Gymnastics: Olson, Deason back at state in opposite roles

Brenna Deason (left) and Izzy Olson practice Monday, Feb. 17, in the gymnastics room at Brainerd High School. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

It should be no surprise Izzy Olson and Brenna Deason are in another state meet.

The dynamic freshman duo will compete in their second Class 2A State Gymnastics Meet 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, at Roy Wilkin’s Auditorium in St. Paul.

What is a surprise is how the two flipped events. Last year, Deason competed in the all-around, while Olson was in the vault and floor rotations. This year is Olson’s turn to be in the all-around, while Deason will compete on vault and floor.

“Sometimes you kind of wonder because these girls are so naturally talented,” Warrior head coach Tessa Poorker said. “They’re in multiple sports together. They’re friends. They’re good friends. They go to school together and so you wonder, how much time do they want to be together. You will look over and they are constantly cheering for each other and high-fiving and hugging each other and pushing each other. I think that’s what brings the best out in both of them. They love when they can qualify for state together and room together and do all the fun things. It’s just really cool to see their bond. They are so close in competition and yet they can push that aside and have a friendship, too. It makes it more fun for the team and coaches, too, to know that there is healthy competition in the gym, but we’re also friends at the end of the day.”

Last year, Olson advanced to state in diving, gymnastics and was part of the state qualifying Warrior girls golf team. Deason advanced in gymnastics and track and field last year. They both qualified for state diving last fall and return to state gymnastics.


Olson finished third in the Section 8-2A meet in the all-around to secure the final spot. She posted a 36.625 thanks to her fourth-place floor, fifth-place bars, eighth-place vault and 12th-place beam.

“Going into the section meet, we knew it was going to be a challenge,” Warrior head coach Tessa Poorker said. “We have great talent in our section. The all-around was kind of going to be a tough one since they only take three. Sartell has some great gymnasts, St. Cloud Tech does, Bemidji does. We weren’t banking on an all-around position, but between Brenna and Izzy we had a good chance, we thought. It was surprising for all of us to see Izzy go and she was super excited about that.

“The biggest goal is just making it on one event, but to make it on four, I mean, she had a great day. We were excited for her.”

Poorker said there won’t be any major upgrades to Olson’s routines, but she does expect her to be clean and shine in front of the judges.

“Her vault has been consistent all year,” Poorker said. “Her scores have been ranging pretty good so that could be a good place to get a pretty impactful score. There will be a lot of good vaulters there doing probably more difficult vaults, but with her consistency -- that’s good.

“Her floor has been upgraded within the last couple of weeks and we’ve seen a significant difference. She just sells her floor so well that I think the state judges are going to like it. Her bars started to click last week. She got her career-high at the section meet, which is awesome. She tried to relax a little bit more and trust the process and it fell together for her so that was very exciting. I’m excited to see how she does with bars at the state meet, too.”

Last year, Olson placed 43rd on vault with a 9.0 and 46th on floor with an 8.9875. Deason posted a 23rd-place all-around score of 34.825 at last year’s state meet. She was 40th on vault with a 9.125, 45 on bars, 48th on beam and 26th on floor with a 9.3875.

“Brenna has always anchored floor for us and everybody’s eyes just draw to her Michael Jackson routine,” Poorker said. “She does it so well and she’s so clean that judges reward that. She has some difficulty in her tumbling, but not like crazy big things that you would see from other gymnasts at the state meet, but the all-around package of her floor routine is so pretty and flawless. She loves doing floor so she’s excited to go.


“She’s not doing any upgrades. Again, we’re just cleaning things up and seeing what the max score we can get for the routines that we have.”

Deason scored a second-place 9.4 on vault in the Section 8-2A meet. She finished fifth on vault with a 9.425.

“This is a new vault for her,” Poorker said. “She started it in the middle of the season. It’s a higher start value, which was great for her all-around score and for the team score as well. It’s just getting more consistent each week. She has great form and she gets great height. She’s so powerful on vault. The judges love the height that she gets off the table. She’s a little bit crooked sometimes, but those are the types of things we were trying to fix this week. She’s almost getting a 9.5 on the vault so we can’t ask any more of that.”

The girls will start on bars in the first rotation and then move to beam followed by floor and will finish on vault.

State Gymnastics

Who: Brainerd’s Brenna Deason, Izzy Olson

When: 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22


Where: Roy Wilkin’s Auditorium, St. Paul

Team: State Team is Friday, Feb. 21, 11 a.m. Class 1A, 6 p.m. Class 2A

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