Park Rapids girls tie for 13th in team standings as eight place in five events
After qualifying 10 individuals in nine events, Corey Hill thought the Park Rapids girls track and field team had a chance to win the state Class A title.
The Panthers managed to score points in five events and ended up tying for 13th place with 21 points. That was Park Rapids' best showing at state since placing ninth with 24 points in 1998.
Senior Lydia Lutz finished fourth in the 3,200-meter run during Friday's finals at Hamline University in St. Paul while the Panthers placed in four events during Saturday's finals. The 4 x 800 relay team of Lutz, senior Shelby Pierce, eighth grader Heidi Lageson and senior Summer Ellefson finished third in the 4 x 800 relay. The 4 x 200 relay team of eighth grader Sarah Harshman, freshman Megan Grimes, junior Grace Bateman and sophomore Mady Vaudrin finished ninth. Bateman took eighth in the 300 hurdles. The 4 x 400 relay team of Ellefson, Grimes, Pierce and Bateman ended the meet by placing sixth in the 4 x 400 relay.
Grimes tied for 13th place in the high jump during Friday's finals while Ellefson (15th in the 400 dash), Pierce (11th in the 800 run), and Harshman, senior Jenna Polley, freshman Hannah Gorder and Vaudrin (15th in the 4 x 100 relay) failed to qualify for Saturday's finals during Friday's preliminaries.
Blake won the state title with 39 points while Watertown-Mayer (38), Blue Earth (36) and Annandale (36) followed. Also finishing ahead of Park Rapids were Byron (29.50), Osakis (24), Staples-Motley (23), Belle Plaine (22.50), Redwood Valley (22) and Pelican Rapids (22). Plainview also scored 21 points. A total of 76 teams scored points.
Lutz caps career with another medal
Lutz was looking to bring home another medal in her fourth and final individual appearance at the state meet.
The Park Rapids senior accomplished that goal by placing fourth in the 3,200 with a time of 11:20.19. That gave the Panthers 6 points in the team standings.
Blake sophomore Clare Flanagan won the state title in 10:44.70 while St. Cloud Christian sophomore McKenzie Holt was second in 11:03.18 and Clinton senior Molly Montonye took third in 11:16.22.
Lutz earned her first individual state berth in 2007 and placed 14th in the 3,200 in 12:25.96. Lutz returned to state in that event in 2008 and finished ninth in 11:43.22. Lutz qualified for state in 2010 in the 1,600 and finished seventh in 5:17.04.
Lutz, who broke the school record with an 11:10.56 at the Hamline Elite Meet earlier this year, entered the state meet seeded No. 10 out of 16 qualifiers after winning the Section 8A meet in 11:40.19.
3,200 run: 1, Clare Flanagan, Blake, 10:44.70. 2, McKenzie Holt, St. Cloud Christian, 11:03.18. 3, Molly Montonye, Clinton-Graceville, 11:16.22. 4, Lydia Lutz, Park Rapids, 11:20.19. 5, Emily Mantor, United South Central, 11:25.65. 6, Emi Trost, Cannon Falls, 11:26.86. 7, Kayla Huhnerkoch, Redwood Valley, 11:29.91. 8, Janessa Meuleners, Belle Plaine, 11:32.99. 9, Courtney Alama, Annandale, 11:33.86.
Panthers shine in 4 x 800 relay
The Panthers were hoping to break the school record and win the state title in the 4 x 800 relay.
Lutz, Ellefson, Lageson and Pierce had to settle for a solid third-place showing with a time of 9:45.04. Watertown-Mayer won the state title in 9:31.06 while Adrian was second in 9:39.97.
The Panthers entered state as the No. 1 seed after winning the section title in 9:34.55. That group was gunning for the school record of 9:29.44 set in 2010 when Lutz, Ellefson and Pierce led Park Rapids to a runner-up showing at state.
The effort during Saturday's final added 8 points to the Panthers' team total.
This marked the third trip to state for Lutz, Ellefson and Pierce in this event. Those three helped set the school record in 2010 and ran on the relay that finished sixth at last year's state meet with a 9:38.27. Lutz also ran on this relay that placed 10th in 9:55.64 in 2008 and fifth in 9:59.01 in 2009.
