Tom Elliott: BOLD brings home some more hardware

Mar. 18—MINNEAPOLIS — BOLD girls basketball now makes its contribution to the overstuffed trophy cases at BOLD High School, where accumulating plaques and other assorted hardware from state tournaments has been a consistent habit since the 1970s.

Or, if you'd prefer, since the BOLD school district was formed in 1989.

The Warriors took second place in Class A on Saturday at Williams Arena, losing to Mountain Iron-Buhl 52-21. No, BOLD didn't play that well. Yes, there were a few tears afterward. But nobody wearing Warrior red, silver and black should feel too terrible. It was another great season in a school district that seems to make state tournaments a habit.

This was the Warriors' third state girls basketball tournament, which includes appearances in 2013 and '19. But that doesn't explain all the successes in multiple sports.

"We have high expectations," said BOLD head girls basketball coach Brian Kingery, who's an assistant in football and head baseball coach. "BOLD has created a winning culture.

"And I think that winning culture gets passed on from generation to generation since BOLD was established in '89-90. And that's the standard we hold our kids accountable to and that's what we want to keep pushing toward."

The communities of Bird Island, Lake Lillian and Olivia's first recorded team in a Minnesota State High School League sport was Olivia qualifying for the state boys cross country meet in 1967. For the record, Olivia placed 17th.

Since then, some team from the communities that make up BOLD have been going to state in something often.

Take football.

Bird Island was the state Class C runner-up in 1974. Bird Island-Lake Lillian was second in 1976 and '83 and first in '79 and 80 with another appearance in '78. Olivia made state in 1980.

Since 1990, BOLD has been to state 11 times, winning state titles in 1990 and '91 and taking second in '92, 2014, '18 and '19.

BOLD baseball has been to state in '12, '13, '14 and '19, winning a state Class A title that year. Ask Kingery and he'll tell you they likely would have won another state title in 2020 had there been a season.

BOLD has won a couple of state dance team championships and a couple of state girls golf titles among seven state tournament appearances. Boys golf has made state and so has volleyball.

"The goal isn't necessarily to win a state title," Kingery said. "It's to be a competitor. And, as you compete as you have to compete in life every day, you want a job, you want to get into college, you want to find a special someone, it doesn't matter. It's competition."

BOLD's figured it out in that respect. BOLD competes in everything, not that a big state tournament run isn't going to hurt a girls basketball program that could use better numbers. BOLD has 14 athletes out in girls basketball from ninth through 12th grade. Only 10 players were suited up for Saturday's championship game.

"I think it does a lot for the feeder programs," Kingery said. "I talked about how I have two daugters (a sixth-grader and a third-grader) in the feeder program and they both said, 'I want to play here, too, Dad.'

"I'm like, awesome."