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PREP WRESTLING: Jacks roll in Rick Lee finale

Bemidji eighth-grader Dane Jorgensen (right) grapples with Brainerd's Kyle Patnode on Saturday at BHS as part of the Rick Lee Invitational. (Micah Friez | Bemidji Pioneer)1 / 2
Bemidji's Logan Willard (middle) pins Brainerd's Tommy Daniels on Saturday at BHS as part of the Rick Lee Invitational. (Micah Friez | Bemidji Pioneer)2 / 2

BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji High School wrestling team left little doubt that they were among the best at the Rick Lee Invitational over the past two days.

The Lumberjacks wrapped up action at BHS on Saturday with three more wins, improving to 5-1 on the weekend and locking up fifth place in the 16-team field.

“We just have a very solid team from top to bottom. No real superstars, but no real holes in our lineup,” Bemidji head coach Rance Bahr said. “We worked on things that we’ve been doing in practice, and we worked on getting better every time we step out on the mat. I felt like the kids really stepped up and had a great attitude, working toward that goal of just getting better every time we go out.”

The Jacks’ lone loss came against Detroit Lakes on Friday, which wasn’t decided until the heavyweight bout gave DL a slim 28-25 win. The Lakers finished second as a team, behind only Perham and its 6-0 record.

“We wrestled very well all of (Saturday), and all of (Friday),” Bahr said. “Even in our loss, we beat some very good kids, wrestled very well.”

On Saturday, BHS took care of business against Brainerd, Kenyon-Wanamingo and Pierz.

Starting with the Warriors, Logan Willard got Bemidji rolling with a pin within 58 seconds at 113 pounds. Seth Newby (120 pounds) and Joe Hudson (126) followed with an 11-3 major decision and a 6-0 decision, respectively, to set the Lumberjacks ahead.

Alan Wuori picked up a pin at 152 pounds, as did Nic Geiger (182), Peter Moen (195) and Cade Barrett (220) in their respective classes. Chance Hinrichs (160) also won by a 3-1 decision, and Kaleb Beam (285) won by forfeit to lock up a 40-21 victory.

Against Kenyon-Wanamingo, Coy Olsen (106), Wuori, Geiger, Moen and Jesse Jackson (285) all won by fall, and Newby added an 18-3 technical fall. The Knights went the distance against Hudson, Thade Osborn (132), Dane Jorgensen (138) and Chase Smith (220), but BHS still claimed each match to power a 42-27 team win.

Bemidji saved its best for last against Pierz. Willard, Jorgensen, Cale Newby (138), Hinrichs and Geiger all pinned a Pioneer, while Seth Newby and Smith mixed in wins via major decision. In total, BHS ousted Pierz by a 53-15 final.

“I’m very impressed and proud of all the kids and how they wrestled,” Bahr said. “But in particular, Dane Jorgenson and Joe Hudson really stepped up their game this weekend.”

Seth Newby, Hudson and Wuori each finished 6-0 in their matches on the weekend. Moen and Beam also went 5-0 and 4-0, respectively, with Moen winning by fall a team-high four times.

“I think (this invite) is a building block, something to build confidence for our kids and help them realize that they can compete with the best teams in the state,” Bahr said. “As the season goes on, we’re starting to fill all of our weights. We’re starting to get a little bit healthier, and all of that goes to motivate the kids and press forward.”

Bemidji will be back on the mat at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15, along with Brainerd and Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus for a triangular in Pequot Lakes.

Team results

1-Perham; 2-Detroit Lakes; 3-Frazee; 4-Thief River Falls; 5-Bemidji; 6-Kenyon-Wanamingo; 7-Pierz; 8-Brainerd; 9-Tracy-Milroy-Balaton-Westbrook-Walnut-Grove; 10-Cambridge-Isanti; 11-Badger-Greenbush-Middle River; 12-Ottertail Central; 13-Big Lake; 14-United North Central; 15-Bloomington Kennedy; 16-Blackduck/Cass Lake-Bena.

Micah Friez

Micah Friez is a sports reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he 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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