GIRLS SWIMMING AND DIVING: Schmidt completes undefeated season with section diving title

BEMIDJI — Mady Schmidt had already gone 10-for-10 in the regular season entering Friday’s Section 8A diving finals at Bemidji High School.

The BHS junior scored a 410.85 over 11 dives to capture the section’s individual diving title. She became the first Bemidji girls diver to do so since Kylei Grosfield in 2014.

“Just knowing that all my hard work this season paid off, it just feels amazing,” Schmidt said.

The diver became accustomed to her position atop the podium. Schmidt took first place in each of the Lumberjacks’ 10 regular-season dual meets and broke her personal-record score four separate times.

“My approaches have been getting a lot better since the beginning of the season, and from last season,” she said. “Good technique, form, and just staying tight on all of my entries. I think that was a really big factor in how well I did today.”

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Schmidt improved her score from last year’s section meet, where she posted a 377.6 to place fourth and qualified for state as one of the section’s top four divers. She had hoped to better her ninth-place finish at this season’s state meet, but she will not get the opportunity. The Minnesota State High School League opted to not hold post-section competition for fall sports due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Although Schmidt will not have a chance to compete alongside the top divers in the state, she’s thankful she had the opportunity to vie for a section crown.

“I’m very fortunate for getting this season. It was very up in the air whether I was going to be able to have a season or not,” Schmidt said. “So just the fact that we were able to compete, and that I went undefeated for the whole season, it’s great.”

Full results from Friday’s diving meet will be available at the conclusion of Saturday’s swimming finals.

Bemidji will return to its home pool at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23, when the swimming portion of the Section 8A finals takes place. No prelims will be held. All events will be timed finals, and results will be combined with the two other section sites to determine the overall results.

The meet is being held across three locations due to pandemic restrictions, with Detroit Lakes and Warroad serving as the other host sites.

NC surfer says he was bitten by shark in Emerald Isle waters

Fellow surfer, Ugene Kloepell, was in the water with Martnuik when it happened. “There was something behind him, chasing him. I caught a wave and …
EMERALD ISLE, N.C. (WTVD) — A man says he was bitten by a shark while surfing in Emerald Isle on Thursday and he has a bite mark and a busted surfboard to prove it.

“I look over, and I see a dorsal fin! I said oh man, that things coming right towards me,” Erik “Marty” Martynuik told WCTI. “It was like the movie Jaws, you know when it cruises and is gliding through the water?”

Fellow surfer, Ugene Kloepell, was in the water with Martnuik when it happened.

“There was something behind him, chasing him. I caught a wave and said ‘I’m out of here! That ain’t no blue fish,’ and I kept on paddling for all I was worth!” Kloepell said.

According to Martynuik, things got serious when he saw the shark coming towards him in the water.

“It goes down, and at that time I start looking around and then BOOM!” Martynuik said. “It just nailed my board at the bottom!”

Martynuik said the shark came after him, leaving marks on his foot and knee, but not before Martynuik could get a hit back, “I gave him a good shot right to the nose and automatically he let go. That’s how I think I saved myself.”

Luckily, Matynuik made it back to shore without suffering too many injuries. However, he said he was more worried about his board.

Wildlife officials have yet to confirm if the bite was caused by a shark but Emerald Isle Police Department officers, as well as the town manager, said sharks are often spotted in the area where Matynuik was surfing.

Weekend Break: Riding the wild surf

A flock of Surf Scoters watch as a surfer catches green water at The Cove in Seaside. Ron Baldwin.

The light is mesmerizing among the gray-white beach, the white foam on the tips of the waves and the gray-white horizon.

The green water of the breakers reflect a verdigris copper, cast from smoke that turned the moon blood red on the prior eve.

It is highwater. We begin walking the quarter mile to the beach. A few of the dozen or so surfers gathered at the parking area recognize my companion, Larry Moore, a veteran surfer. Nods and smiles are exchanged. Moore has been surfing the north Pacific coast for 52 years.

