Yoncalla HS star athlete inducted into National High School Hall of Fame

SEATTLE, Wash. - Former Yoncalla High School track & field standout Maranda Brownson was inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame this past Saturday, July 1. A banquet, scheduled during the NFHS Summer Meeting, was also held at the Hyatt Regency Seattle that evening to present the Hall of Fame awards to Brownson and other former students throughout the U.S. that were selected for the honor.

Maranda Brownson was one of the most dominant track and field performers in the nation during her four years at Yoncalla High School from 1998 to 2001. Amazingly, she competed in and won four events each year, the maximum number, at the Oregon School Activities Association Class 2A State Track and Field Championships. At the time of her graduation, she won 16 of 16 events. Brownson was one of only two athletes, girls or boys, in Oregon history to accomplish the feat.

During her historic run of state titles, she never won the same combination of four events. She won six different events, including the 200-meter dash and 100-meter hurdles all four years. She won the long jump three times, high jump and triple jump twice and 100-meter dash once. She helped Yoncalla to one state title, one runner-up finish, along with one third-place finish and one fourth-place finish. In her final two years, she scored all 40 of her team’s points.

Brownson also played basketball at Yoncalla and was a four-time letter winner and two-time Big Fir League most valuable player. She was the 2001 Oregon Girls Prep Athlete of the Year and 2001 Eugene Register-Guard Prep Athlete of the Year. She competed in track and field collegiately at the University of Nevada and is listed on a number of all-time indoor and outdoor best performance lists.

Tom Derbyshire, Maranda’s middle school coach who first discovered that there was something special brewing with this young Yoncalla track & field athlete, was present at the 40th class induction. Prior to the induction ceremony, 10 of the 12 inductees, as well as representatives of the other two inductees, in this year’s class will be present at the press conference at 12:00 p.m. on July 1 to field questions.

“I loved competing.” Browson said.  “I loved running and jumping.  All I wanted was a chance to compete. When I got to high school we had a cinder track and it didn’t slow me down.  I remember thinking we could hold the Olympics there in my mind, I was so excited to have a chance to run. I think about how much support I had. My coach, who is here from middle school, realized I had a chance to be successful. He told me I could do big things.” Brownson reflected.

There were four outstanding former high school athletes in the class, along with five high school coaches, one administrator, one from the performing arts and one other contributor inducted into this year's Hall of Fame awards ceremony, which also will be streamed by NFHS Network through their Website at: https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/nfhs/evtd830c6bfe2

Brownson recalled the amount of support she received at Yoncalla High school and how it has changed her life today.

“Everyone got behind me and pushed me through and sitting here now, I recognize it’s a lot of who I am and what gets me through being a mom. I’m super grateful for this program and all that it stands for. I was grateful when I got the call because it reminded me of who I am and how much influence we have in our communities and how important it is that we keep it moving forward.” she said.

“It’s definitely an honor to be here from such a small town.”