Even though the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis gymnastics team didn’t reach its ultimate goal of qualifying an individual for the state meet, the Panthers did reach a goal of posting their highest team score of the season during the Section 8A meet at Melrose on Saturday, March 20.
The Panthers used season highs in floor exercise and uneven parallel bars to place sixth with a 126.225. That topped their previous high team score of 124.80 in the regular-season finale and was better than their 124.45 which was good for sixth place at last year’s section meet.
Perham repeated as section champs with a 143.975 to edge out Melrose’s runner-up 143.15. Detroit Lakes was third with a 141.00 while Fergus Falls (134.025) and Little Falls (127.15) followed. Rounding out the eight-team section standings were Morris Area with a 118.825 and Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville with a 103.95. Perham (No. 6 with a 143.413 average), Melrose (No. 7 with a 142.825 average), Detroit Lakes (No. 11 with a 138.90 average) and Fergus Falls (No. 22 with a 134.488 average) were all rated in the latest state Class A poll.
Melrose hosted the section meet with two sessions because of COVID-19 protocol. The Panthers joined Little Falls, Morris Area and LPGEB in the first session while Perham, Melrose, Detroit Lakes and Fergus Falls competed in the second session.
The Panthers opened on balance beam where Halle Landstrom ended up placing ninth overall with an 8.50. Morgan Koppelman’s 7.60, Shailyn Hayes’ 7.45 and Abby Kirlin’s 7.00 led to a 30.55 team score. Erica Johnson added a 6.90. Melrose’s Hannah Hoppe took first with a 9.25 while Detroit Lakes had the top team score of 34.875.
In floor exercise, the Panthers received their highest mark of the season with a 33.675 as Landstrom led the way with a 9.025. Koppelman’s 8.50, Hayes’ 8.40 and Emma Berghuis’ 7.75 rounded out the team score with Johnson adding a 7.45. Perham’s Jade Olsen led the field with a 9.45 as Melrose had the top team score of 37.35.
Emma Berghuis’ 8.40, Landstrom’s 8.35, Kirlin’s 8.20 and Koppelman’s 8.10 gave the Panthers a 33.05 in vault. Natalie Berghuis received a 7.80. Avery McAllister’s 9.50 led Perham to a 36.975 in that event.
The Panthers finished on uneven parallel bars where Koppelman’s 7.675, Landstrom’s 7.575, Ally Holmer’s 7.05 and Johnson’s 6.65 resulted in a season best of 28.95. Emma Berghuis added a 6.10. Perham tallied a 35.325 as Olson’s 9.50 led the way.
Olsen captured the all-around title with a 36.85. Detroit Lakes’ Jerzie Horner was second with a 36.50 while Melrose’s Courtney Althaus (36.375) and Detroit Lakes’ Gabby Whitworth (36.275) followed. Landstrom finished 10th with a 33.45 and Koppelman was 15th with a 31.875.
Perham and the top four finishers in each event will compete at the state Class A meet, which will be held on Friday (March 26) at Champlin Park High School.