We approach the beach and ascend to the highest point on the dunes, where several figures of varying ages stand, sit and kneel — all watching the waves. Keen eyes scan the waves and wait for the right conditions. Some of the younger surfers spread apart, allowing room for Moore — a subtle show of respect.

We return to the parking lot. It’s obvious that some unuttered, mutual decision has been made. The stoke level has raised a notch or two, even though the so-so surf conditions may not warrant it. The younger surfers are prepared to go and return to the beach before us, quickly entering the water while Moore and I stroll along, clucking and cackling like a couple of old roosters.

On the beach, Moore zips his wetsuit up. He suddenly gives off a distinct air of command. This is his element. Quickly, he attaches his leash to the board and plows off toward the surf like he’s after something. In the water, the younger surfers spread out and make room for him, just as they did on the shore.

A growing interest

Cold-water surfing on the North Coast is popular. The North Coast has become a destination for surfers, largely because modern improvements in wetsuits enable more comfort in an ocean that does not vary far from 55 degrees yearround.

Even in this COVID-19 era, surfing is an attractive physical activity. Surfing, being a solo sport, is all about social distancing. Locals and tourists alike can, and mostly do, spread out on the break and keep safe.

Dennis Smith.jpg

Dennis Smith, owner of Seaside Surf Shop.

Ron Baldwin

According to Dennis Smith, owner of Seaside Surf Shop, the growth of surfing has shown no abatement. Surfers who are idled by the pandemic still go surfing. Tourists come to the North Coast to surf because the chances of finding yourself alone on a wave are greater than on California beaches, where warm water and proximity to a large population make competition for every wave.

Lexie Hallahan, owner of NW Women’s Surf Camps & Retreats in Seaside, said the pandemic caught her off-guard this season, her 15th.

“The shutdown really cost us. All of our camps were planned out and we had to miss all of the first part of our season, three and a half months,” Hallahan said. “That won’t happen in the next sessions. We’ve made changes that will allow us to offer programs for women, as well as men and whole families safely, while still keeping it fun.”

The rise in the number of female surfers has increased exponentially since the 2002 release of the women’s surfing film “Blue Crush.”

“That was the one event that changed the image of surfing as an athletic activity for women,” Hallahan said.

Moore 1.jpg

Larry Moore walks to the surf as his wife, Debbie, watches from the jetty.

Ron Baldwin

Women’s surfing was given a boost last February when Brazilian surfer Maya Gabeira conquered a 73.5 foot wave during a competition in Portugal.

Business meets community

Surf shops have always been among the drivers of the local surf scene. Josh Gizdavich’s Cleanline Surf celebrates its 40th year in Seaside and Smith’s shop was established in 2003.

Online marketing is driving the surf industry, along with other sports equipment and apparel companies. It’s a growing market and most shops now sell online. Advertising appeals to one’s emotions and dreams. The sense of freedom, stoke and self-reliance are powerful attractants. With the north Pacific, there is always an element of danger — this too can be an attraction.

Among offshoots of surfing are SUPs, stand up paddleboards, and kiteboarding. A paddleboard is shaped to use riding waves like a surfer but the rider stands on the board and catches waves by paddling.

The beach in Manzanita is the most popular on the North Coast for kiteboarding, which is just what it sounds like. The operator rides the waves on a special surfboard, operating the kite with flying lines while suspended from the kite by a harness. Then, the operator flies up into the air at death-defying speeds, only to splash down in the waves to fly again.

Surfing magazines that have driven and reported on the industry since its inception have visibly suffered during the pandemic. In May, Surfer magazine, the first popular surf publication and a model for all the rest, announced its last edition, citing the pandemic as the cause. The surf publication business, like other print publishing endeavors, is languishing in the shadow of online powerhouses. Some industry analysts predict the same fate for the others.

Catching waves, together

Jacob Moore is in his early 30s and grew up on the Long Beach Peninsula. He is a homegrown surfer of 17 years, having learned how to surf in the peninsula’s limited surfing spots.

