Perham back on top at Section 8A Championships

The Perham gymnastics team after capturing the Section 8A Team Championship on Feb. 15 in Morris. ( Jason Groth / Perham Focus)

One of the state’s premier gymnastics programs will be back where it hasn’t been for seven years and that’s the Class A Championships. The Yellowjackets captured the Section 8A Championships with a 145.875, edging out Melrose Area and five-time defending Class A champion Detroit Lakes for the crown.

The Yellowjackets captured the crown by a narrow margin, winning the Section 8A Championship by .8 over Melrose Area. The Dutchmen finished with a 145.075, while Detroit Lakes was third at 144.15. The event featured three of the top-10 teams in Class A, with Perham holding its edge on Melrose Area.

“I’m really excited. It’s just crazy. These girls have worked so hard,” Perham head coach Jenna Kumpferschmid said. “They always knew it was right there for them to get it, but coming and doing is a whole nother thing. We are competing against such great teams and this is one of the hardest sections to get out of. It’s been seven years since we last went and I’m excited for them.”


Perham’s Jada Olsen was the All-Around winner. Olsen won three of the individual titles and finished with a 38.575 in a competitive battle with Melrose Area’s Camryn Brinkman and Detroit Lakes’ Jackson Hegg. Hegg edged out Brinkman for second. All three will compete in the all-around competition at the Class A Championships.

Olsen said it was amazing and exciting to be heading to the Class A Championships as a team.

“We have been working so hard for this,” Olsen said. “We had a couple of mess ups, but there were so many times that this is what we were working so hard for. It worked out beautifully. I could not be more proud of my team.”

Perham's Jada Olsen kicks off her routine on the balance beam during the Section 8A Championships in Morris. (Jason Groth / Perham Focus)

Olsen said it’s such a great feeling and is excited to add a new section banner in a gym which is loaded with section and Class A Championship banners. The new Perham gymnastics facility will open and will have a brand new banner to add to it during the next gymnastics season.

“It’s such a great feeling and we get that new section banner in the gym. It’s been seven years and I’m so unbelievably proud of the hard work they have put in,” Olsen said. “They deserve it so much and I’m so glad the seniors are going with it. I love it, it’s so great. I’m so proud of how everyone worked this week and we couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.”

Perham’s Dena Fischer said it’s amazing to see how all their hard work paid off and now she is excited to see what happens at state.


Perham's Dena Fischer gets ready to launch on one of her tumbling passes during the floor exercise event during the Section 8A Championships. (Jason Groth / Perham Focus)

“I don’t think it is real yet,” Fischer said. “It happened and I’m just so happy that it really did happen. It doesn’t feel real at all. It’s really great and it’s nice to show the younger girls what it is like to go to state and they can have that to look forward to and work for in the upcoming years.”

The Yellowjackets hit on beam, floor and vault to start the meet, but struggled on the uneven bars.

“It was tight the whole time and we knew that going into bars. We knew we had to do what we usually do on the bars. We took two falls and after that I wasn’t quite so sure,” Kupferschmid said. “Everybody didn’t have the best bar day. We knew it was close after that.”

The Yellowjackets finished with 34.4 on the bars, which was their lowest team score of the day. However, the Yellowjackets excelled in their first three events, which helped them capture the team title.

The beam which has caused havoc to the Yellowjackets in the past, was a perfect event for them to start the meet on.

“Beam has always been our toughest event, always,” Olsen said. “It was so nice to start on it and hit all four 9’s and know we had the rest of the meet to reach our goal. When you have all that pressure going into beam, it’s so much harder to stay on and you get all your nerves. When you have no nerves and start on beam, it’s a lot easier to stay on. I’m so unbelievably proud of how well we did.”


Olsen finished with a 9.375 on the beam, while Fischer and Avery McAllister hit for a 9.15. Brittney Lorentz recorded a 9.075 and Breahna Rodewald ended with an 8.475.

The Yellowjackets followed with a 37.150 on the floor. Olsen captured first place honors on the floor with a 9.65. McAllister followed with a third place finish with a 9.40. Lorentz finished with a 9.10 and Fischer hit for a 9.0. Rodewald ended with an 8.775.

After the strong floor performance, the Yellowjackets came up with their best performance of the day with a 37.575 on vault.

“McAllister threw out a layout-Yurchenko which is something she hasn’t done before and scored a 9.6 for us,” Kupferschmid said. “Olsen hit for a 9.85 which she has done all year. The younger girls, who aren’t doing the most difficult vaults, but it’s important for them to stay tight in their landings and everyone did what they had to on vault.”

