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BHS Hall of Fame will grow by five Thursday night


The Bemidji High School Hall of Fame will grow by five members Monday as John Buckanaga, Andy Kannenberg, David Lawrence, Jerry Lee and Shannon Whelan will officially be inducted.

The ceremony will be part of the annual program at the high school commons to honor this year’s BHS athletes, teams and accomplishments.

The ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. and tickets are available at the BHS activities office.

Lee is the elder statesman of this year’s Hall of Fame group. A 1966 graduate Lee earned three football letters, two in wrestling and one in track.

In 1966 Lee became Bemidji’s first state wrestling champion as he captured the 154-pound title.

Following high school Lee wrestled at the University of Iowa and earned three letters. After his successful collegiate career Lee coached wrestling, junior high football and track for 25 years at Crosby-Ironton.

Whelan was a three-sport athlete at BHS. In tennis she lettered five years, was a captain for two seasons and helped the Jacks win the state consolation championship in 1999.

Whelan also lettered three times in basketball and the Jacks advanced to the state tournament in 2000 and 2001.

She also was a four-time letterwinner in track and field. Academically Whelan graduated with a 4.029 grade point average and attended Creighton University where she was a four-year starter on the tennis team.

She currently lives in Colorado and is employed in the petroleum industry.

Known as a consummate leader by his coaches and teammates, Buckanaga excelled at every level of baseball in Bemidji.

An exceptional catcher with tremendous athletic ability and great instincts, Buckanaga was the starting catcher for the 1973 BHS state championship team and also a part of the 1974 Legion team which finished second in the state.

Buckanaga continued his playing career at the University of Minnesota before a knee injury cut his collegiate career short.

He later returned to BHS as the varsity baseball coach from 1997-2002, finishing with a record of 77-51.

Buckanaga also was a pitching coach for BSU, an assistant Legion coach and a coach at various levels in the Bemidji Youth Leagues.

Employed with the Bemidji Area Schools for the past 19 years as a youth development coordinator, Buckanaga and his wife Lisa have three children, John, Mitchell and Katherine.

Considered by many as the best high school level pitcher in BHS history, Kannenberg anchored the pitching staff of the 1973 Lumberjacks state championship team, winning the semifinal and championship games.

As a senior he was the ace of the staff that won the 1974 state consolation title. He also held a state record that lasted more than 20 years for striking out 21 batters in a seven-inning game.

Kannenberg led the 1974 Legion team to second place in the state and was a member of the 1974 BHS hockey team that finished second in the state.

He graduated from Princeton in 1978 and the New York University Business School in 1980.

Lawrence was a three-year starter in football (1981-83) and the team’s MVP as a senior. He also was a two-year starter in basketball, serving as co-captain as a senior. He also earned a track letter.

A four-year letterman and three-year starter for the Moorhead State football team, Lawrence was the team’s co-captain in 1987 and capped his collegiate career by being named all-conference and All-District 13.

In 1988 Lawrence played a season of semi-professional football in the United Kingdom.

Professionally Lawrence was selected as the 2011 Minnesota Assistant Principal of the Year while at Moorhead High School.


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