Detroit Lakes wins fifth straight gymnastics title in record fashion

Detroit Lakes teammates celebrate Lexi Yliniemi's floor-exercise routine during Friday's Minnesota state gymnastics team championship in Minneapolis.   Robert Williams / Forum News Service
Detroit Lakes teammates celebrate Lexi Yliniemi's floor-exercise routine during Friday's Minnesota state gymnastics team championship in Minneapolis. Robert Williams / Forum News ServiceRobert Williams / Forum News Service

MINNEAPOLIS -- The top-ranked Detroit Lakes gymnastics team competed as much with historical teams as they did the current competition in collecting a fifth consecutive Minnesota Class A state team championship Friday at Maturi Pavilion.

Laker goals were met in hitting the state records on balance beam and vault to put a Detroit Lakes stamp on all five state records.

The team matched the state marks in both events scoring 38.450 on vault in the second rotation to tie a Melrose record from 2015. New Prague has owned the beam record of 37.9 since 2013 and now share it with Detroit Lakes. The Lakers finished on balance beam and that record score created a new Class A team record score of 152.2 points breaking last year’s Lakers’ high mark of 151.675.

“It was very exciting and it’s the way we wanted to go out in the end,” said senior Peyton Jernberg.

Jernberg is the defending individual champion on balance beam and showed a comfort she has grown into on that particular beam at state, down to the actual texture of the apparatus.

“I’ve always loved this beam,” she said. “When I get up there it’s just me and the beam and I don’t get nervous anymore.”

The Lakers started the meet with comfort on floor exercise scoring 38.100, 0.25 points away from last year’s Laker state record. Lexi Yliniemi led with a team-best score of 9.7 and a 9.625 from the defending individual floor champion Cora Okeson got DL off to a strong start.

“Once we got through floor, everything was smooth going,” Jernberg said. “It’s a good confident booster to get our strong event down. We feel good about it and we can keep going up from there.”

Three seniors led the record-tying run on vault. Okeson and Yliniemi posted matching scores of 9.675 and Jernberg posted 9.65. Eighth-grader Gabby Whitworth scored 9.45 in her state meet debut.

Senior Justine Lawrence matched Yliniemi for the top DL score of the day with a 9.7 to lead on bars followed by Okeson 9,625, Jackson Hegg 9.525 and eighth-grader Jerzie Horner 8.9.

The team competition was over no matter what the Lakers did on beam but Detroit Lakers went out in record fashion with Okeson 9.5, Hegg 9.45 and Whitworth 9.3 all backing up Jernberg’s 9.65.