McAllister vault.jpg
Perham's Avery McAllister hits her vault for Perham during the Section 8A Championships in Morris on Feb. 15. (Robert Williams / Forum News Service)

Olsen finished first with a 9.850, while McAllister hit for a 9.625. McAllister actually stopped herself on her first attempt, but settled in and hit. Fischer finished with a 9.150, Rodewald recorded an 8.95, while Lorentz finished with a 34.500.

The Yellowjackets finished with a 34.40 on bars. Olsen captured first place honors with a 9.70, while Fischer was fifth at 8.55 and Kassidy Kovar was sixth at 8.450, earning a spot at the Class A Championships. Lorentz finished with a 7.70, while McAllister ended with a 7.6.


Perham's Kassidy Kovar swings on the uneven parallel bars during the Section 8A Championships in Morris. (Jason Groth/ Perham Focus)

“We knew Detroit Lakes and Melrose Area are just right there with us and it was going to be a nail-biter,” Kupferschmid said. “I’m just so proud of the girls. They are a great team to have, they get along well, they work hard together and they came out and did what they had to do. It worked out for them and I’m just so proud of them.”

Olsen returns to the Class A Championships and will compete in the all-around event as well after finishing with a 38.575 for top honors. Hegg finished second with a 38.375 and Brinkman finished with a 37.675.

“It’s well-deserved for Jada. She puts her blood, sweat and tears into this sport. It’s not given to her and she isn’t perfect, but she has worked her tail off to get here,” Kupferschmid said. “It’s well-deserved for her.”

While Kupferschmid competed and won a Class A Championship as a Perham gymnast, she hasn’t experienced the championships as a head coach for the team. She said it will be a new experience for her and many of the girls. Kupferschmid has coached several athletes in the individual part of the championships.

“These girls aren’t very familiar with going to state and my first year as head coach was the first year in 12 years that we didn’t go, so this is my first year as a coach down at state,” Kupferschmid said. “If the girls just work hard this week and do what they have done, it’s all you can ask for is to do their best at this point.Getting there is our first step and we are going to enjoy it for now.”

The Class A Team Championships are on Feb. 21 at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul. The event begins at 11 a.m.


The Class Individual Championships are on Feb. 22 at the same venue, beginning at 11 a.m. as well.

Section 8A Championships

Perham 145.875, Melrose Area 145.075, Detroit Lakes 144.15, Fergus Falls 130.35, Park Rapids Area 124.45, MAHACA 117.8, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle-Browerville 92.875

Individual Results

Top Five and Perham Results

All-Around Results

1 Jada Olsen, PER, 38.575


2 Jackson Hegg, DL, 38.375

3 Camryn Brinkman, MEL, 37.675

4 Gabrielle Whitworth, DL, 36.425

5 Dena Fischer, PER, 38.850

6 Avery McAllister, PER, 35.775

9 Brittney Lorentz, PER, 34.500


1 Jada Olsen, PER, 9.850

2 Camryn Brinkman, MEL, 9.675

3 Gabrielle Whitworth, DL, 9.625

3 Avery McAllister, PER, 9.625

5 Jackson Hegg, DL, 9.600

8 Dena Fischer, PER, 9.150

13 Breahna Rodewald, PER, 8.950

23 Brittney Lorentz, PER, 8.625


1 Jada Olsen, PER, 9.700

2 Jackson Hegg, DL, 9.625

3 Camryn Brinkman, MEL, 9.300

4 Courtney Althaus, MEL, 8.950

5 Dena Fischer, PER, 8.550

6 Kassidy Kovar, PER, 8.450

18 Brittney Lorentz, PER, 7.70

20 Avery McAllister, PER, 7.60


1 Jackson Hegg, DL, 9.575

2 Hannah Hoppe, MEL, 9.450

3 Gabrielle Whitworth, DL, 9.425

4 Jada Olsen, PER, 9.375

5 Camryn Brinkman, MEL, 9.325

7 Dena Fischer, PER, 9.15

7 Avery McAllister, PER, 9.15

9 Brittney Lorentz, PER, 9.075

11 Breahna Rodewald, PER, 8.475


1 Jada Olsen, PER, 9.650

2 Jackson Hegg, DL, 9.575

3 Avery McAllister, PER, 9.400

4 Camryn Brinkman, MEL, 9.375

5 Miranda Gieske, MEL, 9.275

7 Brittney Lorentz, PER, 9.100

9 Dena Fischer, PER, 9.000

13 Breahna Rodewald, PER, 8.775

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