4 x 800 relay: 1, Watertown-Mayer, 9:31.06. 2, Adrian, 9:39.97. 3, Park Rapids (Lydia Lutz, Shelby Pierce, Heidi Lageson, Summer Ellefson), 9:45.04. 4, Waseca, 9:46.32. 5, Esko, 9:49.27. 6, Mesabi East, 9:49.29. 7, Benson, 9:49.42. 8, St. Cloud Cathedral, 9:50.79. 9, La Crescent, 9:50.97.
Panthers place in 4 x 200 relay
Four more Panthers earned medals as the 4 x 200 relay finished ninth with a time of 1:50.76.
Harshman, Grimes, Bateman and Vaudrin advanced to Saturday's finals by placing fourth in their heat and eighth overall with a 1:47.18 during Friday's preliminaries. Chatfield had the fastest preliminary time of 1:45.50.
The Panthers dropped to ninth place in the finals to add 1 point to the team score. Osakis won the state title with a 1:44.79.
Park Rapids entered state as the No. 11 seed out of 16 qualifiers after winning the section title in 1:48.81.
4 x 200 relay: 1, Osakis, 1:44.79. 2, Esko, 1:45.17. 3, Sleepy Eye, 1:45.18. 4, Chatfield, 1:45.21. 5, Belle Plaine, 1:46.01. 6, Pequot Lakes, 1:46.07. 7, Providence Academy, 1:46.22. 8, Grand Meadow, 1:46.90. 9, Park Rapids (Sarah Harshman, Megan Grimes, Grace Bateman, Mady Vaudrin), 1:50.76.
Bateman places in 300 hurdles
Bateman brought home a medal in her third trip to state in the 300 hurdles.
The Park Rapids junior advanced to Saturday's finals by clocking a 47.14 to finish second in her heat and sixth overall during Friday's preliminaries. Watertown-Mayer senior Marissa Janning led the way with a 46.22.
In Saturday's finals, Bateman finished eighth with a time of 47.60. Janning won the state title in 45.39.
Bateman, who won the section title in 46.66 to receive the No. 7 seed out of 16 qualifiers, added 2 points to Park Rapids' team score.
In her state debut in the 300 hurdles in 2009, Bateman finished 16th in 48.51. After missing a state berth in 2010, Bateman finished 17th in 48.11 last season.
300 hurdles: 1, Marissa Janning, Watertown-Mayer, 45.39. 2, Jaelin Beachy, Staples-Motley, 45.63. 3, Zoe Novak, St. John's Prep, 46.12. 4, Caitlin Lilly, Esko, 46.46. 5, Kari Hoeft, Paynesville, 46.95. 6, Logan Retzlaff, St. Peter, 47.26. 7, Danielle Hanson, Grand Meadow, 47.60. 8, Grace Bateman, Park Rapids, 47.60. 9, Marissia Hagedorn, Blue Earth, 48.21.
4 x 400 relay misses record
The 4 x 400 relay also had a goal of breaking the school record and placing at the state meet.
Ellefson, Grimes, Pierce and Bateman just missed breaking the school record, but did fulfill one goal by advancing to the finals.
The Panthers clocked a 4:04.46 during Friday's preliminaries to finish second in their heat and fifth overall. That just missed breaking the school record of 4:04.08 set in 1976. Blue Earth had the fastest preliminary time of 4:02.38.
During Saturday's finals, Ellefson, Grimes, Pierce and Bateman clocked a 4:06.61 for sixth place and 4 points. Osakis won the state title with a 3:57.95.
Park Rapids won the section title in 4:06.53 to receive the No. 6 seed out of 16 qualifiers. Bateman, Ellefson and Pierce ran in this relay last season and finished ninth with a 4:13.42.
4 x 400 relay: 1, Osakis, 3:57.95. 2, Blue Earth, 3:59.60. 3, Breck, 4:03.34. 4, St. Peter, 4:04.04. 5, Esko, 4:04.05. 6, Park Rapids (Summer Ellefson, Megan Grimes, Shelby Pierce, Grace Bateman), 4:06.61. 7, Albany, 4:07.47. 8, Mayer Lutheran, 4:08.27. 9, Benson, 4:08.83.
