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Having a veteran lineup returning has Nicole Brandt expecting the Park Rapids girls tennis team to make another run at qualifying for the school's first trip to the state Class A tournament. In Brandt's first three years as head coach, the Panthers lost to Crookston (6-1) in the Section 8A finals in 2007 before falling to Crookston (4-3) in 2008 and Roseau (6-1) last year in the section semifinals. Those three teams, along with East Grand Forks, are expected to battle it out for the section title this fall.
Some people were surprised when the Park Rapids girls swimming and diving team won the Section 8A title last season. It won't surprise anyone if the Panthers defend their section title this fall. Having 19 swimmers and divers returning from a team that went 6-1-1 in dual meets and won the school's fifth section title has head coach Todd Fritze expecting another successful season from the Panthers. "This year is no different than any other year. Our expectations are high. We want to stay on top. Our goals are different, but our high expectations are never compromised.
Kerry Johnson will have to contend with contrasting situations for the Park Rapids boys and girls cross-country teams this season. The girls have high expectations after finishing fifth at last year's state Class A meet. However, the Panthers can't afford any injuries as only seven runners reported for the first two weeks of practice. The boys don't have a problem with numbers as 17 runners are competing this season. The return of 11 runners from last season has Johnson expecting an improved season from the boys this fall. "I'm working with a great bunch of kids.
Team chemistry was a main reason last year's Park Rapids volleyball team had one of its most successful seasons in school history. Developing team chemistry will be the key to success for the Panthers again this fall. With only two letterwinners returning from last year's team that finished with a 15-11 record, head coach Molly Aukes will be counting on several first-year varsity players to step into key roles. Those players have to fill in for last year's senior class of Hailey Lundin, Shelby Weckwerth, Hannah Wolff, Jenny Palm, Leeza Tostenson, Taylor Smythe, Shannon Taylor and Brie Wa
Qualifying for state for the first time in school history and winning the consolation title capped off a historic season for the Nevis volleyball team in 2009. Head coach Stephanie Hanson is counting on a similar season from the Tigers in 2010. "Our state appearance last year was an experience our team and community will never forget," said Hanson. "Although we lost some key seniors, I like the fact that some of our key returning players have played on the big stage. I would be lying if I said we weren't striving to do it again. Repeating success proposes different challenges.
Shawn Klimek is counting on a veteran lineup to kick off a successful new era for the Nevis 9-man football team. After opening the season at Cromwell Friday night, the Tigers will make history by hosting Silver Bay under the lights on Sept. 10 in the first night football game at Nevis. "The team is very excited about playing under the lights for the first time in Nevis history," said Klimek, who will be assisted by Dan Halfmann and Sherm Anderson.
Bryon Schuldt enters his third season of cross-country running favored to capture his third all-state honor. The Nevis senior won the Section 8A title last season and placed 12th at the state Class A boys meet for the second year in a row. Nevis head coach Tom Stambaugh is confident Schuldt will repeat as an all-state runner and be among the favorites to win the state Class A title. "Bryon should be able to contend for the state title," said Stambaugh. "I think there are five guys who can win state and Bryon is one of them.
Even though the United North Central football team graduated 10 key players, head coach Jeremy Nordick is counting on the Warriors to defend their Prairie North Conference title and be a legitimate contender in the Section 8AA playoffs. Last season, the Warriors won the conference title for the second time in the last three years with a 4-0 record and entered the section playoffs as the No. 4 seed. UNC defeated No. 5 Warroad 42-18 before falling to No.
Isaiah Hahn has high expectations as the new head coach of the Menahga volleyball team. Several players return from last year's team that went 1-7 in Park Region Conference play and 4-21-1 overall. "I am really excited about this opportunity," said Hahn, who will be assisted by Caroline Schik and Steve Schreiber. "I am going into this challenge and the responsibility that comes with being a head coach head on. I have high expectations for this season and our entire volleyball program." Leading the Braves this season will be senior hitters Lindsey White and Amelia Pho.
Five runners who competed at last year's Section 8A meet return to lead the United North Central boys and girls cross-country teams this fall. The boys fielded an incomplete team at the section meet, but return three veterans in senior Jonathan Miller, junior Luke Graham and sophomore Eric Aker.