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Girls swimming & diving: Panthers capture Mid-State Conference title

Park Rapids rallies to defeat Detroit Lakes to win the conference crown for the first time since 2013.

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Massie Lee was the runner-up in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:30.10 during the Mid-State Conference meet on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021. Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise

After winning the Section 8A True Team title for the first time since 2012, the members of the Park Rapids girls swimming and diving team wanted to win the Mid-State Conference title for the first time since 2013.

Despite winning only four events, the Panthers relied on their depth to rally past Detroit Lakes and capture the conference crown at the Area High School pool on Thursday, Oct. 28.

Detroit Lakes held an early 162-134 advantage before the Panthers came back to top the three-team field with 485 points. Detroit Lakes was second with 438 points and Perham/New York Mills took third with 335 points.

“It’s been a while,” said Park Rapids head coach Todd Fritze about the Panthers being conference champs. “The girls worked hard for it. I’m happy for them. I’m proud of what they did.”

The Panthers faced an early deficit after the first four events. Allie Rowland finished sixth in diving with 308.55 points while Maya Deshayes, Massie Lee, Mylee Edevold and Claire Voigt took third in the 200-yard medley relay in 2:07.49.

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Emma Vrieze (in 2:10.29), Lizzie Seifert (in 2:11.35) and Deshayes (in 2:14.98) posted a 2-3-4 finish for the Panthers in the 200 freestyle before Lee’s runner-up 2:30.10 and Amelia Bagstad’s fourth-place 2:36.20 led Park Rapids in the 200 individual medley.

Park Rapids scored 16 points in diving, 44 points in the 200 medley relay, 41 points in the 200 freestyle and 33 points in the 200 individual medley in facing the early 28-point deficit.

A 2-4-5-6 showing in the 50 freestyle started the comeback with Addison Lauwagie’s runner-up 26.03, Edevold’s 28.41, Whitney Seifert’s 28.48 and Avery Schueller’s 28.73 leading the way. Park Rapids outscored the Lakers 43-22 in that race.

Detroit Lakes extended its lead to 223-206 with a 1-2 finish in the 100 butterfly. Edevold’s 1:11.12 and Claire Voigt’s 1:12.67 resulted in a 3-4 showing for the Panthers. Park Rapids then pulled to within 250-248 with a 3-4-5-6 effort in the 100 freestyle with Vrieze’s 58.67, McKenzie Himango’s 1:02.50, Bagstad’s 1:03.29 and Schueller’s 1:03.97 setting the pace for the Panthers, who outscored DL 42-27 in that event.

The Panthers took the lead for good by outsourcing DL 49-24 in the 500 freestyle. Deshayes took first in 5:58.68 and Lizzie Seifert was a close second in 5:58.96. Nora Cederstrom finished fourth in 6:26.90.

Lauwagie, Lee, Lizzie Seifert and Vrieze followed by winning the 200 freestyle relay in 1:47.60. Voigt, Himango, Schueller and Bagstad finished third in 1:56.97 as the Panthers scored 56 points for a 353-320 advantage.

After Lauwagie won the 100 backstroke in 1:07.22 with Voigt’s 1:13.49 and Maria Wagner’s 1:14.00 leading to a 5-6 finish, Lee (in 1:19.05), Himango (in 1:20.02), Cederstrom (in 1:21.25) and Gabi Shepersky (in 1:22.76) sparked a 3-4-5-6 finish in the 100 breaststroke for a 431-392 advantage. The Panthers scored 36 points in the 100 backstroke and 42 points in the 100 breaststroke.

Vrieze, Seifert, Deshayes and Lauwagie closed the meet by winning the 400 freestyle relay in 3:58.86 as Park Rapids scored 54 points in the final event.

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The conference champs earned Mid-State Conference honors while the runners-up and third-place finishers received all-conference honorable mention honors.

“This was a tough meet. I thought both Detroit Lake and Perham swam extremely well. Hats off to them,” said Fritze. “I wanted the girls to race and they didn’t stop racing. I told the girls that we need to concentrate on the back half of our races and the back half of the meet. We’re so young. One thing we have to learn is how to race better. We raced tonight.”

