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Laker trio qualify for state gymnastics meet

A team can only push its limits so far before reaching its best total effort.

The Detroit Lakes gymnastics team did reach its highest potential in the Section 8-1A meet Friday in Fergus Falls, but once again, it was a bit short.

The Lakers scored a season-best 145.35, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Perham Yellowjackets, who will be vying for their fifth-consecutive state title after winning the section with a 148.425 team score.

The Class 1A individual meet will be Saturday, Feb. 23, inside Roy Wilkins Auditorium in the RiverCentre in St. Paul, beginning at 11 a.m.

"I just want to cry, I am so happy for the team," said sophomore Kristi Hoppert. "At the beginning of the season, we thought we could reach a 145, then that thought went away later in the season.

"But after scoring a 144 in the Mid-State meet, we had our confidence back. We did everything we could."

Not all came up short for the Lakers, with three DL gymnasts qualifying for state individually.

Two of them will be involved in the all-around category, as freshman Bre Halbur and junior Courtney Einerson earned top four honors with their combined event scores.

Hoppert will be making her first appearance at state after she claimed a third place finish on bars with a 9.25 -- which incidentally was her personal best.

For Halbur, state is becoming old hat already as a freshman. This will be her third trip to the Class 1A state meet, but her first as an all-around gymnast. She finished third overall in the section all-around with a 37.275.

Her expertise is vault, the event in which she has made state twice already, and last year she finished third overall with a 9.625.

"I knew at the end of last year I wanted to make state all-around," Halbur said. "It's nice I've been at state before, but this will be an entire different feel being in all the events."

Halbur finished in the top four in all events but one -- the bars, where she took fifth with a 9.025.

She was a bronze winner on beam with a 9.25 and second in vault with a 9.5. She took fourth on floor with a 9.5.

"I'm not very good on bars, so I just kept working on the little things in that event to get better," Halbur said.

Einerson will be joining Halbur in the all-around.

The junior gymnast literally jumped over the hump this year, qualifying for state for the first time as an all-around gymnast.

Einerson finished fourth in all-around Friday, with a 36.275.

"It was definitely my goal to make it to state in all-around," Einerson said. "But honestly, I'm very shocked to have made it. My beam is my strongest event, but I also hit the vault and floor. It feels good, but I'm shocked."

Einerson had a fifth-place floor routine with a 9.325, while taking sixth in both beam and bars with an 8.55 and 8.95, respectively.

She started the meet with a third-place vault of 9.45.

Going down to state with Halbur will be an advantage for a first-timer like Einerson, especially with both in all-around.

"It's going to help a lot with her experience at state," Einerson said. "She'll be a big help to me."

Hoppert's personal best bar score of 9.25 was momentum off the 9.0 she had in the Mid-State meet a week ago.

But the sophomore gymnast had some adversity this season after hurting her knee at midseason, forcing her to miss some time.

"I was doing pretty well before I hurt my knee, then I came back for the Mid-State meet and scored a 9.0, so that gave me some confidence," Hoppert said. "I didn't feel too nervous (at sections) because I can do bars in my sleep, so I was pretty calm."

The Lakers as a team once again were bested by the best -- which of course has been Perham, for the past five years.

DL's 145.35 would have been good enough to win just about any other section, but this one.

But it's nothing to dwell on, Halbur said.

"We were just wanting to come out and do our best and we did that," she added. "We really came together as a team this season."

Einerson added it was good to go out doing their best, as well.

"It's very good to know we went out this year with our highest score at the section meet," Einerson said. "We really just wanted to go out and have fun."

Perham swept all the first-place finishes, including Kelsi Vomacka in all-around (38.35), floor (9.775) and beam (9.55). Miranda Schmitz was the gold winner on bars with a 9.7.

Frazee finished with a team score of 109.5, as Rebecca Buhr finished ninth overall in all-around with a 32.425.

Laker results

Section 8-1A meet in Fergus Falls, Friday, Feb. 15.

Team results (*state qualifier) -- *Perham 148.425, Detroit Lakes 145.35, Fergus Falls 125.65, Park Rapids 120.875, Frazee 109.5.

DL event results (*state qualifiers) -- All-around: *3. Bre Halbur 37.275; 4. Courtney Einerson 36.275; 6. Natalie Hoffert 35.225...Floor: *4. Halbur 9.5; 5. Einerson 9.325; 6. Stelter 9.3; 7. Natalie Hoffert 9.225; 9. Shayna Dugger 9.1...Beam: *3. Halbur 9.25; 5. Dugger 8.725; 6. Einerson 8.55; 7. Hoffert 8.4; 16. Amy Crawford 7.45...Bars: *3. Kristi Hoppert 9.25; 5. Halbur 9.025; 6. Einerson 8.95; 8. Hoffert 8.45; 9. Dugger 8.3...Vault: *2. Halbur 9.5; *3. Einerson 9.45; 7. Crawford 9.3; 8. Hoffert 9.15; 9. Stelter 9.1.

Frazee results -- All-around: 9. Rebecca Buhr 32.425; 16. Jessica Irish 26.625; 17. Tiffany Haugen 24.05; 19. Emma Buhr 23.55; 20. Alane Sauer 13.45...Floor: 15. R. Buhr 8.15; 17. Irish 7.05; 21. Haugen 6.1; 23. Sauer 5.65; 24. E. Buhr 5.05...Beam: 12. R. Buhr 8.05; 12. Sauer 7.8; 17. E. Buhr 7.3; 22. Irish 5.95; 23. Haugen 5.55...Bars: 15. R. Buhr 7.575; 20. Irish 5.65; 21. Haugen 4.55; 23. E. Buhr 3.8; 24. Eriko Hongo 3.75...Vault: 12. R. Buhr 8.65; 21. Irish 7.975; 22. Haugen 7.85; 24. E. Buhr 7.4; 25. Hongo 7.25.