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Matthew Benson and Jaiden McCollum combined to compete in eight state tournaments and set seven school records while also excelling in the classroom during their high school athletic and academic careers at Park Rapids. For those efforts, those two seniors were chosen as the 2018 Male and Female Student Athletes during the 41st annual All Sports Banquet May 23 at the Area High School gym. Tara Johanning and Jason Haas were named the 2018 Outstanding Female and Male Athletes while the 1983 Park Rapids football team was inducted into the Panther Athletic Hall of Fame.
Park Rapids was rated among the top-15 teams in the latest state Class AA softball and baseball rankings. The Panthers moved up a spot in the state softball polls, holding the No. 6 ranking after being rated No. 7 last week. Park Rapids received 41 points in this week's poll, up from 25 last week.
Both Park Rapids golf teams prepared for the Section 8AA North tournament by placing third at Tuesday's Pre-Subsection Invitational at Blueberry Pines. Bjorn Jorgenson carded a runner-up 75 on the par-72 course to lead the Park Rapids boys to a 347. Tate Usher's 85, Kaelan Emerson's 92 and Cody Dravis' 95 rounded out the Panthers' team score. United North Central took seventh with a 400 behind Mikko Johnson's 96, Anthony Wurdock's 99, Jimmy Hillukka's 101 and Bobby Pietila's 104.
Nevis closed out the regular season with a 4-1 win at Menahga Tuesday in a preview of the Section 5A tournament opener. Both teams combined for only nine hits with the Tigers stringing together five hits to score once in the fourth, twice in the fifth and once in the sixth to prevail in this pitchers' duel. After three scoreless innings, Nevis took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Jack Landquist reached on an error, moved to third on a passed ball and single by Dan Mistic, and scored on Dillon McGee's RBI double.
It was another comfortable victory for the Park Rapids fastpitch softball team in the Section 8AA playoff opener Tuesday at the Area High School field. The Panthers used a 15-hit attack to support Rilee Michaelson's four-hitter in eliminating East Polk 11-3. Park Rapids, the No. 2 seed in the North half of the section, scored in each of the first five innings to advance.
Brendan Kruchowski threw a two-hit complete game and Gabe Bagstad followed by going the distance with a four-hitter as the Park Rapids baseball team swept a Mid-State Conference doubleheader against Pequot Lakes Monday at the Area High School field. Kruchowski and Pequot Lakes' Cameron Anderson locked up in a pitchers' duel as the opener was scoreless through six innings before the Panthers produced the game's only run in the bottom of the seventh for a walk-off 1-0 win.
Dramatic home runs by Pete Marjamaa and Zach Etter lifted Midway to a pair of wins to open the amateur baseball season. Marjamaa's grand-slam home run highlighted a seven-run eighth inning that gave the Snurdbirds a 7-5 win over the Crookston Reds at Menahga in the season opener on May 6. The Reds led 4-0 before Midway rallied. Chris Baso and Eric Reichling also drove in runs during that game-winning rally while Baso, Etter, CJ Maki, Reichling, Brett Dormanen and Sawyer Barglof scored runs as two Crookston errors and two hit batters helped spark that inning.
Menahga's Shane Kirlin and Park Rapids' Nick Jasmer were among 1,462 runners who completed the 14th annual Sanford Fargo Marathon on May 19. The 44-year-old Kirlin covered the 26.2-mile course in 3 hours, 16 minutes, 15 seconds to finish 112th overall out of 809 males while Jasmer, 26, finished in 3:47:50 to finish No. 409 overall. Geofrey Terer of Colorado Springs, Colorado, clocked a winning time of 2:30:00 in this race that started and ended at the Fargodome. Several other area runners competed in the 13.1-mile Half Marathon.
Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale and Wadena-Deer Creek jumped out to early leads to defeat the Menahga baseball team in a pair of Park Region Conference games. BHV scored four runs in the first inning, four runs in the second inning and seven runs in the third inning in a 15-1 five-inning victory over the Braves at Bertha on May 22. Menahga was held to only three hits with Thomas Litzau going 2 for 2. Patrick Simmons scored on Jonah Howard's RBI double in the third inning to account for the Braves' lone run.
Going 2-1 against Mid-State Conference opponents kept the Park Rapids baseball team in third place in the conference standings. Park Rapids split a conference doubleheader against Staples-Motley Thursday at Staples, following a 9-2 win in the first game with a 9-6 loss in the second game. After dropping a 13-11 decision to Section 8AA rival Frazee Friday at Park Rapids, the Panthers defeated Aitkin 7-5 in a conference game Saturday morning at Park Rapids in a contest that was suspended because of darkness on May 1.