Both Andrew Lachowitzer and Corey Hill knew it would take contributions from every athlete in order for Park Rapids to sweep the Section 8A True Team track and field titles at Vern Weekley Field on Tuesday, May 18.
Lachowitzer’s boys team and Hill’s girls squad both qualified for the state Class A True Team meet.
The Panthers won all four relays and added four other winning times, including three 1-2 finishes, in compiling 514 points to easily finish ahead of Roseau’s runner-up 442.50 points to top the nine-team boys field. The Park Rapids girls won nine events and scored 538.50 points to edge West Marshall’s 531 points in the 10-team field.
In the True Team format, every competitor scores points. In the relays, first place earned 30 points for the girls and 27 points for the boys while last place scored 3 points. In the individual events, first place received 20 points for the girls and 18 points for the boys while last place was worth 1 point.
Of the 22 teams in Section 8A, only nine girls teams and eight boys teams decided to compete at Park Rapids. International Falls thought the meet started later in the day and held a solo meet with the results being added to the final results.
Details are still being worked out to set the date and site of the state meet.
Winning eight events on the track, including all four relays, sparked the Panthers to their first section True Team title since 2015.
Parker Harmon, Eli Bervig, Kaleb Stearns and Nathaniel Bervig started the running events by winning the 4 x 800-meter relay in 8:53.16 for 30 points. The Panthers scored 27 points in the 110 hurdles as Dawson Dahring finished fifth in 19.72 and Pierce DeBlieck followed in 20.11. A 3-4 finish by Tristan Hill (12.17) and Josiah May (12.30) in the 100 resulted in 31 points.
After Jayden Whalen, Lane Monaghan, Luke Hartung and May won the 4 x 200 relay in 1:38.36, Noah Huot (4:53.15) and Darryl Etter (4:56.10) scored 35 points with a 1-2 showing in the 1,600. Whalen, Logan Jackson, Cameron Runyan and May then won the 4 x 100 relay in 46.77.
Monaghan won the 400 in 53.66 and Stearns was third in 55.13 as the Panthers scored 34 points in that race while DeBlieck (fifth in 48.06) and Etter (sixth in 48.96) scored 27 points in the 300 hurdles. Nathaniel Bervig (2:07.50) and Eli Bervig (2:10.56) went 1-2 in the 800 for another 35 points.
Park Rapids scored 30 points in the 200 behind Hill (third in 24.98) and Whalen (fifth in 25.44) before Huot (10:52.04) and Ephraim Bervig (11:04.16) led the pack in the 3,200 for 35 points. Hartung, Matt Dahring, Stearns and Monaghan ended the meet by winning the 4 x 400 relay in 3:45.42.
In the field events, Hill (third at 43 feet, 4 inches) and Hartung (eighth at 39-1) scored 27 points in the shot put; Hill (second at 138-6) and Hartung (fifth at 111-8) scored 31 points in the discus; Zach VanBatavia (fifth at 9-6) and Runyan (sixth at 9-6) scored 27 points in the pole vault; Jackson (seventh at 5-2) and Etter (10th at 5-0) scored 21 points in the high jump; Whalen (fourth at 18-4) and Jackson (eighth at 16-9) scored 26 points in the long jump; and VanBatavia (eighth at 35-1) and Nathaniel Bervig (10th at 34-0) scored 20 points in the triple jump.
“The boys came out and performed great. We felt like we had a great chance coming into the meet that if we performed to our capabilities we could come out on top,” said Lachowitzer. “They did a great job and we were able to make it happen for the first time in seven years. The key to our success was winning all four relays without putting all of our top 4 runners in each so they could be in opens. That helped us score a lot of extra points. It was a great team victory and we are all super proud of the boys.”
Lachowitzer is looking for another solid performance at the state meet.
“We are also very excited we get to share this moment with our girls team as they also qualified for state. What a special and great day to be a Panther,” said Lachowitzer. “We have no idea when/where the state meet will be yet, but we are excited and ready to make some noise whenever and wherever it may be.”
Team scores: Park Rapids 514, Roseau 442.50, West Marshall 386, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 288, International Falls 288, Badger-Greenbush-Middle River 278.50, Lake of the Woods 255.50, Northome-Kelliher/Blackduck 225, Warroad 205.50.
4 x 800 relay: 1, Park Rapids (Harmon, El. Bervig, Stearns, N. Bervig), 8:53.16.
110 hurdles: 1, Vandewege, R, 17.20. 5, D. Dahring, PR, 19.72. 6, DeBlieck, PR, 20.11.
100 dash: 1, Maxwell, IF, 11.84. 3, Hill, PR, 12.17. 4, May, PR, 12.30.
4 x 200 relay: 1, Park Rapids (Whalen, Monaghan, Hartung, May), 1:38.36.
1,600 run: 1, Huot, PR, 4:53.14. 2, Etter, PR, 4:56.10.
