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Park Rapids' Tyler Lehrke had a solid season in his professional debut for the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees hockey team. Lehrke, a 2004 graduate of Park Rapids Area High School, scored nine goals and had 11 assists for 20 points in 50 games for the Killer Bees this season. Lehrke finished 10th on the team in scoring as Rio Grande Valley compiled a 25-35-6 record for eighth place in the Berry Conference standings. Rio Grande, which is located in Hildalgo, Texas, claimed the final playoff spot in the Berry Conference and was eliminated by Allen, the No.
Park Rapids' Christian Ridlon and Chris Goplerud were among 22 players named to this year's Mid-State Conference boys basketball team. Ridlon, a senior center, earned all-conference honors after averaging 10.9 points and 7.7 rebounds a game in the 10 conference games. Ridlon tallied 109 points, 77 rebounds, 18 steals and nine assists in conference play. Ridlon had a double-double (17 points, 15 rebounds) against Wadena-Deer Creek and scored 24 points against Crosby-Ironton. Goplerud, a sophomore forward, averaged 4.1 points and 5.6 rebounds in conference play.
After going 2-24 last season, Matt Brandt was looking for the Park Rapids boys basketball team to improve this season. Even though the Panthers finished with a 1-24 overall record, Brandt did see improvement from his players. The Panthers opened the season with losses to Staples-Motley (68-33), Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (69-57), Crosby-Ironton (62-40) and Pequot Lakes (70-37). At the Park Rapids tournament, the Panthers opened with a 74-43 loss to Sauk Centre before defeating Frazee 63-59 in the third-place game. That would prove to be the Panthers' only win of the season. Park Rapids
Jeremy Nordick wanted the Menahga boys basketball team to peak at the end of the season. The Braves did play their best basketball down the stretch as a three-game winning streak led to a 6-3 record in the final nine regular-season games. However, a loss to Browerville in the second round of the Section 5A West playoffs ended the Braves' season with a 13-13 overall record. On the positive side, the Braves were able to avoid any major losing streaks. Menahga only had four two-game losing streaks during the season. On the other hand, Menahga couldn't string a winning streak together.
Corey Hill had plenty of reasons to celebrate last season after the Park Rapids girls track and field team capped a historic season by winning the Section 6A True Team, Subsection 8-29A and Section 8A titles. The Panthers' head coach is hoping his team will have even more reasons to celebrate this spring. Even though the Panthers graduated six key performers, Hill is counting on the returning talent to produce another successful season. In the eight regular-season meets last season, the Panthers won five titles and finished second the other three times. The Panthers won the Section 6A
A pair of winning times and three third-place showings led the Park Rapids girls track and field team to runner-up honors at Tuesday's Little Amik I Invitational at Bemidji State University. The 4 x 800-meter relay team of Summer Ellefson, Morgan Olson, Kaylee Hilmanowski and Lora Remus took first in 11:03.39 while Remus won the 1,600 run in 6:08.75 to lead the Panthers. Mady Vaudrin clocked a runner-up 8.50 in the 60 dash and Emily Klingenberg took second in the triple jump with a distance of 29 feet, 4 inches.
Nic Lembcke wasn't counting on the Park Rapids girls basketball team going winless in his first season as head coach. Even though the Panthers didn't have success in the victory column after battling through a 0-25 season, Lembcke said the season was a success in terms of how the girls persevered and improved. "Going winless was difficult on everyone, but I was proud of the girls for continuing to work hard. Those who watched our games consistently saw us increase our shooting percentage, drop our turnovers and beat a press more effectively," said Lembcke.
Last season, the Park Rapids boys track and field team exceeded expectations by placing second at the Subsection 8-29A meet and qualifying 10 individuals for the Section 8A meet. This year, head coach Pat Deegan is looking for the Panthers to overachieve once again. Leading the Panthers this season are the 13 athletes who competed at last year's subsection meet.
Zach Lehrke didn't produce many points in his first season at the Division I level as a member of the Minnesota State University, Mankato men's hockey team, but his points came at opportune moments. Lehrke, who still holds the scoring record at Park Rapids with 113 goals and 212 points, tallied two goals and four assists on 42 shots in 28 games as a forward for the Mavericks. Mankato ended the season with an 8-16-4 record in WCHA play and a 14-18-6 overall mark. Lehrke tallied his first collegiate point with an assist in a 3-2 win over Alaska-Anchorage on Oct.
Entering the season, Wendi Hartig was counting on her five returning letterwinners to lead the Park Rapids gymnastics team. As it turned out, those five veterans didn't compete in the same meet all season. Junior Emily Klingenberg was the only member of that group who competed in all 12 meets. Sophomore Jessi Andersen missed four meets with a wrist injury. Freshman Cassie Baxter competed in eight meets. Freshman Ellen Hoffman missed the entire season with a broken foot.