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Stephanie Hanson expected a record-setting season from the Park Rapids volleyball team. The Panthers delivered by repeating as Mid-State Conference champs, advancing to the Section 8AA championship match and setting a school record by going 24-3.
Aitkin's return to the Mid-State Conference wasn't a pleasant one. Kaisa Coborn hit four 3-pointers in the first half and Jordan Klemmer hit three straight baskets midway through the second half in leading the Park Rapids girls basketball team to a 61-49 victory Friday night at the Area High School gym. The Gobblers, who were playing in their first Mid-State game since leaving the conference in 1994, got off to a good start when Ramsey Moe's 3-pointer provided a 3-2 lead with 16:51 to play in the first half.
Gabe Bagstad's 25 points, eight rebounds and eight steals led the way as the Park Rapids boys basketball team opened the season with a 54-36 win at Pillager Friday night. Tristin Persons added 15 points and four steals while Jake Reish and Shawn Ohm pulled down five rebounds apiece for the Panthers, who led 22-17 at the half. Jeff Haas also had four steals as the Panthers finished with 20 steals in the game while turning the ball over only nine times. Spencer Schaefer (9) and Braeden Wangsness (8) combined for 17 points for the Huskies.
Matt Brandt in counting on improved play on the perimeter and interior to produce an improved season for the Park Rapids boys basketball team. Last season, the Panthers shot only 30 percent from the field and 51 percent at the free-throw line while turning the ball over 19.6 times a night. Park Rapids averaged only 41.3 points a game while allowing 64.4 points. Those numbers led to an 0-8 record in Mid-State Conference games and a 4-23 overall record.
The Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley girls hockey team battled Thief River Falls for two periods before giving up five goals in the third period in a 6-0 loss Thursday night at the Walker Area Community Center. Shelby Breiland's power-play goal at the 10:19 mark of the first period provided the only scoring until Thief River Falls took control in the final period. Bela Nelson's power-play goal and goals by Hannah Magnusson, Kia McGlynn, Maryn Dalager and Dakota Klosterman sealed the Prowlers' win.
A balanced scoring attack made Derek Ricke's debut as head coach of the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley boys hockey team a success. Six different players scored goals and seven different players tallied assists as the Panthers opened the season with a 9-2 win over Bagley/Fosston at the Walker Area Community Center Thursday night.
James Sanchez has an ambitious goal for the Park Rapids-Nevis gymnastics team. "This program is on an upward trend and I want to continue that," said Sanchez, who takes over for Rebecca Penning as the Panthers' head coach. "I heard this was one of the dominant programs in the area in the 90s and my goal is to get it back to that status."
There isn't a closer rivalry than the one between the Park Rapids-Menahga-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley and Detroit Lakes girls hockey teams. In the last 18 regular-season meetings, these two Mid-State Conference and Section 8A rivals have gone 8-8-2 with nine of those games ending in ties or being decided by one goal. Three of those games were decided in overtime.
Matt Clark is going to have a tough time filling seven key weight classes this season. The Panthers graduated four state qualifiers and three other starters from a team that went 14-4 in dual meets, advanced to the Section 8A championship match and set a school record by qualifying six individuals for the state Class A meet. The group of Justin Dravis, Nolan Booge, Jared Sunram, Jacob Bittmann, Logan Johnson, Zach Nelson and Logan Veo combined to go 183-63 with 113 pins last season and ended their careers by combining for 740 wins and 483 pins.
Alyssa Peterson hit nine 3-pointers and scored 32 points in leading the Menahga girls basketball team to a 64-52 win over Pine River-Backus in the season opener Tuesday night at Menahga. Megan Hendrickson and Cierra Ahlf chipped in double-doubles for the Braves, who led 40-23 at the half. Hendrickson scored 17 points and pulled down 13 rebounds while Ahlf had 12 points and 11 rebounds. Leah Schwartz dished out five assists and Martha Peterson had four steals. Menahga made 11 of 30 3-pointers in the game.