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Panthers take charge in win over Warroad

Melissa Haas clocked 1:12.60 in the 100-yard backstroke during Park Rapids' 95-83 win over Warroad Thursday night. (Vance Carlson / Enterprise)

Going 1-2 in the 200-yard medley relay set the tone as the Park Rapids girls swimming and diving team opened its dual-meet season with a 95-83 win over Warroad Thursday night at the Area High School pool.

The Panthers won eight of the first nine events before swimming exhibition in the final three events in coasting to an easy win.

Taylor Ondracek, Mandy Schirmers, Leah Meinert and Kyja Penning opened the meet by winning the 200 medley relay in 2:05.59. Melissa Haas, Hannah Williams, Abby Hanson and Heather Kniss followed in 2:13.31.

Katherine Erickson (first in 2:11.19) and Emily Creager (second in 2:11.57) set the pace in the 200 freestyle before Schirmers (first in 2:30.94) and Meinert (second in 2:35.34) went 1-2 in the 200 individual medley.

After Allycia Zinke's runner-up 27.44 in the 50 freestyle, Penning took first in diving with 185.70 points to give the Panthers a 51-27 advantage.

Penning followed by winning the 100 butterfly in 1:04.48 and Zinke clocked a winning time of 59.91 in the 100 freestyle. Creager (first in 5:59.59) and Meinert (second in 6:15.23) led the way in the 500 freestyle before Penning, Zinke, Ondracek and Creager clocked a winning time of 1:50.34 in the 200 freestyle relay. Park Rapids led 95-45 at that point.

The Panthers swam exhibition in the final three events. Erickson would have won the 100 backstroke in 1:05.94, Schirmers would have won the 100 breaststroke in 1:15.97 and the 400 freestyle relay team of Creager, Zinke, Meinert and Schirmers would have taken first in 4:06.62.

Park Rapids also won the junior varsity meet by a 74-38 margin. Clocking winning times for the Panthers were the 200 medley relay team of Alex Pederson, Christine Mackley, Elizabeth Nichols and Lauren Rossman (2:26.51); Rossman in the 200 freestyle (2:35.94); Pederson in the 200 individual medley (2:58.19); Seri Erickson in the 50 freestyle (34.27); Mackley in the 100 butterfly (1:29.52); Emil Eystad, Jessie O'Hern, Seri Erickson and Ellen Hoffman in the 200 freestyle relay (2:14.40); O'Hern in the 100 breaststroke (1:34.47); and Nichols, Rossman, Jessica Andersen and Pederson in the 400 freestyle relay (4:55.95).

"We swam extremely well for the first meet," said Park Rapids head coach Todd Fritze. "Our younger swimmers look really promising. We're still a little rusty. We have a long way to go."

The Panthers host Thief River Falls in another dual meet Thursday.

Panthers take second at DL

The Panthers opened the season with a runner-up showing at last Monday's Detroit Lakes Pentathlon.

Katherine Erickson's third-place time of 30.99 in the 50-yard backstroke and Schirmers' fourth-place time of 35.41 in the 50 breaststroke led the Panthers, who finished with 143.50 points. Detroit Lakes took first in this seven-team meet with 199 points.

Schirmers placed fifth in the 100 individual medley in 1:11.24 and Creager finished seventh in the 50 butterfly in 31.78 and 11th in the 50 freestyle in 28.31 as Park Rapids' top finishers in the other events.

Schirmers and Creager tied for eighth place in the individual standings with 34 points each.

Team scores: Detroit Lakes 199, Park Rapids 143.50, Crookston 140.50, Thief River Falls 106.50, Perham 76.50, Staples-Motley 63, Fosston/Bagley 46.