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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After nearly a month off over the holidays, the Perham gymnastics team was back on the road and back in full form. Perham's Kelsi Vomacka and Mikaela Eickschen battled each other for the top spot at Park Rapids. Vomacka took honors in all four events posting a near perfect all-around score of 38.475.
The Perham girls basketball team was not as unpleasant to Frazee as the boys team last week, but the Yellowjackets built a quick double digit lead in the early minutes of Monday's contest and kept the Hornets at bay defeating Frazee 64-41. "The girls came out and played well in the first half despite missing a few layups and shots close to the basket," Head Coach John Gullingsrud said.
After a busy week which saw two blowouts of Pelican Rapids and Breckenridge, plus a nailbiting loss to New York Mills, the Perham wrestling team had weekend duty in Bemidji, where they placed third out of eight teams. "After our performance [against New York Mills], it looks like we learned something from that very disappointing performance on Thursday," Head Coach Robb Moser said. "I thought we wrestled with much more aggression and purpose on Saturday compared to Thursday.
Despite their highest offensive output of the year, the New York Mills girls basketball team got out-gunned in overtime by Menahga, 80-73, to keep the Lady Eagles winless in conference play. "We had a good game against a quality team that turned out to be a heart-breaker for us," Head Coach J.J. Weller said. The Eagle defense was set to stop the Braves' three-point shooting while working the ball inside to the post on offense and it worked for the most part. The Eagles led for the majority of the game, but the score was back and forth.
Despite giving up 12 points forfeiting matches at 160 pounds and heavyweight, the remainder of the New York Mills wrestling squad scored enough to squeak out a one-point victory over Perham, 34-33. "We really felt that we gave up some bonus points that we didn't have to," Perham Head Coach Robb Moser said.
The New York Mills Eagles boys basketball team won its fourth game in as many tries defeating Wadena-Deer Creek 66-57 at home Thursday night. The Eagles led by eight at the break and battled in the second half to hold the lead. Midway through the second half the Wolverines went to a full court trap that reeked havoc in the NY Mills backcourt. Turnovers on multiple trips down the floor saw the Eagle lead evaporate. The Wolverines went up 47-46 with six minutes remaining. Their lead would last less than two minutes.
Ottertail Central doubled up the New York Mills wrestlers in a conference dual Tuesday evening. Taylor Thompson got a rare start at 103 pounds and was pinned at 1:36 by OTC's Dylan Schleske. Tommy Selander, ranked 8th in Class A and normally wrestling 103, moved up to 112, the typical home of Shane Novak, who was bumped to 119. Selander won handily, a 6-0 decision over Dylan Schwartz. Novak, however, met his match in Zack Johnson, who pulled out a close 8-6 decision. "We had to move everyone up from 103 to 152 to fill our weights," Head Coach Eric Niemi said.
The Perham boys basketball team held a nine-point lead with 6:45 to go and held Hawley scoreless for the next four minutes on way to a 62-45 Heart O' Lakes conference victory. In the final seven minutes of the game, the Nuggets were limited to one basket. The win gives Perham sole possession of first place in the conference standings at 4-0. Hawley drops to 3-1. The Yellowjackets are 9-0 overall. Hawley's overall record is 5-3. Zach Gabbard stayed hot leading all scorers with 17 points, including a trio of three-pointers.
After two mismatches earlier in the week, the New York Mills girls basketball team got back on track with a five-point win at home versus Ashby. The game was only the second home game for the Eagle girls and they are undefeated in the Sports Center. The Eagles trailed in both halves and battled foul trouble. "Our girls didn't give up though," Head Coach J.J. Weller said. In the second half, Ashby was able to build the lead and get to 37-30 by driving the lane attempting to capitalize on the Eagles' foul trouble.
With a record of 2-4 and losers of three games in a row, after a first round Sebeka Holiday Tournament loss to the hosts, the season was looking a bit bleaker than expected in New York Mills. But the boys basketball team has reeled off three consecutive victories to hop back over the .500 mark to 5-4.