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Three Park Rapids teams qualify for Pacesetter state tournaments

Members of the Park Rapids 6th grade girls basketball team that qualified for the Pacesetter Minnesota Youth Basketball State Championships were (front from left) Abby Eskola, Kamryn Sellin, Nora Bolton, Olivia Kimball;(middle) Ella Ehler, Allie Rowland, Kiera Demoret, Olivia Miller, Brandi Morgan; (back) Rylan Fogarty, Anna Yliniemi, coach Josh Yliniemi, Halle Eischens, Nora Cederstrom, Madison Laferriere. Submitted photo1 / 3
Members of the Park Rapids 7th grade girls basketball team that competed at the Pacesetter Youth Minnesota Invitational Tournament were (front from left) Kasen Girtz, Avery Stuemke, Ali Roberts, Vivian Shepersky, Nora Gwiazdon; (back) coach Jeremy Shepersky, Kilea Persons, Macey Lund, Abby Felts, Gabi Shepersky, Amelia Bagstad. Submitted photo2 / 3
Members of the Park Rapids 8th grade girls basketball team that won the title at the Pacesetter Youth Minnesota Invitational Tournament were (front from left) Tori Weaver, Christina Engst, Mickey Clark; (back) coach Chris Bungert, Mady Maninga, Avery Cederstrom, Julia Harmon, Olivia Davis, Gabi Shepersky, coach Kevin Cederstrom. Not pictured: Natalia Lopez, Kiza Nelmark, Chloe Tretbar. Submitted photo3 / 3

Three Park Rapids girls basketball teams earned trips to the Minnesota Pacesetter state tournaments.

The Park Rapids 6th grade team qualified for the Pacesetter Minnesota Youth Basketball State Championships by winning the Region 7 title at Grand Rapids on March 31. Park Rapids defeated Mountain Iron-Buhl 27-21 in the quarterfinals, Bagley 30-17 in the semifinals and Moose Lake-Willow River 23-9 in the finals to qualify for state. Only the champions in the eight Pacesetter regions were invited to this eight-team tournament.

Park Rapids also placed third at the Region 8 tournament at Bemidji on April 13 by defeating Bagley 20-11, falling to Hawley 19-13 and defeating Roseau 23-18.

At the State Championships at Maple Grove on June 9, Park Rapids went 0-3 with losses to Dover-Eyota (20-12), Warren-Alvarado-Oslo/Tri-County/Kittson County Central (31-21) and New London-Spicer (40-12) to finish fourth in the consolation bracket. New Ulm defeated Dover-Eyota 34-28 in the championship game.

Playing for the 6th grade team at the state tournament were Nora Bolton, Nora Cederstrom, Kiera Demoret, Ella Ehler, Halle Eischens, Abby Eskola, Rylan Fogarty, Olivia Kimball, Madison Laferriere. Olivia Miller, Brandi Morgan, Allie Rowland, Kamryn Sellin and Anna Yliniemi. Josh Yliniemi coached the team.

The Park Rapids 8th grade team earned a spot in the Pacesetter Youth Minnesota Invitational Tournament by placing third at the Region 8 tournament at Bemidji on April 13. Park Rapids went 1-1 in pool play by following a loss to Hawley with a win over Roseau before defeating White Earth 36-11 in the third-place game. Teams with only one loss in a region tournament qualified for the MIT.

Park Rapids, which also placed fifth at the Region 7 tournament at Grand Rapids and at the Region 3 tournament at Redwood Falls, capped off a 12-6 record during the Pacesetter season by defeating Caledonia in overtime to win the MIT tournament at Maple Grove on June 15. This marked the third straight trip to the MIT for this group, which placed fifth in 2017 and second last season.

Members of the 8th grade team were Avery Cederstrom, Mickey Clark, Olivia Davis, Christina Engst, Julia Harmon, Natalia Lopez, Mady Maninga, Kiza Nelmark, Gabi Shepersky, Chloe Tretbar and Tori Weaver. Serving as coaches were Chris Bungert and Kevin Cederstrom.

The Park Rapids 7th grade team also qualified for the MIT after placing third at the Region 8 tournament at Bemidji on April 14. Park Rapids defeated Cass Lake 24-16, lost to Bemidji 25-9 and defeated Roseau 25-23 in the third-place game to qualify for state.

The 7th grade went 1-2 at the MIT at Maple Grove on June 22.

Competing for coach Jeremy Shepersky's team at the MIT were Amelia Bagstad, Abby Felts, Kasen Girtz, Nora Gwiazdon, Macey Lund, Kilea Persons, Ali Roberts, Gabi Shepersky, Vivian Shepersky and Avery Stuemke.