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State gold and silver highlight gymnastics and skiing seasons

Jess Stelter was the 2012 Class 1A state vault champion. Photo by - Brian Basham1 / 2
Jake Richards finished as the Class 1A state runner-up in Nordic skiing for the 2012 season. Photo by - Brian Basham2 / 2

It truly was a historical 2011-12 season for the Detroit Lakes sports programs, as state championships and memorable state performances were had.

For 2012 senior gymnast Jess Stelter, Minnesota gold came just at the right time.

Saving her best for last was the way to go for Stelter during the 2012 Class 1A state gymnastics meet

Coming off a solid -- yet disappointing -- Section 8-1A meet, Stelter joined former teammate Amy Crawford as a Laker state champion after winning the Class 1A state vault championship Saturday inside the University of Minnesota's Sports Pavilion, while finishing as the all-around runner-up.

After finishing no better than third in any of her events at the section meet, Stelter had quite the recovery at state, where she took the vault title, silver in all-around and third overall on bars.

"In the very last moment of her career, Jess hit her biggest vault," said DL head coach Steve Zamzo. "It really puts an exclamation point on a great career."

For 2012 senior Nordic skier Jake Richards, all was perfect to end the best Laker skiing career in history.

It was an appropriate ending to a stellar high school skiing career, as Richards elevated himself to being recognized as one of the best Nordic skiers in the state.

The last month of his career produced more than enough evidence to support that claim, as Richards earned a spot on the National Junior Olympic team, then backed that up with a State Nordic Skiing runner-up finish.

"This is the best possible ending I could have had," Richards said of his second-place state finish. "This is everything I wanted to do, I am extremely happy with how it turned out."

Winning the state meet would have been a very tough task, as Lakeville North senior Ben Saxton repeated as state champion, while Richards secured second by racing 26.2 seconds behind him.

Richards was the talk of the meet, after he improved 35 spots from his previous year's finish of 37th.

Dan Josephson, who coached Richards since his sixth grade year, appreciates what the DL senior has done for the program.

"It was a wonderful experience and through the years, he really has worked so hard," Josephson said.

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