Gymnastics: Warrior sophomores hope to make a splash at state

Brainerd Warriors Josie Harguth and Brenna Deason will compete in the Class 2A state gymnastics meet.

Brainerd Warrior gymnasts Josie Harguth (left) and Brenna Deason leap on the balance beam Tuesday, March 23, 2021, in the Brainerd High School gymnastics room. The gymnasts have qualified for the state gymnastics meet. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Brenna Deason is no stranger to state meets.

The Class 2A state gymnastics tournament Saturday, March 27, at Champlin Park High School, will be slightly different, however, as Deason won’t be accompanied by classmate and teammate Izzy Olson.

The two have shared the state spotlight three times between gymnastics and diving. Not this time, though, as an injury sidelined Olson for the season.

Deason won’t be going to her third state gymnastics meet alone. With her will be fellow sophomore Josie Harguth.

The Section 8-2A co-champion beamer will be making her state debut. Harguth posted a first-place tying score of 9.45 on beam Saturday, March 20, to qualify.


“She just needs to go out and do Josie’s thing,” Warrior head coach Tessa Poorker said. “She has mental toughness on beam. We think it’s the hardest event mentally.

“We are competing on beam in the third rotation so we’ll be well into the meet so she’ll get a feel for (the atmosphere) since it’s her first time. That’s good that we’re not starting out on beam and having those nerves. She is just calm and confident and that’s what you need in a beamer.”

Poorker attributed a late-season switch in the Warriors’ beam order to Harguth’s poise during the section meet. For the last few meets, Harguth was the team’s anchor on beam.

“It is a different set of nerves,” Poorker said. “You get nervous just competing on beam in general. Then to move to the anchor spot and just knowing your team is relying on you to finish out strong adds to the pressure. She has that mental toughness to do that. Either way, no matter if she has a fall or not, she finishes strong and doesn’t give anything else away. Her attitude doesn’t really change. Her demeanor is so good that it doesn’t affect herself or the team.”

Harguth opens with a 10.0 start value which is the highest an athlete can start with.

“Josie comes in with high difficulty between her jumps and her skills and it’s a very balanced out routine between front and back skills and things like that, which the judges really like,” Poorker said.

Deason battled back from late-season injuries to qualify in both the vault and floor. At the section meet, Deason posted a 9.35 on vault and scored a 9.325 on floor.

“We talked about possibly working some upgrades this week, but with her just coming back fully in all four events, it’s probably wasn’t the best choice to work those upgrades,” Poorker said. “Plus, she competes on Saturday and goes right to track practice on Monday. I wanted to make sure that her track season is up to par and where she wants it to be so we didn’t want to risk anything.


“She’s excited to represent and go. She did not think she was going to make it and so to make it on the vault and floor is really exciting.”

Deason was 22nd on vault last year landing a 9.4. She placed 40th on floor with a 9.175. As an eighth grader she qualified in the all-around.

Poorker said Deason’s goal on floor is to not get whiplash.

“Last year she did a funky, I guess you call it whiplash because she got too high on a flip and came down and jolted her neck,” Poorker said. “She did the same thing at the section meet so I think she just gets too excited and the adrenaline overtakes a little bit. So literally our goal is to not get whiplash this year and just hit all of her passes and show off her great routine.”

Deason did pump up her start value on floor to a 10.0 as well.

On vault, with shin splints still bothering her, Deason just wants to land on her feet.

“It’s kind of hard to have a score in mind when you get to the state meet,” Poorker said. “There are four judges and you’re not exactly sure what they are looking for and there is a lot of great competition. We’re just thrilled that she is there and hoping to land on her feet and hoping to show off a layout suk for the first time and see what we can get from that.”


JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or Follow on Twitter at

Class 2A State Gymnastics

Who: Brainerd Warriors Brenna Deason and Josie Harguth

When: 6 p.m.. Saturday, March 27

Where: Champlin Park High School

Pods: Brainerd will compete in a pod with athletes from Section 1, 2, 3 and 8.

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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