Archive for ED Sports

Tony Dehler named new DC boys basketball head coach

By BRAD SALMEN

Sports Editor

COKATO – Tony Dehler has been chosen as the new Dassel-Cokato head boys basketball coach.

DC Activities Director Perry Thinesen announced the hire to the media Thursday, May 7.

Dehler, a teacher and coach in the DC school district for 10 years, will replace Dave Chvojicek, who announced his retirement last month after 11 seasons as head basketball coach.

In his retirement announcement, Chvojicek said the good Lord was leading him in a different season in his life.

“It was a hard decision, and one that I wrestled with for quite some time,” Chvojicek said. “I really enjoyed getting to know the kids, the competition, and staying involved with a sport I love.”

Thinesen said a search committee comprised of himself and several DC head coaches interviewed seven different candidates, both internal and external, for the position.

What impressed the committee most about Dehlen was his growth as a coach over the past 10 years, his dedication, and his relationship with the DC school district and community.

“The committee felt Tony brought a lot to the table. He has over a decade of experience coaching at different levels and in different sports,” said Thinesen. “He has built great relationships with the kids and families involved with basketball. He is passionate, and hardworking.

“He is also a teacher in our system, so he is able to have daily contact with the basketball players. This is often overlooked, but is very important, and something we have been lacking throughout our entire boys basketball program for several years,” Thinesen said. “I have really seen great growth in Tony over the past few years, and we think he is ready to take on the challenge of building the boys basketball program.”

Dehler grew up in Collegeville, MN, about two miles from St. John’s University.

He went to St. John’s Prep HS, and attended St. John’s University.

He started coaching when he was 18, and has been coaching ever since for the past 15 years, including basketball, football, and baseball, at levels ranging from 7th grade to varsity.

At DC, he has coached in the girls basketball program for four years, the football program for seven years, and the baseball program for three.

This past season, he was the assistant boys varsity coach under Chvojicek.

Chvojicek endorsed Dehler as his replacement.

“I think Tony will bring passion and energy to the job, which will serve DC student-athletes well,” he said.

When asked about his varsity coaching philosophy, Dehler said first and foremost he plans on providing his athletes with a positive environment, built on team unity and respect.

“I want all the boys to learn what it means to be a positive and productive teammate, and to develop into solid young men,” he said.

As for the on-court system he prefers, he said it depends heavily on the athletes on the team.

However, he said, in general he likes to play an up-tempo, high energy, spread-style offense with a lot of shooting and aggressive play.

“I like athletes who have a scorer mentality, and aren’t afraid to take shots and be a threat,” Dehler said.

Dehler will inherit a team that went 6-19 last season, with four of the top-five scorers graduating.

Despite the departing talent, Dehler said next season promises to be a fun one.

“I am extremely excited about this upcoming season. It will be fun to see how the returning guys step up and mesh with the younger talent we have coming up,” Dehler said. “As for expectations, I expect all the teams in our program to play fast, aggressive, and with 100% every night.

“I want my guys going into every game with the mentality that we could beat anyone, on any given night, if we play our game,” he said.

Tony Dehler named new varsity boys basketball coach

Tony Dehler has been hired as the new Dassel-Cokato boys basketball coach.

Dehler, a varsity assistant this past season, will replace former head coach Dave Chvojicek, who announced his retirement last month.

“I have seen really great growth in Tony over the last few years as coach,” said DC Activities Director Perry Thinesen. “We think he is ready to take on the challenge of building the boys program.”

Look for more information in next Friday’s Enterprise Dispatch.

TEE IT UP: Golf courses cleared for opening during COVID-19 pandemic

As the weather has turned, Minnesotans have been itching to get outside. While there hasn’t been an abundance of options for activities, that changed in a big way as Gov. Tim Walz announced at his press conference last Friday that golf courses have been given the OK to open while implementing extra safety precautions.

“It’s important for us to stay active and enjoy the outdoors while preventing the spread of COVID-19,” Gov. Walz stated in his executive order. “This measure will allow Minnesotans to take advantage of more opportunities to get outside while doing their part to keep their neighbors healthy.”

At Albion Ridges Golf Course in Annandale, more than 300 golfers got out and played this past weekend. While the course was filled all weekend long, clubhouse manager Derek White said things went smoothly with the new changes and regulations.

