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Leah Jensen's hat trick led East Grand Forks to a 6-3 victory over the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley girls hockey team Saturday afternoon in a battle of Section 8A rivals at the Ted O. Johnson Ice Arena. Jensen scored twice in the first period as the Green Wave jumped out to a 3-1 lead. Jessica Gapinski set up Heather Brostrom at the 4:48 mark to account for the Panthers' first-period goal.
Matt Brandt is counting on the Park Rapids boys basketball team to rely on sound, fundamental basketball to produce more victories this season. Last season, the Panthers went 0-10 in Mid-State Conference play and 2-24 overall while averaging 42.2 points a night. Park Rapids gave up 69.4 points a game. The Panthers were the No. 8 seed in the south for the Section 8AA playoffs and opened with a 75-58 win over No. 9 Frazee before being eliminated with a 64-27 loss to No. 1 Crosby-Ironton.
Staples-Motley jumped out to a 13-0 lead and pushed the advantage to 44-14 at the half en route to a 69-26 Mid-State Conference girls basketball victory over Park Rapids Friday night at Staples. Two baskets by Carson Lee Christenson and inside baskets by Ashley Domino and Anna Grimes kept Park Rapids within 20-8 before the Cardinals went on a 24-3 run.
Pete Stahnke is hoping the pairing of the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis and Walker-Hackensack-Akeley boys hockey teams will continue the Panthers' streak of winning seasons. Last year, the Panthers received the No. 6 seed for the Section 8A playoffs and lost to No. 3 East Grand Forks 5-1 in the quarterfinals to end a 16-8-2 season. Winning 16 games gave the Panthers a winning record for the fifth year in a row. W-H-A received the No. 10 seed for the section playoffs and was eliminated by No. 7 Crookston 16-1 in the first round to end a 0-24 season.
At last year's Section 8A tournament, the Park Rapids wrestling team qualified four wrestlers for state and had nine other wrestlers place. Head coach Matt Clark is looking for the Panthers to once again peak at the end of the season. Duplicating last year's 10-13 record in dual meets could be tough since seven seniors graduated. That senior crew combined for 64 pins and 108 victories last season. Jared Nash advanced to state as the section runner-up at 171 pounds and capped a 34-7 season with 12 pins by placing fourth at the state tournament.
Efficiency at the free-throw line and Tarah Cleveland's game-high 35 points helped the Menahga girls basketball team open the season with a 71-42 victory over Park Rapids Tuesday night at Menahga. The Panthers opened the season on a positive note under new head coach Nic Lembcke when Ashley Domino scored twice off rebounds and Olivia Vaadeland scored off a rebound as Park Rapids jumped out to a 6-3 lead at the 15:10 mark. Cleveland sparked an 18-4 run by scoring 12 points, highlighted by a pair of 3-pointers and a conventional three-point play.
Goalie Keanna Carlson stopped all 24 shots she faced in leading International Falls to a 3-0 victory over the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley girls hockey team Tuesday night at the Ted O. Johnson Ice Arena. Abby Fox scored two goals and Amanda Hofius tallied a goal to lead the Broncos, who held a 27-24 edge in shots on goal. Park Rapids goalie Bailey Moore stopped 24 shots as the Panthers fell to 1-3 on the season. FIRST PERIOD: 1, International Falls, Fox (West, Bahr), 11:08.
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.