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After going 0-9 last season, Aaron Morris expects opponents will overlook the Park Rapids football team this fall. That could be a mistake. The Panthers lost three close games last season by giving up late touchdowns to Wadena-Deer Creek (in a 19-13 loss), Perham (in a 12-6 overtime loss) and Roseau (in a 32-25 loss). "We were a few plays away from winning three games last year," said Morris, who begins his third season as the Panthers' head coach.
Despite some major changes, Nicole Brandt thinks the Park Rapids girls tennis team has the potential to duplicate the success from a year ago. Brandt does have to replace three key players from last year's Mid-State Conference and Section 8A runner-up team. In addition, the Panthers have a tougher section field with the addition of two conference rivals. This year, Section 8A will be comprised of nine teams with Staples-Motley and Pequot Lakes moving in and Thief River Falls moving out.
Todd Fritze feels the Park Rapids girls swimming and diving team has the potential to produce a perfect season this fall. The Panthers almost had a perfect season last fall by going 7-1 in dual meets, winning the Section 8A True Team title with 1,167 points (Bemidji was a close second with 1,161 points), claiming the Mid-State Conference title with 465 points (Perham was a distant second with 364 points) and dominating the Section 8A meet by compiling 422.50 points (Bemidji was a distant second with 307.50 points). At the state Class A True Team meet, the Panthers finished ninth out of 12
Having 11 players compete on varsity for the first time resulted in an 8-23 record for the Park Rapids volleyball team last season. Having five of those players returning with plenty of varsity experience should lead to more victories this season. Seniors Olivia Vaadeland and Katie Just, junior Grace Bateman, and sophomores Justine Rittgers and Mady Vaudrin return after playing in at least 27 matches last season.
Kerry Johnson is expecting another successful season from the Park Rapids boys and girls cross-country teams. Last year, the girls finished second at the Section 8A meet to earn a return trip to the state Class A meet. The Panthers ended the season by placing 15th at the state meet. The boys enjoyed their best season in more than a decade by placing fourth at the section meet.
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.
Park Rapids' Kenny Miller was a double winner at Sunday's 18th annual Fishhook Challenge. Miller won the men's half marathon with a time of 1 hour, 24 minutes, 4 seconds and followed by winning the 5K race in 16:53. Jasmine Carlson of Becida won the women's half marathon by covering the 13.1-mile course around Fish Hook Lake in 1:38:56. Maria Valentin of Forest Lake won the women's 5K title in 24:16. MEN'S HALF MARATHON RESULTS Overall winner: Kenny Miller, Park Rapids, 1:24:04. 19-29: 1, Nick Redenius, Fargo, ND, 1:24:26l 2, Paul Kruger, Becida, 1:32:34.
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.