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The members of the Park Rapids girls track and field team posed after winning the Section 8A title Saturday at Walker. It was the Panthers’ fifth section title in a row.

Girls repeat as section champions, qualify eight in six events for state meet

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     Corey Hill predicted Roseau and Norman County would battle the Park Rapids girls track and field team for the Section 8A title Saturday at Walker.

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     Entering the final event, Roseau had 94 points with Park Rapids (89) and Norman County (82) trailing.

     Thanks to a winning time of 4:12.16 by junior Megan Grimes, sophomore Megan Olson, freshman Ellery Overmyer and sophomore Abby Mueller in the 4 x 400-meter relay, the Panthers were able to capture the section title for the fifth year in a row with 99 points. Roseau, which took eighth in the final event, finished second with 95 points while Norman County, which took fifth in the final event, was third with 86 points.

     The Panthers ended up qualifying eight individuals in six events for the state Class A meet, which will hold preliminaries Friday afternoon at Hamline University in St. Paul. The finals will be Saturday.

     “Going into the meet we knew we were the team to beat, but also knew that we had our hands full. Norman County and Roseau were seeded well also and we knew it would be our toughest challenge in the last five years,” said Hill, who was named the Section 8A Coach of the Year. “This was a big goal of ours and we were very excited to achieve it. The longer you stay on top, the larger the target gets on your back and there were a lot of teams wanting to see us fall. We couldn’t be prouder of our girls and how they did. They kept their heads high and fought hard all the way till the end.”

     Park Rapids got off to a strong start when freshman Lydia Kantonen, eighth grader Tori Hilmanowski, Overmyer and Olson won the 4 x 800 relay in 9:52.15; Grimes took first in the 100 hurdles in 16.43; and senior Mady Vaudrin won the 100 dash in 12.80.

     Grimes, Mueller, sophomore Paige Hill and Vaudrin won the 4 x 100 relay in 51.25 before Mueller claimed a state berth with a runner-up 26.58 in the 200 dash.

     Olson and Kantonen just missed qualifying for state with a pair of third-place showings. Olson clocked a 5:34.22 in the 1,600 run while Kantonen clocked a 12:11.87 in the 3,200 run.

     Also scoring points for the Panthers were Grimes (fourth at 4 feet, 11 inches) and sophomore Tayah Otterness (seventh at 4-9) in the high jump; senior Ellen Hoffman (fourth at 8-6), freshman Caroline Drury (fifth at 8-0) and senior Christina Mackley (tied for seventh at 7-6) in the pole vault; eighth grader Jaiden McCollum in the shot put (fifth at 33-1); junior Bria Wolff (sixth at 98-10) and McCollum (seventh at 93-0) in the discus; and freshman Haley MacPherson, McCollum, Wolff and Vaudrin in the 4 x 200 relay (sixth in 1:55.11).

     Taylor Drury cleared 8 feet to finish sixth in the pole vault to lead Nevis, which tied for 17th place out of 21 teams with 6 points.

     Entering Friday’s preliminaries, Vaudrin is seeded No. 14 out of 24 qualifiers in the 100, Mueller is seeded No. 8 out of 16 qualifiers in the 200, Grimes is seeded No. 21 out of 22 qualifiers in the 100 hurdles, the 4 x 100 relay team is seeded No. 9 out of 16 qualifiers, the 4 x 400 relay team is seeded No. 14 out of 16 qualifiers, and the 4 x 800 relay team is seeded No. 6 out of 16 qualifiers. The top-9 times during preliminaries advance to Saturday’s finals.        “State will be tough. I have seen the times and we will have our hands full,” said Hill. “We have a chance for all three relays to medal, but we will have to show up and be ready. Once you get to state, it’s all about just doing your best. My plan is to just focus on doing the best we can and see where the chips fall.”

Team scores: Park Rapids 99, Roseau 95, Norman County 86, Bagley/Fosston 76, East Grand Forks 66.50, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 62, West Marshall 32, Park Christian 24, Warroad 22.50, Frazee 21, Barnesville 20, Fertile-Beltrami 18, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 17, Northome-Kelliher/Blackduck 17, Crookston 14, Fisher-Climax 7, Badger-Greenbush-Middle River 6, Lake Park-Audubon 6, Nevis 6, Mahnomen/Waubun 3, Hawley/Ulen-Hitterdal 2.

Individual results

4 x 800 relay: 1, Park Rapids (Kantonen, Hilmanowski, Overmyer, Olson), 9:52.15. 2, East Grand Forks, 9:56.68.

100 hurdles: 1, Grimes, PR, 16.43. 2, Jerome, R, 16.73. 15, Rittgers, PR, 19.34.

100 dash: 1, Vaudrin, PR, 12.80. 2, Mershman, BF, 13.25. 8, Wolf, N, 13.79. 12, J. Lucas, N, 13.85.

4 x 200 relay: 1, Bagley/Fosston, 1:49.01. 2, Roseau, 1:50.19. 6, Park Rapids (MacPherson, McCollum, Wolff, Vaudrin), 1:55.11.

1,600 run: 1, Huglen, R, 5:20.96. 2, Carlson, BF, 5:21.45. 3, Olson, PR, 5:34.22. 16, M. Steffel, PR, 6:10.50.

4 x 100 relay: 1, Park Rapids (Grimes, Mueller, Hill, Vaudrin), 51.25. 2, Roseau, 52.55.

400 dash: 1, Nepstad, PC, 59.04. 2, Miller, NC, 59.60. 14, Hilmanowski, PR, 1:07.02.

300 hurdles: 1, Larson, PC, 48.50. 2, Jerome, R, 49.06. 11, Rittgers, PR, 53.73. 15, Drury, N, 56.06.

800 run: 1, Eades, EGF, 2:20.64. 2, Carlson, BF, 2:21.69. 10, Overmyer, PR, 2:32.67.

200 dash: 1, Miller, NC, 26.50. 2, Mueller, PR, 26.58.

3,200 run: 1, Moen, BF, 12:09.48. 2, Nelson, R, 12:09.96. 3, Kantonen, PR, 12:11.87. 15, W. Steffel, PR, 13:51.64.

4 x 400 relay: 1, Park Rapids (Grimes, Olson, Overmyer, Mueller), 4:12.16. 2, East Grand Forks, 4:14.41.

High jump: 1, Rockstad, NC, 5-1. 2, Lee, NC, 5-1. 4, Grimes, PR, 4-11. 7, Otterness, PR, 4-9. 10 (tie), Drury, N, 4-7.

Pole vault: 1, Balstad, BF, 9-6. 2, Gramer, FB, 8-6. 4, Hoffman, PR, 8-6. 5, Drury, PR, 8-0. 6, Drury, N, 8-0. 7 (tie), Mackley, PR, 7-6.

Long jump: 1, Mercil, DGF, 15-4.50. 2, Rockstad, NC, 15-3. 8, Wolf, N, 14-5.50. 13, Boesch, PR, 13-2.75.

Triple jump: 1, Stanger, NC, 33-2.50. 2, Arroyo, EGF, 31-11. 11, Hill, PR, 29-0.75.

Discus: 1, Grosz, B, 107-3. 2, Christianson, R, 104-8. 6, Wolff, PR, 98-10. 7, McCollum, PR, 93-0. 10, Harshman, PR, 91-7.

Shot put: 1, Meyer, DGF, 35-11.25. 2, Nelson, EGF, 35-8.75. 5, McCollum, PR, 33-1.

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