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Paige Hill ran the third leg on Park Rapids' winning 4 x 100-meter relay team Saturday in helping the Panthers repeat as Section 8A champions.

Park Rapids girls defend section title, send eight to state

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Park Rapids girls defend section title, send eight to state
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     Corey Hill was confident the Park Rapids girls track and field team had the depth and talent to easily repeat as Section 8A champions and send a strong contingent of athletes to the state Class A meet.

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     The Panthers did just that, qualifying eight individuals in eight events for the state meet and running away with the section title with 114 points. Roseau finished a distant second with 70 points.

     Leading the Panthers to their fourth straight section title with winning performances were sophomore Megan Grimes in the 100-meter hurdles (in 16.26), senior Grace Bateman in the 300 hurdles (in 49.47) and three relay teams: Grimes, Bateman, freshman Sarah Harshman and junior Mady Vaudrin in the 4 x 200 (in 1:50.45); Harshman, freshman Abby Mueller, freshman Paige Hill and Vaudrin in the 4 x 100 (in 51.92); and Grimes, seventh grader Tori Hilmanowski, Mueller and Bateman in the 4 x 400 (in 4:19.72).

     Also advancing to state with runner-up efforts were Vaudrin in the 100 dash (in 12.78), freshman Megan Olson in the 1,600 run (in 5:32.34) and Mueller in the 200 dash (in 26.86).

     “We were confident going in that we could repeat, but you always worry that something could go wrong here or there and miss some points. It’s a tough section and harder to stay on top all the time. We are constantly surprised by our team and their desire to work hard and be successful. That’s a quality that cannot be coached and this team possesses,” said Hill. “As for qualifying, we pretty much had it mapped out and there were not any big surprises as to who qualified. We have a great following and it helps the kids do so well. I guess you could say it’s a team effort that the whole community is involved with.”

     The Panthers also scored points in eight other events. The 4 x 800 relay team of Olson, Madison Steffel, Lora Remus and Ellery Overmyer just missed a state berth by placing third in 10:31.09. Ellen Hoffman and Bateman finished third and fourth in the pole vault by clearing 8 feet, 6 inches. Lydia Kantonen took fourth in the 3,200 run in 12:27.75. Harshman placed fifth in both the long jump (at 15-3.50) and discus (at 101-4). Tori Lauderbaugh finished sixth in both the 100 hurdles (in 17.64) and high jump (at 4-11). Overmyer finished seventh in the 800 run (in 2:37.39). Grimes finished seventh in the high jump (at 4-9).

     Hannah Anderson finished seventh in the triple jump with a distance of 31-8.50 to account for Nevis’ 2 points.

     Entering the section meet, Vaudrin is seeded No. 6 out of 16 qualifiers in the 100, Mueller is seeded No. 12 out of 16 qualifiers in the 200, Olson is seeded No. 15 out of 16 qualifiers in the 1,600, Grimes is seeded No. 10 out of 16 qualifiers in the 100 hurdles, Bateman is seeded No. 15 out of 16 qualifiers in the 300 hurdles, the 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 relay teams are seeded No. 13 and the 4 x 400 relay team is seeded No. 15. Those seed times could be deceptive since the Panthers competed in cold and windy conditions Saturday at Mahnomen.

     Hill is looking for the Panthers to qualify for the finals in multiple events and improve on last year’s finish of 21 points and a share of 13th place when the state meet begins with preliminaries Friday afternoon at 3:30 at Hamline University in St. Paul.

     “We are excited to get to state and see what we can do. In a lot of cases, we have not been challenged in our events and are confident that we have a new level to reach, and with the right weather and climate, we will get there,” said Hill. “We have done the work to get into position to accomplish our year-end goals and now we go to work to see just how high on the ladder we can climb at state. We leave, as always, dreaming big but with the knowledge that it is a tough task to tackle. That’s what this group thrives on.”

Teams scores: Park Rapids 114, Roseau 70, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 61, Norman County 58, Warroad 54, Bagley/Fosston 54, Park Christian 53, East Grand Forks 48, Badger/Greenbush/Middle River 29, West Marshall 28, Trek North 21, Red Lake County 19, Crookston 16, Mahnomen/Waubun 15, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 13, Lake Park-Audubon 12, Fertile-Beltrami 11, Hawley/Ulen-Hitterdal 11, Climax-Fisher 10, Northome/Kelliher/Blackduck 3, Nevis 2.

Individual results

4 x 800 relay: 1, Roseau, 10:15.00. 2, East Grand Forks, 10:18.97. 3, Park Rapids (Me. Olson, Steffel, Remus, Overmyer), 10:31.09.

100 hurdles: 1, Grimes, PR, 16.26. 2, Larson, PC, 16.61. 6, Lauderbaugh, PR, 17.64.

100 dash: 1, Hahn, War, 12.45. 2, Vaudrin, PR, 12.78.

4 x 200 relay: 1, Park Rapids (Grimes, Bateman, Sar. Harshman, Vaudrin), 1:50.45. 2, Bagley/Fosston, 1:51.13.

1,600 run: 1, Carlson, BF, 5:32.12. 2, Me. Olson, PR, 5:32.34.

4 x 100 relay: 1, Park Rapids (Sar. Harshman, Mueller, Hill, Vaudrin), 51.92. 2, Bagley/Fosston, 53.35.

400 dash: 1, Anderson, HUH, 1:02.31. 2, Miller, NC, 1:03.17.

300 hurdles: 1, Bateman, PR, 49.47. 2, Larson, PC, 49.94.

800 run: 1, Eades, EGF, 2:28.14. 2, Kirkeide, BGMR, 2:28.91. 7, Overmyer, PR, 2:37.39.

200 dash: 1, Hahn, War, 26.42. 2, Mueller, PR, 26.86.

3,200 run: 1, Huglen, Ros, 11:56.05. 2, Hamrin, TN, 12:07.52. 4, Kantonen, PR, 12:27.75.

4 x 400 relay: 1, Park Rapids (Grimes, Hilmanowski, Mueller, Bateman), 4:19.72. 2, East Grand Forks, 4:24.56.

High jump: 1, Hahn, War, 5-3. 2, Lee, NC, 5-3. 6, Lauderbaugh, PR, 4-11. 7, Grimes, PR, 4-9.

Pole vault: 1, Mercil, DGF, 9-0. 2, Balstad, BF, 9-0. 3, Hoffman, PR, 8-6. 4, Bateman, PR, 8-6.

Long jump: 1, Hahn, War, 16-10. 2, Nepstad, PC, 16-3.50. 5, Sar. Harshman, PR, 15-3.50.

Triple jump: 1, Stanger, NC, 34-1.50. 2, Bruns, WHA, 34-0.50. 7, Anderson, Nevis, 31-8.50.

Discus: 1, Znajda, WM, 110-4. 2, Olson, RLC, 106-5. 5, Sar. Harshman, PR, 101-4.

Shot put: 1, Znajda, WM, 36-2.25. 2, Mercil, DGF, 35-10.25.

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