Multi-Sport Athlete Dea Deleon to Focus on Softball Beyond Esko |

Multi-Sport Athlete Dea Deleon to Focus on Softball Beyond Esko

Alicia Tipcke
Created: June 07, 2020 11:12 PM

Last season the Esko softball team clinched their fourth straight Section 7AA championship.

Senior outfielder Dea DeLeon was looking to help the Eskomos make it five in a row this spring, before the season was canceled.

"[The] first thing that went to my head definitely was sadness. Especially for my fellow seniors, and other seniors in the area and everywhere, that aren't playing college softball. That just kind of made me feel and realize how fortunate I [am] to play another four years," said Dea DeLeon, a recent 2020 Esko High School graduate. 

After hitting a .526 batting average at Esko, and earning a 2019 All-State honorable mention, DeLeon saw her hard work pay off. She committed to play Division II softball at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

The Bulldog softball team has also seen recent success, coming off two consecutive NCAA Regional berths. 

"I could have played Division III hockey, and I would love that. But I wanted to give myself a challenge and play at a Division II level, and just try to see new opportunities," said DeLeon.

The outfielder added she's looking forward to playing Bulldog softball with fellow incoming freshman, Cloquet's Kiana Bender.

DeLeon and Bender were linemates on the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton girls hockey team. During the 2019-2020 season, they helped CEC finish with a 27-4 overall record as the Class A state runners up at the Xcel Energy Center.  

"I'm always the last one out, skating out onto the ice, and I think the biggest thing that I remember is when I first took my first couple steps out there. Each game I would make sure I looked up and just took in every single moment. It was just an amazing experience for everyone," said DeLeon about the 2020 Minnesota state high school hockey tournament. 

In the spring, Esko and Cloquet softball operate independently from a co-op, turning DeLeon and Bender into friendly rivals on the diamond.

"Me and Kiana are best friends like I said, we're rooming together [at UMD], but you know there's always that competitive drive," commented DeLeon. "Same thing with Taylor Nelson also playing on Carlton. We're all linemates and we're all so competitive, and that's what makes us good athletes."

Athleticism runs in DeLeon's blood. Her varsity volleyball coach was her mother and her father is the athletic director at South Ridge High School.

During her time at Esko, the multi-sport athlete picked up one more talent as the locker room DJ.

"So I was big on the music and dancing and loosening up before games and, I mean, those were always great moments," added DeLeon.


Alicia Tipcke

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