and finals are scheduled for March 25 at St. Michael-Albertville High School.


“It’s a good feeling for those kids to be recognized and have the accomplishment of 29 wins in a season and to still be going,” Bahr said. “We’re excited about setting a new record there, especially when we didn’t know if we were going to have any opportunities at all this year.”

In the opening round against the seventh-seeded Sabres, second-seeded Bemidji got out to a 17-0 start. From there, Coy Olsen won an overtime bout at 132 pounds, while Seth Newby (160), Colton Hinrichs (195) and Caleb Bahr (285) all won by fall down the stretch.

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Bemidji freshman Brody Castonguay, top, contains Brainerd/Pillager’s Cade Ostrowski in the 113-pound match of the Section 8-3A team semifinals on Wednesday at the BHS Gymnasium. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

The match against third-seeded Brainerd/Pillager was tighter, as the Warriors held a lead as late as 18-16 through the 152-pound match. But momentum swung for good when Darren Roth (152 pounds), Newby (160), Barrick Nelson (182) and Hinrichs (195) all won by fall, while Hoyt Solum earned an 11-0 major decision at 170. The run of 28 straight points was more than enough to clinch the team’s fourth straight date with Willmar in the section final.

“Everybody showed up,” coach Bahr said. “Those lower weights really did a nice job of taking care of some things and winning some matches down there that maybe Brainerd thought they were going to win tonight.”

Now 29-2 on the season and ranked No. 4 in the state by The Guillotine, BHS will continue its mantra of one match at a time with No. 3-ranked Willmar on deck. The Jacks haven’t lost since last facing the Cardinals on Feb. 9, and so they’ll enter into the grudge match on a 15-match winning streak.

“We’re excited about it, and we just want to keep moving one match at a time. Hopefully we can make our goal of getting to the state finals,” coach Bahr said. “I can’t say enough about what a great group of young men they are. They make coaching easy and very enjoyable.”


Bemidji 48, Sartell-St. Stephen 15

106: Brody Castonguay (BHS) by forfeit

113: Hunter Heim (BHS) over Zaccory Anderson, TF 17-0

120: Seth Sisneros (BHS) by forfeit

126: Spencer Johnson (SSS) over JD Kondos, TF 23-8

132: Coy Olsen (BHS) over Kaden Brooks, SV-1 7-5

138: Dutch Nordby (SSS) over Noah Leffelman, MD 12-4


145: Ashton Lipinski (SSS) over Dane Jorgensen, Dec 12-6

152: Darren Roth (BHS) over Avery Kouba, Dec 6-2

160: Seth Newby (BHS) over Logan Rodebush, Fall 1:04

170: Hoyt Solum (BHS) over William Budge, Dec 6-1

182: Barrick Nelson (BHS) over Austin Frauenholtz, MD 9-1

195: Colton Hinrichs (BHS) over Dylan Welle, Fall 1:35

220: Ethan Torgimson (SSS) over Jared Frenzel, Dec 7-2

285: Caleb Bahr (BHS) over Bret Thayer, Fall 3:23


Bemidji 41, Brainerd/Pillager 21

106: Easton Dircks (BRD) over Gavin Osborn, Fall 5:23

113: Brody Castonguay (BEM) over Cade Ostrowski, MD 10-2

120: Isaiah Germann (BRD) over Hunter Heim, Dec 6-1

126: Seth Sisneros (BEM) over Gus Carlson, Fall 1:02

132: Kyle Eschenbacher (BRD) over Coy Olsen, Dec 6-1

138: Isaiah Jillson (BRD) over Noah Leffelman, Dec 10-6


145: Gabe Wagner (BRD) over Thade Osborn, TB-1 4-2

152: Darren Roth (BEM) over Adam Cox, Fall 0:48\u0009

160: Seth Newby (BEM) over Jadon Petrie, Fall 2:12

170: Hoyt Solum (BEM) over Damien Bentho, MD 11-0

182: Barrick Nelson (BEM) over Shane Carlson, Fall 1:33

195: Colton Hinrichs (BEM) over Mason Callstrom, Fall 0:32

220: Forrest Gibson (BRD) over Nate Schwinghammer, Dec 5-3

285: Caleb Bahr (BEM) over Cole Larkin, Dec 6-1


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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