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Park Rapids boys track team made history

Winning the state title in the 4 x 800-meter relay capped off another successful season for the Panthers.

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Lane Monaghan concluded his senior season in style by anchoring Park Rapids' state champion 4 x 800-meter relay team and the state-qualifying 4 x 400-meter relay team. Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise

It was a historic season for the Park Rapids boys track and field team.

Seniors Lane Monaghan and Nathaniel Bervig, junior Kaleb Stearns and sophomore Eli Bervig capped off the season by winning the state Class A title in the 4 x 800-meter relay. That foursome clocked an 8:12.86 to break the school record and earn the program’s first state title in a relay.

Even though that finish provided the main highlight of the season, the Panthers turned in other impressive showings by winning five meet titles, including repeating as Subsection 8-29A champs and topping the field at the Section 8A True Team meet. Park Rapids also just missed winning the Section 8A title with 78 points as East Grand Forks topped the 27-team field with 79 points.

“Overall, I feel the season went very well. We had very high expectations and our team met those expectations. It was fun to coach such a special team that wanted to be pushed and challenged,” said Park Rapids head coach Andrew Lachowitzer. “Bringing home a state championship, I believe, will only make our program stronger. Having that breakthrough will give our athletes confidence that big goals are possible and achievable with hard work, dedication and determination. I hope it will make our program continue to grow and something that our younger Panthers want to be part of.”

There were 27 athletes who scored points this season. In addition to the members of the state champion relay team, that group featured seniors Skylar Hagen and Ronaldo De La Cruz Gomez; juniors Darryl Etter, Parker Harmon, Tristan Hill, Logan Jackson, Josiah May, Sam Reish, Zach Van Batavia, Sam Warne and Kiergon Wilkins; sophomores Dawson Dahring, Matt Dahring, Pierce DeBlieck, Luke Hartung, Blaine Hensel, Malachi Martin and Cameron Runyan; freshman Noah Huot; eighth graders Ephraim Bervig, Thomas Lopez and Landon Strasburg; and seventh grader Jaydon Walen.

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The Panthers dominated the season opener at Park Rapids by compiling 110 points to top the three-team field. Winning individual titles were May (100), Monaghan (400), Hagen (800), Nathaniel Bervig (1,600), Etter (3,200), Dawson Dahring (110 hurdles), Hill (shot put and discus), Reish (triple jump) and Matt Dahring (pole vault). The Panthers also won all four relays with Jackson, May, Reish and Hill in the 4 x 100; Jackson, May, Reish and Matt Dahring in the 4 x 200; Monaghan, Hagen, Gomez and Stearns in the 4 x 400; and Hagen, Nathaniel Bervig, Harmon and Strasburg in the 4 x 800.

In a dual meet against Detroit Lakes, the Panthers prevailed 99-56 behind winning efforts by Hagen (400), Monaghan (800), Nathaniel Bervig (1,600), Huot (3,200), Etter (110 hurdles), DeBlieck (300 hurdles), Hill (shot put and discus), Reish (triple jump) and Matt Dahring (pole vault). Taking first in the relays were May, Reish, Hill and Walen in the 4 x 200; Monaghan, Nathaniel Bervig, Eli Bervig and Stearns in the 4 x 400; and Monaghan, Nathaniel Bervig, Harmon and Hensel in the 4 x 800.

Pequot Lakes compiled 117 points to top the five-team field at the second Park Rapids meet as the Panthers followed with 87 points. Turning in individual winning efforts were Nathaniel Bervig (800) and Hill (shot put and discus) while Monaghan, May, Reish and Hill won the 4 x 100 relay and Monaghan, Hagen, Nathaniel Bervig and Stearns won the 4 x 800 relay.

The Panthers ran away with the title at the six-team May Day Invitational at Walker with 255.50 points behind winning showings by Hill (shot put and discus); May, Hill, Matt Dahring and Runyan in the 4 x 100 relay; Matt Dahring, Dawson Dahring, Runyan and Martin in the 4 x 200; Monaghan, De La Cruz Gomez, May and Stearns in the 4 x 400; and Monaghan, Nathaniel Bervig, Harmon and Stearns in the 4 x 800.

At a four-team meet at Perham, the Panthers led the way with 117 points as Hill (200, discus and shot put), Monaghan (400) and the 4 x 800 relay team of Monaghan, Nathaniel Bervig, Eli Bervig and Stearns finished first.

Pequot Lakes won the Mid-State Conference title at Crosby with 123 points as Park Rapids finished second in the five-team meet with 87 points. Claiming conference titles were Monaghan (800); Hill (discus); the 4 x 100 relay team of Jackson, May, Hill and Walen; and the 4 x 800 relay team of Monaghan, Nathaniel Bervig, Eli Bervig and Stearns. Placing second were Hill (200); Stearns (400); Nathaniel Bervig (800); the 4 x 200 relay unit of Matt Dahring, Runyan, Walen and Hartung; and the 4 x 400 relay team of Monaghan, May, Matt Dahring and Stearns.

