Whether kicking a soccer ball or making a kick save as a hockey goalie, Owatonna's Asia Buryska has used her feet to become one of the top players in her class and was named the Oldenburg Senior Athlete of the Year Thursday. She received her plaque during the second day of a parade of OHS coaches traveling to the homes of the finalists. Zach Wiese won the Male of the Year honor.

The other finalists are Kaitlyn Madole, Sara Anderson, Isaac Gefre, and Keenan Young. The Junior athletes of the year Lindsay Bangs and Payton Beyer found out their awards Wednesday. The other junior finalists are Brayden Truelson, Zach Kubicek, Sarah Kingland, and Grace Wolfe.

Buryska said on Thursday, "It's such a big honor just to be recognized like this, and two times two years in a row (after being a Junior Athlete of the Year finalist in 2019). I'm so thankful for everyone, all my teammates and everyone supporting me...I think just having such a good group of teammates, encouraging me all the time and helping me be my best, and helping me keep what I want in my future. I keep that in mind as I work toward those goals."

Buryska was a member of Big Nine Conference championship teams in soccer and hockey. She was named the top attacking player and top senior in the conference in soccer. She was team MVP in hockey and All Conference in both. Buryska captained both clubs and collected eight total letters between the two.

Buryska has committed to playing soccer at Bemidji State University. During Letter of Intent Signing Day, she said, "It's definitely going to be a big step up in competition...Just being around the girls and getting to play every single day was probably the best part of it (playing spots)."

A league in Mankato she had hoped to play in has been cancelled for the summer. She plans to work out on her own while preparing for Division II college soccer.

Soccer coach Nate Gendron said, "Playing collegiate athletics at any level is difficult. But to make it at the Division II level is pretty special. So that's great for Asia and she's gonna excel there. She demands everything at her feet. She's going to do well."

Owatonna athlete
Roy Koenig/Townsquare Media

Madole commented, "It was a nice surprise to find out the other morning to find out I was a finalist along side Asia and Sara, who are awesome leaders and players. It's a pretty cool experience." Athletics have given her great opportunities and relationships, "My teammates and coaches, they've all been such great role models. I definitely wouldn't be here without them." Madole played volleyball and softball. She plans to attend the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and tryout for the softball team.

Sara Anderson Owatonna athlete
Roy Koenig/Townsquare Media

Anderson said, "It's just very exciting. I've put a lot of time and hard work into all my sports. So it's just awesome to be nominated for this award." She said the time spent on athletics is well worth it, "I love tennis and all my sports, basketball and track. It's like a community, and all the friends I have made from it, I just love the atmosphere."


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