“Our number one thing was safety,” White said. “If we’re going to open our doors for business that we’re able to do that safely is key. Player safety is number one for us. I felt like we were able to accomplish that based on the procedures that we had in place. The way we had it set up was effective and safe.”

Among the precautions that Albion Ridges took this past weekend was to widen the tee boxes to give the players more room to social distance themselves. Albion Ridges also raised the cups a few inches above the ground to eliminate the ball falling into the cup which drastically would eliminate a point of contact with the pin.

“Nobody is reaching in the hole,” White said. “We thought by elevating it, it would completely eliminate the chances for any possibility of the ball staying in the hole. It was very effective to have the ball release away from the cup. The flagsticks were also kept in, and all golfers were instructed that the most stern rule of the day was to never touch the flagstick. There was no need to do so with the raised cups. We eliminated that potential issue just by raising the cups.”

Albion Ridges also increased their tee time intervals. Instead of eight minutes between groups, Albion Ridges is now using 12 minutes intervals between tee times to help keep groups more spaced out on the course. While a big interval means fewer tee times, Albion Ridges has the luxury of being a 27-hole course, which allows more groups to get on the course while still taking social distancing seriously.

“Yes we have fewer tee times, but it’s safer,” White said. “People are more spread out. You’re not having any groups run into each other whatsoever. Getting that extra time between groups enables that tee box to sit empty for two or three minutes if need be. It’s just to space people out even more. That, and having 27 holes is a no brainer. We’re able to spread them out. We’re not only able to move more players through, but we’re able to do so safely.”

White and his staff have also made the tough choice to keep the driving range closed for now. They hope to make it available once they get a safe plan in action in the coming days.

“At this point, we have eliminated the driving range until we feel that we have a 100 percent safe and effective procedure and policy in place with that,” White said. “It’s not something we’re willing to rush in order to sacrifice player safety. We do have the putting greens open, but the driving range is in the process of getting there. We’re going to take things slow. We’re going to do things right. If we can’t do it safely, we’re not going to offer it then. We think their player safety is more important than they do.”

ShadowBrooke Golf Course in Lester Prairie also had a busy weekend as they were reopening since being forced to close due to COVID-19. Owner Tom Schmidt said it was good to be open again as they were busy all weekend long and golfers were following the guidelines in place.

“I found golfers to be very respectful of the rules,” Schmidt said. “It was the first hooray. I’m thankful we were able to be open. We’re making lots of changes to make it easier for golfers.”

While all golf courses around the area are glad to be open by taking extra precautions, there’s a sense of enjoyment as well for the golfers coming to play to get away from things for a bit.

“I think the vast majority of people were just happy to get out,” White said. “It was good to see people out there. So many people were so happy to have some sort of outdoor activity that can be safely regulated. People were happy, and that was something I haven’t heard in people’s voices or seen in their faces before. That to me was the best part of the day.”

The following is a look at new rules and regulations for area courses suggested by Gov. Walz.

Before arriving at the course

• If you are sick or are feeling sick do not come to the golf course.

Upon arrival to the course

• Please arrive no more than 20 minutes before your tee time.

• The CDC requirement for social distancing of at least 6 feet will be enforced throughout the property.

• When you arrive at the course, CALL the pro shop to check-in.

On the golf course

• Ball washers, benches, rakes have been removed.

• All cups have been raised so the golf ball will not fall into the hole. A ball striking the elevated cup liner will be considered holed.

• Please do not pick up your playing partner’s clubs or ball during the round.

• We ask that you forego the traditional post-round handshake.

Practice facilities

• Putting green is open but please keep 6+ feet distancing.

• CDC recommendation on social distancing will be in effect on the driving range with dividers which will limit the number of stations.

• Range balls are cleaned between uses by golfers.

All the trappings of an enjoyable afternoon

So the other day a photo of Mike and Christie Halonen popped up on my Facebook feed. In it they were smiling, holding a beaver they had harvested from a trap.

The first thing that popped into my mind was, it looks like they’re really having fun.

The second thing was, ooh, perfect story for the sports section during the Coronavirus quarantine. I’d been looking for outdoors ideas, since, you know, that’s pretty much all any of us are allowed to do these days.

So I messaged Mike, whom I’ve known for over 30 years, to see if I could tag along with him on a trap line run.

Sure, said Mike. Meet us in Bertha on Wednesday afternoon.

