Perham junior Jada Olsen knew she needed to beat a 9.80 to win a Class A Vault Championship. Not only did she beat that, but she propelled into first place with an 9.825 to win the Class A All-Around Championship at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium on Feb. 22.
Olsen finished with a 38.625, edging out Detroit Lakes’ Jackson Hegg and Annandale’s Becca Green for the All-Around title. Hegg finished with a 38.475, while Green ended with a 38.400.
“I came in here hoping for one title, but definitely not two,” Olsen said. “It’s such a great feeling. This season has been one of my best and I had such high hopes coming into this meet. I wanted to be consistent, since I have been this season. I just wanted to see how it would turn out and it paid off.”
Olsen said she knew there were some high scores on the vault and hit for a 9.75 during the team competition the day prior, before she took the runway first for the competition.
“I knew I could do a bit better and I knew there was a 9.80 ahead of me,” Olsen said. “I told myself, ‘you know how to do this, it will be fine.’ As soon as that score went up, I knew I had that first title and was just hoping the scores added up for the all-around.”
Olsen becomes Perham’s fifth All-Around Champion and it comes 10 years after her head coach won the championship in 2010. Olsen joins Ashley Brasel (2005), Kourtney Johnston (2006), Kelsi Vomacka (2011) as all-around champions will have a new banner in the new gymnastics facility, which opens this summer.
“I didn’t realize it has been 10 years. It’s fun to be back in this gym and I’m so happy for Jada,” Kupferschmid said. “She has pushed through everything, the injuries, the hard practices and we go three hours a day, five days a week. Jada puts the time in, they all do, and for this to happen for her, she just deserves it. It’s not luck, it’s well-deserved.”
Olsen stuck her first for a 9.825 and set the tone for the rest of the rotation. Kupferschmid said she was happy that Olsen was the first competitor on vault because she has a huge layout.
“From there the judges have to really set the stage for the following gymnasts that compete on vault,” Kupferschmid said. “I think that was in her favor to go first on that event. It’s her best event and she kept calm and did it on her first one and it only takes one. I was really proud of her.”
Olsen started the competition on the uneven bars and finished with a 9.650, which put her in a second place tie with Hegg. The two share a bond that goes beyond the sport. The two were cheering each other on all day and held hands on their way to the championship podium to receive their medals.
“The entire Section 8A is super great. I love this section. Just to go and compete with your best friends is one of the greatest feelings in the world,” Olsen said. “Jackson is a senior and gets to go out with a title. I didn’t even care that I got third on floor because she deserves it so much. If anyone works harder than me, it’s Jackson Hegg.”
After a strong performance on the bars, Olsen had to face one of her demons at the Class A Championships which is the balance beam. Prior to this year, she has suffered falls on the beam. However, the junior was able to overcome it and hit for a fifth place score of 9.450.
“Beam has definitely been a miracle this year,” Olsen said. “I feel like I have these little angels beside me pushing me back and forth. I was just so happy to stay on the beam two meets in a row. I have fallen off the beam for the last three years in a row. It was definitely an improvement and I was super happy with that.”
Kupferschmid said Olsen is good on the beam, but can be shaky on the beam.
“It was good to see her have minimum wobbles and just fight to stay on,” Kupferschmid said. “She really came in wanting that All-Around Championship. She stayed on the beam and did what she had to do at that event and it worked out for her.”
Olsen said it was one of her goals this year to hit on beam and to stay on beam at the Class A Championships.
“This year has been one of my best. I only had two falls this entire season and it was one of my biggest goals to hit beam this year,” Olsen said. “I just feel with how much work we put in, we did super well this year. I’m very, very proud of everything that happened.”
Olsen followed on the floor and finished third. She hit for a 9.70, which was the same score as Rockford’s Alayna Schloeder, however, Schloeder earned the tiebreaker. Hegg captured the title with a 9.750.
Hegg maintained a slim edge on Olsen as the section competitors moved to the vault, which is Olsen’s favorite event. She hit and completed her goal of getting a new banner up in the ceiling at the new gymnasium.
“It’s been one of my goals for so long and I’ll get a banner up in the ceiling now too,” Olsen said. “It’s just cool to have a banner up next to my coach.”
Olsen said it will be great to have that banner in the gymnasium because of all the kids that look up to her and that it’s cool to set an example for the younger kids in the program.
Olsen said her plans now is to take a small break and return to practice again and continue to improve for the future.
Fischer and Kovar end high school careers at state
The high school gymnastics careers of Dena Fischer and Kassidy Kovar came to a close at the Class A championships when they competed on the uneven bars on Feb. 22.
Fischer finished the event in seventh place, just missing the podium. She finished with a 9.350. She shared a giant smile with her head coach after she completed the routine. It was a nice bounceback for Fischer, who had a slip up on the bars during the Class A Team Championships.
Kassidy Kovar closed out her varsity career with a 29th place finish. Kovar hit for an 8.425 on the bars.
“She (Fischer) came back after a fall on bars yesterday and at sections as well, but she came back and finished off her last event of her senior year,” Kupferschmid said. “They had one of their top scores and it was one of Kassidy’s better scores.”
Kupferschmid said Kovar and Fischer are both really good leaders and really good kids, who will be missed.
“They are good kids inside and outside of the gym,” Kupferschmid said. “They have fun personalities and we are going to really miss them next year with their leadership skills.”
McAllister ends season with strong performance
Perham’s Avery McAllister capped off a strong eighth grade campaign with a seventh place finish on vault and an 11th place finish on the floor.
McAllister just missed placing on vault when she hit for a 9.60, performing a new vault she recently picked up prior to sections.
“I think she was a little disappointed that she didn’t make podium, but I wanted to tell her to be proud of herself,” Kupferschmid said. “Coming in as an eighth grader doing a 10.0 start value vault is something a lot of eighth graders don’t do. I’m proud of her and she should be proud of herself.”
McAllister finished in 11th place on floor when she finished with a 9.40.
Class A Individual Championships
Top Five and Perham Results
1 Jada Olsen, PER, 38.625
2 Jackson Hegg, DL, 38.475
3 Becca Green, ANN, 38.400
4 Alayna Schloeder, MEL, 37.450
5 Lola Visci, BL, 37.100
1 Jada Olsen, PER, 9.825
2 Chloe Hughes, WC, 9.800
3 Alayna Schloeder, RF, 9.70
4 Becca Green, ANN, 9.70
5 Camryn Brinkman, MEL, 9.625
7 Avery McAllister, PER, 9.60
1 Becca Green, ANN, 9.850
2 Jackson Hegg, DL, 9.650
2 Jada Olsen, PER, 9.650
4 Alayna Schloeder, RF, 9.575
5 Courtney Althaus, MEL, 9.450
6 Lola Visci, BL, 9.425
7 Dena Fischer, PER, 9.350
29 Kassiday Kovar, PER, 8.425
1 Becca Green, ANN, 9.650
2 Taryn Sellner, MW, 9.60
3 Jackson Hegg, DL, 9.575
4 Gabby Whitworth, DL, 9.525
5 Jada Olsen, PER, 9.450
1 Jackson Hegg, DL, 9.750
2 Alayna Schloeder, RF, 9.70
3 Jada Olsen, PER, 9.70
4 Taryn Sellner, MW, 9.625
5 Lucy Lipbscomb, STHP, 9.550
11 Avery McAllister, PER, 9.400