Owatonna High School Names ‘Athletes of the Year’
The Owatonna High School athletic office named the female and male senior and junior athletes of the year on Wednesday. The ceremony in the auditorium also recognized the 110% award winners, the new O-Club members, and the Minnesota State High School League Triple-A and ExCEL Award recipients.
Sarah Kingland and Payton Beyer were named the Oldenburg Senior Athletes of the Year. Olivia Herzog and Grant Achterkirch received the Junior Athlete of the Year honors. Sydney Hunst and Nolan Burmeister were named the 110% Award winners.
Lane Versteeg and Hunst were highlighted as Owatonna's Triple-A nominees, an award for seniors. Versteeg won the statewide honor and a scholarship. Ava Hess and Connor Ginskey were honored for being the Huskies' ExCEL students, an award for juniors. Hess was a state winner too.
Oldenburg Senior Athletes of the Year
Sarah Kingland is in the process of earning her sixth letter in track, and missed the ceremony while competing in the Big Nine Conference meet. She has won three letters in soccer. Coach Nate Gendron indicating, "Sarah is a strong outside defense that often marked the other teams fastest player." Kingland has three basketball letters, was a three-time All-Conference pick, and was top-two in scoring for the team each of the last two seasons.
Other finalists were Anna Herzog (soccer and hockey) and Grace Wolfe (hockey and a future Division I player with St. Cloud State University)
Payton Beyer was a three-year letter winner in football, a member of three straight section title teams, and named the OPP Area Player of the Year. He also earned three letters in basketball and was a player on this year's state tournament team. On the baseball diamond, Beyer is "proving to be the best center fielder in the last 15 years at OHS," according to notes from the coaching staff/athletic office.
The other finalists were Zach Kubicek (soccer, hockey, lacrosse) and Matt Seykora (football, wrestling state meet qualifier, baseball).
Junior Athletes of the Year
Olivia Herzog is a four-year letter-winner in tennis and has an overall record of 73-12. She is a three-time place-winner at the Big Nine tennis tournament. Herzog has 97 career points in hockey and has earned four letters on the ice as well.
Other finalists for the junior female award were Taylor Schlauderaff (basketball, soccer, track) and Ava Wolfe (hockey and track, where she has qualified for state multiple times)
Grant Achterkirch led the section champion Owatonna football team in tackles last fall. He is a "very consistent and tough defenseman" in hockey, according to program notes. On the baseball diamond, Achterkirch "is a tremendous leader, extremely coachable and athletes that has allowed to play multiple positions this season."
The other male finalists were Landen Johnson (state champ wrestler) and Preston Meier (multi-time state cross country qualifier, hockey, lacrosse).
Sydney Hunst was a captain in soccer and hockey. Gendron said, "Syd works hard everyday in practices and games. She sets a great example for others around her and is a leader on and off the ice." In hockey, Hunst reached the exclusive 100-point club with 44 goals and 61 assists in her career. She plans to play hockey at St. Ben's.
Nolan Burmeister played soccer and basketball. Basketball coach Josh Williams said, "Nolan is the epitome of what this 110% Award means. He is (and always has been) a relentless worker who dedicated himself to being the best student-athlete possible."
The O-Club grew by nine during the 2020-2021 schools year. To be included, a student-athlete must letter three times during their senior year and have at least five letters in their career.
- Hudson Aase - football, wrestling, clay target
- Aaron Bangs - football, soccer, hockey
- Payton Beyer - football, basketball, baseball
- James Henriksen - swim/dive, clay target, track and field
- Sarah Kingland - soccer, basketball, track and field
- Zachary Kubicek - soccer, hockey, lacrosse
- Samuel Sampson - soccer, hockey, golf
- Matthew Seykora - football, wrestling, baseball
- Lane Versteeg - soccer, football, basketball, golf
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