SAUK RAPIDS -- The Bemidji High School wrestling team authored the latest chapter of history on Friday night in Sauk Rapids, rolling through the Section 8-3A Tournament to clinch the program’s 17th section championship.
“We’re just excited for the opportunity,” BHS head coach Rance Bahr said. “At least in the finals, we wrestled very, very well. We struggled a little bit in the first two rounds, and we were able to turn things around and give our best effort in the final. I’m really excited for the kids, being rewarded for all their hard work and effort throughout the year.”
The Lumberjacks defeated Willmar in the title bout for the second consecutive season, marking the first time Bemidji has won back-to-back section championships since the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons. Friday’s state-clinching victory was also the 27th win of the season for BHS, breaking the program record of 26 from 2014-15.
“I think that says a lot for the kids,” Bahr said. “It says a lot for their hard work and what they do. It’s nice to be able to win section championships and set records, just as a way to reward them for the hard work they put in.”
The second-seeded Jacks got rolling with a 47-15 win over seventh-seeded Sauk Rapids-Rice in the quarterfinals. And after Bemidji topped third-seeded Brainerd 39-26 in the semifinals, BHS drew top-seeded Willmar in the championship for the second straight year.
And just like last season, the Lumberjacks came out on top.
“We struggled in the first two rounds,” Bahr said. “We just made some mistakes and weren’t finishing things off like we usually do. In the finals, we had a lot of momentum. Kids went out and wrestled six, hard minutes and left everything out there.”
Following Coy Olson’s 4-1 win at 113 pounds, Seth Sisneros had a pin at 120 to give Bemidji a quick 9-5 lead, and that was the start of a championship-worthy run.
“That 120 was a huge turning point (with) momentum for us,” Bahr said. “It was a pretty tight match, and Seth Sisneros picked up a pin. That’s kind of where things really got rolling, and the kids took it from there. They did an outstanding job.”
Joe Hudson won by technical fall at 132 to break from a 9-9 tie, and BHS never surrendered its lead from then on. Seth Newby took a 5-4 decision at 138, Dan Jorgenson was a 14-8 winner at 145, Thade Osborn won by fall at 160 and Colton Hinrichs added another pin at 182.
With as many as 12 points still up for grabs, the Jacks held a 32-20 lead entering the 220-pound match. Caleb Bahr removed all drama with a third-period pin for Bemidji, clinching the team victory before Chase Smith added another decision win at 285 for good measure.
“All the kids were excited and jumping around,” coach Bahr said of Caleb Bahr’s pin. “It was just like a section championship match should be. A lot of excitement and a lot of happy faces.”
The Class 3-A team tournament begins at 9 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, from the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. First, though, BHS will gun for more state berths with the Section 8-3A individual tournament at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, in Willmar.
No 2 Bemidji 47, No. 7 Sauk Rapids-Rice 15
106: Alex Diederich (SRR) over Hunter Heim,Dec 8-2
113: Coy Olsen (BHS) over Sean Cristopherson, Fall 3:08
120: Brayden Ness (SRR) over JD Kondos, Fall 5:30
126: Jared Spohn (SRR) over Seth Sisneros, Fall 1:11
132: Joe Hudson (BHS) over Sawyer Simmons, Dec 8-6
138: Seth Newby (BHS) over Andrew Wollak, Fall 4:48
145: Dane Jorgensen (BHS) over Dante Haywood, Fall 3:09
152: Thade Osborn (BHS) over Graham Doherty, Fall 2:29
160: Darren Roth (BHS) over Benjamin Gilbertson, Dec 6-4
170: Clay Olsen (BHS) over Matt Krepp, MD 12-3
182: Colton Hinrichs (BHS) over Cole Ackerman, MD 18-6
195: Justin Nelson (BHS) over Joey Hoeschen, SV-1 3-1
220: Caleb Bahr (BHS) over Aden Rollins, Dec 4-2
285: Chase Smith (BHS) over Hunter Farnick, Dec 8-3
No. 2 Bemidji 39, No. 3 Brainerd 26
106: Isaiah Germann (BRD) over Brody Castonguay, MD 8-0
113: Coy Olsen (BEM) over Elijah Germann, Fall 1:35
120: Isaiah Jillson (BRD) over JD Kondos, MD 13-4
126: Cole Ostrowski (BRD) over Seth Sisneros, Fall 4:28
132: Joe Hudson (BEM) over Kyle Eschenbacher, Dec 4-3
138: Atlie Danielson (BRD) over Seth Newby, MD 11-6
145: Gabe Wagner (BRD) over Dane Jorgensen, Dec 8-6
152: Thade Osborn (BEM) over Blake Wgeishofski, Dec 8-1
160: Darren Roth (BEM) over Jadon Petrie, Fall 3:11
170: Colton Hinrichs (BEM) over Damien Bentho, Fall 1:19
182: Nate Schwinghammer (BEM) over Forrest Gibson, Inj 3:09
195: Justin Nelson (BEM) over Dalton Barrett, Dec 8-2
220: Cade Barrett (BRD) over Thomas Paquette, Fall 0:52
285: Chase Smith (BEM), win by forfeit
No. 2 Bemidji 41, No. 1 Willmar 20
106: Conlan Carlson (WIL) over Hunter Heim, TF 19-4
113: Coy Olsen (BHS) over Ivan Ciriaco-Mares, Dec 4-1
120: Seth Sisneros (BHS) over Steven Cruze, Fall 2:37
126: Caden Carlson (WIL) over JD Kondos, MD 16-6
132: Joe Hudson (BHS) over Jack Roehl, TF 20-5
138: Seth Newby (BHS) over Josh Miley, Dec 5-4
145: Dane Jorgensen (BHS) over Braeden Erickson, Dec 14-8
152: Jonas Anez (WIL) over Darren Roth, Dec 5-1
160: Thade Osborn (BHS) over Joe Kallevig, Fall 1:53
170: Ethan Roux (WIL) over Clay Olsen, Dec 10-3
182: Colton Hinrichs (BHS) over Blake Lara, Fall 1:46
195: Kaden Streed (WIL) over Justin Nelson, TF 17-0
220: Caleb Bahr (BHS) over Mason Swanson, Fall 4:26
285: Chase Smith (BHS) over Taggert Reynolds, Dec 7-3