Female Area Athlete of the Week: Dehn continues to work towards perfection

Little Falls senior is area athlete of the week

Maddie Dehn
Maddie Dehn

Maddie Dehn is trying to end her senior season on the right note.

The Little Falls gymnast won three events last week in the Flyers 121.3-115.85 win over Paynesville.

Dehn scored a 7.55 on the uneven bars, an 8.6 on the balance beam and a 9.15 on the floor to win all those events.

On the vault, Dehn is trying a new routine and was spotted during her attempt which voids her of a score in the vault and in the all-around.

“Maddie is such a hard worker and she gets in a lot of reps in practice,” Little Falls head coach Rachelle LeBlanc said. “She turned in a really solid beam performance which gave her a high score and she’s always so consistent on the bars. That consistency gives her a high score on bars. On the floor, we’ve been trying to get her over the 9.0 hump and 9.1 was the goal. She just put it all together and got her highest score of the season.”


Dehn is usually the Flyers top all-around gymnast. She was second in the all-around against Maple Lake Jan. 7. She won the all-around against Park Rapids Jan. 4.

In a four-team invite at Maple Lake, Dehn finished fifth in the all-around with fourth-place finishes on the beam and floor.

“For Maddie, she had a lot of psychological blocks and gymnastics is a very mental sport in how you encourage yourself and she’s improved leaps and bounds in her confidence and being consistent,” LeBlanc said.

Dehn’s best event is the floor. She’s scored an 8.8 or higher on the floor in every competition this season.

“I think I have a strong skill set on the floor,” Dehn said. “I just like competing and there is a lot less stress in the event because there is nothing to fall off on. I just have a lot of fun doing it and dancing.”

On the beam, LeBlanc noted that Dehn has yet to fall off the balance beam all year.

“I just try to throw it like I do in practice,” Dehn said. “You can get a lot of nerves when competing, so I used to throw differently so I could land differently, but a lot of times that would throw me off, so I just try to do the same thing.”

The toughest event for Dehn to score on is the uneven bars. LeBlanc said Dehn has spent a lot of time after practice in perfecting her bars routine.


“I’ve gotten some new skills this year and it’s probably the hardest event for me to get good scores on,” Dehn said. “I got my handstand on bars and I got a few release moves that I haven’t competed in yet, but I will this week.”

The vault is also usually a strong event for Dehn. When she was the all-around champion against Park Rapids, she posted an 8.4 on the vault.

It’s also an event she is trying to get a higher score on which is why she didn’t post a score against Paynesville.

“We started doing flipping suks into the pit this summer and I’ve been trying really hard to get them,” Dehn said. “I’m trying them this week and hopefully I can land them because that would really improve my score.”

LeBlanc added: “There’s a lot of ankle injuries that can come from this skill, so we haven’t gotten in too many reps to keep her ankle safe.”

As a senior, Dehn has stepped up as a leader for the Flyers.

“Maddie is a captain for us and is very encouraging to her teammates and very humble,” LeBlanc said. “They see Maddie and they see her working on those difficult skills, but she brings a lot of joy to the team.”

LeBlanc said Dehn’s ability to not quit makes her a special gymnast.


“She won’t leave an event until it’s perfect and she feels confident,” LeBlanc said. “She will get in so many reps and when she’s determined to get a new skill she’ll continue to work it until she gets it.”

Other notable performances:
Basketball: Tori Oehrlein, Crosby-Ironton, finished with 43 points, 20 rebounds and eight assists against Staples-Motley.
Olivia Peterson, Pillager, scored 27 points against Verndale.
Ramsey Tulenchik, Pine River-Backus, scored 27 points against Cherry and 23 points against Nevis.
Maci Martini, Pequot Lakes, scored 21 points against Staples-Motley.
Juliana Ewald, Pillager, scored 20 points against Browerville.
Reagan Ludovissie, Verndale, scored 20 points against Sebeka.

Maddie Dehn
Year: Senior
School: Little Falls
Sport: Gymnastics
Highlights: She won three events for Little Falls in a win over Paynesville.

Started at the Dispatch in June of 2019.
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