AHS Hoops

Ashland senior Mayella Brinker drives during a girls high school basketball game between Ashland and Duluth Denfeld on Jan. 2. Brinker is a finalist for the Powerade Athlete of the Year award this year.

Mayella Brinker has had quite an impact during her time as a student-athlete.


The Ashland High School senior has been a key member of a number of Oredocker sports teams since she first donned the purple and gold four years ago, and she has succeeded academically as well as a member of several extracurricular activities and groups, including the National Honor Society.


Now, even as the rest of the school year and the spring sports season hang in the balance, Brinker has an opportunity to close out her high school career with one more major accomplishment as a finalist for the Powerade Athlete of the Year Award.


“Schools around the area of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan all can nominate male and female athletes who are not only great athletes, but also involved in their school and community,” Ashland Director of Athletics and Activities Travis Larson said. “A number of Ashland athletes were nominated, and Mayella was chosen to be a finalist.”


The award — along with $1,000 — is presented by the St. Cloud, Minn.-based Viking Coca-Cola Bottling Company to five male and five female student-athletes from across the region “who have been recognized within their schools for their community and extracurricular involvement,” according to the company’s website, and Brinker remains in the running as one of 50 finalists for the annual prize.


“Mayella has excelled in the classroom, consistently holding a very high GPA in all her courses, as well as outside of it, captaining the sports teams she has been on, while being tremendously successful in volleyball, basketball, soccer and track,” Larson said. “Mayella is one of the most internally driven individuals we have ever coached or taught. In every situation Mayella is always willing to put in maximum effort, is extremely reliable and has a tremendous attitude.”


“Mayella is so deserving of this award,” former AHS girls varsity basketball coach Brett Gunderson said. “She is so dedicated to each and every sport she competes in. She excels in being a fantastic teammate and leader on and off the court. She is a standup young lady and I am honored to have coached her the past four years.”


In addition to being a multisport athlete and leader for the Oredockers on the court and the field, Brinker has participated in numerous extracurricular activities during her time at the high school, including Spanish club, orchestra, Battle of the Books and Link Crew.


According to her bio on the award website, “Mayella is a born leader. She is always willing to be a role model and is comfortable doing so in a large or small group setting... Mayella works with players of all levels and treats everyone with the utmost respect. She volunteers [her] time to read with elementary kids, play games with young athletes and be an example for others to follow... Mayella also coaches youth volleyball, and players gravitate to her because of her personality. If there is an opportunity to help others, Mayella will be the first in line to do so.”


Voting for the award is open to the public, and community members can do their part to nominate Brinker for the award by visiting the voting page on the company’s website at https://vikingcocacola.com/community/powerade-athletes-voting.

One vote per day per IP address is allowed, and voting ends April 18.


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