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Consistent play will be the key for the Menahga volleyball team this season. A year ago, the Braves finished 1-6 in Park Region Conference matches and 4-19 overall. Menahga was the No. 9 seed in the North for the Section 6A tournament and opened with a loss to No. 8 Park Christian. Sebeka edged Underwood to capture the section title. With six letterwinners returning, head coach Isaiah Hahn is looking for the Braves to have a more successful season.
Head coach Jeremy Nordick is already seeing a positive impact from the United North Central football team's historic season. The Warriors qualified for the state playoffs for the first time in school history last season and ended with a 9-3 record. UNC earned the No. 1 seed for the Section 8AA playoffs and defeated Frazee 24-8 and Barnesville 24-16 to win the school's first section football title. The Warriors defeated Moose Lake-Willow River 21-20 in the state quarterfinals before falling to Pipestone Area 49-9 in the semifinals.
With five regulars returning, head coach Heidi Wormley likes the chances of the Nevis volleyball team to repeat as Northland Conference champions and return to the Section 5A championship match. A year ago, the Tigers repeated as conference champs by going 6-0 and earned the No. 1 seed in the East B bracket for the section tournament. Wins over Walker-Hackensack-Akeley, Onamia and Braham sent Nevis to the section title match where Verndale prevented the Tigers from advancing to the state Class A tournament.
Nicole Oyster inherits a solid United North Central cross-country program. The Warriors made history last season when the girls qualified for the state Class A meet for the first time. UNC will be looking to repeat that feat this fall as all seven runners return from last year's Section 8A runner-up squad. The boys also have a promising future as six runners return from last year's section team. Oyster, who replaces Steve Schreiber as head coach, likes the chances of the Warriors to have another successful season.
Head coach Aaron Morris is hoping the return of an experienced offensive line and a new offense will provide the foundation for a successful season by the Park Rapids football team. Four starters and three others with experience return on the line as the Panthers hope to improve on their offensive numbers this season.
Three wins at No. 2 singles, No. 4 singles, No. 1 doubles and No. 2 doubles sparked the Park Rapids girls tennis team to three dual wins at Sauk Centre Thursday. Natalie Kinkel at No. 2 singles, Meagan Powers at No. 4 singles, Drew Hilmanowski and Haley MacPherson at No. 1 doubles, Tori Hilmanowski and Abby Morris at No. 2 doubles, and Chloe Johnson and Jada Renneberg at No. 3 doubles prevailed in straight sets as the Panthers defeated Sauk Centre 5-2. Julia Smith lost in a third-set tiebreaker at No. 1 singles.
Stephanie Hanson is looking for the Park Rapids volleyball team to pick up where it left off as she enters her third season as head coach. A year ago, the Panthers played well down the stretch to finish with an 11-13-1 overall record. Park Rapids went 3-1 in the final four regular-season matches to earn the No. 4 seed in the South for the Section 8AA tournament. After defeating No. 5 Wadena-Deer Creek in the tournament opener, the Panthers were eliminated by No. 1 Perham, which went on to defeat Roseau for the section title.
Brianne Morris once again expects the Park Rapids girls tennis team will contend for the Section 8A title. Last year, the Panthers went 9-13 in dual meets, earned the No. 5 seed for the Section 8A tournament and opened section play with a 4-3 loss to No. 4 Roseau. Crookston, the No. 1 seed, defeated No. 3 Staples-Motley 5-2 in the section championship match and went on to claim runner-up honors at the state tournament, dropping a 7-0 decision to Blake in the title match.
Despite claiming wins in the top positions, the Park Rapids girls tennis team dropped a 4-3 decision at Fergus Falls Tuesday afternoon. Julia Smith coasted to a straight-set win at No. 1 singles while Tori Hilmanowski and Abby Morris posted a straight-set win at No. 2 doubles. Haley MacPherson and Drew Hilmanowski rebounded to win a third-set tiebreaker at No. 1 doubles to lead the Panthers.
Eight different players picked up victories as the Park Rapids girls tennis team opened the season by hosting the third annual North/South Challenge Friday at the Depot Courts. The Panthers opened with a 6-1 loss to Pine City before using a sweep in singles to edge Aitkin 4-3. Park Rapids ended the day with a 5-2 loss to Minnewaska Area.