Now the Panthers will prepare for the Section 8A meet, which will be held at Detroit Lakes on Nov. 12-13.

“I’m happy about where we’re at, but I’m not satisfied,” said Fritze. “This meet is always a big test for us in taking the next step. This was a good test, but we’ve got to be faster. I think we have a lot left in us.”

Team scores: Park Rapids 485, Detroit Lakes 438, Perham/New York Mills 335.
Individual results
Diving: 1, Lorentz, PNYM, 421.45 points. 2, McAllister, PNYM, 353.00. 3, H. Hamm, DL, 329.80. 6, Rowland, PR, 308.55. 9, L. Vrieze, PR, 259.20. 10, Officer, PR, 220.60.
200 medley relay: 1, Detroit Lakes, 2:03.46. 2, Perham, 2:03.72. 3, Park Rapids (Deshayes, Lee, Edevold, Voigt), 2:07.49. 5, Park Rapids (Wagner, G. Shepersky, Offerdahl, W. Seifert), 2:17.00.
200 freestyle: 1, F. Hamm, DL, 2:05.01. 2, E. Vrieze, PR, 2:10.29. 3, L. Seifert, PR, 2:11.35. 4, Deshayes, PR, 2:14.98. 8, M. Cederstrom, PR, 2:36.79.
200 individual relay: 1, I. Mursu, PNYM, 2:28.37. 2, Lee, PR, 2:30.10. 3, M. Gerdes, DL, 2:33.88. 4, Bagstad, PR, 2:36.20. 8, Wagner, PR, 2:46.04. 9, G. Shepersky, PR, 2:48.96.
50 freestyle: 1, Ziemke, PNYM, 25.73. 2, Lauwagie, PR, 26.03. 3, Westrum, DL, 27.11. 4, Edevold, PR, 28.41. 5, W. Seifert, PR, 28.48. 6, Schueller, PR, 28.73.
100 butterfly: 1, L. Gerdes, DL, 1:05.37. 2, Martin, DL, 1:08.57. 3, Edevold, PR, 1:11.12. 4, Voigt, PR, 1:12.67. 9, Offerdahl, PR, 1:20.14. 11, M. Cederstrom, PR, 1:28.16.
100 freestyle: 1, Ziemke, DL, 56.50. 2, F. Hamm, DL, 56.84. 3, E. Vrieze, PR, 58.67. 4, Himango, PR, 1:02.50. 5, Bagstad, PR, 1:03.29. 6, Schueller, PR, 1:03.97.
500 freestyle: 1, Deshayes, PR, 5:58.68. 2, L. Seifert, PR, 5:58.96. 3, Rogstad, DL, 6:18.40. 4, N. Cederstrom, PR, 6:26.90. 6, W. Seifert, PR, 6:48.50.
200 freestyle relay: 1, Park Rapids (Lauwagie, Lee, L. Seifert, E. Vrieze), 1:47.60. 2, Detroit Lakes, 1:51.72. 3, Park Rapids (Voigt, Himango, Schueller, Bagstad), 1:56.97.
100 backstroke: 1, Lauwagie, PR, 1:07.22. 2, I. Mursu, PNYM, 1:08.84. 3, Westrum, DL, 1:10.44. 5, Voigt, PR, 1:13.49. 6, Wagner, PR, 1:14.00. 12, Randall, PR, 1:25.66.
100 breaststroke: 1, M. Gerdes, DL, 1:12.82. 2, L. Gerdes, DL, 1:14.57. 3, Lee, PR, 1:19.05. 4, Himango, PR, 1:20.02. 5, N. Cederstrom, PR, 1:21.25. 6, G. Shepersky, PR, 1:22.76.
400 freestyle relay: 1, Park Rapids (E. Vrieze, L. Seifert, Deshayes, Lauwagie), 3:58.86. 2, Detroit Lakes, 4:00.00. 3, Perham, 4:13.96. 4, Park Rapids (Bagstad, Schueller, N. Cederstrom, Edevold), 4:20.91.

1982 Dawson-Boyd High School graduate
1987 Moorhead State University graduate
Sports reporter for Park Rapids Enterprise since 1987
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