Brenner competed collegiately for UCLA. He won the 1984 NCAA Championship in both the shot put and the discus throw. That year he set the collegiate championship record in the shot put at 21.92 m (71 ft 103⁄4 in) that lasted 11 years until it was surpassed by John Godina, also from UCLA, which is the current record.
With a personal best of 22.52 m (73 ft 101⁄2 in) from the 1987 Mt. SAC Relays, as of June 2013, Brenner ranks as the ninth-best shot putter of all time.