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All-Sports Banquet: Pederson, Ellingson Warrior Athletes of Year

When Brainerd High School head coaches begin their annual process of selecting Warrior Athletes of the Year, they consider many attributes for candidates, including:...

Maddie Ellingson and Chris Pederson were named Brainerd Warrior Athletes of the Year at the all-sports banquet Monday. (Brainerd Dispatch/ Steve Kohls) Video
Maddie Ellingson and Chris Pederson were named Brainerd Warrior Athletes of the Year at the all-sports banquet Monday. (Brainerd Dispatch/ Steve Kohls) Video

When Brainerd High School head coaches begin their annual process of selecting Warrior Athletes of the Year, they consider many attributes for candidates, including:

โ€ข An athlete who participates and achieves at a level of excellence in one or more sports during their senior year.

โ€ข Does not have a Minnesota State High School League eligibility violation during their career.

โ€ข Is a recognized team leader by coaches and peers and is one who leads by positive example in practice, play and in school life.

โ€ข Models good sportsmanship, respects coaches, teammates and opponents.

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โ€ข Is an attitude who embraces and displays the core values of the Warrior Way: Loyalty, self-sacrifice, hard work, caring for others, team play and competitiveness.

Chris Pederson and Maddie Ellingson exemplified those attributes throughout their high school careers and that was not lost on the Warrior coaching staff which voted them the male and female athletes of the year.

Pederson, said he was "shocked to be honest" when his name was called at Monday's all-sports banquet in the high school gym.

"I didn't really know what to expect," he said. " I was speechless.

"It's a great honor. I want to thank everyone who nominated me. It's a huge accomplishment for me."

As activities director Charlie Campbell read one of the male athlete's attributes, Pederson thought Campbell might be referring to him.

"Once he said 'He puts a smile on people's faces at practice,' I knew that was what (boys basketball head coach) Scott Stanfield said," Pederson said. "Then I had a pretty good idea it was me."

Pederson, who plans to attend North Dakota State College of Science in Fargo next year and major in business, has earned eight letters in football, basketball and baseball. He is a 3-time captain, a multiple all-conference award winner and was a state participant in football.

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"It's been a great experience being a Warrior athlete," said Pederson. "I've made memories I will never forget. I've made friends I will never forget for the rest of my life."

Ellingson, who plans to attend Concordia College in Moorhead next fall and play hockey, treasured the opportunity to be selected.

"I'm very humbled and thankful that all those coaches said those nice things about me and (thankful) to win this award because a lot of great athletes in the past have won this award," she said. "I'm really thankful for it."

She had no inkling of her selection.

"I didn't want to assume anything but I didn't know," she said.

Ellingson has earned 11 letters in soccer, hockey and softball. She is a 4-time team captain and a 2-time team most valuable player. She has has earned multiple scholar all-conference awards, is a Brainerd Dispatch Scholar Athlete and has been named all-conference six times.

"I made my best friends through sports," Ellingson said. "This banquet makes me miss everything. It's made me think about all the past things that have happened. It's made me miss what it's all about. I'm really thankful that I've been in sports because those are some of the best times I've ever had in high school."

Additional awards

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MSHSL AAA: Matt Majerle, Cassie Gardner

Erwin Thiesse Award: Dan Shire
Bud Schmid Award: Tim Peabody

Silent Warriors: Ken and Joan Mimmack, Jim and Celeste Gardner, Dave and Kim Ellingson, Heidi McKeag, Carissa and C.J. Ulness, Suzie Smith, Andy Smith, Marie Johnshoy, Craig and Jennifer West

MIKE BIALKA may be reached at mike.bialka@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5861. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bertsballpark .

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