Grimes ties for 13th place
Grimes settled for a share of 13th place in her state debut in the high jump.
Going into the state meet, Grimes was seeded No. 3 with eight other qualifiers at 5-3. Grimes ended up sharing 13th place with two other girls after clearing 5-0.
New Richland sophomore Carlie Wagner won the state title at 5-6.
High jump: 1, Carlie Wagner, New Richland, 5-6. 2, Emma Lange, Caledonia, 5-6. 3, Melom, Lac qui Parle, 5-3. 4 (tie), Alexis Good, Mora, and Clair Stier, Belle Plaine, 5-3. 6, Kaija Crowe, Milaca, 5-2. 7 (tie), Sidney Dirks, St. Peter, Paige Tapp, Stewartville, and Kaitlin Kamm, St. Peter, 5-2. 13 (tie), Megan Grimes, Park Rapids, 5-0.
Ellefson places 15th in 400
Ellefson ended up placing 15th in the 400 dash for the second year in a row.
During Friday's preliminaries, Ellefson was seventh in her heat and finished 15th overall in 1:00.83. Sauk Centre senior Elizabeth Hemsworth had the fastest preliminary time of 57.10 while Providence senior AnnMarie Healy won the state title in 56.73 Saturday.
Ellefson was the No. 15 seed out of 16 qualifiers as the section runner-up with a time of 1:01.49. Ellefson clocked a 1:01.15 at last year's state meet.
400 dash: 1, AnnMarie Healy, Providence Academy, 56.73. 2, Elizabeth Hemsworth, Sauk Centre, 57.11. 3, Kayla Nelson, Rush City, 58.43. 4, Katie Heilman, Watertown-Mayer, 58.72. 5, Sasha Riley, Fairmont, 58.80. 6, Courtney Nepstad, Park Christian, 59.78. 7, Jenna Gatz, Belle Plaine, 59.15. 8, Marissa Fiecke, Howard Lake, 59.60. 9, Elizabeth May, Grand Meadow, 59.96. 15, Summer Ellefson, Park Rapids, 1:00.83.
Pierce moves up to 11th place
Pierce improved on her finish from last season by finishing 11th in the 800 run.
Pierce placed sixth in her heat and 11th out of 17 qualifiers with a 2:24.31 during Friday's preliminaries. Pierce was the No. 15 seed with a runner-up time of 2:24.18 at the section meet. Pierce finished 14th in this event with a 2:24.45 last season.
LaCrescent junior Taylor Gibson had the top preliminary time of 2:21.67 while LaCrescent junior Katie Shepardson claimed the state title in 2:20.16.
800 run: 1, Katie Shepardson, LaCrescent, 2:20.16. 2, Krista Hassing, Blue Earth, 2:20.21. 3, Austyn Their, Adrian, 2:21.41. 4, Emma Johnson, Mora, 2:21.94. 5, Kalyn Biever, Wabasha, 2:21.96. 6, Sammi Ekman, Mesabi East, 2:22.40. 7, Andrea Korvela, United North Central, 2:23.26. 8, Taylor Gibson, LaCrescent, 2:24.91. 9, Madi Sachs, Albany, 2:26.06. 11, Shelby Pierce, Park Rapids, 2:24.31.
4 x 100 relay finishes 15th
The 4 x 100 relay team ended up placing 15th out of 17 qualifiers with a 52.50 during Friday's preliminaries.
Harshman, Polley, Gorder and Vaudrin entered as the No. 14 seed after winning the section title in 52.27. Annandale had the fasted preliminary time of 49.91 Friday while Byron won the state title in 49.76 during Saturday's finals.
Vaudrin was making her second state appearance while Harshman, Polley and Gorder made their state debuts.
4 x 100 relay: 1, Byron, 49.76. 2, Annandale, 49.82. 3, Pequot Lakes, 49.99. 4, Lac qui Parle, 50.23. 5, Chatfield, 50.59. 6, Belle Plaine, 50.60. 7, Concordia Academy, 51.24. 8, Morris, 51.51. 9, Lake City, DQ. 15, Park Rapids (Sarah Harshman, Jenna Polley, Hannah Gorder, Mady Vaudrin), 52.50.