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Chris Murphy, Published February 19 2014

Seljevold hopes for state improvement after injury-plagued 2013 meet

Moorhead - At last year’s Minnesota Class 2A state gymnastics meet, Moorhead’s Maren Seljevold sprained her ankle on her first event of the all-around. It was her first trip to state.

Hard to describe that feeling, knowing there were three more events to go for the all-around.

“It sucked,” said Seljevold, a senior.

Perhaps it wasn’t that hard to describe. But it’s hard to follow a sprained ankle with a fourth-place finish on the beam, as Seljevold did.

“It hurt, but I was able to finish strong on beam after spraining my ankle on my second vault,” Seljevold said.

Seljevold is headed back to the state meet Saturday at the University of Minnesota for her final gymnastics meet. She’ll be competing in the all-around, the floor exercise, on the beam and on the vault.

She won’t miss the pain in her knees, but she’ll miss the sport she’s been doing for the last 14 years.

“For it to be done is bittersweet, but definitely excited to go into state and finish it that way,” Seljevold said. “I’ve went through it last year and got all the nerves of it being my first time out of the way. Now, I’m just ready to go in and try my hardest and hopefully do a little bit better than last year.”

Seljevold’s gymnastics career is coming to an end, but the Minnesota state swimming and diving meet participant plans to dive in college.

“She’s got as good of a shot as anybody,” Moorhead gymnastics coach Toni Kleber said. “She’s looking forward to ending her season on a good meet. How could you be disappointed when you get to state?”

No one knows the answer to that question more than the Detroit Lakes gymnastics team. After 11 straight years of watching Perham celebrate Class 1A, Section 8 championships, the Lakers overcame the Yellowjackets to punch their first trip to state since 2002.

“It’s kind of nice being on the other side of that victory,” Detroit Lakes coach Steve Zamzo said.

Detroit Lakes used a 148.425 score to top Perham’s 146.8 in the section meet. Heading into the last event, Zamzo wasn’t sure where the scores were at, but the crowd gave it away. More than a decade of the same result will make even slight differences stand out.

“We broke down, said our Laker cheer before the last event and I think it was at that time, kind of looking at the crowd and glancing at the Perham side, that I knew,” Zamzo said. “They were quiet. They weren’t their usual selves. And on our side of the crowd there was a buzz and I thought, ‘Hey, I think we got this.’”

The Lakers got it, along with a No. 3 ranking in Class 1A heading into Friday’s team state meet at the University of Minnesota.

It will only be the second time in team history Perham will not be going to state, where the Yellowjackets won eight straight Class 1A state titles from 2004-11.

“It’s been a long time, and we’re excited for all of those Laker gymnasts that didn’t get this opportunity,” Zamzo said. “The kids worked hard. Anytime you reach a goal it’s a fantastic feeling.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548