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Panthers run away with titles at Pelican Rapids

Running together in two groups enabled the Park Rapids boys cross-country team to win its first meet title in a decade.

Taylor Kimball, Isaac Overmyer and Bailey Mueller ran in one pack while Tanner Otterness, Jake Waggoner, Zac Haugland and Matt Sullivan ran in another pack as the Panthers led the 10-team field at Monday's Pelican Rapids Invitational. The Panthers finished with 53 points, 11 ahead of runner-up West Central Area.

The last time the Park Rapids boys team won a meet was at the Perham Invitational in 2000.

Park Rapids also won the girls meet as Lydia Lutz, Alex Pederson, Morgan Olson, Lora Remus, Kaylee Hilmanowski and Shelby Pierce all finished in the top 12 spots. The Panthers tallied 22 points to easily finish ahead of West Central Area's runner-up 64 total to claim their first meet title of the season.

The last time Park Rapids won both the boys and girls titles at the same meet was at the Menahga-Sebeka Invitational in 1998.

Nevis' Bryon Schuldt led the 5,000-meter boys race with a time of 16:58. Kimball (sixth in 18:52), Overmyer (seventh in 18:56) and Mueller (eighth in 19:23) were in the top 10 while Otterness (18th in 20:04), Waggoner (19th in 20:09), Haugland (20th in 20:19) and Sullivan (21st in 20:29) rounded out the Panthers' team score.

In the girls 4,000-meter race, Lutz led the way with a winning time of 16:25. Pederson was third in 17:05 while Olson (sixth in 17:19), Remus (seventh in 17:21) and Hilmanowski (10th in 17:37) rounded out the Panthers' team score. Pierce was 12th in 18:05 while Tiffany Deitchler finished 24th in 19:01.

"I thought that Pelican Rapids might just be the first meet the guys could win. When I saw Taylor, Isaac and Bailey come in so close together, I knew we had a good chance. When they realized that they had won, there were lots of cheers," said Park Rapids head coach Kerry Johnson. "The girls even improved on last year's showing. I was very excited with how strong they all ran."

Jacob Hays (second in 19:19), Travis Deitchler (fourth in 21:14), Ryan McBrady (sixth in 21:56), Nate Carlson (eighth in 22:20), Josh Hays (14th in 23:05), Kevin Merfeld (19th in 25:58) and Ben Kading (20th in 26:19) led the Panthers to first place in the junior varsity race with 19 points.

Adam Mackley (fourth in 13:35), Matt Konshok (11th in 14:33), Wesley LaCoursiere (18th in 16:27) and Jacob Bridgman (20th in 17:30) competed for Park Rapids in the boys 3,200-meter junior high race.

"I hope we keep improving and working hard," said Johnson. "The season should get more and more exciting."

The Panthers travel to the Bagley/Fosston Invitational Tuesday.

Boys team scores: Park Rapids 53, West Central Area 64, Hawley/Ulen-Hitterdal 73, Wadena-Deer Creek 91, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 98, Breckenridge 158, Pelican Rapids 158. Incomplete teams: Frazee, Lake Park-Audubon, Nevis.

Individual results

1, Bryon Schuldt, N, 16:58. 2, Kyle Toms, WCA, 17:49. 3, Tyler Hennen, DGF, 18:12. 4, Tanner Hennen, DGF, 18:39. 5, Alex Toms, WCA, 18:42. 6, Taylor Kimball, PR, 18:52. 7, Isaac Overmyer, PR, 18:56. 8, Bailey Mueller, PR, 19:23. 18, Tanner Otterness, PR, 20:04. 19, Jake Waggoner, PR, 20:09. 20, Zac Haugland, PR, 20:19. 21, Matt Sullivan, PR, 20:29.

Girls team scores: Park Rapids 22, West Central Area 64, Hawley/Ulen-Hitterdal 81, Breckenridge 91, Pelican Rapids 93. Incomplete teams: Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, Frazee, Lake Park-Audubon, Wadena-Deer Creek.

Individual results

1, Lydia Lutz, PR, 16:25. 2, Charley Cantrell, W-DC, 17:03. 3, Alex Pederson, PR, 17:05. 4, Kylee Fernholz, WCA, 17:14. 5, Bailey Strand, Pelican, 17:16. 6, Morgan Olson, PR, 17:19. 7, Lora Remus, PR, 17:21. 10, Kaylee Hilmanowski, PR, 17:37. 12, Shelby Pierce, PR, 18:05. 24, Tiffany Deitchler, PR, 19:01.