Warriors Athlete of Week: Deason determined to 'better her best'

Brenna Deason opened her senior season by breaking her own school record and adding another first-place finish.

Brained Warrior track and field athlete Brenna Deason practices her pole vault technique.
Brainerd Warrior track and field athlete Brenna Deason practices her pole vault technique Monday, April 3, 2023, at Brainerd High School.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD -- Brenna Deason’s name is peppered across the Brainerd Warriors track and field honor roll.

The senior is part of the fastest three 4x100-meter relay teams in school history, including the fastest time of 48.64, which she helped accomplish with former Warriors Gabbie Smith, her sister Kayla Deason and Myah Nelson.

She’s a member of two of the three fastest 4x200 relay teams including the fastest with Smith, Ellie Selisker and her sister. That foursome posted a 1:44.33 in 2019.

She owns the school record in the pole vault with her sixth-place 11-foot-3 effort at last year’s Class 3A state meet.

She owns the school record 100 dash time of 12.22, which she posted last season.


She is currently fifth on the honor roll for the 200 dash with a 26.01 time she ran last season.

On Saturday, April 1, Deason broke her own school record in the 60 dash with a time of 7.9 to place first in the Central Lakes Conference Indoor Championship. She also won the pole vault Saturday with a vault of 9-6 to help the Warriors to second place as a team.

“Honestly, I kind of forgot how nervous I could get for track,” Deason said. “I was shaking a little bit and I felt it in my stomach. I hadn’t felt those nerves in a while. It does mean more. I think I’m a little more nervous because this is my last go-round. I kind of feel the nerves a little bit more, I think.”

She’s created a name for herself in Brainerd athletics.
Ashley Ruttman

Deason said her goal for the 100 dash this season is to break into the 11-second realm. She tried a new running form for her 60 and she believes it will translate well for the 100. She’ll see if breaking her record of 12.22 is possible after her first time running an open 100.

Warrior head girls’ coach Ashley Ruttman said that’s the most remarkable thing about Deason’s storied career. The fact that she continues to get faster.

“To be honest, I think the fact that she continually betters her best is pretty phenomenal,” Ruttman said. “I think sometimes with female athletes to be so good early on you hit these plateaus and that literally has never happened to her. That’s the impressive part. Every year is better. Every year she breaks her own records and I think that is a phenomenal thing to be able to do.”

Deason is excited about the new practice facility track and field is using for field events. The old high school swimming pool was used by the Warrior dance team during the winter and is being used for the pole vaulters this spring.

It’s working as Brainerd’s Gavin Hoelzel won the boys’ pole vault title Saturday.


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“It is so nice,” Deason said. “I can’t even tell you how much I feel ahead of the game. All of the athletes there Saturday, they don’t have an indoor practice facility so I feel prepared already. We’re definitely ahead of the game.

“I think for the first meet, I was happy with whatever I was going to do. You can’t really expect too much. It’s just about getting back into the rhythm of things. I wasn’t expecting a whole lot.”

The senior has already been named the girls track and field most valuable performer twice. Her first honor came in 2019 as an eighth grader and she was awarded it again last season.

“That was one of the cool parts when she was an eighth-grader and first came onto the scene she created an atmosphere of Ah,” Ruttman said. “A lot of even our older athletes were just inspired by this little, young eighth-grader who was really elite. I think that momentum has carried over with her. Younger athletes look up to her as this powerful athlete. She’s very quiet. She is a role model to younger kids and she does impact them. Kids watch her. She’s just a kid other athletes know. She’s created a name for herself in Brainerd athletics. It’s her quiet demeanor and powerful performance on the track and the field that help her stand out for kids.”

Deason qualified for state as an eighth grader in three events. She anchored the 4x100 and 4x200 relays and placed 11th in the 100 dash at state. Deason thinks she’ll continue to do the 4x100, but wants to focus on her individual events this season.

“I want to do the open 200 more than the 4x2 because that school record has definitely been a goal of mine for a while,” Deason said. “The 4x100 and more open events is what I’m going for.”

After the cancellation of the 2020 season, Deason returned to state in 2021 where she placed eighth in the 100 dash, 12th in the pole vault and helped the 4x100 relay to third.

Last year, she finished 13th in the 100 dash, sixth on the pole vault and helped the 4x100 qualify again.


“She’s a naturally powerful athlete, but she also works very hard at practice,” Ruttman said. “She wants to do well. She’s very goal oriented and she puts in the daily work to be successful at that level.”

The three-sport star parlayed her high school career into a spot on the North Dakota State University roster next season.

“I’m very motivated this year,” Deason said. “I’ve put in a lot of work this year and I’m very confident.”

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

Brenna Deason

Brenna Deason
Brenna Deason
Kelly Humphrey

Sport: Track and field

Position: Sprints, pole vault, relays

Year: Senior

Age: 18


Height: 5-foot-5

Career highlight: Placing sixth in last year’s state pole vault

Other sports: Swimming and diving and gymnastics

Grade-point average: 3.85

Favorite class: Nutrition

Favorite food: Pasta

Favorite movie: “Smokey and the Bandit”

Favorite TV show: “Love is Blind”


Favorite musician: Michael Jackson

Favorite restaurant: B*Merri at the Woods

Future plans: Attend North Dakota State University and run track

Favorite athlete: Armand “Mondo” Duplantis, Swedish-American pole vaulter

Parents: Cary and Stacy Deason

Other notable performances

Hannah Drietz, track and field, won the 3200-meter run in the CLC Indoor Championships.

Brandon Stark, track and field, won the 400-meter dash in the CLC Indoor Championships.

Gavin Hoelzel, track and field, won the pole vault in the CLC Indoor Championships.


Emily Bastian, Katelyn Kennedy, Annelise Baird and Madelyn Miller, track and field, teamed up to win the 4x800-meter relay in the CLC Indoor Championships.

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