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Panthers rally to win True Team title

Lydia Lutz (leading the pack) and Kaylee Hilmanowski (middle) finished in the top four spots in the 1,600-meter run at Tuesday's Section 6A True Team meet at Glyndon.1 / 3
Nikki Knott finished seventh in the discus with a distance of 87 feet, 6.5 inches at Tuesday's Section 6A True Team meet.2 / 3
Mady Vaudrin (left) prepared to take the baton from Grace Bateman in the 4 x 100-meter relay at Tuesday's Section 6A meet at Glyndon.3 / 3

One of the goals of the Park Rapids girls track and field team this season was to win the Section 6A True Team title.

Thanks to some impressive finishes down the stretch in a steady drizzle with temperatures in the 30s, the Panthers achieved that goal Tuesday at Glyndon.

The Panthers used first-place finishes in the 800-meter run, 3,200 run and 4 x 400 relay to compile 905 points and edge defending champion Breckenridge/Campbell-Tintah's 902 total for the section title and a trip to the state Class A True Team meet, which will be held next Saturday (May 22) at Stillwater.

"This is a goal that we set for this team many years ago and to see that come to life for them is something you can't describe with words," said Park Rapids head coach Corey Hill, whose team placed fourth out of 11 teams at last year's Section 8AA True Team meet with 432 points. "The coaching staff is very proud of how the girls performed in the adverse conditions. We knew that it was going to be a dogfight with Breckenridge and it was fitting for this meet to come down to the last event. We told the girls that there aren't any championships that are handed out just for showing up. They have to be earned. That is just what the girls did. We held together and competed hard as a team till the bitter end."

It took a total team effort to secure the third state True Team berth in school history. Park Rapids won the Section 8AA True Team titles in 1994 and 1995, finishing seventh at state in 1994 and sixth at state in 1995.

In the True Team format, each team enters two individuals in each event and one relay team and all finishers score points. The Panthers needed every point from every competitor to dethrone the defending 6A champs.

Park Rapids got off to a solid start when Sophie Shogren, Shelby Pierce, Summer Ellefson and Victoria Lutz won the 4 x 800 relay in 10:28.82.

Heather Goodwater finished sixth in the 100 hurdles in 18.15, Mady Vaudrin finished fifth in the 100 dash in 13.85 and the 4 x 200 relay team of Shannon Taylor, Kyja Penning, Hannah Fischer and Megan Norby took fourth in 1:59.71 to help keep the Panthers close.

Lydia Lutz (5:24.95) and Kaylee Hilmanowski (5:56.17) went 1-4 in the 1,600 run before Taylor, Justine Rittgers, Grace Bateman and Vaudrin won the 4 x 100 in 54.50.

Ellefson's runner-up 1:03.36 in the 400 dash and Bateman's runner-up 50.31 in the 300 hurdles followed before the Panthers closed the track events with a 1-4 effort by Victoria Lutz (2:27.86) and Pierce (2:35.19) in the 800 run; a 1-5 showing by Lydia Lutz (11:52.35) and Morgan Olson (13:01.23) in the 3,200 run; and a winning time of 4:18.89 by Ellefson, Shogren, Mandy Schirmers and Victoria Lutz in the 4 x 400 relay.

The Panthers also received solid performances in the field events as Hannah Wolff finished fourth in the high jump (4 feet, 6 inches), Penning finished fourth in the pole vault (8 feet), Tori Lauderbaugh placed sixth in the high jump (4-6), Bateman took sixth in the pole vault (7-6) and Nikki Knott finished seventh in the discus (87-6.50).

"The True Team meet is a true representation of the most complete teams in the state. With this victory, we are now among the best teams in the state," said Hill. "We are honored to represent our school at this state meet and I feel that we will be able to do well down there. I believe that if we compete to the level I expect, we will finish among the top six. We are shooting for a state title, although we know that it will be a challenge. We still have not had a meet this year where we have performed at our potential. We are hoping that will happen at this meet."

