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Satera Montella was the Clemensen Invite all-around champion. Photo courtesy Bob Kinlund.

Perham gymnasts starting to harness momentum

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Any doubts about the legitimacy of the young, but still defending state champion, Perham gymnastics team, ranked #3-1A, are beginning to wane as the team continues to stockpile victories.

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The Yellowjackets finished in first place out of nine teams at the Clemensen Invitational at Princeton High School Saturday, Jan. 14, thanks to top finishes in three of the four events and the all-around competition.

Perham combined score of 141.800 was a over three points ahead of second place St. Cloud Apollo, 138.550, and the scores on bars made up most of that comfortable difference.

The Yellowjackets dominated uneven parallel bars, scoring a combined 34.750. The next closest team was Elk River with a 33.650. None of the other seven teams topped 32 points.

Eighth-grader Justine Meyer won the event with a 9.25. Freshman Alexis Peichel was third with an 8.90. Alyssa Walton, of Elk River slipped into second place with a 9.10. Senior Satera Montella, 8.35, was sixth and seventh-grader Carly Breitenfeldt, 8.25, finished ninth.

"Our young girls have performed well, Head Coach Charlie Fleck said. "If they step up, we're going to be tough."

Breitenfeldt competed only on bars, as she recovers from an injury that kept her out of the prior meet at Park Rapids. She is expected to perform Friday at Detroit Lakes, but likely in a limited capacity.

Eighth-grader Taylor Stammen is also limited due to injury.

Montella was the all-around champion--something that has become a regular occurrence in the past month of competition.

"Satera has struggled on bars," Fleck said. "But if she hits bars she can win it all."

Montella topped two St. Cloud Apollo gymnasts for the title. Her score of 36.150 was nearly three-quarters of a point higher than Betty Grell in second place, 35.400, and Kate Schneider's 35.300 third place finish.

Meyer was the next highest Yellowjacket in the all-around. She finished in ninth with a score of 34.700.

Montella won the floor exercise with a top score of 9.300. Peichel finished eighth at 8.950. Jordan Martinson was the third highest Yellowjacket at 8.750, in 10th place.

Perham put all five gymnasts in the top 20 finishes in every event but vault, where four of five Jackets finished in the top 20.

Montella led the way on vault with a 9.200, in third place. Martinson was ninth, 8.900; Jada Halbakken was 12th, 8.800; Madison Peichel finished 14th, 8.700.

St. Cloud Apollo's Grell won the balance beam with a 9.450.

Montella and Meyer finished fifth and sixth with scores of 9.300 and 9.200, respectively.

The victory gets Perham back on top at the Clemensen, an event they won in 2008 and 2009.

Last year's seasoned group finished second, despite scoring a huge 150.05, to Elk River's 152.05.

Clemensen Invitational, Princeton, Sat., Jan. 14.

Total Team Scores:

1.Perham 141.80; 2. St. Cloud Apollo 138.55; 3. Breck 138.25; 4. Elk River 137.35; 5. North Branch 132.85; 6. Monticello 130.25; 7. Princeton 126.25; 8. Rockford 116.36; 9. Minneapolis Washburn 111.20.

Top Team Event Scores:

Vault: 1. Breck 36.400; 2. Apollo-35.650; 3. Perham 35.600.

Bars: 1. Perham 34.750; 2. Elk River 33.650; 3. North Branch 32.000.

Beam: 1. Apollo 36.150; 2. Perham 36.000; 3. Breck 34.900.

Floor: 1. Elk River 35.700; 2. Breck 35.600; 3. Perham 35.450.

Perham Individual Results:

Vault:

3. Satera Montella 9.200; 9. Jordan Martinson 8.900; 12. Jada Halbakken 8.880; 13-Tie. Madison Peichel 8.700; 24-Tie Justine Meyer 8.300.

Bars:

1. J. Meyer 9.250; 3. A. Peichel 8.900; 6. Montella 8.350; 9. Breitenfeldt 8.250; 11. Martinson 8.150.

Beam:

3-Tie Montella 9.300; 5. Adrienne Meyer 9.200; 9-Tie Martinson 8.8; 11. J. Meyer 8.700; 14. A. Peichel 8.600.

Floor:

1. Montella 9.300, 8. A. Peichel 8.950; 10. Martinson 8.750; 18. J. Meyer 8.450; 20. A. Meyer 8.300.

Top 10 All-Around

1. Montella (PER) 36.150; 2. Betty Grell (SCA) 35.400; 3. Kate Schneider (SCA) 35.300; 4. Tori Goldstein (BRE) 34.950; 5. Keisha Lommel (SCA) 34.850; 6-Tie Alyssa Walton (ER) 34.700; 6-Tie Justine Meyer (PER) 34.70; 6-Tie Leah Perreault (ER) 34.700; 9-Tie Katy Trunk (NB) 34.600. 9-TIE Jordan Martinson (PER) 34.600.

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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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