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Finally on top: Perham's Vomacka wins elusive individual championship at Minnesota state gymnastics

Perham's Kelsi Vomacka performs on the balance beam Saturday at the Minnesota Class 1A state gymnastics championships. Photos by Bob Williams.1 / 3
Kesli Vomacka shares an emotional embrace with teammate Mikaela Eickschen after finishing her final routine on uneven parallel bars sealing her individual championship.2 / 3
Kesli Vomacka nearly won the state title on vault, but was bested by teammate Carly Petersen on her final vault attempt.3 / 3

The fifth time was the charm for Kelsi Vomacka. She brought home her first Minnesota Class 1A state all-around individual gymnastics championship title after finishing runner-up the past four years.

"I've been dreaming about this since eighth grade," Vomacka said.

Vomacka began the day on the balance beam, scoring a 9.650, good for second place to Detroit Lakes' Amy Crawford.

"I always like starting on beam," Vomacka said.

Crawford is the Class A state balance beam champion with a winning score of 9.725.

Crawford scored a 9.625 on uneven parallel bars to take that state title as well, joining Vomacka's state title on floor exercise, 9.750, and Perham teammate Carly Petersen's 9.825 state championship on vault to make a sweep of the four apparatus by Section 8 gymnasts.

"We went out with a bang," Petersen said. "We won as a team and I won the vault."

Petersen's goal from the beginning of the year was to repeat as state champion on the vault and it did not come with ease.

On her first attempt, her landing went awry, sending her stumbling onto the mat. After a short breather, she sprinted toward the vault and stuck her landing, finishing a mere .025 ahead of Vomacka's 9.8.

Vomacka surprised herself on the vault, nearly taking the title from her teammate.

"My vault has never been my best," she said. "I just said to myself I have to hit this vault."

Vomacka and Petersen finished three-tenths of a point ahead of third place Autumn Robinson of Becker.

Crawford was second in the all-around to Vomacka, seven-tenths of a point behind at 38.075, easily the closest any gymnast has finished to Vomacka this season.

Vomacka was the all-around champion in every meet she participated in this year.

Hailey Brinkman, of Melrose Area, finished third in all-around, 37.075. Petersen took fourth place, 36.750, followed by Becker's Maria Zimmerman and La Crescent's Rochelle Thesing to round out the championship podium.

Vomacka set a new state all-around scoring record with her tally of 38.725.

Winners and area placers

All-around: 1, Vomacka, Perham, 38.725. 2, Crawford, Detroit Lakes, 38.075. 4, Petersen, Perham, 36.750. 7, Stelter, Detroit Lakes, 36.325.

Vault: 1, Petersen, Perham, 9.150/9.825. 2, Vomacka, Perham, 9.650/9.800. 8, Crawford, Detroit Lakes, 9.450/9.450.

Bars: 1, Crawford, Detroit Lakes, 9.625. 2, Vomacka, Perham, 9.525. 3, Petersen, Perham, 9.225.

Beam: 1, Crawford, Detroit Lakes, 9.725. 2, Vomacka, Perham, 9.650. 15, Stelter, Detroit Lakes, 8.775. 18, Eickschen, Perham, 8.625.

Floor: 1, Vomacka, Perham, 9.750. 7, Eickschen, Perham, 9.375. 14, Montella, Perham, 9.200.

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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