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Four runner-up finishes led the Park Rapids boys swimming and diving team to a third-place finish at last Saturday's season-opening Fergus Falls Invitational. Nick Belfiori clocked a runner-up 24.44 in the 50-yard freestyle, Sam Goebel clocked a runner-up 5:42.85 in the 500 freestyle and Connor Smythe clocked a runner-up 1:05.53 in the 100 backstroke to lead the Panthers.
Last season, the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis gymnastics team went 2-8 in dual meets, finished third at the Mid-State Conference meet and placed fifth at the Section 8A meet. Duplicating those results would be considered a successful season for the Panthers this winter. The Panthers surpassed 120 points only once last season and ended with an average team score of 116.19.
After being outplayed in the first period, Eveleth-Gilbert took control the rest of the game in a 5-3 win over the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley girls hockey team Saturday night at the Ted O. Johnson Ice Arena. The host Panthers held an 11-5 advantage in shots on goal in taking a 1-0 lead after the first period. McKenna Brand set up Jessica Gapinski at the 9:48 mark for the game's first goal. Eveleth-Gilbert controlled the second period, firing 20 shots at Park Rapids goalie Shania Johnson while holding the Panthers to only five shots on goal.
Wadena-Deer Creek captured the team title while the host Panthers finished fifth at Saturday's Park Rapids Invitational wrestling tournament. Park Rapids opened with a 38-37 loss to Deer River and followed with a 50-28 loss to Hibbing in pool matches. The Panthers defeated Blackduck/Cass Lake-Bena 45-30 in the fifth-place match. The Panthers are now 3-2 in dual meets. W-DC defeated BCLB 76-0 and Lisbon 45-33 in pool matches before defeating Hibbing 52-15 in the championship match.
Poor shooting cost the Park Rapids boys basketball team in its season opener at Staples Friday night. The Panthers shot just 20 percent (10 for 49) from the field and 40 percent (10 for 25) at the free-throw line in a 68-33 Mid-State Conference loss. Taylor Kimball and Christian Ridlon led the Panthers by scoring 14 points apiece.
After qualifying for the state Class A tournament for the first time in school history last season, the Nevis volleyball team was looking to return to state this fall. A close loss to Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa in the Section 5A championship match prevented the Tigers from accomplishing that goal. That was about the only goal the Tigers didn't achieve this season. Nevis posted its best winning percentage in school history by going 29-3-2.
Chelsey Bonsante hit three straight baskets to spark an 18-0 run late in the first half that sparked Crosby-Ironton to a 64-30 Mid-State Conference girls basketball victory at Park Rapids Tuesday night. C-I jumped out to a 17-5 lead with 12:03 to play in the first half before a three-point play by Olivia Vaadeland, a layup off a steal by Grace Bateman, a jumper by Ashley Domino, and layups by Carson Lee Christenson and Lydia Lutz pulled the Panthers to within 23-16 at the 5:59 mark. Bonsante then hit a jumper, a 3-pointer and a layup to spark the game-opening 18-0 run.
One thing Todd Fritze has been battling recently is a lack of depth on the Park Rapids boys swimming and diving team. That shouldn't be a problem for the next few years. Last season, the Panthers had only 17 swimmers on the varsity rosters. Of those 17, seven competed on varsity for the first time. This year, the Panthers return 16 of those swimmers. Only Jared Storseth (who finished second on the team with 171.50 points) graduated.
Sam Coborn and Kyle Kanten scored two goals each and combined for four assists to rally the Park Rapids-Menahga-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley boys hockey team to a 6-4 win against Greenway at Coleraine Tuesday night. Greenway jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first period before goals by Ian Johnson and Coborn made it 3-2 entering the final period. Johnson scored at the 8:06 mark while Coborn scored with 28 seconds remaining in the second period.
Pins and forfeit wins in the upper weights enabled the Park Rapids wrestling team to open the season with a pair of dual victories at Menahga Tuesday night. In the first match, the Panthers trailed 27-24 before three pins and a forfeit win led to a 48-33 victory over Blackduck/Cass Lake-Bena. Park Rapids faced a 36-18 deficit in the second match before a pin and three forfeit wins led to a 45-36 victory over United North Central. Against BCLB, Ben Baumgartner's first-period pin at 112 pounds, Laine Jensen's third-period pin at 119, Luke Hartig's first-period pin at 130 and Zachary Steffe