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Reason to cheer: Park Rapids girls win second straight true team title

Summer Ellefson of Park Rapids won the 400-meter dash in a time of 61.78 seconds at Tuesday's Minnesota Class 2A, Section 6 True Team track meet held in Glyndon. Dave Wallis / The Forum

GLYNDON, Minn. - Whether it is before or after a track meet, the Park Area Rapids girls are going to get pretty loud.

The team, all 30 or so of them, loves to get into a circle, interlock their arms and get some kind of chant going.

Every track team got a chance to hear it Tuesday when the Panthers took first place in the Section 6A True Team meet at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton High School.

Host D-G-F won the boys meet.

"It really helps to say encouraging stuff to each other," said junior captain Summer Ellefson. "We do our cheers and it gets the energy going."

You know what else gets the energy going? Winning seven of the meet's 18 events that helped Park Rapids win its second straight section true team championship.

Ellefson did her part by finishing first in the 400-meter dash and was a member of the first-place 3200-meter relay team.

Junior Lydia Lutz, who won the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs, is one of three captains on a team with no seniors.

"I think we knew the potential was there," said junior Shelby Pierce, who won the 800-meter run. "We knew we had some really talented girls."

Lutz added to that by saying Park Rapids' current run had been in the making for a while. Many of the girls on the team have been competing since they were in middle school.

The Panthers still have 14 middle school students on the team.

"We've had about six varsity meets and those JV and middle school girls have run in about four of them," said sophomore Grace Bateman, who won the 300-meter hurdles and helped Park Rapids finish first in 3200-meter relay. "The times we haven't won, we've been in the top three in every meet."

That has given Park Rapids' girls plenty of chances to perform their cheering ritual. Surround by their teammates, the three team captains will ask: "Who's going to bring the blood and pain?"

Teammates quickly respond: "We're going to bring the blood and pain."

Panthers coach Corey A. Hill also brought a little something to help his girls.

"I brought some band aids," Hill said. "I wrote on a couple of them this is for the blood and pain."