Brainerd All-Sports Banquet: Evans, McElfresh Warriors' Athletes of Year
Jack Evans was in a conundrum.
Should he play in a Central Lakes Conference golf meet that teed off at 3:30 p.m. Monday, April 30, at Willmar or, as a senior, attend what would be his final Brainerd Warriors All-Sports Banquet?
After a little arm twisting from family and friends, it turns out Evans made the correct decision as he was named the Warriors' Male Athlete of the Year at the banquet.
Three-sport athlete Regan McElfresh took home with the female honor.
Evans, who has earned seven letters in hockey and golf, said family and community members convinced him he should attend the banquet.
"It was a tough decision because it was a conference meet," he said. "The season's so short to begin with, with the poor weather at the start of the season. It was tough missing a meet, but this is pretty fun."eagan
In addition, he had no idea one of the reasons people were encouraging him to attend was that he might be male athlete of the year.
"There were so many athletes in my grade, it could have been a number of people," Evans said.
McElfresh, an 11-time letterwinner in soccer, basketball and track and field, also had no inkling she was going to receive the honor.
"I was totally shocked," she said. "There's so many great athletes out here. I was really honored."
McElfresh plans to attend the University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse in the fall and major in biology. She is a 2-time team captain, a 2-time team most valuable player, has earned scholar all-conference on multiple occasions and is a Brainerd Dispatch Scholar Athlete.
She earned all-conference honors five times, ranks among the top five scorers in the history of the girls soccer program, set a school record for assists in a season (19) last fall and finished fourth in the state in scoring with 114 total points.
"I absolutely loved Brainerd," McElfresh said. "I love my coaches. I love my teammates. I love everything about the Warriors. I love the atmosphere. My coaches are amazing. I couldn't imagine a better four years. High school is really awesome."
Evans plans to attend the University of Sioux Falls next fall and play on the golf team. He's considering a possible major in business.
He is a Brainerd Dispatch Scholar Athlete, a 3-time captain, 5-time all-conference honoree and a 3-time team MVP. He earned all-state honors twice, is a state golf participant and a coaches association top 10 player each of the past two seasons.
"It's been the time of my life, all the memories and friends that I've had all the way up since I first moved here in fourth grade," he said. "There's no way I can forget any of this. It's been something truly special, this feeling of being a Warrior. It's never going to go away."
• MSHSL Academics, Arts and Activities: Maria Bell, Michael Bylander
• Bud Schmid Award: Mary Ecklund Tollas
• Silent Warriors: Mike and Bev Owen, boys swimming and diving; Heidi Johnson, boys hockey; Patti and Brian Wallace, girls swimming and diving; Brian and Nikki Stark, adapted floor hockey; Amy Vleck, adapted floor hockey; Shane Hardee, volleyball; Tony Erholtz, Nordic skiing; Tim Goeden, boys tennis; Steve Lundberg, boys tennis
Athlete of Year criteria
• Senior athlete who participates and achieves at a level of excellence in one or more sports during their senior year.
• Does not have a Minnesota State High School League eligibility violation in their career.
• Is a recognized team leader by coaches and peers, one who leads by positive example in practice, play and in school life.
• Models good sportsmanship; respects coaches, teammates and opponents.
• Their attitude is one that embraces and displays the core values of the Warrior Way: Loyalty, self-sacrifice, hard work, caring for others, team play and competitiveness
• Process: Nominated and selected by head coaches.