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Safratowich, ‘96 track team to join Hall

     A three-time state wrestling champion and a boys track team that won a state championship will be inducted into the Panther Athletic Hall of Fame.

     Tyler Safratowich and the 1996 Park Rapids boys track and field team will be honored during the Park Rapids All Sports Banquet on May 21.

     Safratowich won the state Class AA wrestling title at 103 pounds as a sophomore in 2002, won the state Class AA title at 112 pounds as a junior in 2003 and won the state Class AA title at 130 pounds as a senior in 2004. Safratowich was a three-time section champion and still holds the school record for career victories by going 146-27 with 67 pins during his high school career. Safratowich was also a multiple USA All-American in freestyle and Greco, a USA national champion in freestyle and a Senior National finalist.

     After graduating from Park Rapids, Safratowich was a four-year letterwinner at the University of Minnesota and qualified for two NCAA Division I Championships, earning All-American honors as a senior by placing eighth at 157 pounds in 2009. Safratowich placed third at the Big 10 Tournament as a sophomore and senior and finished his collegiate career with a 108-48 record with 18 pins. Safratowich also earned NWCA All-Academic honors.

     The 1996 boys track and field team gave Park Rapids its first state team championship in a Minnesota State High School League-sponsored event by claiming the state Class A title with 51 points. Stewartville was second with 40 points.

     Leading the Panthers to the state title were Dane Larson (second in the 800-meter run and second in the 1,600 run), Mark Jacobson (second in the 110 hurdles and second in the 300 hurdles), Travis Guida (fifth in the discus), Nick Thelen (seventh in the 800), and Jacobson, Larson, Thelen and Jethro Klotz (seventh in the 4 x 400 relay).

     Leo Jacobson coached that state-champion team.

     For ticket information about the All Sports Banquet, call Shirley Potter at 237-6402.