Wrestling: Park Rapids competed on the mats during 2022-23 season

Sending 5 wrestlers to state highlighted a successful year.

Robby Sherk concluded his senior season by going 31-4 with 23 pins and winning the Section 8AA title at 106 pounds to qualify for the 2023 state Class AA tournament. Sherk shared the Panthers' MVP honor while ending his career with a 115-25 record and 90 pins.
Contributed / Beth Rasmussen

Sending five wrestlers – including the first two girls in school history – to the state tournament capped off a successful season for the Park Rapids wrestling team.

Seniors Mickey Clark, Lucas Kritzeck and Robby Sherk along with sophomores Brooke Kritzeck and Aiden Maanum concluded the season by qualifying for state. Clark won the Section 5 & 8 title at 100 pounds while Brooke Kritzeck was the runner-up at 138 to become the first Panthers in the second year of girls wrestling to qualify for state. Sherk was the champion at 106 while Lucas Kritzeck (at 160) and Maanum (at 113) claimed runner-up honors at the Section 8AA tournament to advance to the state Class AA meet.

Even though none of those wrestlers reached the podium, sending five to state was a huge accomplishment for the Panthers.

“We sent five to state. It’s been a while since we did that,” said Park Rapids head coach Matt Clark. “All five got to wrestle two matches and three were one win away from placing.”

Lucas Kritzeck shared the Panthers' MVP honor after going 29-8 and claiming runner-up honors at 160 pounds at the 2023 Section 8AA tournament to qualify for his first state meet. Kritzeck ended his career with a 117-61 record and 75 pins.
Contributed / Beth Rasmussen

In addition to having five compete at state, the Panthers compiled a 10-14 record in dual meets.


The Panthers opened the season by splitting matches with Blackduck/Cass Lake-Bena (a 54-21 win) and United North Central (a 48-28 loss) as well as Rock Ridge (a 49-27 loss) and Walker-Hackensack-Akeley/Nevis (a 42-33 win).

After placing third at the nine-team Crookston Rodd Olson Invitational with 134 points (New York Mills took first with 162 points), Park Rapids dropped duals to Alexandria (48-28) and Thief River Falls (60-16), swept duals against Roseau (60-21) and United Clay Becker (60-24), and split matches with Pierz (losing 52-25) and Pine City (winning 48-21).

The Panthers placed sixth out of 10 teams at the Ogilvie Gary Baker Invitational with 124 points as Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg took first with 190 points and tied for sixth at the Moorhead Gadberry Invitational with 84.50 points as Moorhead topped the nine-team field with 140 points.

After dropping a 39-31 dual to New York Mills, the Panthers went 1-4 at the Mid-State Conference tournament at Staples with a 35-8 win over Crosby-Ironton and losses to Aitkin (51-26), Detroit Lakes (48-36), Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus (60-14) and Staples-Motley (57-16).

Park Rapids defeated Crosby-Ironton (52-6) and Wadena-Deer Creek (40-36) before dropping duals to Minnewaska Area (51-24), Frazee (51-24) and Fosston/Bagley (48-33). The Panthers closed the regular season with a 53-24 win over Mahnomen/Waubun.

Senior Leryangies Trinidad compiled a 3-6 record with two pins while placing sixth at 107 pounds at the 2023 Section 5 & 8 tournament.
Vance Carlson/ Park Rapids Enterprise

In two invitational meets for the girls, Park Rapids placed fifth at the Bemidji Blue Ox tournament with 66 points and claimed runner-up honors at the Thief River Falls Invitational with 40 points. Bemidji won both meets by compiling 199 at the 17-team Bemidji meet and 102 points at the 12-team TRF meet.

For the Section 8AA tournament, Park Rapids received the No. 5 seed in the East and defeated No. 4 Sauk Centre/Melrose 44-33 in the first round before having the season end with a 54-42 loss to No. 1 Perham.

United North Central (No. 12) and Frazee (No. 14) were rated in the final state Class A poll while PLPRB (No. 6) and Thief River Falls (No. 11) were ranked in the final state Class AA poll.


“We won more individual matches than we lost, but it was hard to compile wins because we had to give up forfeits. We also had a couple of duals that got away from us,” said Clark. “It was different than any other season when you add in the girls. We had kids who had never wrestled before and it was a slow learning curve. But they came a long way. It was a lot of fun.”

In addition to the five state qualifiers, the Panthers received solid contributions from seniors Aleka London and Leryangies Trinidad; junior Henry Thorson; sophomores Jarrett Galzki, Castle London, D’Andre Johnson, Peter Carroll, Aracely Gutierrez and Kyla Mercil; freshmen Wrigley Clark, Andrew Johanning, Heath Safratowich, Corbin Schiller and Marley Sherva; eighth grader Cooper Darchuk; and seventh grader Charlie Johnson.

Mickey Clark, Lucas Kritzeck, Sherk, D’Andre Johnson and Wrigley Clark served as captains.

