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Warriors Athlete of Week: Deason opens season in record-breaking fashion

Brenna Deason won three events, and broke a school record in one of those to earn athlete of the Week honors.

Girl running track.
Brainerd Warrior Brenna Deason blasts out of the blocks during practice Monday, April 4, 2022, at Adamson Field.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
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BRAINERD — Right out of the blocks Brenna Deason made history.

The Brainerd Warriors track and field athlete broke a nine-year-old record in her very first event of the season Saturday, April 2.

Deason won the 60-meter dash with a school-record time of 8.0 at the Central Lakes Conference Indoor Championship at St. John’s University. She then won the 200 dash and the pole vault to lead the Warriors to a third-place team finish.

“I honestly wasn’t expecting it,” Deason said. “I was just going there to get some times down and see where I was. It made me feel a lot better about myself and it shows that putting the work in at the gym really does help.”

Deason’s 8.0 topped Courtney Ryan’s record time of 8.12 set in 2013

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“Starts can always get better, but especially this year, I do think I have much more of an advantage because I’ve been working out a lot more than I have in past years,” Deason said. “There’s definitely room for improvement, but I feel a lot better starting this year than I have in past years.

“I’ve just been doing morning workout classes at the high school and that’s definitely helped me show a lot of improvement on the track.”

Deason was assigned the outside lane for the 200 dash, which she called the worst possible lane to be in.

“You don’t really know where the other athletes are on the inside lanes,” Deason said. “I just went all out and gave it all I had at the end. I just went all out in the 200. I didn’t really think about it.”

Her top time in the 200 came last year with a 26.29 which has her eighth on Brainerd’s all-time list.

“It’s certainly beneficial to have an athlete like Brenna,” Warriors head girls track and field coach Ashley Rutman said. “The challenge for the coaching staff is to make sure you don’t run them ragged and stretch them too thin. It’s a great asset to any team to have an athlete like Brenna, but we need to balance her individual goals with our team goals.

“She certainly gives us some guarantees. While anything can truly happen no matter the caliber of the athlete, I think what it allows us to do is play around in matching other athletes to some events and helps us prioritize where we can get some big points and then figure out where everyone else needs to go to secure more points. She’s consistently that big point scorer for us.”

The junior’s major goal this season is to break Sam Smith’s pole vault record of 10-9 set in 2009. She’s sitting fourth on Brainerd’s Honor Roll list with her 10-foot effort at the Class 2A State meet last spring.

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She’s given our team a little bit of gusto and advanced our mindset on where we think we can compete with other teams.
Ashley Rutman

On Saturday, it was just Deason’s second time on vault this spring.

“I was just doing it for fun,” Deason said. “My coach told me I didn’t really need to do it. I was just doing it to see where I was at. That was only my second day pole vaulting this season. I think it was just mainly for practice so I wasn’t really expecting to win. That was a good booster for me I guess.”

Deason said she felt no nerves doing the pole vault despite the lack of practice. She said it’s because track has always been her favorite sport and she’s willing to do or try anything. Well, almost anything. She said she’d rather not run the mile or longer.

“I would say, for Brenna, as far as her motivation and just trying to hone in on her certain events and not stretch herself so thin that’s been good for her,” Rutman said. “She’s doing well balancing her running and her pole vaulting. Last year she was intermingling some jumping in there and it was a hard entry into the season. I think she felt pulled in a lot of directions. She looks more balanced and looks less frazzled.

“She’s so driven and hard-working and she’s been able to reserve specific times for her events where last year she was doing three different things in practice on any given day. This year, it’s been nice because we can designate certain days for her pole vaulting and other days for her sprinting.”

At last year’s state meet, Deason placed eighth in the 100 dash with a 12.29. That’s also a school-record time. She bettered the old record of 12.54 set in 1986 by Tracey Brown. She was 12th on the pole vault with a 10-foot and helped Brainerd’s 4x100 relay to third place with a 48.83.

Brainerd’s 4x100 returns three of the four girls from last year’s team in Deason, Myah Nelson and Molly Hagelie. Deason is hoping for even more success this year.

“We are very competitive in Brainerd, especially since me and Myah have been on the same relay since I was in eighth grade,” Deason said. “I’m not sure what other athletes in Brainerd are going to do, but it’s a very competitive, but also fun environment race. I enjoy it very much. It’s like a family sort of. You’re just hoping everyone comes together and you get a good score, but at the end of the day you’re working so hard together so it’s mainly a family-type event.”

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As an eighth grader, Deason finished 11th at state in the 100 dash with a 12.47. She was also on the 4x100 and 4x200 relays.

There was no season during her freshman year of high school.

“One of her characteristics is she very much a quiet leader,” Rutman said. “She brings a different caliber of competition to our team and she has since she came to us as an eighth-grader. She’s given our team a little bit of gusto and advanced our mindset on where we think we can compete with other teams.

“She’s just one of those athletes you love to have on your team because she doesn’t need to say much, but she leads by example and leads through her dedication and determination and it’s fun to see that trickle down into our other athletes.”

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 855-5856 or jeremy.millsop@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.

Other notable performances

Dillon MacLaughlin, track and field, won the 60-meter dash at the Central Lakes Conference Indoor Championship.

Brandon Stark, track and field, won the 400-meter dash at the Central Lakes Conference Indoor Championship.

Thomas Ruhl, track and field, won the 800-meter run at the Central Lakes Conference Indoor Championship.

Hanna Caughey, track and field, won the shot put at the Central Lakes Conference Indoor Championship.

Dylan Gross, track and field, won the shot put at the Central Lakes Conference Indoor Championship.

Andrew Albright, track and field, won the long jump and placed second in the 60-meter hurdles, triple jump and third in the shot put at the Central Lakes Conference Indoor Championship.

Brenna Deason

Brenna Deason
Brenna Deason
Steve Kohls

Sport: Track and field

Position: Sprints, relays and pole vault

Year: Junior

Age: 17

Height: 5-foot-4

Career highlight: Placing fourth at the 2021 state gymnastics meet

Other sports: Diving and gymnastics

Grade-point average: 3.8

Favorite class: English or pottery

Favorite food: Pasta

Favorite movie: “Smokey and the Bandit”

Favorite TV show: “New Girl”

Favorite website or app: Instagram

Favorite restaurant: Applebee’s

Future plans: Attend college for Sports medicine and hopes to compete in track and field

Favorite athlete: American track and field Olympic athlete Katie Nageotte

Parents: Cary and Stacy Deason

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