Bemidji builds up in early season with mix of indoor, outdoor training sessions

Mar. 23—BEMIDJI — It's a rare March when the Bemidji High School track and field team can train outside.

The wintry forces of cold and snow often conspire to keep the Lumberjacks inside well into April. But not this year.

Bemidji's runners, jumpers and throwers have been able to practice sparingly in the elements early this season thanks to the unusually warm winter weather and lack of frozen precipitation. They put that preparation on display Saturday during the Northwoods Opener held at Bemidji State's Gillett Wellness Center.

In the boys competition, Bemidji finished second with 129 team points. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton took home the top spot with 188, and Crosby-Ironton rounded out the top three with 51.

On the girls side, the Lumberjacks placed second, compiling 119 team points. Long Prairie-Grey Eagle led the pack with 130.5, and DGF finished third with a total of 107.5.

"This is our second week of practice," said boys head coach Steve Sneide. "We were outside last week, but we only had a couple days of school that week. So we really haven't had much (time outside), and we've been stuck inside the last week or so. It's been weird. Our distance crew, they'll go outside, but sprinters, we tend to try not to go outside when it's cold, because that's where you get injured and pull muscles and stuff like that."

Bemidji was back indoors on Saturday, which is more typical this time of year. The Lumberjacks are endeavoring to figure out the best course of action early this season, as cold temperatures and snow are still lurking — a heavy snowstorm is forecast to hit the Bemidji area in the coming days.

"It has been nice, because we have actually been on the track," Sneide said. "Usually, we're not on our track until the middle of April, it seems like. So we have benefitted from actually getting some time on the track. But (with it) being cold, it's give and take. Do you want to be on the track? Yes, we do. But it's cold. So we're shortening how long we're actually out there."

Regardless, the Jacks had the opportunity to compete against other teams for the first time this season, and it served as a good way for them to break the ice. With the pressures of section competition still far off in the distance, BHS was able to relax and enjoy competing while allowing newcomers to get their first taste of the interscholastic meet environment.

"The No. 1 (goal) is having a good time," said girls head coach Brian Berntsen. "Just getting on the track, being able to do the events, being nervous and excited at the same time. Getting the nerves out for the first time, because over half of our team is new this year to us and our program. A lot of them keep coming up (and saying), 'I don't know what I'm doing.' I'm like, 'It's OK.' We will get better every day. This is a chance to get on the track and get experience. That's the big thing today."

Bemidji posted a number of event wins in its season debut. On the boys side, Trenten Fredriksen-Holm topped the boys 200-meter dash with a time of 25.21, while Caleb Knott won the 800 with his 2:14.69. Tanner Johnson was right behind in the 800, clocking in second with a time of 2:16.16. Will Termont took the top spot in the 1600 with a finishing time of 4:42.95.

In the girls competition, Addison Maish claimed the 400 in 1:08.49, and Mia Hoffmann won the 1600, stopping the clock at 5:16.69. Hoffmann, Maish, Anika Harmsen and Lola VanEngelenhoven topped the 4x400 relay with a finish of 4:35.84.

For Berntsen, meets early in the season serve as proving grounds for Bemidji's runners, demonstrating what they are capable of and what they still have to improve upon.

"Sometimes, they get confident (and think), 'OK, I know how to run,'" he said. "And then you come to a meet and realize, 'Wait, there are others that run faster. OK, how do I get faster? How do I jump farther?' It's one of those things (where) now the nerves are out of the way. Now, you know what you need to work on and what you need to shoot for."

TrekNorth also had a number of runners compete in the boys and girls competitions. The SunDogs had two top-10 finishers in the girls 60-meter hurdles. Didi Ning Lafleur placed eighth with a time of 14.11, and Magnolia Londgren took 10th in 17.49.

Carter Derby placed 11th in the boys 1600 (6:41.16) and 12th in the boys 800 (2:46.46). Carla John took 12th in the girls shot put with a throw of 24 feet, 9.5 inches.

Boys Team Results

1-Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 188; 2-Bemidji 129; 3-Crosby-Ironton 51; 4-Mahnomen/Waubun 29; 5-Long Prairie-Grey Eagle 26; 6-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 23.

Girls Team Results

1-Long Prairie-Grey Eagle 130.5; 2-Bemidji 119; 3-Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 107.5; 4-Crosby-Ironton 72.5; 5-Mahnomen/Waubun 15.5; 6-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 3; 7-TrekNorth 1.