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Four winning times and six runner-up finishes helped the Park Rapids girls swimming and diving team repeat as Mid-State Conference champs last Friday night at Detroit Lakes. Five Panthers earned all-conference honors with winning times. Katherine Erickson, Mandy Schirmers, Taylor Graham and Allycia Zinke opened the meet by winning the 200-yard medley relay. Zinke won the 100 butterfly and Erickson took first in the 100 backstroke.
The Section 8A meet couldn't have turned out any better for the Park Rapids girls cross-country team and Isaac Overmyer. After finishing second to the Perham girls the last two years, the Panthers fulfilled a goal by edging the defending champs to capture their first section title since 1997. Senior Lydia Lutz led the way by winning her first section title while senior Shelby Pierce also earned an individual state berth by finishing ninth. Senior Summer Ellefson (13th), eighth grader Megan Olson (14th) and junior Lora Remus (18th) rounded out Park Rapids' team score of 47 points.
Nevis' Bryon Schuldt and Park Rapids' Isaac Overmyer entered Friday's Section 8A cross-country meet confident of qualifying for the state Class A meet. Both lived up to those expectations with impressive times at Twins Pines Golf Course in Bagley. Schuldt captured his third consecutive section title with a winning time of 16 minutes, 6 seconds while Overmyer earned his first state berth by finishing fifth by covering the 5,000-meter course in 16:48. Schuldt, who sat out the final two weeks of the regular season with a sore knee, showed no signs of being injured by running away from the f
Despite going in as the No. 6 seed, Aaron Morris believed the Park Rapids football team could compete with any team in the Section 8AAA playoffs. The Panthers proved that point in the section quarterfinals and semifinals. After opening the playoffs with a 13-10 win at No. 3 East Grand Forks, the Panthers battled No. 2-seeded Perham to a 7-7 tie at the half. The Yellowjackets were able to avoid the upset Saturday night as key plays by the defense and special teams led Perham to a 28-14 victory. "Our kids played hard and left everything on the field," said Morris.
Christina Smith played her best tennis of the season to qualify for her second trip to the state Class A girls tennis tournament. The Park Rapids sophomore was hoping to play well in her singles debut at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis. Despite not advancing to Friday's finals, Smith was competitive in her two state singles matches Thursday. Smith opened with a 6-1, 6-4 loss to Annandale junior Kaytlin Kuefler in Thursday morning's first round and followed with a hard-fought 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-0) loss to Stewartville junior Elizabeth Bardwell in Thursday afternoon's con
Perseverance paid off the for Park Rapids football team Tuesday night. Despite losing four fumbles and having a touchdown called back because of a penalty, the No.
Up to this point of the season, the Park Rapids girls swimming and diving team has proven to have the best depth in Section 8A. On Thursday night, the Panthers competed against teams with the best depth in the state. The Panthers finished 12th with 995.50 points at this year's state Class A True Team meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. Hutchinson won the state title with 2,073.50 points while Visitation was second with 2,004.50 points. Park Rapids finished ninth with 1,178.50 points last year. Seven of the state's top Class A teams competed at this meet.
Christina Smith continues to make tennis history. Last year, Smith became the first freshman in the history of the Park Rapids girls tennis program to qualify for the state Class A tournament in doubles. Following a runner-up finish at this year's Section 8A tournament, Smith became the first player in the history of the Park Rapids girls tennis program to qualify for state in both singles and doubles. "I thought my chances were pretty low (of qualifying for state)," said Smith.
Park Rapids received the No. 6 seed and will open the Section 8AA North volleyball tournament at No. 3 Roseau Thursday night at 7. The Panthers ended the regular season with a 6-16 record while Roseau finished at 14-11-2. Thursday night's winner faces either No. 2 Pequot Lakes (17-9) or No. 7 Crookston (6-17) Friday night at the higher seed. The other Section 8AA North quarterfinals Thursday night pit No. 1 Thief River Falls (22-2-1) against No. 8 Bagley (8-16) and No. 4 East Grand Forks (11-16) against No. 5 Warroad (11-15).
Going into Wednesday night's regular-season finale, Aaron Morris' main concern was stopping Roseau's passing attack. Park Rapids' defense shut down Roseau quarterback Alex Ziegler in the first quarter by intercepting two passes, including one at the 3-yard line to stop a scoring drive. Ziegler settled down after those two early turnovers, throwing for three touchdowns and rushing for another in leading the Rams to a 24-7 Section 8AAA football victory at Vern Weekley Field. The Panthers had an ideal opportunity to open the scoring when Ian Johnson intercepted a Ziegler pass on the third p