MINNEAPOLIS — It was a very nice introduction to the Class 1A state meet for the Detroit Lakes gymnastics team, which finished with bronze after putting up a score of 148.05 Friday at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion.
Nerves and anxiety of partaking in the program’s first state team meet in 11 years dissipated early, as the Lakers looked calm and collect to score one of their highest scores of the season.
Melrose took its second state title in three years with a mark of 149.575, while 2013 state champion New Prague was second at 149.05 – meaning the Lakers are well within striking distance of the top two teams in state.
“Coming in, our goal was to place top three,” said freshman Molly Lyngaas, who is one of two all-around gymnasts for the Lakers. “It just turned out to be a regular meet and we weren’t really nervous at all.
“We were hoping for a little higher score, but being at state for first time in 11 years, that’s a good score. It means a lot to us that we were so close (to Melrose) and that will makes us want to work that much harder.”
Ironically, what was the team’s weakness became a strength at the state meet.
The Lakers scored a 37.2 on beam, the event which almost sunk them at the Section 8-1A meet.
Instead, DL posted five 9.0’s or better, led by sophomore Jordyn Peterson’s 9.4. She was followed by seventh grader Cora Okeson’s 9.3, Lyngaas’ 9.275, eighth grader Alexis Ostlie’s 9.225 and eighth grader Emma Disse’s 9.15.
“When it came to beam, the girls were nervous, but they handled it very well,” said DL head coach Steve Zamzo. “The beam saved us.”
The Lakers started the meet out on their strongest event, vault, and scored a 37.575.
Seventh grader Lexi Yliniemi came through with a 9.425, while Lyngaas inked a 9.375.
Each of freshman Leah Chavez and junior Allison Berg notch a 9.375, while Disse finished with an 8.95.
The only hiccup of the meet came on bars, where the Lakers went for a 36.3 – highlighted by Lyngaas’ 9.6 - but they recovered well on floor with a 37.375, with Disse leading the way with a 9.45.
All the Lakers scored at least a 9.0 or better on floor, as well.
Berg, who has competed at state as an individual, was more than happy with the bronze finish, with all points gained valuable, since Austin was just .15 off the Lakers in fourth with a 148.3.
“Our nerves were getting to state, once we got here, we were pretty relaxed,” Berg said. “I thought it went very well, we were happy to get top three.
“I believe we are going to do very well in the future, because this year went fantastic. We can do amazing things and have a chance to be great for many years.”
With no state DL gymnasts slated to graduate this spring, the Lakers do have a chance to accomplish even better things next season.
“I hope they start to believe they are good gymnasts, because they can come back and be very competitive in state in the future,” Zamzo said.
The Class 1A state individual meet will be Saturday at the U of M Sports Pavilion.
DL will have Chavez, Lyngaas and Berg on vault, while each of Lyngaas and Disse will be all-around competitors.
Class 1A state team meet at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion, Friday, Feb. 21.
Team results: Melrose 149.575, New Prague 149.050, Detroit Lakes 148.45, Austin 148.3, North Branch 146.3, Big Lake 139.0, Breck 136.825, Martin County 136.65.
DL event results – Vault: Lexi Yliniemi 9.425, Molly Lyngaas 9.4, Leah Chavez 9.375, Allison Berg 9.375, Emma Disse, 8.95…Bars: Lyngaas 9.6, Thia Olds 9.3, Disse 9.025, Chavez 8.375, Berg 8.2…Beam: Jordyn Peterson 9.4, Cora Okeson 9.3, Lyngaas 9.275, Alexis Ostlie 9.225, Disse 9.15…Floor: Disse 9.45, Peterson 9.35, Lyngaas 9.3, Berg 9.275, Johanna Jernberg 9.025.