4 x 100 relay: 1, Park Rapids (Whalen, Jackson, Runyan, May), 46.77.
400 dash: 1, Monaghan, PR, 53.66. 3, Stearns, PR, 55.13.
300 hurdles: 1, Vandewege, R, 45.29. 5, DeBlieck, PR, 48.06. 6, Etter, PR, 58.96.
800 run: 1, N. Bervig, PR, 2:07.50. 2, El. Bervig, PR, 2:10.56.
200 dash: 1, Gilbert, NKB, 24.74. 3, Hill, PR, 24.98. 5, Whalen, PR, 25.44.
3,200 run: 1, Huot, PR, 10:52.04. 2, Ep. Bervig, PR, 11:04.16.
4 x 400 relay: 1, Park Rapids (Hartung, M. Dahring, Stearns, Monaghan), 3:45.42.
Shot put: 1, Jantzen, IF, 45-5. 3, Hill, PR, 43-4. 8, Hartung, PR, 39-1.
Discus: 1, Harder, IF, 140-9. 2, Hill, PR, 138-6. 5, Hartung, PR, 111-8.
Pole vault: 1, Maxwell, IF, 14-0. 5, Z. VanBatavia, PR, 9-6. 6, Runyan, PR, 9-6.
High jump: 1, McGlynn, WM, 6-2. 7, Jackson, PR, 5-2. 10, Etter, PR, 5-0.
Long jump: 1, Pagnac, WM, 20-0. 4, Whalen, PR, 18-4. 8, Jackson, PR, 16-9.
Triple jump: 1, Ashmoore, WHA, 39-11.50. 8, Z. VanBatavia, PR, 34-0. 10, N. Bervig, PR, 34-0.
The Park Rapids girls also excelled on the track as seven winning times helped the Panthers return to the state meet after last competing in 2017.
Nora Bolton, Holly Johnson, Natalia Lopez and Addison Lauwagie opened the running events with a winning time of 10:35.09 in the 4 x 800 relay for 30 points. After Quinn Hunter (seventh in 19.79) and Cece Chase (12th in 20.79) scored 23 points in the 100 hurdles, Hannah Morgan (third in 13.69) and Kendra Scholz (seventh in 14.08) added 32 points in the 100. Laney Vrieze, Riley Pike, Olivia Miller and Olivia Davis placed third in the 4 x 200 relay in 1:56.64 for 24 points.
Morgan Koppelman won the 1,600 in 5:46.29 and Lopez was sixth in 6:03.84 as the Panthers scored 35 points in that race before Vrieze, Scholz, Miller and Morgan won the 4 x 100 relay in 53.29. Lauwagie’s winning time of 1:02.38 and Davis’ fourth-place 1:06.16 in the 400 led to 37 points.
Scholz led the pack in the 300 hurdles in 50.23 and Hunter was 11th in 58.06 for another 30 points before Koppelman finished first in 2:33.40 and Johnson was second in 2:36.23 for 39 points in the 800. Morgan (fourth in 29.08) and Miller (seventh in 29.80) added 31 points in the 200 before Julia Harmon (fifth in 13:35.96) and Aleka London (12th in 15:33.45) scored 25 points in the 3,200. Lauwagie, Johnson, Lopez and Koppelman ended the meet by winning the 4 x 400 relay in 4:19.33.
Morgan and Koppelman led the way in the field events with winning efforts. Morgan (first at 17-0) and Brandi Morgan (11th at 13-6) scored 30 points in the long jump while Koppelman (first at 9-3) and Lauwagie (third at 8-6) scored 38 points in the pole vault. Simone Wolff (10th at 27-1) and Taylor Dravis (11th at 27-0) scored 19 points in the shot put; Wolff (fourth at 90-9) and Sydney Lange (eighth at 82-10) scored 30 points in the discus; Hunter (tied for sixth at 4-4) and Olivia Lange (eighth at 4-4) scored 27.50 points in the high jump; and Davis (seventh at 29-8.50) and Pike (ninth at 29-7) scored 26 points in the triple jump.
"I was very happy with our girls' performance at True Team Sections. I thought it was one of our better meets and the girls worked very hard. We had a lot of younger girls step up and perform well. Our older girls where great and wanted the win very badly. We knew it would be a close meet and that the wild card is always a gamble so coming in first was critical. In the end our wild card team did not fare well and did not make it in, so our 7.5 point win was essential to us competing in the state meet this Friday," said Hill. "Once we knew that both the boys and girls had qualified I reached out to the other schools that had qualified as well and we invited them to come so we could compete in person instead of doing it virtually like the committee had suggested. The response was overwhelming and all the other teams are excited to have the opportunity. Qualifying for this meet was one of our team's big goals this year. Now we will set our sights on trying to win it. We know the competition will be great, but we are ready to compete for that title. No girls team at Park Rapids has won a state championship and we want to accomplish this for our school and community."