That was the first inclination I had no idea I was getting myself into.

I don’t mean that in any kind of ominous or foreboding manner.

I just mean, I literally had no idea what I was getting myself into.

I knew Mike had been more heavily into trapping in recent years, but in my head I envisioned hiking along the Crow River or checking some local ponds, or something.

Nope.

For those of you unaware of Minnesota geography, the tiny town of Bertha, just south of Wadena, is about two hours away from DC.

Anyway, doesn’t matter, challenge accepted, and off I went to Bertha (along with my son Isaac, who jumped at the chance to escape isolation for a little outdoors adventure).

Dispelling Preconceived  Notions

I should preface all this by saying I’m not an outdoors neophyte. I go deer hunting most years, and do a little fishing and camping here and there.

You could even say I’m a veteran trapper, as I used to help my uncle Tim trap gophers over 25 years ago.

I wouldn’t say that, but you could.

Isaac and I met up with Mike and Christie at the Bertha-Hewitt High School and hopped into their truck, thus beginning one of the more enjoyable afternoons in recent memory.

The first of my preconceived beaver trapping notions they dispelled was my geographical expectation.

To be sure, there are beavers in the DC area. In fact, a couple years ago the pair trapped their way up the Crow River as far as Paynesville, harvesting 56 beavers along the way.

Mike especially has had the trapping bug for quite a few years, but it is only in the past couple seasons that the couple has been able to really spread their wings (or traps, as it were) and broaden their horizons.

This season, Mike and Christie have spent weeks  trapping lines on the Chippewa river in western Minnesota, along with the Wing River and Leaf River in the Wadena County area.

In fact, Mike was in the midst of a four-week sabbatical that he took solely to follow his trapping passion. Which, if you are setting and checking those traps from your home near Cokato, is a necessity, since beaver traps are legally supposed to be checked once every three days.

The second preconceived notion was dispelled when we got to our first set of traps west of Bertha, on the Wing River.

Instead of laboriously hiking river edges or tramping towards ponds, what Mike and Christie do is set a pair of traps near each bridge on the river where it makes sense to trap.

So instead of tramping, our afternoon consisted of winding our way along the back roads of Wadena County via pickup truck, stopping at each bridge where they had set traps.

“Beavers are heavy,” said Mike. “We let them come to us.”

The third preconceived notion they dispelled is in regard to how the traps are set – well, actually, there are no preconceived notions here, since I honestly had no idea how you set a trap for beaver.

Here it is:

A spot is picked out along the bank of the river, in a place that looks like it might be well trafficked (good signs are the tell-tale v-shaped markings of felled trees nearby, peeled sticks, and small mud piles on the bank in which beavers territorially mark their scent).

A stick of young poppel is stuck into the bank, with shavings carved off (beavers love the bark of young poppel). Mike also places a proprietary bait blend on the poppel.

A snap-trap is placed underwater, just in front of the poppel stick.

The trap is attached to a cinder block by a cable with a one-way sliding cam lock. The cinder block is then thrown some 10 feet away into the center of the river.

Essentially, when the beaver moves in for their snack of poppel, the trap is sprung. Once snared, the beaver can then move only one way, toward the cinder block in the middle of the river, where they drown.

Our first trap check resulted in a “double” with two beavers harvested from the traps. Not a bad way to start the afternoon’s trap line.

An Important Part of Ecological Management

The opening double was a good start, but ended up being one of just a few as we wound through the trap checks.

We checked 19 different locations (38 traps), and ended the trap line run with 14 beavers – about average for this season, said Mike.

As we drove along from trap to trap, bridge to bridge, I asked Mike about why he does it, and what type of impact trapping has on the environment.

As for the first question, Mike explained that about 10 years ago, when he first built his house on the Crow River north of Cokato, his buddy John Russell (the legendary JR) asked him if he could trap raccoons on his property.

Mike said he could, and that experience with JR set him on his own trapping path.

He started with coons, but branched out over the years to include coyote, muskrat, fox, fisher, marten, and beaver.

As for the second question, Mike said that just like hunting, trapping done right is an essential part of ecological management.

Beaver, for example, have almost no natural predators, and unchecked will choke out environs. He noted that the DNR will frequently contract trappers to weed out concentrated areas.

Farmers are also by-and-large big supporters of beaver trappers, as beaver dams frequently disrupt their arable acres.

