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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Conference games late in the season are never easy regardless of the opponent and the Perham girls team found out the hard way against Barnesville and Hawley. The two losses comprise the first two-game losing streak for the Jackets this season. Their record dropped to 16-4. Barnesville was victorious at home, 70-65, in overtime. It was a tale of two halves versus Hawley Monday night.
Kelsi Vomacka continued to prove invincible setting two school records leading the Yellowjackets to their ninth straight Mid-State Conference title. The meet was the final home appearance of Vomacka and Mikaela Eickschen and Carly Petersen, the two other seniors on the squad. Eickschen continues to compete with an injured hip, which was wrapped during her performance. "Mikaela, we need her back to continue on into the state meet," Head Coach Charlie Fleck said in an interview on Lakes 99.5's Coaches Show. Vomacka broke school records setting a new all-around score near perfection of 38.925
With a shortage of seniors, this year's boys swimming and diving team has been a youth movement, of sorts. "I'm really pleased with how our swimmers have dropped time," Head Coach Sheri Ressler said.
Winning state championships in gymnastics seven consecutive years seems improbable but it is a stark reality for three seniors chasing the eighth. Kelsi Vomacka, Mikaela Eickschen and Carly Petersen spearhead a young team and lead by example. This year, they are in charge. "We have a lot more responsibility and control over the team. We have to be leaders 100 percent of the time," Vomacka said. Vomacka has been part of three state championships.
A pair of losses to Sebeka, 73-43, and Verndale, 51-42, kept the New York Mills Eagles girls basketball team on a seven-game skid. Sebeka entered the game with a record of 14-3 and presented multiple matchup problems for the Eagles, one being a former teammate. Former Eagle Alicia Boe led all scorers with 18 points.
The Perham girls basketball team went undefeated in three contests last week defeating Pelican Rapids and Detroit Lakes on the road, 49-40 and 47-41 respectively, while walloping Breckenridge at home, 59-34. "The girls put together an excellent first half," Head Coach John Gullingsrud said.
Sophomore Shane Novak, of New York Mills, 112 pounds, was named the Outstanding Wrestler of the Park Region Conference tournament and also won the pinning award with three pins in four minutes 53 seconds.
Hockey awareness continues to progress both on the ice and in the community, according to Perham Area Youth Hockey Association (PAYHA) organizers and the small patch of ice that makes up Perham's only rink is getting its share of use this winter. "The ice is never not busy," PAYHA President Trent Swanson said. "After practice today, there'll probably be 10 people out there skating." Three of those skaters are Ryan Nelson, Joe Gjerde and Alan Lepp, three coaches who have assisted Swanson this season with PAYHA's Mites and Learn to Skate programs.
Little rest was allotted the Yellowjacket boys basketball team as they hit the road for three games in five days coming up with victories in each contest. Perham upped their overall record to 16-1 after defeating Staples-Motley, 81-36, Breckenridge, 53-45 and Detroit Lakes, 60-50, all on the road. "They've been through a lot, physically and mentally," Head Coach Dave Cresap said.
Heavyweight and #2 ranked Jesse Hein continued to rack up the forfeits donating six points in a 42-25 victory over section rival Detroit Lakes. "The section is up in the air," Head Coach Robb Moser said. "It's anyone's title to win." The Lakers got off to a hot start.