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Having six runners finish in the top 20 spots led the United North Central girls cross-country team to the title at Monday's season-opening Central Minnesota River Run at Staples. Annika Aho finished fifth in 21:53, Kate Hendrickson was ninth in 22:49, Kaarin Lehto took 11th in 22:55, Molly Hendrickson was 16th in 23:50 and Maria Isacson finished 17th in 23:51 as the Warriors topped the 14-team field with 51 points. Buffalo was second with 56 points. Anita Lehto finished 19th in 24:14 while Erin Olson was 53rd in 28:11 for UNC.
Kerry Johnson is looking for some runners to take over the leadership roles for the Park Rapids boys and girls cross-country teams this fall. The Panthers have to replace eight runners who graduated from last year's teams. Leading that group were Adam Jacobi and Lydia Kantonen, who combined to compete in six state Class A meets. Nolan Booge, Kaleb Carlson, Jack Christenson, Per Jorgenson, Madison Steffel and Macky Warne also graduated, leaving the Panthers will several key positions to fill.
Leah Schwartz's 12 digs and 10 kills and Aimee Lake's 12 digs and four ace serves powered the Menahga volleyball team to a 25-19, 25-10, 25-20 victory over Browerville/Eagle Valley in the season opener Thursday night at Menahga.
The lofty goals remain the same for the Park Rapids girls swimming and diving team. Despite relying on underclassmen to lead the way, the Panthers turned in a successful season last fall by going 6-2 in dual meets, placing fourth at the Section 8A True Team meet, finishing second at the Mid-State Conference meet and placing sixth at the Section 8A meet. The highlight of the season was sending a swimmer to the state Class A meet for the 23rd consecutive season.
Stephanie Hanson is hoping the disappointing way last season ended with provide incentive for the Park Rapids volleyball team this season. A year ago, the Panthers put together a successful regular season by going 18-5 and earning the No. 1 seed in the South for the Section 8AA tournament.
Despite having young runners, both the United North Central boys and girls cross-country teams are expecting to be competitive this fall. The UNC girls have four runners returning from a team that finished third at the Section 8A meet while the UNC boys have only one runner back from a team that placed 12th at the section meet. "We are very excited to see how this season goes for both the boys and the girls," said Nick Jasmer, who shares head coaching duties with Nicole Oyster. "They have been working hard these last couple of weeks and are ready to race."
Shawn Klimek and the Nevis 9-man football team are ready to conquer some new challenges this season. The first challenge is replacing seven players who graduated from last year's squad that dominated play during the regular season and went 10-1 overall. The second is task rebounding from a heartbreaking 32-28 loss to Waubun in the Section 6 9-man championship game. Nevis led 28-12 with six minutes to play before Waubun rallied for the win.
With nine players returning who started games last season, head coach Jeremy Nordick is expecting the United North Central football team to once again put a competitive team on the field. The offense has nine veteran players back in seniors James Clark (quarterback), Owen Anderson (running back), Caleb Mostrom (lineman) and Justen Berttunen (lineman); juniors Mason Dailey (wide receiver), Jared Seibert (lineman) and Brady Vry (lineman); and sophomores Brandon Miller (running back) and Tristan Aho (wide receiver).
Brianne Morris is expecting another successful season from the Park Rapids girls tennis team. A year ago, the senior trio of Julia Smith, Drew Hilmanowski and Haley MacPherson led the Panthers to an 11-11 overall record, a third-place showing at the Mid-State Conference tournament and a spot in the Section 8A semifinals.
Graduation left the Nevis volleyball team with six key positions to replace this season. However, head coach Heidi Wormley is counting on the return of three all-conference players to lead the Tigers to another successful season.