Gymnastics: McAllister claims state title in beam; reaches podium in the vault

Perham's Avery McAllister ended her state tournament weekend with a state title and a podium visit in the two events she participated in on Saturday.

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Perham's Avery McAllister performs her beam routine at the Section 8A meet in Fergus Falls on Feb. 18, 2023.
Jared Rubado / Perham Focus

ST. PAUL – There’s an old adage that says: With big risk often comes big reward.

That was the mentality with which Perham-New York Mills gymnast Avery McAllister entered this past weekend’s Minnesota State High School League’s Class A gymnastics meet at Roy Wilkins Arena on the University of Minnesota campus.

Thanks to that “go big” mentality, McAllister came home a state Class A champion in the balance beam, a fifth-place finish in the vault and a Top 10 finish in the floor exercise. A pretty heady weekend for the Yellowjacket junior.

Head coach Jenna Kupferschmid said that because McAllister hadn’t qualified for the all around competition at state this year, she was willing to take some risks to give her a better chance to win the beam event.

So, after winning the beam event at the Section 8A meet, the gymnast decided to add some “big moves” to her routine during the week of practice leading into the state competition. Kupferschmid said that they were moves many college gymnasts perform, but only a few high school competitors incorporate into their routines.


“As her coach, I knew that if she hit them, she would have a chance of winning the event,” she said, but added there was also the possibility that if McAllister didn’t execute the moves, it also could cost her the event.

McAllister decided to go big anyway. And the risks obviously paid off.

She won the event with a score of 9.575, edging out senior Reagan Kelley from Watertown who finished second with 9.550. Kupferschmid said Avery’s more difficult jumps and dismount on the beam are what gave her the edge.

Coach Kupferschmid said that while a fifth-place finish in vault got McAllister on the podium for the medal ceremony, she has the ability to win the vault event too. As her first vault score of 9.6 proves, the coach said, she competes with the best vaulters in the state.

Kupferschmid said McAllister’s first vault was good with a minor couple of steps on the landing. On the second vault she overpowered a bit, ending in a couple of missteps and a fall for a score of 9.

“She was disappointed,” Kupferschmid said, “but she is only a junior and hopefully she’ll come back and win the event next year.”

In the floor exercise, McAllister finished with a score of 9.425, that actually had her tied for fifth but because of tiebreakers, she ended up finishing eighth and just barely out of standing on the podium for a third time. Only the top six athletes in each event made the podium.

At the section meet one week earlier, McAllister won the beam with a score of 9.33; took second on the vault and fourth on the floor. The only event she didn’t qualify for was the bars, with a seventh-place score of 8.425. She also was fourth (36.8) in the all-around standings, one place shy of a back-to-back state berth.


Coach Kupferschmid that McAllister’s state performance was remarkable given that she suffered a concussion midseason and didn’t compete for three weeks. She added that without that time off, the gymnast may have incorporated some of her more difficult moves even earlier in the season.

Which means watch out next season, when this junior returns to compete again, Kupferschmid said.

Devlyn Brooks is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and serves Faith Lutheran Church in Wolverton, Minn. He also works for Forum Communications Co. He can be reached at for comments and story ideas.
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