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Three Panthers run away with all-conference honors

Whitney Steffel and Holly Johnson earned all-conference honors while Haley Pickar claimed the final all-conference honorable mention spot as the Park Rapids girls cross-country team placed sixth at Tuesday's Mid-State Conference meet at Crosslake.

Steffel finished eighth overall by covering the 5K course in 22:39 while Johnson followed in ninth place in 22:40. Pickar finished 15th in 23:34 as the Panthers finished with 119 points in this seven-team meet. Julia Harmon was 43rd in 26:36 while Alex Kirlin was 44th overall in 27:56 to complete the Panthers' team score. Karen Valencia rounded out Park Rapids' varsity by placing 45th in 33:31.

In the boys meet, Keegan Moses just missed earning all-conference honorable mention honors by placing 16th with a 5K time of 19:19. Seth Breitweser was 26th in 19:41, Will Pickar finished 34th in 20:10, Ashton Clark was 38th in 21:02 and Sam Warne finished 39th in 21:05 as Park Rapids finished seventh with 153 points. Kaleb Stearns (40th in 21:09) and Gabe Bagstad (42nd in 21:15) rounded out the Panthers' varsity.

Blaine Hensel finished 30th overall with a time of 13:56 as Park Rapids' only runner in the 3,200-meter junior high race.

"I thought the boys and girls ran well. It was a course like one we haven't encountered this year. It was held on cross-country ski trails so there were roots sticking out, uneven footing and sand, just to name a few obstacles. They got after it and gave it their all," said Park Rapids head coach Kerry Johnson. "I was happy for Whitney, Holly and Haley for earning all-conference and all-conference honorable mention honors. Keegan just missed it by one place and six seconds. He was so close."

Kira Sweeney led the field in the girls race with a winning time of 21:12 while Addison Lorber (21:44) and Ashley Robben (21:45) gave Staples-Motley a 1-2-3 sweep. The top-10 finishers earned all-conference honors while runners 11-15 received all-conference honorable mention honors.

Detroit Lakes claimed the team title with 71 points with Crosby-Ironton (73), Staples-Motley (75) and Pequot Lakes (76) following in a close battle for the top spot. Staples-Motley won the team title last season while this was the Lakers' first conference title since 2012.

Detroit Lakes captured the boys title for the fourth year in a row and the seventh time in the last nine years with 32 points. Staples-Motley, which is rated No. 14 in this week's state Class A poll, was a distant second with 51 points.

Staples-Motley's Emmet Anderson, who is the No. 5-rated runner in this week's state Class A poll, led the field with a winning time of 17:17. Detroit Lakes' Tanner Olson was a distant second in 18:11.

Park Rapids will host its annual invitational meet Monday at Headwaters Golf Club beginning with junior high races at 4 p.m. and will then prepare for the Section 8A meet at Bagley on Oct. 27.

"Even though it (the conference meet) is one of the smaller races we attend, it's still very competitive. There might not have been a large number of runners, but it's really a quality field. I was happy with our performance," said Johnson. "I'm excited to have them race at home and then head back to Bagley so they can see how much they truly have improved since they raced there at the beginning of the year."

Girls team scores: Detroit Lakes 71, Crosby-Ironton 73, Staples-Motley 75, Pequot Lakes 76, Wadena-Deer Creek 113, Park Rapids 119, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle 146.

Individual results

1, Kira Sweeney, SM, 21:12. 2, Addison Lorber, SM, 21:44. 3, Ashley Robben, SM, 21:45. 4, Grace McGuire, PL, 22:18. 5, Kristin Skog, PL, 22:19. 6, Katie McConkey, DL, 22:29. 7, Carly Fritz, DL, 22:38. 8, Whitney Steffel, PR, 22:39. 9, Holly Johnson, PR, 22:40. 10, Abigail Motschenbacher, WDC, 22:47. 11, Sarah Bostrom, CI, 22:56. 12, Lily Peterson, CI, 23:00. 13, Arianna LeMieur, CI, 23:02. 14, Ellie Flaws, PL, 23:17. 15, Haley Pickar, PR, 23:34. 43, Julia Harmon, PR, 26:36. 44, Alex Kirlin, PR, 27:56. 45, Karen Valencia, PR, 33:31.

Boys team scores: Detroit Lakes 32, Staples-Motley 51, Pequot Lakes 79, Wadena-Deer Creek 123, Crosby-Ironton 125, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle 148, Park Rapids 153.

Individual results

1, Emmet Anderson, SM, 17:17. 2, Tanner Olson, DL, 18:11. 3, Hunter Klimek, SM, 18:12. 4, Tucker Strawsell, DL, 18:14. 5, Noah Ross, WDC, 18:20. 6, Seth LeMieur, CI, 18:26. 7, Austin Gedrose, DL, 18:35. 8, Tanner Robben, SM, 18:37. 9, Peyton Nordby, DL, 18:40. 10, Grant Fritch-Gallatin, DL, 18:44. 11, Reid Pierzinski, PL, 18:45. 12, Max Johnston, PL, 18:51. 13, Cameron Larson, LPGE, 18:59. 14, Sam Person, PL, 19:03. 15, Jacob Fischer, LPGE, 19:13. 16, Keegan Moses, PR, 19:19. 26, Seth Breitweser, PR, 19:41. 34, Will Pickar, PR, 20:10. 38, Ashton Clark, PR, 21:02. 39, Sam Warne, PR, 21:05. 40, Kaleb Stearns, PR, 21:09. 42, Gabe Bagstad, PR, 21:15. JV: Skylar Hagen, PR, 23:26; Kyron Wohlenhaus, PR, 23:51; Owen Wagner, PR, 25:37.