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Laker gymnasts four-peat at state

The Detroit Lakes Gymnastics team won gold and ascended the state championship podium for the fourth consecutive year at Maturi Pavilion in Minneapolis Friday afternoon. Robert Williams / Tribune1 / 2
The four-time state champion Laker gymnasts pose with the championship trophy on the floor of Maturi Pavilion Friday afternoon at the University of Minnesota. Robert Williams / Tribune2 / 2

The Detroit Lakes gymnastics team posted the high team score in all four events using consistent performances to capture a fourth straight Minnesota Class A State team championship Friday afternoon at Maturi Pavilion on the campus of the University of Minnesota.

“Icing on the cake,” said senior Emma Disse.

The Lakers scored 150.925 points to defeat runners-up Watertown-Mayer/Mound-Westonka by a wide margin of more than three points.

“It feels so good; the feeling never goes away,” junior Cora Okeson said.


DL started on vault just missing 38 points led by Okeson’s top score of 9.525, followed by Lexi Yliniemi and Justine Lawrence with matching scores of 9.5 and Peyton Jernberg with a 9.2.

While DL did not break any of the three team records they already hold at state and did not rewrite the state vault or beam marks, the top four scoring gymnasts in each event put up solid numbers to allow a comfortable cruise back to the podium.

“We had some goofy things happen that we obviously didn’t plan for but our consistency was definitely there,” said Disse. “Sometimes that is better than having one super high score and low scores.”


DL followed up the 37.95 vault opener with a 37.525 score on bars with Okeson leading the way again scoring big with a 9.675. She had a grin on her face after getting off to a solid start on her routine.

“I can tell with my timing where I am on the bar and it felt so good and I knew it,” she said. “Just an instant smile. I’ve honestly worked so hard to get my feet up and I finally did. I knew that this was my last meet for two of my events so I wanted to end it well for the team. I came out and did it for them.”

Lawrence hit again with a 9.5; Jackson Hegg put up a 9.325 and Disse scored 8.925.


DL came into the meet heavy favorites and concentrated on their performances rather than think about where they stood knowing they were good enough for gold.

“There is other competition but we just focused on ourselves,” said Disse. “It was just all about doing what we do best and executing.”

Disse led the team on beam scoring 9.55 with Lawrence posting her third 9.5 of the meet. Jernberg (9.2) and Okeson (9.175) completed the run to a 37.525.

DL wrapped up the championship with their highest team score of the day on floor exercise scoring 38.025.


Jernberg made a nice recovery to stay on the beam after landing a backflip.

Disse, the 2016 individual floor state champion, posted 9.675, followed by Yliniemi (9.525), Okeson (9.5) and Hegg (9.325).

The winning team score was 0.75 points shy of the state record DL set last year of 151.675. Watertown-Mayer/Mound-Westonka scored 147.425 for silver. Sartell-St. Stephen and Mahtomedi tied for bronze. A tiebreaker was used counting the scores from all five gymnasts with Mahtomedi edging out the Sabres by 0.1.

Thee Class A State individual tournament gets underway at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 24. Detroit Lakes has six girls representing Section 8A, along with three from Perham and two from Fergus Falls.

Minnesota Class A State Team Gymnastics Championship

Team scores:

1 Detroit Lakes 150.925 (Vault-37.950, Bars-37.525 , Beam-37.425, Floor-38.025)

2 Watertown-M/Mound W 147.425

3 Mahtomedi 146.450

4 Sartell-St. Stephen 146.450

5 Pine Island/Z-M 144.875

6 Willmar 144.000

7 Waconia 142.425

8 Worthington 141.075

Detroit Lakes scores:

Vault: Okeson 9.525, Yliniemi 9.5, Lawrence 9.5, Jernberg 9.2, Hegg 9.375

Bars: Okeson 9.675, Lawrence 9.5, Hegg 9.325, Disse 8.925, Hultin 8.25.

Beam: Disse 9.55, Lawrence 9.5, Jernberg 9.2, Okeson 9.175. Hegg 8.9.

Floor: Disse 9.675, Yliniemi 9.525, Okeson 9.5, Hegg 9.325, Ostlie 8.925.

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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