MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Detroit Lakes High School dominated AA schools during the year.

They might be the Land of Adam Thielen these days, but their high school gymnastics team is the darling of the state — the best in either class.

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“Adam’s a pretty big deal in town,” said Coach Steve Zamzo. “We’re not football or basketball, but we hold our own. We have a lot of fans, so we’re excited to be able to showcase what we can do.”

How they do it is the big question. How does a little northwestern lake town of 9,000 dominate the rest of the state?

Well for one, they start ’em young with an excellent youth club program.

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(credit: CBS)

“Our club really picks kids up, and gives them a lot of skills. They work hard,” Zamzo said.

It’s also a team that challenges themselves all year, coming down to the Twin Cities metro area to face the top competition.

The Lakers went to both the MGGOA Invite and Lakeville Invite in January, and took first out of 16 teams both times — beating the same Lakeville North team that was the defending AA state champions, among others.

“They come down to the cities and they see other athletes doing things, and they push themselves to be the ones that are doing those big skills,” Zamzo said. “It’s a lot of fun, we see a lot of talent, which sparks ideas for the girls and what they want to try and accomplish.”

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And what they’ve accomplished — the small school beating up on the big girls — is a thing to behold.