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February 11, 2013

Lamphere junior will represent the Rams in regional gymnastics competition

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

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Lamphere junior will represent the Rams in regional gymnastics competition
Justina Peterson will represent Lamphere at a gymnastics regional competition in March.

If you are interested in meeting the gymnastics team from Madison Heights Lamphere, you don’t have to l
ook any further than Justina Peterson.

That’s because the 16-year-old junior is the Rams’ gymnastic team.

Peterson has been involved with gymnastics since she was 4, and when she entered high school, she didn’t let the fact that Lamphere didn’t have a team stop her from finding a way to compete.

With the help of her mother, Thelma, her coach, Allyson Pfeifer, and Lamphere Athletic Director Russ McKenzie, an arrangement was made which allowed Peterson to train with Birmingham Unified (Beverly Hills Groves, Birmingham Seaholm), and compete for Lamphere.

So far, it appears to be a successful arrangement, as Peterson has qualified for regionals each of her three years at Lamphere, making it as far as the state finals in her freshman campaign. This year, Peterson and other qualifying teammates will be in action at Troy Athens March 2. Peterson will compete in all four events: vault, beam, bars and floor.

Peterson has some ideas as to what the keys to her success has been.

“A lot of hard work, extra time and perseverance,” she said.

Pfeifer has coached Peterson for approximately nine years, leading her to an all-around state championship for her club team, Dreamcatchers, in 2011. The coach was pleased to have the opportunity to continue to coach Peterson via Birmingham Unified.

“She’s incredibly talented,” Pfeifer said. “We are incredibly tight with her family. It’s hard for kids to believe they have what it takes, and I’ve always believed she has what it takes. She excels on beams and bars.

“She’s an incredibly humble, kind, smart girl. She’s the kind of girl that doesn’t come around very often.”

The kind of results Peterson has experienced don’t exactly happen by accident. She said she trains four to five days a week during the season and watches what she eats before meets.

While Peterson has not decided whether or not she will pursue gymnastics at the college level, she does know what it is she would like to accomplish during the remainder of her time at Lamphere.

“I would like to make it to states this year … and keep building up the skills I have as a gymnast,” she said.

Peterson is scheduled to compete at regionals March 2 at Troy Athens.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.