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Warriors Athlete of Week: Malone running past defenders on soccer field

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Brainerd Warrior Mason Malone prepares to kick the ball Tuesday, Sept. 4, during practice at Don Adamson Field. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch Video 2 / 2

Tracey Brown was one of the fastest runners in the history of the Brainerd High School girls track and field program.

Nearly 30 years after graduation, Brown remains the girls school record-holder in four events—100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes and in the 4x200 relay where she teamed up with Cassie Pearson, Stephanie Jones and Nikki Tanner. In 1986, Brown finished sixth in the Class 2A state meet in the 100. She placed fifth in 1989 in the 200 and 400.

Her son, Mason Malone, appears to have inherited his mother's speed. This fall, he's been dashing past opposing defenders, leading the boys soccer team in scoring and helping the Warriors get off to a 3-1 start.

"Definitely from my mom, probably," Malone replied when asked from which parent he inherited his ability to run.

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Mason Malone

  • Sport: Soccer
  • Position: Midfield
  • Year: Senior
  • Age: 17
  • Height: 5-foot-9
  • Favorite soccer moment: Beating Buffalo 2-1 Aug. 27
  • Other sports: Basketball
  • Grade-point average: 3.2
  • Favorite class: Math
  • Favorite food: Pizza
  • Favorite restaurant: Rafferty's in Nisswa
  • Future plans: Undecided
  • Favorite basketball player: Former Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant
  • Parents: Eric and Tracey Malone

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Malone's games this season include two goals against Rogers, two against Buffalo and a hat trick against Sauk Rapids. Through four games he has scored eight goals and assisted on another.

"He's fast," Warriors head coach Tom Grausam said. "He has great position on the field. He's made some really good runs. I've been playing him on the inside and on the outside. I think they lose track of where he is.

"His speed is unbelievable. He's our fastest person on the field. That really helps. He can run by people. And he's pretty good with his feet. He chips (the ball past) a lot of goalies."

Against Sauk Rapids, Malone's hat trick helped the Warriors to a 5-0 victory.

"The first one was off a pass from Jack (Thorkelson)," he said. "I was right in front of the net. I hit it with my left foot and it went in the left corner. The second one I think was a little tap-in cross from Jack. The third one was a breakaway and was a through ball from Noah Ebinger I believe."

Thorkelson and Nick Whiteman have been among teammates feeding Malone the ball and putting him in position to score.

"A couple quick throw-ins have gotten me past the defenders," Malone said, "then it's been free kicks and corners."

In addition to speed, Grausam said Malone's attributes include work ethic and intensity.

"He's driven to succeed," Grausam said. "In soccer or basketball, whatever he does, he's driven. He's motivated. He came into our season totally conditioned. He got stronger over the summer. He got faster."

A fourth-year varsity player and team captain, Malone was an All-Central Lakes Conference player in 2017. He was the team's second-leading scorer with 10 goals and four assists. He doesn't believe he's seeing opponents defend against him differently.

"The Buffalo game I was kind of marked," he said. "Other than that, I they really haven't put a lot of pressure on me.

"I use my speed a lot. I'm a lot faster than most defenders so I can get by them and get one-on-one with the goalie."

In 2017, Brainerd scored only the second playoff victory in program history, beating No. 5 St. Michael-Albertville 2-0 in the quarterfinals. The fourth-seeded Warriors went on to lose 3-1 in the semifinals to top-seeded Maple Grove. Malone hopes going deeper in the postseason becomes a tradition.

"One of our goals is to get past that point, be the first soccer team to get past that in Brainerd," he said.

Other notable efforts:

• Joe Klang, football, rushed for 141 yards and scored two TDs vs Buffalo.

• Sam Miller, football, passed for 138 yards and two TDs vs Buffalo.

• Kate Chausse, tennis, went 3-0 at No. 4 singles at the Delano Tournament and 2-0 at the Camp Lake Hubert Tournament.

• Taya Person-Heidi Jacobson, tennis, finished 3-0 at No. 1 doubles at Delano and 2-0 at the Camp Lake Hubert.

• Addie Sanford-Ally Goeden, girls tennis, went 3-0 at No. 3 doubles at Delano and 2-0 at the Camp Lake Hubert.

• Kate Kurtzman, No. 2 singles, went 3-0 in in the Warriors' quadrangular.

• Audrey Collins went 3-0 at No. 3 singles in the quadrangular.

• Lily Jones went 3-0 in doubles in the quadrangular.

• Jaquilyn Rude, swimming, won two individual events and was on two winning relays vs. Bemidji.

• Noah Sundberg, boys soccer, stopped 13 shots in a shutout vs. Sauk Rapids.

• Madelyn Gibbons, swimming, won two events and swam on a winning relay vs Apollo.