Chase Smith is continuing his athletic career at the next level, and at the NCAA Division I level to boot. It’s just maybe not in the sport Smith or his coaches expected to see him play.
The 2020 Bemidji High School graduate recently announced his commitment to join the North Dakota State wrestling team as a walk-on this fall after fielding offers to play football at other schools.
Smith will be the first BHS wrestler to compete in Division I since 2014 alum Kade Johnson wrestled one season for NDSU in 2014-15. The most recent Lumberjack to wrestle collegiately was 2015 graduate Brian Maas, who spent two seasons at Iowa Lakes Junior College from 2016-18.
Though it didn’t end in a state championship, Chase Smith’s heavyweight run through the Class 3A individual state wrestling tournament was still one of the books.
Smith lost his semifinal match but rebounded with a third-place finish at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Saturday, tying nine others for the program’s top individual finish since 2003.
Darren Roth also closed out his individual run on the podium. At 152 pounds, Roth defeated Rochester Century’s Garrett Pavelko by a 4-2 decision in overtime before decision losses in the next two rounds placed him sixth overall.
The Bemidji High School wrestling team met its match at the Class 3A state tournament on Thursday.
The unseeded Lumberjacks lost 38-31 to No. 2 seed St. Michael-Albertville in the opening round, then 40-27 to unseeded Waconia in the consolation semifinals at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
BHS doesn’t have much time to sulk, though. Six individuals -- Newby (138 pounds), Osborn (145), Colton Hinrichs (160), Roth (152), Olsen (182) and Smith (285) -- will return to the Xcel Energy Center Friday, Feb. 28, for the individual state tournament. Action begins at 9 a.m.