Lumberjacks split boys and girls, Greg Skerik and Rance Bahr take over

BEMIDJI – The list of impactful Bemidji High School wrestling figures is long, so it’s no surprise the Lumberjacks returned to the well to stay at a high level.

The winningest wrestler in BHS history accepted the boys head coaching position starting in 2023-24. Greg Skerik amassed 211 victories before graduating in 2006. The four-time state individual participant and two-time state medalist will replace Rance Bahr, who resigned after 14 seasons.

“I’m from Bemidji, and I’ve been a part of this (wrestling) program for close to 30 years,” Skerik said. “It’s always kind of been a position I wanted, just more of a timing thing with Rance. He’s done a great job for so long. I worked with him when he first started coaching high school. Whenever Rance decided it was time to change things up, I was hoping things worked out on my end, and I’d be in a position to apply.”

Bahr isn’t going anywhere. Shortly after his resignation, he applied for the newly created girls wrestling head coaching position at BHS. In an effort to provide more resources for the largest high school girls wrestling program in Minnesota, Bahr was named Bemidji’s first girls-specific wrestling head coach in school history. Continue reading at →

Willmar Cardinals get back to state dramatically

Daunte Castellano’s pin at 285 lifts Willmar past Bemidji 33-25 in the 8AAA final

BRAINERD — Daunte Castellano was flying high.

The Section 8AAA wrestling team championship came down to the 285-pound match with second-seeded Willmar holding onto a slim 27-25 lead against top-seeded Bemidji. It was unfamiliar territory for a heavyweight on a team where team wins and losses are usually determined before he goes on the mat.

Castellano’s night nearly ended in disaster as Thomas Paquette got the Cardinals’ junior in a near-fall.

“I was kind of scared when he got me on my back like, oh no, I don’t know what to do,” Castellano said. Continue reading at →

The Main Event – Bemidji and Mora Make History

By Brian Jerzak

As far as we can figure out, on December 2nd, Minnesota high school wrestling history was made at Bemidji High School. The Lumberjacks’ wrestling team hosted a triangular with Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton and Grand Rapids. The Lumberjacks’ grapplers rolled to two comfortable victories – winning by over forty points in both duals. However, that was far from the main event.

“There was a lot of excitement in the gym,” Bemidji head wrestling coach Rance Bahr said. “During our dual with DGF – one of my wrestlers – Seth Newby (ranked 5th at 170 pounds in AAA by The Guillotine), leaned over and said, ‘Coach, we are the JV dual tonight.'”

Newby felt like the 7th ranked team in AAA was on the undercard for a good reason. Bemidji’s newest high school team was making its debut.

“Everyone’s eyes were on the girls’ match,” Bahr said about the Bemidji versus Mora girls’ dual meet. “That side of the gym was packed. Everyone was screaming. We were even looking over there to see what was happening.”

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The Guillotine – January 12, 2018

The January 12, 2018 issue of The Guillotine has arrived! Featured content in this issue includes: Things I Find Interesting - Growing Media Coverage and New Referees, The Road to Success Runs Right Through Town - Delano Wrestling, Every Point Counts - Bemidji Wrestling, High School Pound-For-Pound Class Rankings, and One-on-One with Taylor Venz.

More content in this issue: Christmas Tournament Action, Lace ‘Em Up, MWCA Report, High School Rankings, Officially Speaking, The Clash Action, Upcoming Camps-Clinics-Training, Open Tournament Calendar, View From The Matbird Seat, Ask The Doc, Where Have They Gone? - Dave Schulte.

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Simley provides the drama, goes three for three at Foley

By Brian Jerzak

What a great night of wrestling at Foley High School Friday night.

It is always a treat to watch the high-level guys compete up close and personal. The skill possessed by guys like Simley’s Cael Berg, Jake Gliva and Daniel Kerkvliet, Patrick McKee from St. Michael-Albertville and Mitch Trigg from Foley is always a treat.

In a quad with blue blood wrestling programs like Simley, STMA and Foley I came into the night not expecting to come away after the first pair of dual meets most impressed by the only unranked team in the Falcons’ gymnasium Friday night. Although Bemidji lost their opening dual against Simley, they put on a show for the fans.

Trailing 10-0 and then 17-5 the Lumberjacks used a string of bonus point victories together to take a six-point lead with two matches to go. When facing the Spartans however, having a lead late doesn’t mean much when Daniel Kerkvliet and Like Zaiser anchor the lineup. Both Spartans’ wrestlers did what was expected and put up 12 team points to win the dual 37-31.

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