Leading the Panthers with winning performances to claim the title at the nine-team Section 8A True Team meet at Park Rapids with 514 points were Monaghan (400); Nathaniel Bervig (800); Huot (1,600 and 3,200); the 4 x 100 relay team of Jackson, May, Runyan and Walen; the 4 x 200 relay team of Monaghan, May, Hartung and Walen; the 4 x 400 relay team of Monaghan, May, Matt Dahring and Stearns; and the 4 x 800 relay team of Nathaniel Bervig, Eli Bervig, Harmon and Stearns. Roseau was second with 442.50 points.

In the final regular season meet at Park Rapids, the Panthers tallied 147 points to trail Staples-Motley’s 164 points in the six-team field. Taking first were Huot (800), Dawson Dahring (110 hurdles) and Hill (shot put and discus) as well as the 4 x 200 relay team of Walen, Hill, Jackson and May and the 4 x 800 relay unit of Monaghan, Nathaniel Bervig, Eli Bervig and Stearns.

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Runner-up finishes by Hill in the discus and the 4 x 800 relay team of Nathaniel Bervig, Eli Bervig, Stearns and Harmon led the Panthers to ninth place with 394 points at the 12-team state Class A True Team meet. Pine Island won the state title with 552 points.

Park Rapids dominated the Subsection 8-29A meet at Bagley by compiling 212 points to capture the title for the ninth time in the last 10 years. Leading the way with winning efforts were Hill in the shot put and discus as well as Walen, Hill, Stearns and May in the 4 x 200 relay; Monaghan, Nathaniel Bervig, Stearns and May in the 4 x 400 relay; and Monaghan, Nathaniel Bervig, Eli Bervig and Stearns in the 4 x 800 relay. Also qualifying for the Section 8A meet were Monaghan (second), Nathaniel Bevig (fourth) and Lopez (sixth) in the 800; Etter (third) and De La Cruz Gomez (fourth) in the 3,200; Runyan (third) and Walen (fourth) in the 100; Runyan in the 200 (fourth); Huot (third), Eli Bervig (fifth) and Hensel (sixth) in the 1,600; Dawson Dahring (second) and DeBlieck (third) in the 110 hurdles; DeBlieck (second) and Dawson Dahring (third) in the 300 hurdles; Jackson in the high jump (second); Matt Dahring in the pole vault (third); Walen in the long jump (fourth); VanBatavia in the triple jump (fourth); Hartung in the discus (third) and shot put (fourth); the 4 x 100 relay team of Walen, Hill, Jackson and May (second); and the 4 x 200 relay team of Walen, Hill, Stearns and May (second).

Winning efforts by Hill in the shot put and discus and the 4 x 800 relay team of Monaghan, Nathaniel Bervig, Eli Bervig and Stearns led the Panthers to runner-up honors out of 27 teams at the Section 8A meet at Park Rapids. In addition to those three showings, the 4 x 400 relay team of Monaghan, Nathaniel Bervig, Stearns and May qualified for state with a runner-up finish.

Just missing state trips were Monaghan in the 800 (third), Etter in the 3,200 (fourth) and Hartumg in the discus (fourth). The 4 x 100 relay team of Walen, Hill, Jackson and May finished fourth as did the 4 x 200 relay unit of Walen, Hill, Stearns and May.

The other section competitors were Huot (fifth in the 1,600), Dawson Dahring (fifth in the 110 hurdles and ninth in the 300 hurdles), Nathaniel Bervig (sixth in the 800), DeBlieck (sixth in the 300 hurdles and 15th in the 110 hurdles), Runyan (10th in the pole vault, 15th in the 200 and 16th in the 100), Eli Bervig (11th in the 1,600), Hensel (12th in the 1,600), De La Cruz Gomez (12th in the 3,200), Hartung (12th in the shot put), Jackson (13th in the high jump), Matt Dahring (13th in the pole vault), Walen (14th in the long jump and 15th in the 100) and VanBatavia (14th in the triple jump).

At the state Class A meet, the Panthers tied for 29th place with 12 points by winning the 4 x 800 relay. Hill finished 11th in the discus and 12th in the shot put while the 4 x 400 relay team of Monaghan, Nathaniel Bervig, Stearns and May finished 15th.

Winning team awards for the Panthers were Monaghan (MVP), Nathaniel Bervig (Hardest Worker), Hill (Most Points and Leader), Huot (Rookie of the Year), Hartung (Most Improved), Hagen (Coaches Award), Stearns (Coaches Award), Eli Bervig (Coaches Award) and Wilkins (Most Spirit).

Graduating four seniors, including two from the two relays that qualified for state, will leave the Panthers with some key spots to fill. However, a talented group of athletes will return as the Panthers attempt to repeat as section True Team and subsection champs, contend for the Section 8A title and qualify multiple athletes for the state Class A meet once again next season.

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“We are going to really miss our four seniors. They embodied what our program is all about. They truly made this program better than where it was when they joined track. We have grown special connections with each senior and we are sad to see them leave, but are super excited to see what these special young men do in life,” said Lachowitzer. “We are very excited for next season. We have a lot of talent returning and have a chance next year to be one of the best teams in the entire state and I know we are going to embrace those expectations.”

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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