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Staples-Motley jumped out to a 13-0 lead and pushed the advantage to 44-14 at the half en route to a 69-26 Mid-State Conference girls basketball victory over Park Rapids Friday night at Staples. Two baskets by Carson Lee Christenson and inside baskets by Ashley Domino and Anna Grimes kept Park Rapids within 20-8 before the Cardinals went on a 24-3 run.
Pete Stahnke is hoping the pairing of the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis and Walker-Hackensack-Akeley boys hockey teams will continue the Panthers' streak of winning seasons. Last year, the Panthers received the No. 6 seed for the Section 8A playoffs and lost to No. 3 East Grand Forks 5-1 in the quarterfinals to end a 16-8-2 season. Winning 16 games gave the Panthers a winning record for the fifth year in a row. W-H-A received the No. 10 seed for the section playoffs and was eliminated by No. 7 Crookston 16-1 in the first round to end a 0-24 season.
At last year's Section 8A tournament, the Park Rapids wrestling team qualified four wrestlers for state and had nine other wrestlers place. Head coach Matt Clark is looking for the Panthers to once again peak at the end of the season. Duplicating last year's 10-13 record in dual meets could be tough since seven seniors graduated. That senior crew combined for 64 pins and 108 victories last season. Jared Nash advanced to state as the section runner-up at 171 pounds and capped a 34-7 season with 12 pins by placing fourth at the state tournament.
Efficiency at the free-throw line and Tarah Cleveland's game-high 35 points helped the Menahga girls basketball team open the season with a 71-42 victory over Park Rapids Tuesday night at Menahga. The Panthers opened the season on a positive note under new head coach Nic Lembcke when Ashley Domino scored twice off rebounds and Olivia Vaadeland scored off a rebound as Park Rapids jumped out to a 6-3 lead at the 15:10 mark. Cleveland sparked an 18-4 run by scoring 12 points, highlighted by a pair of 3-pointers and a conventional three-point play.
Having only two regulars returning from last year's team that went 15-11, Molly Aukes wasn't sure how the junior varsity players would adjust to playing key roles at the varsity level. As it turned out, 15 players saw varsity action this season with 11 playing varsity for the first time. Those players accepted their roles and put a competitive unit on the floor as the Panthers went 2-3 in Mid-State Conference matches and 8-23 overall. Park Rapids opened the season with seven losses as the new players adjusted to varsity competition.
Nic Lembcke is counting on the Park Rapids girls basketball team to execute the fundamentals in order to produce more victories this season. Lembcke, who has served as an assistant coach for the Panthers the last three seasons, has eight varsity players returning, including four who started games last season. That experience has the new head coach counting on an improved season this winter. The Panthers have to replace two starters in Hannah Wolff and Hailey Lundin.
Goalie Keanna Carlson stopped all 24 shots she faced in leading International Falls to a 3-0 victory over the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley girls hockey team Tuesday night at the Ted O. Johnson Ice Arena. Abby Fox scored two goals and Amanda Hofius tallied a goal to lead the Broncos, who held a 27-24 edge in shots on goal. Park Rapids goalie Bailey Moore stopped 24 shots as the Panthers fell to 1-3 on the season. FIRST PERIOD: 1, International Falls, Fox (West, Bahr), 11:08.
Despite dominating in the number of scoring chances, the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley girls hockey team needed overtime to defeat Pequot Lakes Thursday night. McKenna Brand's power-play goal 3:18 into overtime completed a hat trick and gave the Panthers a 4-3 victory in this Mid-State Conference match, which saw Park Rapids hold a 54-19 advantage in shots on goal. Jessica Gapinski's power-play goal at the 3:09 mark gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead in the first period. Pequot Lakes responded with three unanswered goals by Erika Monson, Morgan Demars and Mariah Reed to cl
Park Rapids' Taylor Ondracek capped off her senior season by placing 10th in the 100-yard backstroke at Saturday's state Class A meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. Ondracek qualified for her first state meet by finishing third at the Section 8A meet with a state-qualifying time of 1:01.95. That time had Ondracek seeded No. 8 out of the 28 state qualifiers. During Friday's state preliminaries, Ondracek earned a spot in Saturday's consolation finals by placing 11th with a 1:02.49.
Kerry Johnson had plenty of reasons to be proud of what the Park Rapids boys and girls cross-country teams accomplished this season. The girls fulfilled their main goal by returning to the state Class A meet as the Section 8A runner-up. The Panthers won three meet titles during the season and were ranked as high as No.