“Just about every farmer I’ve ever come across while trapping beaver has been happy to have us there,” said Mike.

There is, however, an element of backlash against trappers from animal rights activists like PETA (People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

One of the first messages Mike sent me was a warning that, no matter what my portrayal, there was bound to be a backlash against anything I wrote, simply because of the polarized views of trapping.

However, as for the real-life animal-rights backlash on his trapping, it has been negligible thus far, he said. We did come across one trap that had obviously been set off by a stick, but judging by location it is more likely to have been set off by a bored teenager than a PETA agent.

Similarly, Mike said he’s had six of his traps stolen this year, but he attributes those thefts more to crimes of opportunity than eco-terrorism.

Women in Trapping

Christie will readily admit she is a bit of an anomaly in the trapping world.

Most women, she said, view trapping as something “icky” and “gross,” something only suited for men.

And indeed, in the early years, that was how she viewed trapping as well.

But as Mike became more and more involved, so did she.

At first, she helped him with skinning, stretching and drying pelts in their garage, then graduated to going along with him on trap runs.

“He would come home from work at 3, leave to go check his traps and not come home until 9,” she said. “Eventually I said, ‘I want to come, too.’”

What started as ridealongs evolved into Christie becoming an equal partner with her husband.

Indeed, Mike and Christie worked as a team in every trap check we did, with each one taking a trap and handling the results, be it harvesting, re-setting traps, or at one point, Christie helping Mike out of the river.

The couple really seemed to enjoy each other’s company, trading quips and barbs as we drove around (Christie acts as the navigator and information director with a touch-screen tablet map, while Mike drives). Both of them talked reverently about being in nature to witness sunrises and sunsets together.

“I would encourage any woman to join their spouse in an outdoor activity,” said Christie. “It’s a great chance to spend some quality time together.”

Future of Trapping

Mike said one of the reasons he agreed to have me and Isaac tag along on their trap run is to bring awareness to the trapping industry.

Simply put, he said, the industry is dying.

“If you go to a trapping convention these days, it’s almost all older guys. Very few younger men, kids, or women,” he said. “And that’s a shame, because not only is it an important part [of ecological management], but it’s a lot of fun.”

After spending an afternoon on a trap line with Mike and Christie, I can confirm, it is a lot of fun. Like hunting or fishing, there is a rush of satisfaction in seeing your preparation end up in results.

I can see why they both were smiling in their Facebook photo.

 

ADDITIONAL TRAPPING INFORMATION

Some interesting facts I learned about beaver trapping, and Mike and Christie Halonen’s operation:

• Each and every person involved in trapping must have a Trappers’ License from the State of Minnesota. While I was fine taking pictures, Mike instructed me not to help him in any way, shape, or form with his trapping operation (not that I was really planning to, anyway).

• There are around 5,000 trapping licenses granted each year in Minnesota. Of those, Mike estimated that only around 100-200 or so trap at a similar rate as he and Christie for any species, with even fewer going hard after beaver.

• Mike and Christie bring their harvested beavers to a buyer in Park Rapids. The buyer in turn sells the beaver’s castor, meat, pelt, skull and tail to third party buyers.

• Beaver castor, or castoreum, is collected from beaver glands. It is used as a flavoring agent in food and drink, and is also used for anxiety, restless sleep, and as a calming agent. Women have traditionally used it to treat painful menstrual periods. In the current market, castor gland is the most valuable part of the beaver, at about $80/pound.

• Beaver meat, especially the tail, is fit for human consumption. A lot of beaver meat also goes to top-end dog sled teams for their rich nutrients and fat.

• About 4-5 years ago, the beaver pelt was worth 4x what it is now. At that time, most of the pelts were purchased by Russia for clothing use. However, US sanctions, combined with an oil price drop and the dollar’s strength over the ruble, has reduced the strength of the market. The main use for the beaver’s fur these days is in fur felt hats.

• Mike is among one of the instructors in “Trappers Field Day,” held every fall in Kimball. Children and adults of all ages are encouraged to attend and learn more about trapping.

 

Isaac Salmen, Mike Halonen, and Christie Halonen pose after a successful trapline check on the Wing and Leaf Rivers Wednesday, April 29. All told, there are 28 beavers on this tailgate, 14 of which came on our run.