Moore 2.jpg

Larry Moore returns from the sea.

Ron Baldwin

While his eyes don’t gloss over at the talk of surfing like the old diehards, he is a dedicated surfer. He admits that Oregon’s beaches offer better opportunities for catching a ride.

A talented singer and mandolin player, Larry Moore (no relation), is a member of the local “crabgrass” band, Brownsmead Flats. In a long, rambling conversation, we reflect on the parallels of music and surfing — waves, of course. Rhythm. Timing. Randomness. Balance. Agility. Strength. Judgment. Respect. The list goes on.

Like the loose-knit music community of the North Coast, local surfers also have such an unspoken, informal community.

The Cove Surfer.jpg

A lone surfer catches green water at The Cove in Seaside.

Ron Baldwin

There’s nothing like the respect and fellowship of homies. To illustrate — when legendary Seaside surfer Jack Brown died in 2015, the Seaside surfing community did just what he would have wanted — they all went surfing together.

I asked both Moore’s if they ever thought of quitting, which elicited lots of head shaking. Away from the beach, you would never know that these men are both stoked on surfing. But for both of them, surfing is not just a sport or a pastime — it’s a way of life, a way of being.

Winona diver has record-setting section meet

MANKATO — Winona’s Issara Schimdt had a record-setting day during the Section 1A diving meet on Thursday. Schmidt won the section title and her …

Schmidt won the section title and her score of 510.10 for 11 dives broke a trio of records. Schmidt set the Section 1A record, the Winona team record and the Mankato East pool record with her point total.

Schmidt won the meet by nearly 150 points. Despite her stellar effort, Schmidt will not get a chance at a state championship as there is no state swimming and diving meet this year due to COVID-19.

The four divers usually earn state berths during the section meet. Winona’s Ayanna King also had a strong meet. In her first varsity season, King placed third in the section with 307.85 points.

“It was a great night for our divers,” Winona coach Linda Whyte said.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Austin’s Rachel Engelstad placed sixth in diving with 296.6 points.

The Section 1A meet will be held Friday. The Section 1AA swimming meet is also Friday and will feature a trio of three-team pods.

Michigan high school winter sports to start on time with safety guidelines

The number of teams at any competitions like gymnastics, competitive cheer, swimming and diving, and wrestling will be limited to four per event.

EAST LANSING, Mich.Michiganhigh school sports like basketball, swimming and diving, hockey, wrestling, and gymnastics will start on time.

With fall sports in high school settings continuing with mostly success, the Michigan High School Athletic Association has confirmed winter sports will continue as planned, with precautions in place to protect against COVID-19.

A Thursday meeting between members of the Representative Council of the MHSAA approved guidelines that schools must follow if they plan on hosting winter sporting events.

Safety precautions include limits on teams in a single area, the number of spectators at events, wearing face coverings, and ensuring proper measures be taken for sports equipment.

As with fall sports, scrimmages between schools will be prohibited to limit the mixing of communities outside of official competitions. The number of teams at any competitions like gymnastics, competitive cheer, swimming and diving, and wrestling will be limited to four per event. Bowling and skiing competitions will be restricted to 72 competitors at one event.

Host sites must enforce spectator limits on a game-by-game basis, which includes two spectators per participant at all contests. Athletes must also wear face coverings during competitions in basketball, competitive cheer, ice hockey, and wrestling. They are not required for bowling, gymnastics, skiing, or swimming and diving.


“The Council believes it is safer to begin Winter practices on time, and keep athletes in school programs where safety precautions are always in effect,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said, before adding “let’s be clear: Our statewide COVID-19 numbers have to get better. In order for our schools to continue playing sports this winter, and in order for fans to be there to cheer them on, we must continue working to slow down this virus.”

Michigan is currently experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 cases, along with rises in hospitalizations and deaths – numbers that have health officials concerned as residents enter flu season and begin spending more time indoors.

Almost 100 schools have reported a coronavirus outbreak, including 28 currently mitigating spread.