Nevis finished 14th in this 17-team meet with 338.50 points. Leading the Tigers with winning performances were Paige Daniels in the 200 dash (27.66) and Annessa Feder in the high jump (4-10). The 4 x 200 relay team of Feder, Riley Hanson, Jessica Schunk and Walters also took first with a time of 1:53.60. The 4 x 100 relay team of Feder, Walters, Maggie Lindow and Schunk took second in 54.58.

Girls team totals: Park Rapids 905, Breckenridge/Campbell-Tintah 902, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 850.50, Barnesville 703.50, Ottertail Central 679, Ashby/Brandon-Evansville 679, Ada-Borup 640, Pelican Rapids 631.50, Hawley/Ulen-Hitterdal 578, Wadena-Deer Creek 512.50, Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale 450.50, Mahnomen/Waubun 446.50, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 345.50, Nevis 338.50, Rothsay 288, New York Mills 261, Wheaton/Herman-Norcross 260.

Individual results

4 x 800 relay: 1, Park Rapids (Shogren, Pierce, Ellefson, V. Lutz), 10:28.82.

100 hurdles: 1, Schaffer, ABE, 17.26. 6, Goodwater, PR, 18.15. 12, Thielen, PR, 19.08. 24, Becker, N, 21.51.

100 dash: 1, Friedrich, ABE, 13.42. 5, Vaudrin, PR, 13.85. 7, Schunk, N, 14.01. 14, Polley, PR, 14.51. 17, Lindow, N, 14.66.

4 x 200 relay: 1, Nevis (Feder, Hanson, Schunk, Walters), 1:53.60. 4, Park Rapids (Taylor, Penning, Fischer, Norby), 1:59.71.

1,600 run: 1, L. Lutz, PR, 5:24.95. 4, Hilmanowski, PR, 5:56.17.

4 x 100 relay: 1, Park Rapids (Taylor, Rittgers, Bateman, Vaudrin), 54.50. 2, Nevis (Feder, Walters, Lindow, Schunk), 54.58.

400 dash: 1, Ellenson, OTC, 1:03.20. 2, Ellefson, PR, 1:03.36. 9, Hanson, N, 1:06.22. 15, Wolff, PR, 1:10.75. 27, Johnson, N, 1:18.37.

300 hurdles: 1, Schaffer, ABE, 49.38. 2, Bateman, PR, 50.31. 8, Rittgers, PR, 54.34.

800 run: 1, V. Lutz, PR, 2:27.86. 4, Pierce, PR, 2:35.19. 25, Mack, N, 3:02.88. 30, Cain, N, 3:36.46.

200 dash: 1, Walters, N, 27.66. 11, Vaudrin, PR, 29.12. 15, Taylor, PR, 29.81. 28, Clark, N, 31.94.

3,200 run: 1, L. Lutz, PR, 11:52.35. 5, Olson, PR, 13:01.23.

4 x 400 relay: 1, Park Rapids (Ellefson, Shogren, Schirmers, V. Lutz), 4:18.89.

Discus: 1, Stenger, B, 102-6. 7, Knott, PR, 87-6.50. 23, Harshman, PR, 66-5. 28, Johnson, N, 52-0.

High jump: 1, Feder, N, 4-10. 4, Wolff, PR, 4-8. 6 (tie), Lauderbaugh, PR, and Hanson, N, 4-6.

Long jump: 1, Olson, HUH, 16-5. 18, Lindow, N, 13-4. 22, Hill, PR, 12-10. 24, Taylor, PR, 12-4.50. 28, Becker, N, 11-3.50.

Pole vault: 1, Knight, WHA, 8-6. 4, Penning, PR, 8-0. 6, Bateman, PR, 7-6.

Shot put: 1, Strese, ABE, 37-3.50. 10, Knott, PR, 29-5. 26, Young, PR, 19-11.

Triple jump: 1, Olson, HUH, 35-9.50. 13, Norby, PR, 28-4. 17, Wolff, PR, 27-1.