Some teams are talented. Some teams are deep. But being deep and talented? In the case of the Detroit Lakes gymnastics team, it added up to being unbeatable.
Despite having two of their top all-arounders sidelined all season and an uncommon run of ankle injuries among their teammates, the Lakers routed the field in the Class 1A gymnastics state meet on Friday at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion They posted a winning score of 150.225, more than three points ahead of runner-up Melrose (147.025) and just 0.175 off of the state record set by Perham in 2005.
The Lakers were so dominant that not only did they win by a wide margin, they also had the highest team score in each event. They also became the first team all season to score higher than 150, regardless of class.
“I’m proud of these girls for coming back from so many injuries,” Lakers’ coach Steve Zamzo said. “If one girl went down, another kid was there to step in. We were knocked down, but we bounced right back up. They’re tough, mentally and physically.”
Thing is, Zamzo said, the Lakers still have room to improve. With no seniors on the roster and the anticipated return next year of Molly Lyngaas (broken foot) and Kennedy Hegg (broken arms) the Lakers’ best is still in front of them. Lyngaas won the gold medal in the all-around last year.
“If we don’t hit a [uneven parallel] bar, if we don’t fall on beam or touch on the floor exercise, who knows what we could have scored?” Zamzo said. “The thing is, we went out and competed. To repeat as champions, that’s exciting. And we get everybody back next year and, hopefully, Molly and Kennedy. We can get better.”
Junior Leah Chavez is one of the elder leaders of the Lakers. Winning their first state championship in 2015 was big, she said, but this one was even bigger.
“People didn’t really know about us last year,” she said. “This year, we had a fan bus come down and everyone expected us to be great. That support is amazing. Now we get to go back and get a police and fire escort into town, which is about the coolest thing ever.”