Isaac Salmen, Mike Halonen, and Christie Halonen pose after a successful trapline check on the Wing and Leaf Rivers Wednesday, April 29. All told, there are 28 beavers on this tailgate, 14 of which came on our run.

 

 

 

 

This is what I’ve been reduced to: the NFL draft

I have always thought the NFL draft, and especially the media coverage surrounding it, was silly.

I can’t imagine there are many people reading this who don’t know what the NFL draft is, but let me break it down.

So every April, all 32 NFL teams take turns selecting college players.

And … that’s it.

It’s like a grownup version of picking teammates for elementary school dodge ball. Except in this version, our nation’s sports media spends two weeks debating if Billy’s 44 1/2-inch wingspan is a greater liability than Bobby’s tendency to lolligag if he’s had more than one juice box at lunch.

It used to take two days for all 32 NFL teams to pick a total of 224 players in seven rounds.

Fortunately the NFL, in their infinite wisdom, realized just how absurd that was, and now it takes three days.

Two things have always irritated me about the NFL draft. The first is the amount of media coverage.

The draft occurs in late April every year. This is the time in which both the NHL and NBA playoffs are in full swing, and the MLB season is just getting underway. It is one of the best times of the year to be a sports fan.

Yet every year, the national sports media puts everything on the back burner for a couple weeks to concentrate on a list of names.

Names, mind you, of players that have never played a minute of professional football.

Which brings me to my second contention. The draft – and especially its precoverage – is a complete and utter crapshoot.

It’s hilarious to me to watch the draft “experts” give a “grade” to each team on their draft selections each year.

They’re usually wrong, because, just like us:

They.

Have.

No.

Idea.

For example, Mel Kiper, Jr. is an analyst for ESPN. He specializes in football draft coverage.

His draft boards are, somehow, the gold standard that other “analysyts” base their own draft boards on.

He’s also wrong, the vast majority of the time. As is every other prognosticator.

I would like to remind you of these draft gems from Mel:

• Johnny Manziel should be the #1 overall pick.

• Alkili Smith, drafted #3 by the Bengals in 1998, would be a “great NFL player.” (Smith threw 5 TDS, and 13 INTs in his career).

• “If Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame QB in 2010 draft) is not a successful quarterback in seven years, I will retire.”

Clausen proceeded to go 1-10, with three TDS and 9 INTs, in his career at Carolina.

Not only did Kiper not retire, but to this day he continues to incorrectly slap players around on his draft board, and get paid handsomely for it.

Anyway, this year the NFL draft was scheduled for about the same time, in late April. But, obviously, things were different with COVID-19.

In years past, the three-day event would be held at some swanky auditorium, where draftees wearing a tuxedo for the first time mixed with B-list celebrities and ESPN hair before being called up on stage to awkwardly embrace NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who they would prefer to punch in the face three years later.

This year, with the COVID-19 pandemic, everything was filmed remotely. From announcers, GMs, players, and prognasticators, each contributor was filmed in their own home.

It was, just as all other draft broadcasts have been, awful.

And yet, I was so desperate for any kind of live sports action, so help me I actually watched it.

Some of it, anyway. In reality, I turned in for the first few picks and a handful of the Vikings picks afterwards. That was about all I could stomach.

Nevertheless, I was so hard up for some live sports action that I followed the draft online, something I’ve never done before.

I followed just enough that I think I can now reliably qualify as an “expert,” since noone can say otherwise at this point.

Here is my “expert” analysis.

I can tell you that the Vikings got an “A” grade for their picks.

They took a wide receiver (Justin Jefferson, LSU), a cornerback (Jeff Gladney, TCU), and an offensive lineman (Ezra Cleveland, Boise St.) with their first three picks, addressing their “primary needs”.

Due to some “clever” trades by GM Rick Spielman, the Vikings then filled up their roster with 12 more picks in rounds 3-7. Those 15 picks were the most ever in the seven-round era, which the “pundits” will again tell you is “masterful”.

I can also gleefully tell you that the Packers got a “D” grade.

They traded up to take a quarterback with their first round pick in Jordan Love (who had 20 TDs and 17 INTs last season at Utah St.), and then took Boston College running back AJ Dillon in the second round, thus fulfilling none of their “primary needs.”

The howling of Packer Nation online was rather satisfying to watch.

The irony/reality of the situation, of course, is that nobody will have any idea if those grades are accurate until years from now.

