By Anne Dunham
Photography by Thru Him Photography
Whether it is vaulting at state gymnastics or pole-vaulting at state track, Jordan can do it.
As a seventh grader, Perham High School’s Jordan Martinson lived her dream of competing in the state gymnastics meet. Now as her team’s only senior, she is hoping to compete again at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion for the sixth consecutive year. She is also looking for her second trip to the state track and field meet.
Somersault to Vault
“We lived across from a park and Jordan always wanted to go there. She would spend about 90% of the time on the monkey bars. She was determined to get all the way across,” says her mom. Jordan’s mom, Jody, whom Jordan describes as “determined and successful”, works as the district engineer at MnDOT in Detroit Lakes.
“One day I came home from work and there were pillows oddly stacked up against the wall. I moved the pillows and there was a hole in the sheetrock from her foot. ‘Practicing’ was her excuse,” says Jody.
Jordan and her younger sister Emily participated in gymnastics camps in elementary school. Emily, now a sophomore, no longer competes in gymnastics, but Jordan says that she was a strong motivator.
“Emily and I had camps in Perham when I was younger. I remember coming to practice, having a good time, and wanting to go back to get better,” she says. “Having camps together was fun because she had a crazy personality; she always kept the team going.”
“When Jordan was younger, her coaches called her a ‘gym rat’. She would be one of the last girls to leave the gym and would always attend optional practices,” says Jody.
The moniker of ‘gym rat’ still applies to Jordan.
Jordan’s dad, Brian, a former Minnesota State University Moorhead football player and current Arvig employee, has not had to push her to be successful.
“Brian and I do not push her, she pushes herself,” says Jody.
Hard work goes a long way
Life lessons, hard work, and friendships have driven Jordan in athletics.
In 2009, Perham gymnastics broke a Minnesota state record for most consecutive wins for any class school in any sport. The Yellowjackets won their eighth consecutive state championship. Jordan, then a seventh grader, competed in the 2009 state tournament and she became the hero. The meet came down to her on the beam. The team needed Jordan to stay on the beam and land her flip to win state.
“Pretty much everyone in the gym had their eyes on Jordan,” Jody says. “It was the last event of the meet and she was the last person to go. She did her back flip and landed it. Everyone went crazy. She will not admit it, but she could hardly hold back tears by the time she landed her dismount.”
While a state participant as a ninth grader, Jordan faced a minor back injury in the second rotation. The injury kept her from competing the rest of the state meet. During the summer of 2015, her knee popped on vault and during cross-fit. She was told her that kneecap dislocates easily. The condition has caused her to have to wear a brace this season.
“Unfortunately, I hurt my opposite knee recently. It is something that has been a battle this season,” Jordan says.
Through this struggle, she has relied on her tough work ethic.
“Jordan always has a positive attitude and has been a leader for the team. She plays the mother role for the girls,” says Coach Jenna Schmitz. “She carries the respect and positive behavior outside of the gym as well.”
One quality Schmitz admires most in Jordan is her work ethic. Last summer she put in countless hours at CrossFit Detroit Lakes in preparation for her senior athletic seasons.
“It’s my senior year, I don’t want to have any regrets,” Jordan says. “Our coaches have mentioned regrets they have from high school, so I use that as motivation.”
Working hard has helped Jordan be a successful captain for her team. She has been captain of the Yellowjackets for four consecutive years.
“I get the team motivated before meets. I reassure them we can win if we work together,” she says. “My teammates know gymnastics is a hard sport. I remind them it’s a sport where they are able to try new moves and routines everyday.”
Jordan knows what it will take to return to state again. “I have to be consistent and confident during a routine. I cannot show I’m nervous,” she says.
Vaulting does not stop there
During the spring, Jordan competes for the track and field team as a pole-vaulter and sprinter. She joined track as a junior. She impressively placed sixth in pole-vault at the state track meet held at Hamline University.
“I can say gymnastics helped me with pole vaulting. The body awareness and strength come in handy,” Jordan says. “My mom ran track when she was in high school, so she encouraged me to join.”
Jordan is waiting for her final season of track and field before deciding on a college. Pole-vaulting in college could be a deciding factor; otherwise she plans to attend the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities. She has an interest in physical therapy and is currently carrying an impressive 3.9 GPA.
“My parents have been supportive,” Jordan says. “If I have a rough meet, they reassure me that I will do better next time. They tell me not to look back on rough days, because I need to live in the present.”
Besides her parents, she looks to former teammates as role models. Kelsey Vomacka and Mikaela Eickschen were seniors when Jordan was a seventh grader. She keeps up to date with Olympians such as Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney.
Vaulting into track season soon, she says, “I am going to miss my coaches and teammates, bus rides, and the support I get from family and friends.”
“Teachers and coaches often compliment Jordan as a respectful, conscientious student-athlete. As a parent, it is wonderful to hear that about your kid,” Jody says. “Whether it is academics, athletics or work, Jordan is driven and goal oriented. Giving up is not in her vocabulary.”