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Park Rapids, Nevis and United North Central will all open the section football playoffs on the road. The Panthers, who ended the regular season with a 2-6 record, received the No. 5 seed in Section 8AAA and will open the playoffs Tuesday night at No. 4 East Grand Forks, which finished at 3-5. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. East Grand Forks defeated the Panthers 32-8 in Week 7. Section 8AAA is using the QRF system to seed teams. East Grand Forks was rated No. 43 out of the 64 Class AAA teams with a 31.3 rating while the Panthers were the No.
Both Park Rapids cross-country teams tuned up for the Section 8A meet with solid performances at Monday's Park Rapids Invitational at Headwaters Country Club. Lydia Lutz won the girls race by covering the 4,000-meter course in 14 minutes, 48 seconds to lead the Panthers to the team title with 61 points. Perham, which had its top runner (senior Cassie Beseman) sit out with an injury, was second in this 19-team meet with 62 points. Those two teams are expected to battle it out for the section title next Friday at Bagley. Park Rapids is rated No. 11 while Perham is rated No.
Christina Smith will give the Park Rapids girls tennis team a representative at the state Class A tournament for the fourth year in a row. Smith finished second in singles at the Section 8A tournament at the Grand Forks Center Courts Saturday to earn her second straight trip to state. The Park Rapids sophomore, who teamed with Alyssa Carlson to win the section title in doubles last year, entered this year's section meet as the No. 3 seed in singles. Smith opened the tournament with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Roseau senior Ashley Larsen, the No.
Depth once again was the difference as the Park Rapids girls swimming and diving team repeated as Section 8A True Team champions Saturday at Detroit Lakes. The Panthers scored at least 200 points in the three relays and at least 83 points in the individual events in compiling 1,586 points to top the nine-team field.
Lydia Lutz repeated as the individual champion in leading the Park Rapids girls cross-country team to the team title at Thursday's Mid-State Conference meet at Staples. Isaac Overmyer became the first member of the Park Rapids boys cross-country team to win the Mid-State title since 1995 in leading the Panthers to third place. Lutz, who is rated as the No. 6 individual in this week's state Class A poll, won her third consecutive conference title and fifth straight all-conference honor by covering the 4,000-meter course in 15 minutes, 41 seconds.
Untimely turnovers again proved costly to the Park Rapids football team. East Grand Forks turned four Park Rapids turnovers into three touchdowns and a field goal in a 32-8 Heart O'Lakes Conference North Division and Section 8AAA win Friday night at East Grand Forks. Park Rapids had four turnovers in a 41-7 loss to Hawley, five turnovers in a 34-14 loss to Perham and five turnovers in a 33-14 loss to Thief River Falls prior to Friday night's game. "We had too turnovers and too many mental mistakes," said Park Rapids head coach Aaron Morris. "They wanted it more than we did.
Pequot Lakes controlled play at the net with 38 kills and 11 blocks en route to a 25-19, 25-10, 25-8 Mid-State Conference win at Park Rapids Tuesday night. The Patriots jumped out to a 5-0 lead in Set 1 before a block by Olivia Vaadeland and a kill by Justine Rittgers closed the gap to 6-4.
The Park Rapids girls tennis team relied on close wins in the opening sets to eliminate East Grand Forks from the Section 8A tournament Tuesday at the Grand Forks Center Courts. The No. 3-seeded Panthers won three 7-5 first-set matches and two 6-4 first-set matches en route to a 5-2 victory over the No. 6-seeded Green Wave. Julia Renner, Lydia Schaum and Heidi Schaum prevailed in straight sets in singles while Bonnie Baumgartner and Allie Girtz won in straight sets at No. 1 doubles and Lexi Burlingame and Katie Walsh won in straight sets at No.
Moorhead ran away with the boys and girls titles at Thursday's Perham Invitational cross-country meet at Arvig Park. In the girls meet, Moorhead had seven runners in the top-15 spots and finished with 36 points. The Spuds had six runners in the top-13 spots in winning the boys title with 20 points. Park Rapids finished third in the girls race with 97 points. Lydia Lutz led the way by covering the 4,000-meter course in 15 minutes, 29 seconds to finish third overall.
Another dominant effort Thursday night enabled the Park Rapids girls swimming and diving team to go undefeated in dual meets for only the second time in school history. The Panthers closed out their dual schedule with a 191-111 victory at Detroit Lakes for a perfect 8-0 record this season. Park Rapids' only other undefeated season was a 10-0 record in 2002. This meet was scored 10-5-3 in the relays and 8-6-5-4-3-2 in the other events. The Panthers won nine events and went 1-2-3 in three events to coast to the win.