Warriors Athlete of Week: Peterson performing at high level for Warrior gymnastics team

Kami Peterson has stepped into the all-around position for the Brainerd Warriors and helped the Warriors to a 3-0 start.

Working on her beam routine Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, Brainerd Warrior Kami Peterson continues to fill the role of an all-around gymnast for the team. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
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Not even a scary fall can keep Kami Peterson out of the Brainerd Warriors’ gymnastics rotation.

And that’s how she wants it. The senior captain loves competing and would rather not take a break despite the best efforts of first-year head coach Jessica Lofrano-Larson hoping to keep her athletes fresh and healthy.

The ever-changing Warrior line-up has had one constant so far this season and it’s been Peterson performing the all-around duties. It’s that mentality and toughness that makes Peterson a strong leader for Brainerd.


“In practice, she is great at making sure people are not only doing what they need to do, but bringing up morale and making people excited to be in the gym,” Lofrano-Larson said. “When it comes to meets, she’s really good at keeping a level head. She had kind of a scary fall last week at Sauk Rapids on the bars. Not only did she manage to get herself together and compete in three more events, but also be a captain and lead her team through the rest of the meet. She’s just really really good at staying level-headed and keeping her team in mind.

“It’s helpful for me being a first-year head coach that I have a good group of captains and that’s been particularly important this year. She’s been fantastic in supporting the new coaching staff and keeping the team in good spirits. I think our overall chemistry has been fantastic.”

The fall came on Brainerd’s first rotation in a Central Lakes Conference dual with Sauk Rapids Dec. 16. She placed ninth with a 6.85, but bounced back with an 8.75 on vault a fourth-place 8.3 on beam and a first-place 9.0 on floor to win the all-around with a 32.95. Brainerd topped Sauk Rapids 136.575-131.195 to remain unbeaten at 3-0.

Gymnastics: Warriors get past Sauk Rapids
“I’ve always done the all-around since eighth grade,” Peterson said. “I’ve done junior varsity and some varsity, but Brenna (Deason) with her diving, she wasn’t ready to compete floor so they asked me to step in for a few meets at least and that’s how I got to do it.

“I got my best all-around score in the first meet back so that really surprised me. Then the second meet I got a little bit above that, too.”

"One of my goals this season was to try and keep the positive attitude in the gym because I know that’s the most important thing.”

— Kami Peterson

Despite the fall and a busy three-meet week last week, Peterson would rather not take a break from competing. She’s afraid she’ll miss out on that great routine.

“I don’t like taking breaks,” she said. “Whenever I have to sit out I just get that feeling of ‘I could be competing or I wonder what I would have gotten if I was competing. What if I would have broken my personal record.’ So I don’t like to take breaks.”


Warriors Gymnastics Holiday Invite Gallery (38).jpg
Warriors gymnastics' Dave Maras Holiday Invite Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, at Brainerd High School. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

In a 138.3-137.6 victory over Bemidji Dec. 14, Peterson placed second in the all-around with a 34.1. She tied for fourth on floor with a 9.050, placed fifth on beam with an 8.25, scored a 7.95 on bars and was fourth on vault with a 8.85.

Gymnastics: A big beam helps Brainerd brush by Bemidji
“She’s kind of been in and out of a few different varsity lineups,” Lofrano-Larson said. “She has a great floor routine and has been in and out of the varsity lineup with that and beam also. The vault that she has been competing with this year is new with a front-hand spring entry and has been a really big bump for her.

"We knew from last year that we graduated our all-arounder and Brenna Deason, who usually does all-around, came in pretty late to the season because of diving. We knew somebody had to step up and fill that all-around position. Kami, I knew, mentally she could handle that, but also that she had four strong routines.”

Peterson said she’s always been better at front twisting as opposed to back twisting. That’s how the front-hand spring came about for vault. That comfort level also is an asset in her floor routine where she tied her personal record score and also secured her second and third score of 9.0 or higher.

“Kami has a great floor routine and it’s unique in the fact that she does more front passes than backward tumbling passes,” Lofrano-Larson said. “She has a lot of difficulty in her routine and she has great jumps, too. She has a good balance of difficulty in her tumbling but also in her jump passes as well.”


Warriors Gymnastics Holiday Invite Gallery (49).jpg
Warriors gymnastics' Dave Maras Holiday Invite Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, at Brainerd High School. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

In Brainerd’s season-opening victory over Sartell Dec. 9, Peterson scored a 7.425 on bars and tied for second on vault with an 8.75. She followed that with a tie for third on beam with an 8.725 and a third-place 8.675 on floor. Those scores led to her first-place 34.025 on the all-around leading Brainerd to a 136.725-131.675 victory.

Gymnastics: Peterson wins all-around in Warrior victory

Peterson’s busy week concluded at the Dave Maras Holiday Invite Saturday, Dec. 18. She scored an 8.6 on vault, a 7.95 on bars, an 8.05 on beam and an 8.9 on floor for an all-around score of 33.5.

Gymnastics: Deason shines as Warriors get 5th at Holiday Invite
“One of my goals this season was to try and keep the positive attitude in the gym because I know that’s the most important thing,” Peterson said. “At sections, having a positive attitude will separate you from the other good teams. It will give us a higher chance of winning. That’s the ultimate goal of this season.

“Our team chemistry is really good. We’ve all known each other for our whole lives. We’ve all been doing gymnastics together since we were really little. We all know each

other really well.”

Peterson said her goals were to get 9s on vault, beam and floor and an 8 on bars. With 9s on floor already and an 8 on bars looming, she's excited for the remainder of the season and it also illustrates what Lofrano-Larson believes might be Peterson’s biggest improvement so far this season

“I think really her biggest improvement is that she’s gotten a lot strong this year and a lot of the girls have,” Lofrano-Larson said. “We actually had a normal entry into the season so she’s a lot stronger than last year.

“Plus, she’s really doing a good job of balancing her time. Being a varsity all-arounder, one of the biggest skills you need to have is time management. She has to work four routines at the varsity level and that's a lot. Knowing how to utilize her time in the gym well is important and she is really good at that.”

Gymnastics: New coach has same high expectations for Warriors

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 855-5856 or Follow on Twitter at

Other notable performances

Cade Rosenwald, boys swimming and diving, won the 100-yard butterfly and was on two winning relays at the Blooming-Jefferson Invite.

Molly Hagelie, girls hockey, finished with a goal and two assists against Sartell and scored a goal against Roseau.

Josie Harguth, gymnastics, won the bars and the beam in a dual with Sauk Rapids.

Kami Peterson, gymnastics, won the floor and the all-around in a dual with Sauk Rapids.

Cam Engholm, boys basketball, finished with 23 points against St.Cloud Apollo

Alex Jones, boys hockey, scored two goals against Fergus Falls.

John Finnegan, boys hockey, scored the game-winning goal against Fergus Falls.

Kami Peterson

Kami Peterson

Sport: Gymnastics

Position: All-around

Year: senior

Age: 17

Height: 5-foot-6

Career highlights: Getting a 9.3 on beam two years ago. Scoring two 9s on the floor this season and beating St. Cloud Tech

Other sports: Track and field

Grade-point average: 4.0

Favorite class: Math

Favorite food: Raspberries

Favorite movie: “Elf”

Favorite TV show: “Outer Banks”

Favorite website or app: TikTok

Favorite restaurant: Olive Garden

Future plans: Attend either the University of Minnesota, Duluth, or Central Lakes College, study pharmacy.

Favorite athlete: Simone Biles

Parents: Nikki and Kory Peterson

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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