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The return of four starters has Bill Dent expecting another successful season from the Nevis girls basketball team. Seniors Riley Hanson (center) and Mattie Hjelseth (guard) and junior guards Megan Norby and Jordan Walters return to the starting lineup to lead the Tigers this season.
Molly Aukes saw stretches of solid play from the Park Rapids volleyball team in every match this season. The inability to consistently maintain that solid play throughout entire matches led to a 5-18-1 record. The Panthers started off the season strong by going 3-5 in the first eight matches.
Tina Ridlon has some lofty long-range goals as she takes over as head coach of the Park Rapids girls basketball team. "Stepping in I have placed high expectations for the girls program. These girls need to start winning and playing for the playoffs. My long-term goal is to make it as far as we can get in the playoffs," said Ridlon, who coached youth basketball for six years and served as the girls assistant coach in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. "We have state on the brain.
Even though the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley boys hockey team has to replace the all-time leading scorer in school history, head coach Pete Stahnke is expecting another winning season and a return trip to the Section 8A semifinals. In order to improve on last year's 14-13 record, the Panthers have to find players to pick up the offensive production of last year's senior crew of Sam Coborn, Levi Erickson, Benson Ringle and Cory Odland.
The Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley girls hockey team was outscored 15-3 in losses to International Falls, Crookston and Thief River Falls. International Falls handed the Panthers their second shutout of the season with a 2-0 win last Tuesday night at the Ted O.
Having the most balanced offensive attack in school history gave the Park Rapids football team a chance to advance to the state playoffs for the first time in almost three decades. The Panthers set a school record by passing for 1,551 yards and added 2,505 yards rushing in going 5-6 and advancing to the Section 8AAA championship game at the Fargodome. That marked the first appearance in a section title game for the Panthers since 1985. "From Day 1, our goal was to get to the Dome," said Park Rapids head coach Aaron Morris. "I knew we'd be competitive.
Kaylyn Eggena's two goals and an assist led Northern Lakes to a 4-1 win over the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley girls hockey team Thursday night at Breezy Point. Bailee Jerger gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead in the first period before Northern Lakes scored three times in the second period to take 3-1 lead. Eggena's goal in the third period sealed the win for the Lightning, which improved to 1-1 on the season. Northern Lakes held a 32-12 advantage in shots.
Park Rapids seniors Katherine Erickson and Hannah Williams fulfilled a goal by placing in their final appearance at the state Class A girls swimming meet. Erickson, Williams, junior Taylor Graham and sophomore Lauren Rossman finished 15th in the 200-yard medley relay while Erickson placed 13th in the 100 backstroke and 15th in the 200 freestyle at Saturday's state meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. Those three finishes gave the Panthers 10 points for 35th place.
The roles were reversed for the Park Rapids boys and girls cross-country teams this season. Last year, the girls advanced to the state Class A meet as a team while the boys qualified one individual. This year, the Panthers ended the season by sending the entire boys team to state while the girls qualified one individual. Led by sophomore Isaac Overmyer's fourth-place finish at the Section 8A meet, the Panthers sent the entire team to state for the first time since 1997.
It was a smooth transition for Brianne Morris and the Park Rapids girls tennis team this season. The Panthers compiled a winning record for the third year in a row and were represented at the state Class A tournament for the fifth year in a row in Morris' first season as head coach. Park Rapids, which finished with a 13-6 record in dual meets, capped off the season by sending juniors Julia Renner and Christina Smith to the state meet in doubles.