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Gymnasts win ninth section title

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Making nine straight trips to the state championship gymnastics meet demands goals that become loftier with time. One of those goals for the team this year has been to score 150 points.

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Perham was just a bit shy of that goal as they won the Section 8-1A title with a 148.688 score Saturday inside Ralph Anderson Gym, in Detroit Lakes.

Perhaps, they are saving it for the state title.

The Class A individual state meet will be held inside the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion Saturday, Feb. 26, while the team state meet is Friday, Feb. 25.

There is no easy way to get to such heights. In fact, it simply takes a lot of effort.

"I worked my butt off in the off-season," Kelsi Vomacka said.

Now that the team is headed to the penultimate challenge, an eighth straight state championship and finally the winner's podium, all that work is one meet away from paying off.

"This is the time of year when it's crunch time and you need to come out and do what you've been working on all year," Head Coach Charlie Fleck said.

The road to even the section championship meet was not without obstacles.

"We've been really pushing it the last couple weeks," Fleck said. "Hopefully, we can come out and have one of our best efforts."

Mikaela Eickschen, a senior and an important scoring element remains hampered by a strain and a separate sprain in her hip. A limp was noticeable as she moved between events Saturday.

Eickschen is questionable to make a go at all four apparatus at the state meet. She has been saved for only two events the past fortnight at the Mid-State Conference meet and sections.

Saturday, she made the most of her time on the floor exercise finishing second with a score of 9.675. She participated on the balance beam, as well, taking third place with a score of 9.6, scoring vital points for the Yellowjackets.

Detroit Lakes' Amy Crawford and Perham's Carly Petersen pushed Vomacka for the all-around individual title, but Vomacka, like her team, did what she and they have done all year, come home in first place.

Vomacka's score of 38.438 was just four-hundredths better than Crawford in second. Petersen had a strong performance finishing third with a score of 37.15. Satera Montella finished behind Detroit Lakes' Jessica Stelter in fourth. Montella's fifth place score was 36.6, just missing a trip to state in the all-around.

As next year's lone senior, Montella will be looked to for leadership once Vomacka, Eickschen and Petersen have graduated.

Montella did qualify for state individually on vault, finishing fourth, and on floor exercise where her 9.575 was good for third place.

Vomacka and Petersen were first and second on vault. Crawford was the lone non-Yellowjacket to qualify. Jordan Martinson, a Perham seventh grader just missed state finishing fifth.

Vomacka won the floor exercise and vault, was second on beam and third on bars to claim her all-around title.

Perham swept the top three floor finishes, Vomacka, Eickschen, Montella.

Vomacka has one last goal to cement her legacy in Perham sports history and that is the state all-around title. She will be competing for the all-around title for the fifth time. She has been the runner-up the past four seasons.

Crawford took home the title on uneven bars with a score of 9.8. Stelter won the beam with a 9.65.

Per usual, there were Yellowjackets all over the podium. Balance beam was the only event where three or more Yellowjackets did not make the top six.

As the years of work wind down to one final week, the Yellowjackets approach Minnesota high school sports immortality seeking their eighth consecutive title.

Only Rochester Lourdes and Edina have won more consecutive titles in any sport. According to the Minnesota State High School League, Rochester Lourdes had a string of 10 state titles in girls tennis from 1997-2006.

Edina has the longest streak and it is current. They have won girls tennis titles 13 straight years from 1997 to the present.

Standing in the way, according to the three Perham seniors, will be teams from Becker and Melrose.

Becker, ranked second in the state behind the Yellowjackets, advanced after winning the Section 7A meet. Melrose, ranked number three, advanced after winning Section 6A.

Becker finished second at the state meet last year with a score of 144.975. Melrose finished sixth with a score of 142.675.

The team competition will be first up this weekend beginning at 11 a.m., Friday, Feb. 25 at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion. The individual meet will be the following day at 11 a.m., as well.

Tickets, $12 for adults and $8 for students, are available at the gate one hour before each session begins. For more information see the Minnesota State High School League website. http://www.mshsl.org/.

Minnesota Section 8A Gymnastics Meet Results

Top 4 Individuals go to the State Gymnastics Meet

Team

1. Perham 148.688, Detroit Lakes 144.5, Little Falls 132.925, Fergus Falls 125.4, Long Prairie/Grey Eagle 120.2, Park Rapids/Menahga/Nevis 109.125, Frazee/Vergas 95.425.

All-Around

Vomacka -(P) 38.438, Crawford -(DL) 38.025, Petersen - (P) 37.15, Stelter - (DL) 37.125, Montella - (P) 36.6, Rachelle LeBlanc - (LF) 36.05.

Vault

Vomacka - (P) 9.65, Petersen - (P) 9.575, Crawford - (DL) 9.55, Montella - (P) 9.4, Jordan Martinson - (P) 9.3, Allison Berg - (DL) 9.05.

Bars

Crawford - (DL) 9.8, Petersen - (P) 9.5, Vomacka - (P) 9.475, Stelter - (DL) 9.075, LeBlanc - (LF) 8.825, Montella - (P) 8.75.

Beam

Stelter - (DL) 9.65, Vomacka - (P) 9.625, Eickschen - (P) 9.6, Crawford - (DL) 9.35, Jordyn Peterson - (DL) 9.2, Emma Demartelaere - (FF) 9.1.

Floor

Vomacka - (P) 9.688, Eickschen - (P) 9.675, Montella - (P) 9.575, LeBlanc - Little Falls 9.575, Stelter - (DL) 9.55, Petersen - (P) 9.475.

The Yellowjackets ran the table beginning the season with the number one state ranking and holding it until this week's final rankings heading into the state tournament.

CLASS 1A

RK (LAST) TEAM (RECORD)

1 (1) Perham Yellowjackets (148.258)

2 (2) Becker (146.192)

3 (3) Melrose (143.508)

4 (4) New Prague (142.208)

5 (5) Big Lake (141.642)

6 (7) Martin County Area (141.350)

7 (8) Detroit Lakes (140.258)

8 (6) Sartell-St. Stephen (140.208)

9 (9) Jackson County Central (139.192)

10 (10) New London-Spicer (137.583)

Class 1A Ranking Provided By: Coaches Association

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Robert Williams
Robert has been the Sports Editor for the Focus since 2010 covering multiple state and national championship teams and is a mainstay at state tournaments each season covering the successful, athletic programs of Perham and New York Mills High Schools.
(218) 346-5900 x223
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