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Panthers close out home swimming schedule with thrilling tie against Bemidji

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Park Rapids Enterprise
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Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

Todd Fritze predicted the outcome of Tuesday night's girls swimming and diving meet between Park Rapids and Bemidji would be decided in the final event.

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The final event did decide the outcome as this battle between two evenly matched teams at the Area High School pool ended in a 93-93 tie.

Bemidji held a 74-66 lead with three events to go before the Panthers rallied to claim an 87-85 lead with one event remaining. A 2-3 finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay kept Park Rapids' undefeated record intact as the Panthers gave a Parents' Night crowd an entertaining performance in the final home meet of the season.

"If you enjoy watching swimming, this was an exciting meet to come and see," said Fritze, whose team is now 5-0-1 in dual meets. "We know each other's teams pretty well. We're strong in different events, which balanced out well for a good meet. It can't get any closer. It was a fun meet."

The Panthers jumped out to an early lead by going 1-2 in the 200 medley relay. Taylor Ondracek, Mandy Schirmers, Kyja Penning and Melissa Haas took first in 2:02.35 while Katherine Erickson, Hannah Williams, Leah Meinert and Lauren Rossman followed in 2:06.27.

Emily Creager won the 200 freestyle in 2:08.99 and Mandy Schirmers finished second in the 200 individual medley in 2:31.50 as the Panthers clung to a 26-20 lead.

Allycia Zinke's runner-up 27.57 in the 50 freestyle and Penning's winning score of 215.55 points in diving kept Park Rapids in front 40-38.

Penning took first in the 100 butterfly in 1:03.02, but Bemidji was able to tie the meet at 47-47 with a 2-3-4 showing.

Bemidji then took the lead by winning the next three events. The Panthers faced a 74-66 deficit despite Creager's runner-up 58.68 in the 100 freestyle, Erickson's runner-up 5:56.38 in the 500 freestyle, and a runner-up time of 1:48.41 by Penning, Zinke, Rossman and Creager in the 200 freestyle relay.

Park Rapids responded as Ondracek (1:06.01) and Erickson (1:06.91) went 1-2 in the 100 backstroke and Schirmers clocked a 1:16.62 to win the 100 breaststroke to take the lead.

Bemidji had to win the 400 freestyle relay and Park Rapids had to go 2-3 for a tie. That's what happened as Bemidji's top relay team clocked a 3:56.78 to edge out the 3:57.01 by Erickson, Zinke, Schirmers and Creager. The Panthers secured the tie when Meinert, Ondracek, Williams and Haas clocked a 4:50.46 to edge out Bemidji's 4:50.65.

Bemidji prevailed in the junior varsity meet with a 103-65 victory. Leading the Panthers with first-place efforts were Ellen Hoffman, Heather Kniss, Elizabeth Nichols and Alex Pederson in the 200 medley relay (2:23.01); Nichols in the 100 butterfly (1:23.18); Emily Eystad in the 100 backstroke (1:20.25); and Kniss in the 100 breaststroke (1:28.95).

"I knew going in that if we didn't race well, we'd have our hands full," said Fritze. "You have to give our girls credit. They took the challenge and raced really well. We wanted to win, but we were able to come out with a tie against a very solid team to stay undefeated. Our girls swam lights out. This should be a character-building meet for our girls."

Park Rapids traveled to Staples-Motley Thursday night and will swim at Detroit Lakes in the final dual meet of the season next Thursday.

Park Rapids 93, Bemidji 93

200 medley relay: 1, Park Rapids (Ondracek, Schirmers, Penning, Haas), 2:02.35. 2, Park Rapids (K. Erickson, Williams, Meinert, Rossman), 2:06.27. 3, Bemidji, 2:11.04.

200 freestyle: 1, Creager, PR, 2:08.99. 2, Verchota, B, 2:09.85. 3, Hendricks, B, 2:16.80. 4, Yourd, B, 2:18.51. 5, Hanson, PR, 2:27.43. 6, Graham, PR, 2:31.28.

200 individual medley: 1, Gilbertson, B, 2:26.29. 2, Schirmers, PR, 2:31.50. 3, Meinert, PR, 2:34.18. 4, Papke-Larson, B, 2:35.44. 5, Jahner, B, 2:38.50. 6, Haas, PR, 2:38.73.

50 freestyle: 1, Frey, B, 27.49. 2, Zinke, PR, 27.57. 3, Krause, B, 28.35. 4, Rossman, PR, 28.61. 5, Yourd, B, 28.75. 6, Ondracek, PR, 28.93.

Diving: 1, Penning, PR, 215.55 points. 2, Hedstrom, B, 186.05. 3, Heinle, B, 173.70. 4, Andersen, PR, 140.10. 5, Erickson, B, 134.00. 6, Hoffman, PR, 119.70.

100 butterfly: 1, Penning, PR, 1:03.02. 2, Frey, B, 1:11.09. 3, Vanasse, B, 1:11.89. 4, Jahner, B, 1:13.61. 5, Graham, PR, 1:16.88. 6, Hanson, PR, 1:21.42.

100 freestyle: 1, Gilbertson, B, 57.93. 2, Creager, PR, 58.68. 3, Zinke, PR, 1:00.04. 4, Luby, B, 1:00.92. 5, Lawrence, B, 1:03.46. 6, Rossman, PR, 1:04.05.

500 freestyle: 1, Verchota, B, 5:52.38. 2, K. Erickson, PR, 5:56.38. 3, Meinert, PR, 6:00.23. 4, Hendricks, B, 6:04.99. 5, Williams, PR, 6:18.95.

200 freestyle relay: 1, Bemidji, 1:47.67. 2, Park Rapids (Penning, Zinke, Rossman, Creager), 1:48.41. 3, Bemidji, 1:55.27. 4, Park Rapids (Kniss, Hanson, Nichols, Graham), 2:03.02.

100 backstroke: 1, Ondracek, PR, 1:06.01. 2, K. Erickson, PR, 1:06.91. 3, Luby, B, 1:11.38. 4, Hedges, B, 1:13.74. 5, Hasson, B, 1:14.45. 6, Hoffman, PR, 1:21.96.

100 breaststroke: 1, Schirmers, PR, 1:16.62. 2, Papke-Larson, B, 1:19.19. 3, Has, PR, 1:20.61. 4, Williams, PR, 1:20.63. 5, Timms, B, 1:22.16.

400 freestyle relay: 1, Bemidji, 3:56.78. 2, Park Rapids (K. Erickson, Zinke, Schirmers, Creager), 3:57.01. 3, Park Rapids (Meinert, Ondracek, Williams, Haas), 4:05.46.

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