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Park Rapids' Forrest Drury, Brandon Ritter and Ben Baumgartner took different paths to reach the state Class AA wrestling tournament. Drury entered the Section 8AA tournament at Fergus Falls as the No. 1 seed at 170 pounds, Ritter was the No. 2 seed at 220 and Baumgartner was the No.
The first half of last Saturday's Section 3A boys swimming meet at Willmar wasn't what seniors Sam Goebel and Ryan McBrady, juniors Zach Eystad and Jake Waggoner, and sophomore Connor Smythe had planned. The second half of the meet went the way those five Park Rapids swimmers expected. After missing out on state berths in the early going, those five swimmers delivered during the second half of the meet to qualify for state in four events. Jake Waggoner claimed the first state berth with a runner-up finish in the 500-yard freestyle.
Putting on a full-court press provided a spark in the second half that propelled the Park Rapids boys basketball team to its third win of the season Tuesday night. The Panthers forced 18 Menahga turnovers, most of those during a 42-point second half, that led to a 66-48 win at the Area High School gym. The 66 points in a game and 42 points in the second half were season highs for the Panthers. A 19-11 run to open the second half gave the Panthers a 43-32 lead with 9:12 to play.
United North Central and Walker-Hackensack-Akeley/Nevis combined to send eight wrestlers to the state Class A tournament. Jacob Malone won the title at 126 pounds to lead UNC at Saturday's Section 8A meet at Glyndon. Max Pajari won a true-second match at 160 while Taylor Carlson prevailed in a true-second match at 220 as the Warriors qualified three for state. WHAN qualified five wrestlers, led by Joe Anderson's championship at 160, Collin Huckbody's championship at 170 and Christopher Zimmer's championship at 195.
Ryan Bruggeman hit five 3-pointers and scored 17 points during a 38-4 run in the first half that sparked Pelican Rapids to an 87-48 win over the Park Rapids boys basketball team Saturday night at the Area High School gym. A layup by Ryan Peterson and a basket off a rebound by Tyler McCollum kept the Panthers within 6-4 with 15:46 to play in the first half. That's when the Vikings followed a 20-0 run with an 18-2 run to claim a 44-8 advantage with 6:28 to go in the first half. Bruggeman hit three 3-pointers during the first run and followed with two more during the second run.
The third line and the third time was the charm for the Park Rapids-Menahga-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley boys hockey team in the Section 8A quarterfinals Thursday night at Warroad. Crookston, the No. 4 seed in the tournament, had defeated the No. 5-seeded Panthers 5-4 in overtime and 6-0 during the regular season. That changed in the section quarterfinals as goals by Raul Garcia and Noah MacPherson in the third period sparked the Panthers to a 3-1 victory. Benson Ringle gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead with a goal at the 12:04 mark of the first period.
The Park Rapids girls basketball team faced early halftime deficits in losses to Wadena-Deer Creek and Pelican Rapids. W-DC jumped out to a 38-13 lead at the break en route to a 57-19 Mid-State Conference win at Wadena Thursday night while Pelican Rapids used a 47-3 cushion at the half to spark a 78-24 win over the Panthers Saturday at the Area High School gym. Park Rapids closed the regular season with a 1-24 record and received the No. 7 seed for the Section 8AA tournament. The Panthers will travel to No. 2 Crookston Thursday night for a 7 p.m. tip-off in the tournament opener.
Park Rapids entered the Section 8AA wrestling tournament at Fergus Falls Friday with no one ranked in the state poll. The Panthers left the Section 8AA tournament Saturday with three wrestlers advancing to the state Class AA tournament. Freshman Ben Baumgartner and senior Forrest Drury qualified for state as section champs while senior Brandon Ritter advanced to state as a section runner-up. Senior Zachary Steffen just missed a state berth after losing in a true-second match. Baumgartner entered as the No.
Going into Saturday's finals of the Section 3A boys swimming and diving meet at Willmar, Park Rapids head coach Todd Fritze told his swimmers to go after cut times in order to qualify for the state Class A meet. As it turned out, the Panthers qualified for state in four events, but only needed to reach cut times in two of them. Junior Jake Waggoner earned the Panthers' first state berth with a runner-up 5:11.72 in the 500-yard freestyle. Senior Sam Goebel, sophomore Connor Smythe, Waggoner and junior Zach Eystad followed by qualifying for state with a fourth-place 1:32.80 in the 200 free
Wadena-Deer Creek hit four 3-pointers on five trips down the court to break open a tie game and spark a 67-51 Mid-State Conference victory over the Park Rapids boys basketball team last Friday night at Wadena. After Chris Goplerud hit a free throw to tie the game at 34-34 with 9:43 to play, Andrew VanErp hit three 3-pointers to ignite a 15-0 run. VanErp followed a 3-pointer with a 4-point play as the Wolverines claimed the lead for good.