Park's Brinkman ready to score more

By John Molene
Posted 5/29/24

It was in the late stages of a tight game with Cretin-Derham Hall when an opponent figured out a way to stop Park’s Madi Brinkman. “Just knock her down,” one of the Raiders said to …

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Park's Brinkman ready to score more


It was in the late stages of a tight game with Cretin-Derham Hall when an opponent figured out a way to stop Park’s Madi Brinkman.
“Just knock her down,” one of the Raiders said to a teammate while pointing at Brinkman. But even that strategy didn’t work in the end. Brinkman scored five of Park’s eight goals in a tense win over Cretin. Brinkman did get knocked down, pushed out of bounds and was frequently double teamed.
But she still did what she’s been doing all season long, put the ball in the back of the net.
Brinkman has had a remarkable season so far for the 12-1 Wolfpack, with no signs of slowing down. Her 64 goals this season is the second highest number of goals scored in Minnesota, trailing only Southwest Christian’s Gisella Harder’s 70.
Averaging five goals a game, Brinkman had scored eight goals in a game twice this season, seven once, and six goals in each of Park’s last two wins, against Woodbury and Apple Valley. Her season low of two goals came against Roseville, but Park didn’t need her scoring that night as classmate Josie Leonard was on fire with six scores.
“I feel like it’s a big meaning for me,” Brinkman said of her scoring prowess. “I’m just proud of myself for like getting to that and just keep driving even when these teams are trying to not let me score and being able to drive and score and just being able to win the games.”
Just a junior, Brinkman had already committed to play college lacrosse at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, MO. Brinkman had some Division I interest, but chose a Division 2 school in order to have more of a college life balance between school and lacrosse.
“I just loved the coach at coach at Missouri and I loved the feel and just everything about it, the campus was amazing and the players were amazing,” Brinkman said.
Brinkman started playing lacrosse when she was about 8 or 9 but wasn’t on a team until age 12 because there wasn’t a team for her to join. She was on the first organized Cottage Grove team with all ages combined. She and Josie Leonard figured out pretty quickly how to do it.
“The first year I started it was pretty much me and Josie just playing pass with each other to get those three passes because you had to get three passes before you could score,” Brinkman recalled. “Then we would just go and score.”
Brinkman, and Leonard (29 goals and 14 assists on the season) have continued their high-powered ways ever since.
Leonard plays hockey and tennis for the Wolfpack but it’s obvious where she excels the best.
“I think it’s (lacrosse) really just the game for me. I just like being with my teammates and just that drive to just do everything,” Brinkman said. “I think the draw is definitely my favorite thing. Like when I was younger, I had the height, so I automatically just went up and did it and I just fell in love with it.”
At 6-foto-1, Leonard often towers over her opponents. She is able to use her height to advantage.
“I would say it’s a big advantage because I’m tall so I can just reach over a lot of girls. Like when we played Cretin the other day, I was just cradling way high up and they couldn’t get it (the ball) from me. Ground balls are sometimes hard because I have to get really low.”
As her goal count has soared this season, more opponents are often double teaming her.
“It’s very frustrating,’ Brinkman said. “It’s happening more often but I feel I’ve kind of figuring out ways for it to not get in my head as much. And like my dad he’s on the sidelines now and he talks to me, and he coaxes me through a lot of stuff and he figures ways I can get away from them. A big part of it for me is it staying out of my head. It’s like my dad says, to be a goldfish, they have like a 14 second memory.”

Brinkman and the Wolfpack are obviously having fun competing and winning this season. The most fun, she said, is "My favorite thing to do is when I win the draw and go down and score. That's definitely my favorite thing to do. Or even the little things like winning the draw when my teammates get ground balls or like when Ava Reckinger runs all the way down the field, it's just fun for me to watch."

One of Brinkman’s goals for the rest of the season has already happened, the Wolfpack repeating ats conference champions. The next obvious goal is making it to state.