Mickey Clark went 9-4 with seven pins, capping off her senior season by winning the Section 5 & 8 title at 100 pounds to qualify for the 2023 state tournament.
Contributed / Angel Clark

Also placing at the Section 8AA tournament for the boys were Wrigley Clark (third at 120) and D’Andre Johnson (fourth at 220). Mercil (third at 185), Aleka London (fourth at 126), Sherva (fifth at 152) and Trinidad (sixth at 107) also placed for the girls. The other section competitors for the boys were Castle London (at 126), Galzki (at 132), Thorson (at 138), Schiller (at 145) and Johannng (at 152) while Gutierrez (at 145) competed for the girls.

Sherk posted a 31-4 record with 23 pins at 106 and 113 to conclude his career with a 115-25 record and 90 pins. Sherk, who ranks 15th in school history in career wins, earned all-conference honors and was named one of the Panthers’ MVPs. Sherk won the title at Moorhead and was the runner-up at Crookston and Ogilvie before going 1-2 at the state tournament.

Lucas Kritzeck went 29-8 with 15 pins at 145 through 170 to raise his career record to 117-61 with 75 pins. Kritzeck, who ranks 12th in career wins, was an all-conference honorable mention wrestler and shared the team MVP honor. Kritzeck was the runner-up at Crookston and Moorhead and placed third at Ogilvie before going 2-2 in his first state meet.

Mickey Clark was named the girls MVP after going 9-4 with seven pins to conclude her high school career with an 11-6 record and eight pins. Clark was the runner-up at Bemidji and TRF in the girls tournaments and placed fifth at 106 at the Crookston meet. Clark lost both her matches in her state debut.

Maanum took first at Ogilvie, second at Crookston and fourth at Moorhead in posting a 22-11 record with 10 pins. Maanum improved to 47-23 overall with 22 pins and was named the Hardest Worker for the boys. Maanum lost both of his matches in his state debut.


Brooke Kritzeck was named the Most Determined Wrestler for the girls after going 6-5 with six pins this season. Kritzeck was the runner-up at Bemidji and took third at TRF while going 0-2 in her state debut.

Senior Aleka London posted a 3-7 record with three pins for the Panthers during the 2022-23 season. London placed fourth at 126 pounds at the Section 5 & 8 tournament.
Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise

Aleka London was named the Hardest Worker for the girls after posting a 3-7 record with three pins. London placed fourth at TRF.

Trinidad had a 3-6 record with two pins, winning the title at TRF.

D’Andre Johnson was an all-conference honorable mention wrestler who finished the season with a 26-9 record and 12 pins at 220 and 285. Johnson took third at Crookston and Ogilvie and fifth at Moorhead while raising his career record to 54-40 with 19 pins. Johnson received the Team Spirit award.

Wrigley Clark posted a 26-6 record with 18 pins at 120 through 132 for a 68-26 career mark and 41 pins. Clark claimed runner-up honors at Moorhead and finished third at Crookston and Ogilvie. Clark was named the Most Determined for the boys.

Thorson wrestled at 138 through 145 and tallied a 20-12 record with 14 pins for a 56-66 career record and 27 pins. Thorson finished third at Ogilvie and fourth at Crookston.

Galzki finished with a 10-14 record with six pins at 132 and 138 to raise his career mark to 22-24 with eight pins. Galzki was the runner-up at Crookston and placed fourth at Moorhead.

Castle London went 7-20 with two pins at 120 through 132, placing fifth at Crookston and sixth at Ogilvie.


Schiller placed fifth at Crookston and ended the season with a 7-12 record with three pins at 132 and 138.

Johanning wrestled at 138 through 160 and had a 6-17 record with four pins. Johanning finished sixth at Crookston and Ogilvie, improving to 18-45 overall in his career with 11 pins.

Darchuk placed sixth at Ogilvie while posting a 5-11 season record with four pins at 170 and 182.

Safratowich was the runner-up at Crookston and went 3-7 with three pins at 106 and 113.

Charlie Johnson had a 3-0 record at 220 and 285 and was named the Panthers’ Most Improved.

Carroll had a 2-9 record at 138 through 152, finishing fourth at Crookston.

Gutierrez placed third at TRF and fourth at Bemidji while posting a 2-6 record. Gutierrez received the Team Spirit award.

Mercil, who went 0-1 in her only appearance in a dual meet, went 1-2 with one pin in the girls tournaments. Mercil placed second at TRF and was named Most Improved for the girls.


Sherva placed fourth at Bemidji and ended the season with a 3-5 record and two pins.

Having five wrestlers graduate will leave key spots to fill on both the boys and girls side. However, Clark is looking for the boys to fill all the weights and keep improving the numbers in the girls program.

“We had seven girls compete at sections and six placed. Hopefully that will pave the way for other girls to step in. The ultimate goal for the girls is to double our numbers next season and get their own coaching staff and schedule. But that is a few years down the road,” said Clark. “Robby and Lucas were a pretty consistent 6 points for us. That’s going to hurt. We’ve got to have kids make leaps and get more consistent next year. We can’t give up pins and we’ll have to get pins when we have the opportunity. We have a lot of bright spots. We just have to work on filling out a complete team.”


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