Female junior and senior athletic award finalists announced

Ruby Garza, Writer

As the school year and spring sports season start to wrap up, many seniors prepare to say goodbye to their highschool sports career while juniors get ready to go through their seasons one final time next year. Every year, 12 students who show great leadership and dedication are chosen by coaches to be recognized and awarded in front of family and friends. The awards that are presented are: Junior Athlete of the Year, Oldenburg Senior, Senior 110%, “O” Club recipient, Excel Recipient and Triple “A” award winner.

All finalists and recipients are model members and students of the Owatonna High School community. Many of them are involved in year-round sports while being able to keep up with their academics and community service. This year’s junior finalists are Annika Moran, Abby Vetsch and Ezra Oien. This year’s senior finalists are Janessa Moore, Hillary Haarstad and Ava Wolfe.

Senior Finalists
Janessa Moore is a three sport athlete who has dedicated her time and effort into gymnastics, track and soccer. Not only is Moore a year round varsity athlete, but she is also involved in a multitude of clubs, including Alliance for Greater Equity, DIG and DECA. Sports has played a massive role in Moore’s life, and having played for 15 years now she has made some amazing accomplishments and memories. Being a finalist for the ceremony has made Moore feel like her hard work has been recognized. Moore said, “It feels nice. It feels like all my hard work and effort that I put in has finally paid off and you know, recognition feels nice.”

Hillary Haarstad has been an all-year sports player her entire highschool career, playing varsity basketball, track and soccer. Outside of sports, Haarstad is involved in many clubs such as NHS, DECA and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Haarstad does not plan on competing in her sport in college but is planning on majoring in marketing at the University of Wisconsin La-Crosse. Sports have always played a big part in Haarstad’s life, so being nominated for these awards has been a major way of displaying her hard work for all to see. Haarstad said, “It feels really cool because as an athlete you work really hard throughout the year and there’s so many talented people in the school so it’s an honor to be thought of as one of those top athletes.”

Ava Wolfe is a two sport athlete who has been working hard at hockey and track, starting her career in varsity sports in seventh grade. Next year Wolfe plans on running D-1 track at St. Thomas University. Wolfe also manages to dedicate her time to clubs she is passionate about, such as 4H, NHS and YSL. This is the second year Wolfe has been nominated for the award. She said, “I was a finalist last year. I’m just really proud of myself. I’ve been pushing myself to be the best I can be and I’ve really worked really hard to be the best that I can be in sports.”

Junior Finalists
Annika Moran has been an avid member of the OHS community by being a part of cross country, basketball and lacrosse. Not only does Moran dedicate her time to sports, she is also a member of NHS and the OHS band. Sports have been a huge part of Moran’s life having played them since she was a child to now being in three sports every year. As a junior, Moran has started thinking about how sports may be involved in her future as a college athlete. Moran said, “I want to continue playing sports, even when I get older and I want to play lacrosse in college.”

Abby Vetsch has been a varsity player for OHS athletics for almost her whole high school career, and currently she plays hockey and soccer. Outside of sports, Vetsch dedicates her time to NHS, Big Brothers Big Sisters and hanging out with friends. For as long as Vetsch could remember, she had been playing sports year-round. Although she has yet to decide on what sport she wants to pursue after high school, Vetsch is planning on pursuing a career in the medical field. She feels very honored to have been nominated. She said, “It feels good that I’ve been fortunate enough to get this opportunity.”

Ezra Oien plays varsity hockey and soccer while still being able to maintain all of the clubs she is involved in. Oien is currently involved in DECA , Big Brothers Big Sisters, NHS and choir. Sports have played a major role in shaping Oien into the person she is today, Oien said, “I would say sports are definitely part of me aside from school. It’s something I motivate myself to do. I think I’ve gotten a lot out of it, whether it’s life lessons, or dealing with adversity. Just competition persevering through different things. It’s definitely something that has shaped me as a person and who I am today and I would never take that back.”

All these girls have worked incredibly hard to balance their dedication to sports and school. A major congratulations is in place for Ezra Oien and Ava Wolfe who won their respective awards last night. Good job to all who were nominated for putting in their outstanding efforts to be exemplary members of their teams and the OHS community.