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Gavin Smith scored 20 points in leading Staples-Motley to a 64-30 Mid-State Conference victory over the Park Rapids boys basketball team at Staples on Feb. 23. Trevor Skeesick added 11 points as the Cardinals improved to 2-5 in the conference and 12-10 overall. Jason Haas scored 10 points to lead Park Rapids, which fell to 0-8 in Mid-State games and 4-21 overall. PARK RAPIDS: Novak 3, Reish 4, Ballard 2, Herberg 3, Haas 10, Johnson 3, Persons 1, Jewison 4.
An 18-game winning streak and 23-1 overall record kept the Nevis boys basketball team in the No. 2 spot in this week's state Class A poll. Minneapolis North (24-2) returned to the No. 1 spot while Heritage Christian (21-5) at No. 3, Central Minnesota Christian (22-3) at No. 4, Goodhue (24-3) at No. 5, Springfield (23-2) at No. 6, Red Lake (21-4) at No. 7, Spring Grove (22-3) at No. 8, Ada-Borup (22-3) at No. 9 and Red Rock Central (22-2) at No. 10 rounded out the top 10.
Head coach Matt Clark wasn't surprised when the Park Rapids wrestling team set a school record by qualifying six individuals for the state Class A tournament. Seniors Nolan Booge, Jared Sunram, Justin Dravis and Jacob Bittmann and sophomores Ashton Clark and Cody Dravis entered the Section 8A tournament as either the No. 1 or No. 2 seeds. All six lived up to their billing by advancing to state.
Three Park Rapids wrestlers prevailed in Friday's quarterfinal matches to advance to Saturday's semifinals of the state Class A tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Ashton Clark used three takedowns and a nearfall for a 10-0 major decision over Dover-Eyota's Taylor DeFrang in the 106-pound bracket. Justin Dravis pinned Blackduck-Cass Lake-Bena's Mason Preston in 1:18 at 160 pounds. Cody Dravis pinned Trinity School at River Ridge's Colm Maines in 51 seconds at 170 pounds.
Marcus Benson qualified for the consolation finals in the 100-yard backstroke by breaking the school record while Park Rapids' 200 freestyle relay team broke the school record during Friday's preliminaries of the state Class A boys swimming and diving meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. Benson clocked a 55.46 to finish 12th in the 100 backstroke to qualify for Saturday's consolation finals. That time broke Connor Smythe's school record of 56.15 set in 2014.
Four Park Rapids wrestlers opened the state Class A wrestling tournament with victories Friday morning at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Ashton Clark posted a 9-0 major decision over Pipestone's Grant Budden at 106 pounds. Jared Sunram used a nearfall late in the third period for an 11-10 minor decision over ACGC's Shane Whitcomb at 152. Justin Dravis used a reversal and takedown in the third period for a 6-4 minor decision over St. Charles' Bennett Sikkink at 160. Cody Dravis pinned Goodhue's Mason Huemann in 1:55 at 170.
17.Park Rapids won on the road while Menahga won at home in section girls basketball action Thursday night. Park Rapids, the No. 10 seed in Section 8AA, defeated No. 7 Pelican Rapids 86-69 to advance. The Panthers, who defeated Pelican Rapids 58-37 during the regular season, will play No. 2 Staples-Motley Saturday afternoon at 4:30 at the University of Minnesota Crookston. Staples-Motley eliminated No. 15 Bagley 80-21 Thursday night.
Park Rapids sophomore Spencer Fritze advanced to the finals in diving after Thursday's first two rounds of the state Class A meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. Fritze sits in fifth place after eight dives with 248.05 points. Northfield's Jack Cuddy leads the pack with 308.05 points while Simley's Ebenezer Ojo is in second place with 305.65 points. Detroit Lakes' Zane Freeman is in third place with 266.30 points and Breck/Blake's Davis Harrington is fourth with 255.30 points.
Menahga used a 14-2 run in the first half to take the lead for good in a 71-66 girls basketball win over Park Rapids in the regular-season finale for both teams Thursday night at Menahga. Jumpers by Jaiden McCollum, Megan Jewison and Rilee Michaelson, a 3-pointer by Macky Warne and a basket off a rebound by McCollum gave Park Rapids a 13-10 lead with 13:09 to play in the first half. Lindsay Hendrickson, Cierra Ahlf and Megan Hendrickson had layups and Ahlf hit a 3-pointer for the Braves.
Entering Friday's Section 8A tournament at Glyndon, six Park Rapids wrestlers were rated in the state Class A poll. Following Saturday's section finals, all six managed to qualify for the state Class A tournament. Seniors Jared Sunram and Justin Dravis and sophomores Ashton Clark and Cody Dravis won titles while seniors Nolan Booge and Jacob Bittmann prevailed in true-second matches to advance to state. The six individual state qualifiers are the most in school history.