After their turn on the balance beam — the last event of the day for the Detroit Lakes gymnasts — was over Friday, the weight of the moment became real.
The Lakers had just put the final touches on their fifth consecutive Class 1A team championship at the gymnastics state meet, and in record-setting fashion. Their mark of 152.2, the best score for a Class 1A team in meet history, beat their previous record of 151.675 set in 2017.
They also tied meet-record team scores in the vault and balance beam, meaning the Lakers now own outright or are tied for the state meet record in every team category in the Class 1A record book.
And when the balance beam was over and the matter of another state championship was just a formality, the tears could no longer be held back.
"All of us seniors, we for sure lost it after the beam," said senior Peyton Jernberg, speaking to the emotions of the moment. "The tears are really going to come out when we get back to the gym and we all go our separate ways."
Expectations are so high with Detroit Lakes each year that finding new goals can be difficult. That is why Jernberg and fellow senior Cora Okeson, the Lakers' top all-around performer, said that owning the Class 1A record book had been a target since the beginning of the season.
"We didn't talk about it before the meet, but that's something we talked about all season," Okeson said. "We thought it it would be so cool to do that and leave our mark."
Even after five championships, Detroit Lakes coach Steve Zamzo, the architect of the Lakers' dynasty, acknowledged being endlessly impressed with the accomplishments of his team.
"It's exciting. It's nerve-racking for me," Zamso said. "I'm totally amazed at the things they can do, the skills they have and the passion they have for this sport. I'm forever grateful that they do what they do so I can come down and watch."