Girls Swimming and Diving: Park Rapids easily repeats as Section 8A champs

The Panthers qualify 7 swimmers and divers in 10 events for the state Class A meet.

Members of the Park Rapids girls swimming and diving team pose with the trophy after winning the Section 8A title at Warroad on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022.
Contributed / Todd Fritze
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WARROAD — There was no doubt that Park Rapids had the premier girls swimming and diving team in Section 8A this season.

After repeating as the Section 8A True Team champions earlier in the season, the Panthers easily defended their Section 8A title at Warroad on Saturday, Nov. 12. Park Rapids followed a dominating effort during the preliminaries by having six swimmers earn state berths in the finals in compiling 561 points. Fergus Falls was a distant second in this seven-team field with 358.50 points. In all, the Panthers had seven members qualify for the state Class A meet in 10 events.

Sophomore Allie Rowland claimed the Panthers’ first state berth by placing fourth in diving with 341.40 points when the diving finals were moved to Wednesday (Nov. 9) at Park Rapids. Freshman Grace Officer finished seventh with 273.90 points as the Panthers scored 27 points in that event.

The 200-yard medley relay set the tone for Saturday’s swimming finals by winning that race in 1:57.06. Sophomore Addison Lauwagie (30.40 split in the backstroke), senior Massie Lee (32.95 split in the breaststroke), sophomore Mylee Edevold (28.51 split in the butterfly) and senior Emma Vrieze (25.20 spit in the freestyle) gave the Panthers 40 points in that event.

Junior Lizzie Seifert qualified for state with a runner-up 2:04.03 in the 200 freestyle as Park Rapids scored 52 points in that race. Eighth grader Avery Schueller (third in 2:04.61), eighth grader Julia Grande (seventh in 2:15.84) and eighth grader Molly Cederstrom (10th in 2:18.55) also placed in that event.


Lee earned her first individual state trip with a runner-up 2:23.52 in the 200 individual medley. Junior Maya Deshayes (fourth in 2:25.17), junior Amelia Bagstad (fifth in 2:26.77) and junior Gabi Shepersky (11th in 2:41.73) helped Park Rapids add 52 points to the team total.

Vrieze won the 50 freestyle in 25.28, Edevold was third in 26.32 and eighth grader Whitney Seifert finished fifth in 27.20 for 50 more points.

Lauwagie led the field in the 100 butterfly in 1:03.09 while Edevold (third in 1:04.75), sophomore Nora Cederstrom (seventh in 1:10.14) and senior Maria Wagner (11th in 1:14.15) produced 54 points. Schueller took first in the 100 freestyle in 56.85 in helping the Panthers score 46 points in that race. Sophomore McKenzie Himango was fifth in 1:00.04 and Whitney Seifert finished seventh in 1:00.23.

Park Rapids scored 57 points in the 500 freestyle behind Lizzie Seifert (third in 5:37.60), Deshayes (fourth in 5:49.87), junior Claire Voigt (fifth in 5:57.75) and Grande (seventh in 6:12.58.

Another 40 points were earned after Lauwagie (25.82 split), Schueller (25.76 split), Edevold (26.41 split) and Vrieze (25.19 split) won the 200 freestyle relay in 1:43.18.

Bagstad (fourth in 1:08.43), Wagner (seventh in 1:12.18), Voigt (eighth in 1:13.32) and freshman Maggie Randall (13th in 1:15.82) led to 42 points in the 100 backstroke before Lee led the way with a winning time of 1:13.60 in the 100 breaststroke. Nora Cederstrom (third in 1:14.60), Himango (sixth in 1:18.45) and Shepersky (seventh in 1:18.72) also placed as the Panthers scored 61 points in that event.

Lauwagie (57.39 split), Vrieze (56.73 split), Lizzie Seifert (57.50 split) and Schueller (56.53 split) scored the final 40 points by winning the 400 freestyle relay in 3:48.15.

Rounding out the team scores were Detroit Lakes (342.50), Perham/New York Mills (284), Thief River Falls (246), Fosston/Bagley/Crookston (143) and Warroad/Roseau (87).


A year ago, the Panthers sent five swimmers to state in seven events, but failed to advance to the finals in any of them. This year, the Panthers are determined to advance to the finals in multiple events as the state Class A meet begins with diving preliminaries at noon on Wednesday (Nov. 16) and swimming preliminaries at noon on Thursday (Nov. 16) at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center on the campus of the University of Minnesota. The swimming and diving finals will be held on Friday (Nov. 17) starting at noon.

The Panthers repeated as Section 8A True Team, Mid-State Conference and Section 8A champions while qualifying for state in 10 events.

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