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Panthers ready to contend for titles

The Park Rapids boys track and field teams are relying on talent and depth to make a run at earning multiple trips to state.

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Providing the leadership for the Park Rapids boys track and field team this season are seniors (clockwise from top left) Nate Bervig, Ronaldo De La Cruz Gomez, Lane Monaghan, Skylar Hagen. Vance Carlson / Enterprise

After not getting the chance to compete when the COVID pandemic canceled last season, the Park Rapids boys track and field team is motivated to take advantage of the opportunity to compete this spring.

With 11 returning letterwinners from 2019 and the addition of several talented athletes, head coach Andrew Lachowitzer is expecting plenty of success individually and as a team this spring.

“We have very high expectations this year,” said Lachowitzer, who will be assisted by Chad Harshman, Mike Hartung, Kent Fritze and Jake DeBlieck. “We are super excited to have the opportunity to compete this year after not being able to last year due to COVID. We are all geared up and ready to hit the ground running.”

Being counted on to lead the Panthers this season are the returning letterwinners: seniors Lane Monaghan and Skylar Hagen; juniors Sam Reish, Tristan Hill, Kaleb Stearns, Sam Warne, Zach Van Batavia, Darryl Etter, Josiah May and Parker Harmon; and sophomore Dawson Dahring.

That group helped the Panthers place fourth at the Section 8AA True Team meet, second at the Mid-State Conference meet, first at the Subsection 8-29A meet and second at the Section 8A meet two years ago.

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Monaghan and Stearns will be looking to return to state after running on the 4 x 800-meter relay unit that claimed runner-up honors at the 2019 Section 8A meet and placed 11th during preliminaries of the Class A meet. Those two also ran on the 4 x 800 relay team that earned all-conference honors by placing first at the Mid-State meet while Monaghan was an all-conference honorable mention runner with a runner-up finish in the 1,600 in 2019.

The Panthers dominated the other nine teams at the subsection meet, compiling 197 points to capture the title for the eighth time in the last nine years. Monaghan and Stearns ran on the 4 x 800 relay team that posted the only winning effort, but Warne’s runner-up time in the 3,200 and runner-up finishes by the 4 x 200 relay (which included May) and the 4 x 400 relay (which included Stearns) helped Park Rapids coast to the title. Also scoring points at the 2019 subsection meet were Monaghan (third in the 1,600), Etter (third in the 3,200), Stearns (fourth in the 800), Hagen (fourth in the 1,600 and seventh in the 800), May (fifth in the 200 and seventh in the 100), Harmon (fifth in the 1,600) and Hill (fifth in the shot put). Hill also placed 11th in the discus.

At the 2019 Section 8A meet, Stearns and Monaghan ran on the runner-up 4 x 800 relay team that clocked a 8:19.81 to qualify for state and break the school record of 8:21.3 set by Bill Simpson, Wes Dwight, Mark Lingle and Jeff Packer in 1982. May ran on the 4 x 200 relay team that finished sixth. Also scoring points were Monaghan (seventh in the 1,600), Hagen (eighth in the 1,600) and Etter (eighth in the 3,200). Those athletes helped the Panthers compile 60.50 points to trail only Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton’s 114 points in the section team standings. Warne placed 14th in the 3,200 and Stearns finished 16th in the 800.

Being counted on to contribute on the varsity this season are seniors Nate Bervig and Ronaldo De La Cruz Gomez; juniors Logan Jackson, Guiseppi Jenkins and Kiergon Wilkins; sophomores Luke Hartung, Blaine Hensel, Cameron Runyan, Matt Dahring, Malachi Martin, Eli Bervig, Carlos Bauer and Pierce Deblieck; and freshmen Noah Huot and Nick Gully.

“We have many returning letterwinners as well as some newcomers and some 7th and 8th graders we believe will be battling for varsity spots as well this season,” said Lachowitzer. “Our goal is to make it to the True Team state meet, win conference, win subsections and compete for a section championship. Individually, we have the potential to send a lot of kids to sections and then compete to go to the state meet. Our goal is to reach our potential and that will result in a really special season. We have a great group of boys and they are ready to work. We can't wait to get out there and compete.”

SEASON SCHEDULE
April 15 - Park Rapids meet, 4 p.m. April 20 - Park Rapids meet, 4 p.m. April 27 - Park Rapids meet, 4 p.m. April 30 - at Walker meet, 4 p.m.
May 11 - Mid-State Conference meet at Detroit Lakes, 4 p.m. May 14 - at Walker meet, 4 p.m. May 18 - Park Rapids meet, 4 p.m. May 25 - Park Rapids meet, 4 p.m.
Related Topics: TRACK AND FIELD
1982 Dawson-Boyd High School graduate
1987 Moorhead State University graduate
Sports reporter for Park Rapids Enterprise since 1987
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