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Warrior of year honor surprises Manton, Olson

Chelsie Manton and Tommy Olson were two of the most surprised individuals in the Brainerd High School gym Monday night.

The two seniors thought other classmates were more deserving, an attribute that led to Manton and Olson being selected Brainerd’s Warrior female and male athletes of the year at the all-sports banquet.

Brainerd activities director Charlie Campbell informed the approximately crowd of 1,000 that Warriors of the year must excel in one or more sports their senior year, display leadership and sportsmanship, be a team leader, show respect and earn the respect of others and possess a positive attitude.

Those qualities had Manton and Olson written all over them.

“I was sitting over there thinking I knew who it was, and apparently I didn’t,” Manton said. “There’s a lot of girls ... Kayla Kraemer, Sydnie Mauch ... we had so many amazing athletes this year that everyone deserves recognition for it.”

So, Tommy, were you surprised?

“Yeah, definitely,” Olson said. “We had a lot of good athletes in our grade this year. It’s a big honor to get it. It’s nice to have.”

Manton earned eight letters, participating in cross country running and softball.

She was a captain in two sports, a Brainerd Dispatch scholar athlete, and was academic all-state. She played on two conference championship and on two section championship softball teams. She was a 3-year starter in softball. Two times she was a member of the academic all-state gold team in softball.

“I played softball for over 11 years, it’s always been a part of my life,” Manton said. “When I moved here in sixth grade I started cross country running. I was always iffy about it but the coaches kept me going in it. All my coaches have been such a big impact on my sports. I don’t know what I would do without having them.

“The girls are pretty much my family. We connect so well, no matter what sport it is. All the athletes get along so well. Just having this recognition is amazing. I wasn’t expecting it and it’s a really good honor.”

Manton plans to attend the University of Minnesota-Duluth in the fall and pursue a career in medicine as well as play softball. Her mom and dad, Ellena and Tracey moved to Texas before the school year started but Chelsie stayed in Brainerd to graduate with her friends and compete with her teammates.

“My mom is here,” Chelsie said. “She came for prom (Saturday), stayed for this and for senior night for softball (last Thursday).”

Olson earned 10 letters in football, basketball and golf. He was a 2-time all-conference selection, scholar all-conference in two sports, captained three teams, was the golf team’s MVP as a junior and was a 2-time state participant.

“It was just a lot of fun,” Olson said of his Warrior career. “We haven’t always won the games we wanted to win and stuff like that but looking back on it, being with all my teammates and all that, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Next school year Olson will attend the University of Minnesota and plans eventually to major in business. Earlier Monday he shot a sizzling 72 in the St. Cloud Apollo Invite as he and the Warrior golf team finished second. He’s considering trying out for the Gophers golf team.

“We’ll see how the summer (golf season) goes,” Olson said. “I’ve still got a lot of tournaments to play in. I’ve just got to play a lot better this spring, get in the state tournament and play well there. That would be nice.

“It was a great night. I played pretty good in the tournament this morning, so it was a pretty good day.”

Stolski saluted

• Campbell presented Warriors football coach Ron Stolski with a plaque commemorating Stolski’s 50 seasons as a football coach. Stolski has recorded the most wins, and is the longest tenured football coach, in Minnesota State High School football history.