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Yellowjacket Carly Petersen launches into her vault Saturday, Feb. 27, during the Class 1A state individual meet inside the U of M's Sports Pavilion. Petersen became Perham's first vaulting state champion.

Petersen vaults into Perham history

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BY BRIAN WIERIMA

Carly Petersen's Perham teammates had a question for her when she was getting ready for Saturday's Class 1A state individual meet.

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"How much do you want this?"

After Friday's state team championship was earned, Petersen responded to their question in the form of a Class 1A vault championship Saturday -- the first ever for a Perham gymnast.

Petersen claimed Perham's first vault title after landing a 9.7125, just ahead of Detroit Lakes' Bre Halbur, who had a 9.675.

"It's amazing," Petersen said of her state title. "This is as good as it gets as a team and as an individual."

Petersen didn't have as solid state team meet as she wanted, so heading into Saturday, her teammates challenged her.

Her answer was resounding, as she won Perham's 14th individual state championship.

"For the last two years, Carly has been one of the best vaulters in the state," said Perham head coach Charlie Fleck. "It's a tremendous accomplishment for her."

Junior Kelsi Vomacka holds three of those state individual Yellowjacket championships.

Although 2010 didn't harvest a gold for Vomacka, she still had a stellar showing with two silvers and a bronze -- despite fighting some nagging injuries.

Vomacka finished as runner-up to senior teammate Jenna Schmitz in all-around 38.1 to 37.9625.

Vomacka was also inched out on beam by Detroit Lakes junior Amy Crawford 9.575 to 9.55.

Beam was the event Vomacka was the two-time state champion. She also has a floor state championship in her collection from 2008.

Vomacka rolled an ankle in Friday's team championships, but she started Saturday with an impressive 9.6 on floor.

"I was a little nervous starting on floor, because my foot was still a little stiff (from Friday)," Vomacka said. "But I love starting on floor, it's my best event."

The second event was vault, where she landed a 9.4375, then hit a 9.375 on bars for bronze.

"I'm not always so solid on bars, but it turned out to be an OK routine," Vomacka added.

She ended on beam with a score of 9.55, good for silver.

"I have so many routines on beam, I was pretty comfortable on it," the Perham junior included. "It was a nice way to end the meet."

After claiming Perham's seventh straight team championship the day before and two silvers, along with a bronze in the individual portion, the weekend by far was deemed a success.

"I never imagined it could end like this," Vomacka said. "Not even close."

"Even though Kelsi wasn't fully healthy (at state), she battled big and scored well down the stretch," Fleck said. "She has been one of the top all-around gymnasts in the state the last four years and she'll enter next year as one of them, as well."

Mikaela Eickschen also had a solid individual showing for the Yellowjackets, finishing 11th on each of beam with a 9.1875 and floor with a 9.2875.

For Section 8-1A -- which included four Detroit Lakes' gymnasts in Crawford, Jessica Stelter, Natalie Hoffert and Halbur - a total of 12 medals were earned, along with four state championships.

For the Perham Yellowjackets, the legacy continues, as all but Schmitz return to try and break the all-time longest state championship streak next year.

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