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.
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Greatness lies not in trying to be somebody but in trying to help somebody and Perham Gymnastics Head Coach Charlie Fleck has been doing just that since 1973. "I credit the kids for their hard work," Fleck said. "Without the kids there wouldn't be a program." Perham's gymnastics program started from humble beginnings at the grassroots level and has burgeoned into the epitome of championship level success. At the culmination of this season, Fleck recorded his eighth consecutive Minnesota state class A gymnastics championship.
The Perham girls basketball team dished out their end of season awards at a banquet held last week. The Yellowjackets finished with an overall record of 18-6. Perham started the season with nine consecutive victories.
Anyone who has spent a significant number of years in small towns remembers the big fires. Even a familiarity with a small town, post-fire, will pique interest, as more often than not, a small-town fire takes away one of the major staples of town and leaves a big hole in the business district. I was eating up a row of seats and what would now be considered a small bucket of popcorn at the Oakes, N.D.
Perham's Phil Moenkedick recently became the first Concordia Cobber to win back-to-back wrestling national championships. For Moenkedick, wrestling is a family tradition that dates back to his youth in Perham. "My first wrestling memory outside of just rolling around with my brother and dad at home would be the Perham elementary tournament when my older brother, Kenny, was in kindergarten," Moenkedick said.
MINNEAPOLIS - A season with an undefeated start and a nightmare in the middle came to a dreamy and storyline conclusion, as the Perham boys basketball team, in their first ever trip to the state tournament, head back to Otter Tail County state AA champions. All season, Perham has adapted to their opponents, most of the time, ending in blowouts.
Today's AA state championship game features the Perham Yellowjackets (30-1) from Section 8 versus the Rochester Lourdes Eagles (24-7) of Section 1. The Eagles defeated Long Prairie-Grey Eagle 45-37 in opening round action and advanced to the title game after a four overtime marathon victory over Redwood Valley, 48-42. The Yellowjackets cruised in their opening round match-up with Virginia winning by 17 points, 57-40. The semifinal round pitted Perham against a defensive-minded squad from Waterville-Elysian-Morristown.
MINNEAPOLIS - With junior floor leader Jordan Bruhn out of the game after committing his fifth foul in the first overtime, it was up to senior Nick Tobkin to lead the Perham Yellowjackets to the AA state championship game. "We were behind, and we thought, 'we gotta keep our composure,'" Tobkin said.
The Rochester Lourdes Eagles (23-7) and Redwood Valley Cardinals (22-7) played to a stalemate at the half of the opening game of the AA semifinals. The score remained knotted for four overtime periods. Lourdes was finally victorious 48-42 in quadruple overtime. The Eagles will face the winner of Perham (29-1) and Waterville-Elysian-MINNEAPOLIS - Morristown (29-2), a game originally scheduled for 8 p.m., but delayed to a 9 p.m. tip-off. Redwood Valley is led by Mike Busack and JT Radel. Both average 22 points per game.
The Waterville-Elysian-Morristown Buccaneers (29-2), from section 2, stand in the way of the Perham Yellowjackets' (29-1) first ever trip to the AA state championship basketball game. The semifinal game will be played at Target Center, in downtown Minneapolis, Friday, March 25, at 8 p.m. The Buccaneers are making their first trip to the state tournament since 2002. This is their third appearance. Ranked #7, just behind Perham at #6, the Bucs defeated their opponents by an average of 30 points this season.
MINNEAPOLIS - Zach Gabbard made an appearance and was announced with the team at the beginning of Perham's state quarterfinal game versus Virginia at Williams Arena. Watching in his wheelchair, Gabbard was shown, in person, exactly how the Yellowjackets have been playing in his absence as Perham won big 57-40, the team's first-ever state tournament victory. Jordan Cresap and Nick Tobkin were both hot from the field in the first half. Perham took command early, led by Jordan Bruhn who scored the game's first bucket 45 seconds in.