Neither Braydon Deming nor Brittanee Fisher thought they would leave the Red Lion Hotel Convention Center as the Midland Roundtable Athlete of the Year.
However, each left humble, happy and pleasantly surprised at the conclusion of the annual banquet Wednesday.
Deming, a senior at Billings West, and Fisher, a senior at Billings Senior, were all smiles when they claimed the awards.
Fisher thanked her family, coaches, teachers, friends and mentors, saying, "I wouldn't be standing up here without you guys."
Deming thanked the Roundtable, coaches, teammates and family. He also thanked his twin brother, Bryson, also a finalist for the award.
"Bryson, this award is mine as much as yours," he said. "You have always been my greatest competition and teammate."
Overall, five boys and girls were finalists for the award. Finalists are all seniors who will graduate later this month from one of the Billings high schools.
The other boys finalists were: Keaton Anderson, Senior, football, track and field and basketball; Nathan Dick, Senior, football and basketball; Dawson LaRance, Senior, cross country and track and field; and Bryson Deming, West, football, basketball and track and field.
The other girls finalists were: Tyler Fleury, Skyview, volleyball and softball; Sydney Norwood, Senior, volleyball, basketball and softball; Cody Rogers, West, volleyball, basketball and softball; and Josie Snyder, Central, soccer and basketball.
Last year’s winners were Jacob Hadley of Central and Christina Aragon of Senior. The award dates to 1989.
Braydon Deming was a standout on the football field, basketball floor and track for the Golden Bears. Along with Bryson, he will play football at the University of Montana next fall. He said winning the award was special with all of the exceptional athletes nominated.
"I'm definitely honored to receive this award," he said. "There are a lot of great athletes here. Just to be a part of it for these two weeks and a nominee was special enough. To win it is even better. It could have been any of us five. I really think so. It must have been a hard decision."
Braydon was a first-team all-state tight end and first-team all-state inside linebacker this year. He was also honorable mention outside linebacker in 2015. He has also been selected to play in the 71st Montana East-West Shrine Game and the Knights of Columbus Badlands Bowl, but will not play in either as he will be in Missoula getting ready for the upcoming season.
While playing basketball for the Golden Bears, Deming averaged 16.1 points per game this past season, ranking sixth in Class AA. He also averaged 8.2 rebounds to rank fifth. In fact, he was in the top six in six different statistical categories in Class AA. Along with his scoring and rebounding averages, Deming was fourth in steals per game (2.11), sixth in field goals made (112), fourth in 3-point field goal percentage (42 percent) and fourth in 3-pointers per game (2.26). He was a two-time first-team all-state pick. Deming will also play in the Midland Roundtable Montana-Wyoming all-star basketball series.
In track and field, Deming has put together another solid spring. According to the Elite Track and Field Lists, he has the third-best shot put throw in the state this year and second-best discus toss. He was the State AA champion in the shot put last year and second in the discus.
"It definitely took a lot of work," Deming said of playing at a high level in three sports. "It did not come easy. I have a great support staff. My brother is my biggest competitor and pushes me like nobody else."
It is the first time a West boy has won since 2012, when Brady Gustafson was honored.
"I wasn't expecting to win," Deming said. "I was enjoying these last two weeks like everybody else and whatever happens, happens. But, I couldn't be happier to win this award."
Fisher excelled for the Broncs in basketball and softball and will play college softball for Montana State Billings. Like Deming, she was shocked when it was announced she was the winner.
"They are just wonderful athletes," she said. "I had the pleasure to play with or against them for four years. I am honored to be presented with the award."
This year in softball, Fisher is batting .442 with seven home runs and 24 RBIs in 18 games heading into the Broncs Thursday playoff series against West. Fisher, a first baseman and right-handed pitcher, can also play the field well as she posted a .978 fielding percentage as a sophomore. This year she has a .921 fielding percentage. Fisher also leads the Broncs in ERA at 4.06. She has earned academic all-state recognition three times.
As a freshman, Fisher hit a career-best .550. During her junior season, she was honored with Senior’s “Thumper Award” as the team's best hitter.
In addition to playing varsity softball four years, Fisher also played varsity basketball two seasons for the Broncs, helping the team to the State AA third-place trophy this year. She averaged 6.1 points and 4.5 rebounds.
"It hasn't quite set in," said Fisher as she was looking at the traveling trophy with past winner's names engraved on it. "I keep looking at the trophy and now realize I'll have my name on there and am a part of history."
It is the fourth straight year a Senior High girl has won the award.
"That is amazing," Fisher said of the Broncs' run.
Winning the Kathy Maier Scholarship Awards were Josh Kraft of Central and Nicole Guentner of Skyview.