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Track and Field: All 5 Park Rapids girls bring home state medals

The Panthers score points in the 4 x 800 relay, 4 x 400 relay and pole vault.

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Morgan Koppelman (left) ran on Park Rapids' 4 x 800-meter and 4 x 400-meter relay teams that reached the podium at the state Class A girls track and field meet at St. Michael on Friday, June 10, 2022.
Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise
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ST. MICHAEL – Senior Holly Johnson along with juniors Olivia Davis, Morgan Koppelman and Natalia Lopez and freshman Addison Lauwagie were looking to bring home medals at the state Class A girls track and field meet at St. Michael-Albertville High School, which was held on Thursday (June 9) and Friday (June 10).

All five accomplished that goal by reaching the podium in three of their four events.

Koppelman (2:27.43 split), Johnson (2:30.54), Lauwagie (2:26.23) and Lopez (2:26.06) placed eighth in the 4 x 800 relay during Friday’s finals with a time of 9:50.26. That was an improvement from their time of 10:02.21 in winning the Section 8A title, which gave Park Rapids the No. 10 seed out of 16 state qualifying teams. Luverne clocked a 9:35.81 to capture the state title. Koppelman and Lopez ran on the Panthers’ 4 x 800 relay that placed 15th in 10:04.39 in 2019.

During Thursday’s preliminaries of the 4 x 400 relay, Davis, Koppelman, Lopez and Lauwagie qualified for the finals by placing sixth in 4:07.30. That relay unit was the No. 9 seed out of 16 qualifying teams after winning the Section 8A title in 4:10.71. Eden Valley-Watkins led the qualifying field in 4:02.26. In Friday’s finals, that group clocked a 4:08.07 to finish sixth. Eden Valley-Watkins took first in 4:01.39.

Koppelman also earned a medal in her state debut in the pole vault by clearing 9 feet, 9 inches to finish sixth. Koppelman cleared 8 feet on her first attempt, 8-6 on her second attempt, and 9 feet and 9-6 on her first attempts before failing on her three attempts at 10 feet. Koppelman won the Section 8A title by clearing 10 feet, which tied the school record. That height gave Koppelman the No. 6 seed out of 16 qualifiers. Legacy Christian Academy’s Cecily Fager won the state title by clearing 11-3.

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Lauwagie also qualified for state in the 800 with a runner-up 2:25.24 at the section meet for the No. 10 seed out of 17 qualifiers. Lauwagie finished 17th during Thursday’s preliminaries in 2:28.20. Luverne’s Tenley Nelson won the state title in 2:14.68.

The Panthers scored 10 points to tie for 31st place in the team standings. Eden Valley-Watkins won the state title with 81 points as 71 teams scored points.

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Bringing home medals from the state Class A track and field meet from Park Rapids were (front from left) Natalia Lopez, Olivia Davis, Holly Johnson, Addison Lauwagie, Morgan Koppelman; (back) Kaleb Stearns, Noah Huot, Eli Bervig, Parker Harmon, Tristan Hill, Luke Hartung.
Contributed / Mike Hartung
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Winning Section 8A title, placing in three events at the state Class A meet highlighted season.

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