Perham finishes second in its return to the big stage
The Perham Yellowjackets came into the Class A Championships ranked second overall and they finished with a second place finish on Feb. 21 at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul.
The Yellowjackets recorded a 144.925, while Big Lake finished with a 146.825 to capture the Class A Championship. Perham continued Section 8A’s run on the podium with their second place finish. It was the first Class A Championship meet for Perham since 2013.
“It’s awesome. I really couldn’t ask much more from these girls,” Perham head coach Jenna Kupferschmid said. “We came in ranked second and getting second. Our goal was getting in the top three and we did that and then some. I’m really, really proud of them.”
Olsen, who has been the Yellowjackets leader during the season, said they were happy to come in ranked second and come out in second.
“It’s a great experience. We haven’t gotten out of sections in seven years and to come in as second and come out what we are ranked is such a great feeling,” Olsen said. “I’m super proud of how well we worked and we had such a good day.”
Avery McAllister said the competition was scary at first, but once they got rolling it was just like another event.
“Once you really get up there and get into it, the nerves go away and you know exactly what you are doing,” McAllister said. “You just do it.”
Olsen said it was a great feeling for them to compete the way they did at the Class A Championships. She said they had to overcome some struggles in warm ups, but they were able to for second place.
“We work really hard for what we do. Even if we do have ups and downs, it always comes out good in the end,” McAllister said. “That’s what it is about.”
The Yellowjackets kicked off the championships on beam and Kupferschmid said they weren’t quite as solid as they were at the Section 8A Championships. Perham finished with a 36.150.
“Our last three girls really stepped up,” Kupferschmid said. “They proved what a team was for us and did an awesome job.”
The Yellowjackets earned a 36.150 on beam, led by Olsen’s 9.50. McAllister hit for a 9.275, while Dena Fischer finished with a 9.00. Breahna Rodewald finished with a 7.90, while Brittney Lorentz ended with an 8.375.
The Yellowjackets followed on floor and finished with a 36.950. Kumpferschmid said they didn’t have the best floor routine, but the team continued to fight. She said if the first few fall or stumble, the rest of the team is there to pick them back up.
Rodewald finished with an 8.25 on the floor, while Fischer finished with a 9.075. Lorentz recorded an 8.95 and McAllister finished with a 9.325. Olsen anchored the floor for Perham with a 9.60
The Yellowjackets followed on vault and hit for 36.750, which was the best team score of the meet.
“We worked a lot on vault this week. To have Avery come out with an entirely new vault and hit it. Her average score was a 9.2 or a 9.3 during the season and to come out at the state meet with a 9.5, where they are judging harder was just amazing,” Olsen said. “I’m super proud of her and she did so well.”
Amber Teberg started the vault off with an 8.20, while Rodewald hit for an 8.6. Fischer finished with an 8.90. McAllister hit for a 9.5 on vault. It’s the second time she performed the vault she did in competition and nailed it for the second time. Olsen finished with a 9.75 for the second big score for the Yellowjackets on vault.
“The girls have practiced so hard and I’m really excited for them,” Kupferschmid said. “McAllister and Olsen really picked it up and it’s nice to have those two big scores. They did a really good job and I’m really, really proud of them.”
The Yellowjackets closed the competition on bars with a 35.075. McAllister finished with a 7.425, while Kassidy Kovar finished with an 8.125. Brittney Lorentz earned an 8.525, while Fischer finished with an 8.750. Olsen hit for a 9.675 on bars.
Kupferschmid said this is a great experience for a young team and was impressed with the team’s maturity in how they faced adversity during the Class A Championships.
“Perham’s very first year at state it got sixth, so to come back here after six years with a seventh-and-eighth grade majority team to get second is a great experience for them,” Kupferschmid said. “The maturity it takes to keep calm under pressure and for our older girls, who stepped up when the younger girls had a mistake here or there. It really says a lot about our team. They work hard and they deserve everything that they got today.”
It marked the last team event for a pair of Perham seniors in Kovar and Fischer, but the Yellowjackets return a solid core that will have high expectations heading into next season.
“We are definitely losing some very good people. Dena (Fischer) and Kassidy (Kovar) are a huge part of our team,” Olsen said. “If we push ourselves really hard this summer, we will definitely have a chance again.”
While the team portion has concluded, the Yellowjackets will be well-represented in the Class A Individual Tournament. Olsen will compete in the all-around competition, while Fischer and Kovar will compete in the uneven bars. McAllister will compete on the floor and vault. The Class A Individual Championships begin at 11 a.m. at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium on Feb. 22.
Class A Gymnastics Championships
Big Lake 146.825, Perham 144.925, Watertown-Mayer/Mound-Westonka 144.375, Mankato West 144.150, Worthington 141.300, Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa 141.075, Willmar 139.90, St. Paul Highland Park 131.325.
Perham Individual Results
Dena Fischer, 9.00; Breahna Rodewald 7.900; Brittney Lorentz 8.375; Avery McAllister 9.275; Jada Olsen 9.500.
Breahna Rodewald 8.250, Dena Fischer 9.075, Brittney Lorentz 8.950, Avery McAllister 9.325, Jada Olsen 9.60
Amber Teberg 8.20, Breahna Rodewald 8.60, Dena Fischer 8.90, Avery McAllister 9.50, Jada Olsen 9.750
Avery McAllister 7.425, Kassidy Kovar 8.125, Brittney Lorentz 8.525, Dena Fischer, 8.750, Jada Olsen, 9.675.