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DL gymnastics: Lakers young, but talented

Thia Olds returns for the Lakers after qualifying for state in 2012 as just a seventh grader. (Brian Basham/Record)

There will be a host of young athletes featured on the Detroit Lakes gymnastics team, but there will be plenty of experience, depth and talent to go along with them.

Once again, the Lakers will boast a highly-skilled team heading into the 2012-13 season, as DL reloads after losing a pair of state champions the last two years in Jess Stelter and Amy Crawford.

There maybe will not be those highly-recognizable names due to years of being starters, but make no doubt about it, this group of Lakers is ready to continue that rich tradition of DL gymnastics.

"Our depth is very nice and we haven't had that in quite some time," said DL head coach Steve Zamzo.

"Our goal this year will be to have cleaner routines."

The team has over 30 gymnasts out, including several seventh and eighth graders who are coming off strong club seasons with the Minnesota Flyers Gymnastics team.

That just makes the Lakers that much stronger, to go along with the experienced varsity gymnasts such as Allison Berg, Katie Crawford, Hannah Okeson, Abby Einerson, Claire Nelmark, Leah Chavez and last year's state qualifier, eighth grader Thia Olds.

Some high-level club gymnasts on the squad this year include Emma Disse, Molly Lyngaas, Alexis Ostlie and Johanna Jernberg.

The depth is deep and the practices will be more highly competitive than some meets.

"We have up to 15 girls who can easily be on varsity and junior varsity," Zamzo said.

The Lakers also will be strong on beam and bars, two events most other teams struggle in.

"Beam will be big, just having the girls confident and having the skill level high is a lift (in score)," said assistant coach Leesa Eilertson. "We are expecting low to mid 30's on the beam."

The DL gymnasts also will be throwing some big skills on bars, thus adding to their separation from the majority of their opposition.

But just like every season for the last decade, the Lakers will be chasing Perham, which didn't win the state meet for the first time in eight years.

The Lakers nearly missed taking the Section 8-1A title last year, but winning that will be the goal once again for this younger DL squad.

"These girls are aware of what Perham is and they are the ones to beat again," Zamzo said.

"But we just have to wait and see what happens, because a lot can change between now to February."

The lineup will be fluid early on most likely, Zamzo added, with the amount of depth the team has.

But one thing he wants to see is improvement each week.

"I would like to see our girls compete with themselves for spots and that will help them to always get better," the DL coach included.

The Lakers open the season at Perham, Saturday, Dec. 1, and will have their home opener Dec. 11, versus Bemidji.

Laker schedule

Detroit Lakes 2012-13 gymnastics schedule:


1 at Perham

8 at St. Cloud Apollo

11 Bemidji

14 at Park Rapids

21 Perham


5 at Fargo North

12 at Moorhead

15 Moorhead

18 at Perham

26 at True Team Section meet (TBD)

29 Park Rapids


2 at Bemidji

16 Section 8-1A meet at TBD.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.