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Nic Lembcke is counting on the Park Rapids girls basketball team to execute the fundamentals in order to produce more victories this season. Lembcke, who has served as an assistant coach for the Panthers the last three seasons, has eight varsity players returning, including four who started games last season. That experience has the new head coach counting on an improved season this winter. The Panthers have to replace two starters in Hannah Wolff and Hailey Lundin.
Having only two regulars returning from last year's team that went 15-11, Molly Aukes wasn't sure how the junior varsity players would adjust to playing key roles at the varsity level. As it turned out, 15 players saw varsity action this season with 11 playing varsity for the first time. Those players accepted their roles and put a competitive unit on the floor as the Panthers went 2-3 in Mid-State Conference matches and 8-23 overall. Park Rapids opened the season with seven losses as the new players adjusted to varsity competition.
Kerry Johnson had plenty of reasons to be proud of what the Park Rapids boys and girls cross-country teams accomplished this season. The girls fulfilled their main goal by returning to the state Class A meet as the Section 8A runner-up. The Panthers won three meet titles during the season and were ranked as high as No.
Park Rapids' Taylor Ondracek capped off her senior season by placing 10th in the 100-yard backstroke at Saturday's state Class A meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. Ondracek qualified for her first state meet by finishing third at the Section 8A meet with a state-qualifying time of 1:01.95. That time had Ondracek seeded No. 8 out of the 28 state qualifiers. During Friday's state preliminaries, Ondracek earned a spot in Saturday's consolation finals by placing 11th with a 1:02.49.
Despite dominating in the number of scoring chances, the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley girls hockey team needed overtime to defeat Pequot Lakes Thursday night. McKenna Brand's power-play goal 3:18 into overtime completed a hat trick and gave the Panthers a 4-3 victory in this Mid-State Conference match, which saw Park Rapids hold a 54-19 advantage in shots on goal. Jessica Gapinski's power-play goal at the 3:09 mark gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead in the first period. Pequot Lakes responded with three unanswered goals by Erika Monson, Morgan Demars and Mariah Reed to cl
Warroad's four Division I prospects combined for seven goals and eight assists as the defending state Class A champions opened the season with a 12-0 win over the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley girls hockey team Tuesday night at the Ted O. Johnson Ice Arena. Layla Marvin, a senior who has committed to the University of North Dakota, scored five goals while senior Karley Sylvester, a senior who has signed with the University of Wisconsin, had three assists.
Qualifying for the state Class A girls swimming meet didn't really surprise Park Rapids' Leah Meinert, Taylor Ondracek, Mandy Schirmers, Allycia Zinke, Emily Creager, Katherine Erickson, Hannah Williams and Lauren Rossman. Those eight swimmers were a little surprised after qualifying for state in eight events and winning the Section 8A title by 115 points. The Panthers set a school record by sending eight swimmers to the state meet at last Saturday's Section 8A meet at Bemidji. Park Rapids compiled 422.50 points to easily finish ahead of Bemidji's 307.50 total to repeat as section champs.
With a lineup full of versatile singles and doubles players, Nicole Brandt knew the Park Rapids girls tennis team would have a successful season. The Panthers didn't disappoint by going 14-5 in dual meets, claiming runner-up honors at both the Mid-State Conference and Section 8A tournaments, and sending a doubles team to the state Class A tournament for the third year in a row. "One huge factor was that I could have an extremely strong singles lineup. This year I had girls playing No. 3 and No. 4 singles that played No. 1 and No. 2 singles last year.
Youth led the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley girls hockey team to an early lead in the season opener Saturday afternoon. Experience took over late in the game as Morris/Benson scored five unanswered goals as the Storm stormed back for a 6-4 victory at the Ted O.
Based on seed times, Todd Fritze expected a close battle between Park Rapids and Bemidji to determine the Section 8A girls swimming and diving champion. A down-to-the-wire finish was avoided when the Panthers clocked 30 season-best times during Friday's preliminaries at Bemidji and followed with 17 more season bests during Saturday's finals. Despite not winning a single event, the Panthers relied on their quality depth to easily repeat as section champs. The Panthers advanced 24 swimmers, all four divers and all three relay teams to Saturday with strong performances during Friday's preli