Dakota Esget lay face down on the floor exercise mat, her head buried in her arms, listening to the names of the place-winners in the Class 1A all-around competition being read in reverse order.

She had a feeling her name might be read last, but she wasn't sure. It's common in gymnastics circles to keep the final results under wraps until officially announced.

"I was praying," said Esget, a North Branch junior. "I had been constantly praying throughout the meet, just to keep my peace."

Her name was announced as the champion, winning with an all-around score of 37.6, and Esget popped up off the mat and pranced to the top of the podium, her face showing a mix of joy and relief.

"It has always been in the back of my head, and I knew I could do it," Esget said. "But there was a lot of good girls here today, so you never know what's going to happen."

In addition to winning the all-around title, Esget repeated as the uneven bars champion with a 9.5 and was second on vault and floor exercise. But she admitted she was equally proud of her balance beam routine, for the sheer fact that it didn't sabotage her entire meet.

"This year, we finally found something consistent that I can stay on the beam with," Esget said. "It was good to just stay on and get an average score. I didn't need to place on it or anything."

When Esget showed up in the North Branch gym as a seventh-grader, her coach, Christine Johnson, thought she saw something special in her and suspected Saturday's accomplishment was a possibility.

"She's a dedicated gymnast that's in the gym every day practicing," Johnson said. "She's always had the talent. We just had to get her there."

Avery McAllister of Perham won the vault title with a score of 9.8, the highest score of the meet in a single event; Becker's Lauren Woelfel followed up Friday's team championship with a victory on the balance beam (9.45), and Worthington's Hali Bullerman, the runner-up in the all-around, took first on the floor exercise with a 9.6.