Green Bay fans were quick to point out that that Aaron Rodgers was selected in a similar spot as Love, and was just as unpopular a pick at the time.

Vikings fans, meanwhile, might remember that LaQuan Treadwell was picked in pretty much the same spot as Jefferson.

That’s what slays me about the draft. The media and fans put such hype and emphasis on this game of dodgeball pick-em, but I defy you to correctly name even two of the previous year’s picks correctly.

And yet, there I was for three straight days, closely following and analyzing each and every pick like I was Mel Kiper III.

Dangit, COVID-19, you won.

You’ve not only made me care about something that is objectively awful and silly, but I cared enough to write a column about it.

I sure hope we get back to sports soon. At this point, I’ll watch competitive underwater basket weaving, as long as it’s broadcast live.

Jackson Bakeberg finds “perfect fit” in Bemidji State

By BRAD SALMEN

Sports Editor

In looking to further his golf career, DC senior standout Jackson Bakeberg took just one college visit.

Turns out, it was the only one he needed.

Bakeberg, a 2x state tournament entrant who on paper would have been in contention this spring, had little expectation when he visited Bemidji State, an NCAA Division II school.

Oh sure, he had been texting the coach (Ekren Miller) for a while, and the school had a business program that looked like it fit his goals. But he had no intentions of committing when he visited the BSU campus with his father, Scott.

After all, the most important consideration was a school that would accommodate his walk in faith, and he had no idea if BSU fit the bill.

The first inkling he had that BSU might be right was when his tour guide mentioned that he played drums with Miller at church, though at the time Bakeberg thought little of it.

As the tour went on, however, more and more things fell into place.

The classrooms and dorms felt comfortable, and even more impressive was the new facility for the golf teams, the McBride Clubhouse.

The McBride Clubhouse features a simulator, putting green, and lifting area for the athletes, along with their own chiropractic and medical room. It also serves as a place for the golf team to congregate year-round.

“There were a lot of perks of being a student-athlete at BSU,” said Bakeberg.

But it was when he got to sit down with Coach Miller that Bakeberg knew he was in the right place.

After talking golf for a while, Bakeberg asked Miller about what his tour guide had mentioned in regard to playing Christian music with him.

Miller explained that not only was he a Christian musician, he was part of a non-denominational church [like Bakeberg], and also was part of an organization where he meets professional golfers and talks religion with them.

“After meeting [Coach Miller] and learning about him, it was the easiest decision of my life,” said Bakeberg, who committed on the spot. “This was exactly what I was looking for in a college, and it already seemed like home to me.”

For his part, Miller said that Bakeberg first came on his radar from one of his players, Brandon Nelson of Litchfield.

He has yet to see Bakeberg play in person, but “golf is nice in that scores are pretty objective.”

And based on his scores, said Miller, Bakeberg has tremendous potential.

“Recommendations from current players are meaningful because they see the talent and character that they would like on the team. Talent attracts talent,” Miller said. “Jackson could be an impact player right away in his freshman year.”

Miller said he tells every prospect that he is looking for the best academic and athletic fit for a player, including factors like proximity to home, the quality of golf program, academic offerings, campus feel, and the vibe you get from the coach and staff.

“Once he was on my recruiting list, I persistently recruited him for a campus visit,” said Miller. “Once Jackson visited with his father, it was evident this was a perfect fit.”

Bakeberg’s coach at DC, Brian Johnson, said Jackson will rank among the top boys golfers in his 23 years of coaching, along with players like Keeley Dolan, Paul Fiedler, Ben Barnes, Tyler Koivisto, and Troy Ryynanen.

“It is very unfortunate that his impressive high school career will probably come to a close without playing golf his senior year,” said Johnson. “Jackson has been an impressive player since he started varsity as an eighth-grader. His work ethic is one of his best attributes – he is never satisfied with his game and always wants to improve.”

But where Jackson impressed him most, said Johnson, was his leadership ability.

“From a very young age, he has led by example,” said Johnson. “As he has gotten older, he has really been great with the younger players on the team, showing them how to practice and play like a varsity player.”

Bakeberg said while he had interest from a number of NCAA Division II and III schools, none fit his criteria as perfectly as Bemidji State.

“I was just praying and hoping God would provide me with a college that he wanted me to go to, and somewhere I felt comfortable,” he said. “He answered that for me by giving me the opportunity to visit BSU.”