Detroit Lakes gymnastics team members celebrate after winning the Class 1A team title Friday at Maturi Pavilion at the University of Minnesota. Photos: Jim Paulsen, Star Tribune
After their turn on the balance beam — the last event of the day for the Detroit Lakes gymnasts — was over, the weight of the moment became real.
The Lakers had just put the final touches on their fifth consecutive Class 1A team championship at the gymnastics state meet, and did it in record-setting fashion. They posted the best score for a Class 1A team in meet history, a mark of 152.2, bettering their previous record of 151.675 set in 2017.
They also tied meet-record team scores in the vault and balance beam, meaning the Lakers now own outright or are tied for the state meet record in every team category in the Class 1A record book.
And when the balance beam was over and the matter of another state championship was just a formality, the tears could no longer be held back.
Senior Justine Lawrence of Detroit Lakes competed in the team competition Friday.
“All of us seniors, we for sure lost it after the beam,” said senior Peyton Jernberg, speaking to the emotions of the moment. “The tears are really going to come out when we get back to the gym and we all go our separate ways.”
Expectations are so high with Detroit Lakes each year that finding new goals can be difficult. Which is why both Jernberg and fellow senior Cora Okeson, the Lakers’ top all-arounder, said that owning the Class 1A record book had been a target since the beginning of the season.
“We didn’t talk about it before the meet, but that’s something we talked about all season,” Okeson said. “We thought it it would be so cool to do that and leave our mark.”
Junior Jackson Hegg acknowledged cheers after completing her performance Friday.
Even after five championships, Detroit Lakes coach Steve Zamzo, the architect of the Lakers’ dynasty, acknowledged being endlessly impressed with the accomplishments of his team.
“It’s exciting, it’s nerve-wracking for me,” Zamso said. “I’m totally amazed at the things they can do, the skills they have and the passion they have for this sport. I’m forever grateful that they do what they do so I can come down and watch.”