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Having all six seniors reach championship matches in doubles helped the Park Rapids girls tennis team repeat as champions in the season-opening Park Rapids Invitational last Saturday. Brittany Kinkel and Katie Walsh won the title at No. 3 doubles while Bonnie Baumgartner and Allie Girtz reached the finals at No. 1 doubles and Lexi Burlingame and Taylor Wheeler reached the finals at No. 2 doubles. However, those two championship matches were rained out and couldn't be completed, so Park Rapids shared first place at No. 1 doubles and No. 2 doubles. Heidi Schaum won the title at No.
A quick start sparked Sharon Paumen to her first women's club championship at Headwaters Golf Course Sunday. After the first three holes of this two-day, 36-hole tournament, Paumen held a five-shot lead over the five-time champion. Paumen then matched Shelly Miller the rest of the way to claim the title. A birdie on the No. 3 hole gave Paumen a quick five-shot lead. Paumen then carded pars on No. 7 and No. 8 for a 40 on the front side Saturday. Miller used pars on No. 4, No. 7 and No. 8 for a 44 while Bev Hepokoski used pars on No. 3 and No.
When Ryan Steinert won his first men's club championship at Headwaters Golf Club last season, he had to rally from five shots down with five holes to play. At this year's club tournament, Steinert took the early lead by carding a 1-under par 71 during Saturday's first 18 holes and followed with a solid 1-over par 109 during Sunday's final 27 holes to defend his title with an even-par 180. That was good for a seven-shot win over Jeff Falk, who finished second with a 187. Steinert, who won last year's title with a 190, used a birdie on No.
One bad inning cost the Park Rapids Storm Babe Ruth baseball team a chance to win a state title. Leading up to the state tournament, the Storm had not allowed more than seven runs in a game. Not committing errors and not issuing free passes were the keys as the Storm entered state with a 19-0 record. The Storm used that same combination to win five of six games and advance to the state title game.
When Corey Hill took over as the head coach of the Park Rapids girls track and field team, his long-range goal was not only to build the Panthers into one of the elite teams in Section 8A, but one of the elite teams in the state. The Panthers are well on their way to accomplishing that goal. Park Rapids had another successful season by repeating as the Section 6A True Team champions, placing fourth at the state True Team meet, claiming runner-up honors at the Mid-State Conference meet, winning the Subsection 8-29A title for the sixth year in a row and repeating as the Section 8A champions.
Matt Clark continues making a name for himself in the national and international junior wrestling ranks. Over the last seven years, Clark has coached the Minnesota USA Greco-Roman and freestyle teams, leading the team to a national dual championship and coaching more than 70 All Americans and a dozen national champions during that time. This summer, Clark and Eric Wetzel from Chicago were chosen to coach the United States team at the Pan American Junior Championships, which was held July 2-4 at Sao Paulo, Brazil. In the past, Clark has coached international teams in tournaments in Guatem
Good pitching, solid defense and timely hitting comprise a winning formula at any level of baseball. The Park Rapids Storm Babe Ruth baseball team used that formula to qualify for the state tournament with an undefeated record. The Storm went 12-0 during the Timberline League season, went 4-0 to win the Timberline League tournament and went 3-0 to win the district title to qualify for the state tournament, which begins Thursday at Cold Spring, Richmond and Avon.
Going 1-3 at the Park Rapids tournament on July 9-10 ended the Park Rapids VFW baseball team's season with a 10-3 record. The VFW opened tournament play with an 11-2 loss to Perham and an 11-3 loss to Inver Grove Heights before ending tournament play with a 4-3 win over Inver Grove Heights and a 6-5 loss to Perham. In the first game against Perham, Park Rapids scored its only runs in the seventh inning on singles by David Dirks and Tanner Otterness. Kody Walsh had the only other hit for the VFW. Eight errors led to nine unearned runs in the VFW's 11-3 loss to Inver Grove Heights.
Peg Heeren, Janakaye Husby, Shelly Miller and Kim Rasmussen prevailed in a playoff to capture the First Flight title at last Tuesday's Ladies Invitational at Headwaters Golf Club. That foursome finished at -19 in the best 2 balls of 4 format. The foursome of Lori Daly, Deb Grant, Sue Middaugh and Berta Schmidt also finished at -19. Winning the Second Flight at -17 was the foursome of Carol Frisby, Bev Hepokoski, Suzanne Steele and Donette Swanson.
Patrick Deegan has seen steady improvement from the Park Rapids boys track and field team the last two seasons. In 2007, the Panthers finished fourth at the Mid-State Conference meet with 52 points, finished fifth at the Subsection 8-29A meet with 68 points and tied for 17th place at the Section 8A meet with 8 points. In 2008, the Panthers finished fourth at the conference meet with 62 points, fourth at the subsection meet with 85 points and 17th at the section meet with 14 points. In 2009, the Panthers finished fourth at the Mid-State meet with 55 points, fourth at the subsection meet w