Track and Field: Park Rapids has talent to contend for conference, section titles

The Panthers enter the season with 53 athletes, depth in every event.

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Senior letterwinners (from left) Holly Johnson, Quinn Hunter and Simone Wolff return to lead the Park Rapids girls track and field team during the 2022 season.
Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise

PARK RAPIDS – Contending for the top spot in the conference and section and earning multiple state berths will be the focus of the Park Rapids girls track and field team again this season.

The Panthers return several members from last year’s team that finished third at the Mid-State Conference meet, won the Section 8A True Team title, placed ninth at the state Class A True Team meet, repeated as Subsection 8-29A champions and placed fourth at the Section 8A meet.

Among the 53 girls looking to lead the Panthers to another successful season the spring are seniors Quinn Hunter, Holly Johnson and Simone Wolff; juniors Olivia Davis, Julia Harmon, Morgan Koppelman, Lyvia Livermore, Aleka London, Natalia Lopez and Riley Pike; sophomores Cece Chase, Nora Gwiazdon and Olivia Lange; freshmen Nora Bolton, Addison Lauwagie, Olivia Miller, Brandi Morgan and Laney Vrieze; and eighth graders Kennedy Campbell, Breanna DeBlieck, Alessia Harmon and Sarah Hartung.

Returning after taking second at last year’s conference meet are Koppelman (800); Vrieze and Miller (4 x 100 relay); Lauwagie, Koppelman, Johnson and Lopez (4 x 400 relay); and Lopez, London, Koppelman and Lauwagie (4 x 800 relay).

A year ago, the Panthers compiled 538.50 points to top West Marshall’s 531 points to win the 10-team Section 8A True Team meet. Taking first were Bolton, Johnson, Lopez and Lauwagie in the 4 x 800 relay; Koppelman in the 1,600, 800 and pole vault; Vrieze and Miller in the 4 x 100 relay; Lauwagie in the 400; and Lauwagie, Johnson, Lopez and Koppelman in the 4 x 400 relay.


Park Rapids followed by winning the Subsection 8-29A title for the 15th year in a row with 174 points. Leading the Panthers with individual firsts were Koppelman (800, pole vault) and Davis (triple jump). Running on the winning relays were Campbell, Johnson, Lauwagie and Koppelman (4 x 800); Lauwagie and Johnson (4 x 200); and Davis, Johnson, Lauwagie and Koppelman (4 x 400). Hunter qualified for last year’s section meet with a runner-up finish in the high jump while Davis in the 400 (fourth), Lauwagie (third) and Johnson (fourth) in the pole vault, Julia Harmon in the 1,600 (third), Bolton in the 3,200 (fourth), Hunter in the 100 hurdles (fourth), Pike in the triple jump (third) and long jump (fourth), and Wolff in the discus (fifth) also advanced.

Last year’s other subsection competitors were Vrieze (seventh in the 200, eighth in the 100), Miller (fifth in the 400, 10th in the 200), Julia Harmon (fifth in the 3,200, 11th in the discus, 12th in the shot put), Hunter (10th in the 300 hurdles), Chase (sixth in the 100 hurdles), Morgan (eighth in both the high jump and long jump), Lange (ninth in the high jump), Wolff (11th in the shot put), Gwiazdon (20th in the 100), London (seventh) and Alessia Harmon (ninth) in the 1,600, DeBlieck (14th in the 400), Hartung (sixth) and Campbell (seventh) in the 800, and Livermore in the 3,200 (seventh). The 4 x 100 relay team featuring Davis and Miller placed third.

Barnesville captured the Section 8A title with 74.50 points as the Panthers finished fourth with 48 points. The 4 x 800 relay team of Davis, Johnson, Lauwagie and Koppelman as well as the 4 x 400 relay team featuring Johnson, Koppelman and Lauwagie both placed third to just miss qualifying for state while the 4 x 200 relay featuring Lauwagie and Johnson finished fourth. Koppelman (fourth in the 800 and pole vault) also contended for state berths while Wolff (fifth in the discus), Lauwagie (seventh in the pole vault) and Davis (seventh in the triple jump) also scored points.

The other section competitors were Bolton (11th in the 3,200), Hunter (tied for 11th in the high jump, 16th in the 100 hurdles), Julia Harmon (14th in the 1,600), Pike (14th in the long jump, 24th in the triple jump), Johnson (15th in the pole vault) and Davis (16th in the 400).

The Panthers graduated six members off last year’s team. Hannah Morgan, who was the Section 8A runner-up, capped off the season by placing seventh in the long jump at the state Class A meet as Park Rapids tied for 57th place with 3 points. Morgan also competed at the section meet in the 4 x 200 relay that placed fourth. Kendra Scholz (third as a member of the 4 x 400 relay, fourth in the 300 hurdles, fourth as a member of the 4 x 200 relay) also placed at last year’s section meet while Sydney Lange (shot put, discus) competed at the subsection meet. Savana Damar, Taylor Dravis and Liesl Smee also graduated.

Looking to help fill those spots will be senior Sophie Guida; sophomore Kaycee Tischer; freshmen Brooke Kritzeck, Kate Dravis, Maari Clark, Jena Meier, Madison Laferriere, Aracely Quixan Gutierrez, Kiera Demoret and Rhianna Greenlee; eighth graders Grace Officer, Mackenzie Nelson, Summer Berndt, Rosemary Carvao, Audrey Goehring, Vivienne Guida and Emma Johnson; and seventh graders Madeline Brandt, Avery Schueller, Cassidy Grewe, Whitney Seifert, Amelia Gravdahl, Embry Deshayes, Grace Etter, Makenzie Mack, Danika Jenson, Herielyz Quintana Jimenez, Adeline Raidt, Kayla Winter and Cailynn Zabel.

“We look forward to this season as we have good numbers out. We have a lot of girls returning that were point scores for us last year. I have a very talented group of younger athletes joining us this year along with some new faces,” said Hill. “We look to challenge at every meet we compete in. Our goals for the season are to make a run at winning section True Team or be a runner-up and have a chance to go to Stillwater on May 21. We are in AA this year, so that will be a major challenge but one we are looking forward to. We look to compete to win the subsection and section titles, goals I feel we can achieve if we stay healthy and work hard. It should be a very fun year.”


April 14 – at Perham Invitational, 4 p.m. April 19 – Park Rapids Invitational, 3:30 p.m. April 21 – at Bagley Invitational, 4 p.m. April 26 – Park Rapids Invitational, 3:30 p.m. April 29 – at Walker-Hackensack-Akeley Invitational, 4 p.m.

May 3 – at Section 8AA True Team meet at Fergus Falls, 3 p.m. May 5 – at Detroit Lakes Invitational, 4 p.m. May 17 – Mid-State Conference meet at Park Rapids, 3 p.m. May 26 – Subsection meet at Walker, 4 p.m.June 3 – Section 8A meet at Ada-Borup, 4 p.m.

The new logo, designed with help from Jostens, will unite the school district's branding imagery for the first time.

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