DEER RIVER — The first Deer River All-Class Homecoming and Hall of Fame Induction Program will be conducted soon.

According to organizers, the event is for all classes of Deer River High School and it gives an opportunity to come together to recognize and honor athletes, coaches and fans.

Inductees into the first class of the Athletic Hall of Fame are Adam DeLawyer, Steve Ott, Damon Benham, Cristy Risberg, and Rudy Prazak,

Events planned for the event is a volleyball match versus Northland Remer on Thursday, Oct. 7, at 7 p.m. in the Deer River High School East Gym.

Festivities continue on Friday, Oct. 8, when the Warriors football team plays host to Barnum in a 7 p.m. game in Deer River.

On Saturday, Oct. 9, there will be a pancake breakfast at the Deer River High School Commons from 9 a.m. to noon.

In addition on Saturday, a 5K Fun Run will be conducted with registration at 9 a.m. at Deer River High School with the run beginning at 10 a.m. There is a $15 fee.

An All-Class Homecoming Social and Buffet will be conducted Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Deer River High School Commons. A silent auction and split the pot will be available.

The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be at 6 p.m. in the Deer River High School East Gym. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 10 and include the social/buffet and induction ceremony. They can be purchased in advance from high school coaches and athletic booster club board members.

Following is information regarding the inductees:

Adam DeLawyer

Adam DeLawyer is a 2002 graduate of Deer River High School where he was involved in boys basketball and golf. He was the team captain his senior year in boys basketball and was selected to the All-Conference team.

Adam’s golf career was legendary. He qualified for the state tournament as a freshman and was individual Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) runner-up his sophomore year. As a junior in 2001, he was the MSHSL state boys golf champion. In his senior year, he finished as the fourth place individual at the MSHSL State Tournament.

Adam also won several statewide junior golf events held in the USA. His college career started at Division 1 Coastal Carolina for two years on an athletic scholarship. He then continued his collegiate career golfing for the University of Wisconsin and was named team captain. He also gave back to his sport and community by coaching younger golfers to aspire and achieve.

Steve Ott

Steve Ott graduated in 1968 from Deer River High School. He was a four-time letter winner in football and a three-time letter winner in basketball.

Steve started his coaching career in Babbitt, Minn., as an assistant coach in several sports, but he returned to Deer River to teach and coach in 1977. His coaching duties included both assistant girls basketball coach and head girls basketball coach, and eight years as an assistant football coach.

His head coaching tenure in football lasted 22 years at Deer River where he amassed a career record of 192-52. During his time, he won 11 conference championships, 10 section championships, 10 state tournament appearances and was the state runner-up in Class B in 1991.

Steve has been a seven-time conference Coach of the Year and a Section Coach of the Year 10 times. He was selected to coach in the All-Star Football Game on the Outstate staff in 1991, and was selected to the Minnesota Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 2013.

Steve’s contributions to Deer River football are still alive today from the youth football program through all levels at the high school.

Damon Benham

Damon Benham is a 2012 graduate of Deer River High School where he was involved in football, basketball and baseball. In basketball, he was a captain and a three-time All-Conference selection, Duluth News Tribune All-Area Team and Associated Press All-State Honorable Mention. He also is a member of the 1,000 Point Club.

In baseball, he was a member of two section champion Deer River teams in 2010 and 2011, as well as section runner-up in 2012. The team finished fourth at state in 2010, and sixth in the state in 2011. He was All-Conference, All-State and was named All-Area.

In football, Damon was a three-time All-Conference selection and the team was a section runner-up in 2011. He competed at the collegiate level for Division II Bemidji State University of four years. In 2015, BSU was co-champion with the University of Minnesota-Duluth in conference action. In 2016, BSU finished second in the conference, winning the Mineral Water Bowl for its first-ever postseason win. Damon was one of the captains, First Team All-Conference, First Team All-Region and an All-American.

Cristy Risberg

Cristy Risberg is a 1991 graduate of Deer River High School. While in high school, she participated in volleyball and track. In volleyball, she was a two-time All-Conference selection, and in 1990 she was named WCCO Prep Athlete of the Week, received All-State Honorable Mention, and played in the All-Star game.

Cristy competed in five events in high school track and field where she held school records in four different events. She participated in four MSHSL state track and field meets in the long jump, placing sixth in 1988, sixth in 1989, second in 1990, and first in 1991.

After high school, Cristy went to the University of North Dakota on a track scholarship for two years participating in numerous events including the heptathlon and pentathlon. Cristy was All-Conference in the high jump at UND in 1993, and has the UND 4 x 100 record.

Cristy spent her next two years at Bemidji State University where she broke seven individual records in five events and was named NSIC Conference Athlete of the Week twice. She was inducted into BSU’s Hall of Fame in 2020.

Rudy Prazak

Rudy Prazak graduated from Deer River High School in 1961. During high school he participated in football and basketball. He also was a local legend on the summer softball circuit participating on both slowpitch and fastpitch teams.

Rudy has to be one of the best fans, if not the most true fan. Deer River High School athletics had ever had. He is at most of the home events no matter the sport or level playing. He travels to away games as much as possible and is a fixture at events. Deer River sports are lucky to have such a loyal fan and supporter.


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