Lakeville North team members celebrate their first place finish. Photo: DAVID JOLES * david.joles@startribune,com
What appeared to be a sturdy advantage for Stillwater heading into the eighth and final rotation at the Class 2A gymnastics state meet Friday proved to be far more fragile than it appeared.
The defending champions saw a lead of more than a point and a half disappear in the flurry of slips and missteps on the balance beam, opening a door for Lakeville North to slip through and escape with the team championship.
The Panthers turned in a whopper of a meet-ending vault score — 38.325, the best single event score of the meet — while Stillwater stumbled. Lakeville North finished with a meet-winning 149.35. Stillwater finished second with 148.625.
It is Lakeville North’s second team championship in the past three years.
“We knew we had to pick it up on vault and we did that, but I didn’t know if we had done it all the way,” junior Rachel Steiner said. “When we were done, we went over to our parents and said, ‘Don’t tell us! We don’t want to know.’ When our names were called, it was so exciting. It feels so good.”