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As the new head coach of the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley boys hockey team, Pete Naugle's main concern is who will take over offensively. Naugle takes over for Pete Stahnke, who compiled a 199-128-18 record and 10 winning records in 13 seasons as head coach. Stahnke led the Panthers to the Section 8A semifinals three times, including one time since the merger with W-H-A in 2010. Stahnke leaves with the most coaching wins in the history of the boys hockey program.
Lexi Edwards and Amber Tilander had two goals and three assists each in sparking International Falls to an 8-2 win over the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley girls hockey team Tuesday night at the Ted O. Johnson Ice Arena. The Broncos took control by scoring the game's final five goals to break open a 3-2 game. International Falls finished with a 53-11 advantage in shots on goal. Lexi Erickson scored the game's first two goals at the 2:00 and 5:48 marks before Morgan Rasmussen scored at the 6:20 mark to give the Broncos a 3-0 lead.
Cody Pulju inherits a talented group of players as he takes over as the new head coach of the Menahga girls basketball team. Last season, the Braves tied for fourth place in the Park Region Conference standings with an 8-6 record and finished 14-14 overall. Menahga received the No. 4 seed in the North half for the Section 5A tournament and opened the playoffs with a 71-63 win over No. 5 Nevis before being eliminated with a 69-54 loss to No. 1 Cromwell.
Maija Hovelsrud fulfilled her mission by qualifying for the consolation finals and placing 14th in the 100-yard breaststroke at the state Class A girls swimming meet. The Park Rapids junior advanced to the consolation finals by placing 13th during Thursday's preliminaries at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center with a personal-best time of 1:09.05. During Friday's finals, Hovelsrud clocked a 1:09.31 to finish in 14th place to score 3 points.
Seniors Tanner Becker and Justin Dravis received top team honors for the Park Rapids football team this season. Becker received the team's Gary Rehn Award as the team MVP while Dravis received the Mike McClelland Award as the team's Defensive MVP. Senior Kenny David received the Kip Gauldin Leadership Award, sophomores Cody Dravis and Payton Hill were named Most Improved, and senior Jake Dickinson received a Coaches Award.
Head coach Aaron Morris can point to one area that prevented the Park Rapids football team from finishing with a winning record, hosting a Section 8AAA playoff game and making a run at playing for a trip to state.
Northern Lakes scored three goals at the start of the third period to take control in a 5-2 win over the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley girls hockey team Thursday night at Breezy Point. Mackenzie Rickard's goal at the 8:34 mark of the first period provided the only scoring as the Lightning carried a 1-0 lead into the third period. Northern Lakes held a 27-15 advantage in shots over the first two periods.
Having two season-ending injuries before the season began proved to be a bad omen for the Park Rapids girls and boys cross-country teams. Both the of Panthers' No. 3 runners from last year's Section 8A meet had to miss the season with injuries. Will Pickar broke his leg while a back injury kept Kendra Coborn from running this fall. That was just the start of a season filled with injuries and illnesses.
Alayna Lake received Park Region Conference honors while Leah Schwartz received all-conference honorable mention honors in leading the Menahga volleyball team to a 2-5 conference record this season. In the seven conference matches, Lake had 124 digs and five ace serves while Schwartz had 60 kills, 72 digs, four ace serves and three ace blocks. Those two helped Menahga tie for sixth place in the conference standings.
Park Rapids' Isaac Overmyer was a main reason why the University of Minnesota Duluth men's cross-country team enjoyed a successful season. Overmyer had a successful sophomore season, being named the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference cross country Athlete of the Week twice, being the Bulldogs' No. 1 runner in four meets and ending the season by earning NCAA Division II Central Region honors.