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The members of the Park Rapids girls track and field team posed with the Section 8A championship trophy after repeating as section champs Saturday at Park Rapids.

Park Rapids girls defend Section 8A title, advance to state meet in five events

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Entering the final event of the day, Corey Hill liked the chances of the Park Rapids girls track and field team to repeat as the Section 8A champions.

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The Panthers had 77 points, trailing only Bagley/Fosston's 82.50 total. Since Bagley/Fosston didn't have a team in the final event, Park Rapids only had to finish third to pass the Flyers and defend the section title.

Shelby Pierce, Mandy Schirmers, Grace Bateman and Summer Ellefson locked up the section championship in style by winning the 4 x 400-meter relay in 4:09.92. That showing gave the Panthers 87 points and another section title. With that win, the Panthers qualified six runners to the state Class A meet in five events.

Lydia Lutz, Lora Remus, Ellefson and Pierce opened the running events with a runner-up time of 9:42.81 in the 4 x 800 relay. That was second behind East Grand Forks' winning time of 9:38.28, but was below the state-qualifying time of 9:47.04 as the Panthers started off by qualifying four individuals in the first running event. The Panthers also won that event at the Subsection 8-29A meet with a time of 9:51.46.

Ellefson followed by winning the 400 dash in 1:00.40. Ellefson won the subsection title in 1:00.47.

Bateman earned her second trip to state in the 300 hurdles with a winning time of 47.76. Bateman won the subsection title in 48.48.

Pierce, who won the subsection title in the 800 run in 2:27.71, dropped that time to 2:25.17 to finish second and advance to state.

The 4 x 400 relay team capped off the meet to give the Panthers back-to-back section titles for the first time since 1994 and 1995. Ellefson, Lutz, Schirmers and Pierce won the subsection title in 4:12.38.

In addition to those five events, the Panthers scored points in eight other events, which was key to repeating as section champs.

The 4 x 100 relay team of Hannah Gorder, Jenna Polley, Bateman and Mady Vaudrin finished third in 51.99 while Bateman took third in the pole vault by clearing 8 feet, 6 inches.

Megan Grimes finished sixth in the 100 hurdles in 16.93, Vaudrin took fourth in the 100 dash in 13.23 and seventh in the 200 dash in 28.16, Lutz finished fourth in the 1,600 run in 5:31.55, Remus was eighth in the 800 run in 2:33.98, Heidi Lageson (fifth in 12:53.12) and Megan Olson (seventh in 13:15.98) placed in the 3,200 run, and Klingenberg was sixth in the triple jump at 32-7.75.

"We're excited to repeat as section champs," said Hill. "We knew Bagley would be the team to chase and our girls fought until the bitter end. Every girl who placed scored key points for us. I feel our section is the best in the state and to win the section title with such a young team is awesome."

The Panthers will be looking to bring home medals from the state Class A meet, which will be held at Hamline University in St. Paul. Preliminaries in the 400, 300 hurdles and 800 will be held Friday afternoon with the finals in all five events set for Saturday.

The 4 x 800 relay team is seeded fourth out of 10 qualifiers and the 4 x 400 relay team is seeded seventh out of nine qualifiers. Ellefson is seeded 12th out of 16 runners in the 400, Bateman is seeded 14th out of 18 qualifiers in the 300 hurdles and Pierce is seeded 16 out of 17 qualifiers in the 800.

Lutz, Pierce and Ellefson ran on the 4 x 800 relay team that finished second at state last year with a school record time of 9:29.44. The Panthers tied for 16th place with 17 points last season. Ellefson and Pierce will be making their first state trip in an individual event while Bateman returns in the 300 hurdles after placing 16th at state in 48.51 in 2009.

"I have high expectations," said Hill. "I expect the girls to go faster at state. I wouldn't be surprised if Summer, Grace and Shelby made it to the finals and the relay teams finished in the top five."

Team scores: Park Rapids 87, Bagley/Fosston 82.50, Roseau 59.50, Warroad 59.50, East Grand Forks 53, Crookston 51, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 46, West Marshall 41.50, Hawley/Ulen-Hitterdal 36, Badger/Greenbush/Middle River 32.50, Park Christian 27, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 26, Nevis 22, Thief River Falls 21.50, Ada-Borup 14.50, Clearbrook-Gonvick 11, Lake of the Woods 11, Red Lake County 6, Lake Park-Audubon 6, Fertile-Beltrami 3.50, Northome-Kelliher/Blackduck 3, Fisher-Climax 2.

Individual results

4 x 800 relay: 1, East Grand Forks, 9:38.28. Park Rapids (Lutz, Remus, Ellefson, Pierce), 9:42.81.

100 hurdles: 1, Olson, HUH, 15.90. 2, Ogden, W, 16.17. 6, Grimes, PR, 16.93. 14, Lauderbaugh, PR, 19.51.

100 dash: 1, Huschle, BF, 12.37. 2, Hahn, W, 12.89. 4, Vaudrin, PR, 13.23. 8, Walters, N, 13.48. 12, Gorder, PR, 13.57.

4 x 200 relay: 1, Bagley/Fosston, 1:48.40.

1,600 run: 1, Galstad, EGF, 5:22.34. 2, Lindgren, WM, 5:22.54. 4, Lutz, PR, 5:31.55. 9, Erickson, PR, 5:57.14. 14, Hilmanowski, PR, 6:02.59.

4 x 100 relay: 1, Bagley/Fosston, 51.62. 3, Park Rapids (Gorder, Polley, Bateman, Vaudrin), 51.99.

400 dash: 1, Ellefson, PR, 1:00.40. 5, Hanson, N, 1:02.22. 7, Walters, N, 1:02.73. 13, Klingenberg, PR, 1:06.12.

300 hurdles: 1, Bateman, PR, 47.76. 2, Olson, HUH, 48.41. 10, Grimes, PR, 51.01.

800 run: 1, Scanlan, EGF, 2:23.75. 2, Pierce, PR, 2:25.17. 8, Remus, PR, 2:33.98. 11, Otterness, PR, 2:36.12.

200 dash: 1, Huschle, BF, 25.68. 2, Nepstad, PC, 26.57. 5, Mueller, PR, 27.98. 7, Vaudrin, PR, 28.16.

3,200 run: 1, Huglen, R, 12:01.97. 2, Kirkeide, BGMR, 12:09.97. 5, Lageson, PR, 12:53.12. 7, Me. Olson, PR, 13:15.98. 14, Mo. Olson, PR, 14:50.01.

4 x 400 relay: 1, Park Rapids (Pierce, Schirmers, Bateman, Ellefson), 4:09.92. 4, Nevis (Feder, Hanson, Schuldt, Walters), 4:21.71.

Long jump: 1, Huschle, BF, 18-6.75 (section record). 2, Hahn, W, 17-3.

Triple jump: 1, Huschle, BF, 38-7 (section record). 2, Olson, HUH, 36-3. 6, Klingenberg, PR, 32-7.75.

High jump: 1, Feder, N, 5-0. 2, Wagner, CG, 5-0. 10 (tie), Grimes, PR, 4-8.

Pole vault: 1, Mercil, DGF, 9-9. 2, Knight, WHA, 9-6. 3, Bateman, PR, 8-6.

Shot put: 1, Solheim, C, 37-2.50. 2, Znajda, WM, 34-3. 13, Sam. Harshman, PR, 28-0.50.

Discus: 1, Solheim, C, 110-7. 2, Schumacher, C, 108-4. 10, Sar. Harshman, PR, 87-4. 12, Sam. Harshman, PR, 79-11.

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