Athena Awards spotlights female athletes | Sports


The best seniors will be honored at two upcoming events

The tradition of honoring top female high school athletes returns this spring with the Athena Award Banquets in St. Paul and Minneapolis.

This year, the annual events coincide with the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex in educational programs or activities at institutions that receive federal financial assistance. Under the Title IX umbrella were public school districts and more than 5,000 post-secondary institutions.

Athletes from Apple Valley, Eagan, Eastview, Farmington, Lakeville North, Lakeville South, Rosemount and Trinity at River Ridge High Schools will participate in the St. Paul Area Athena Awards Ceremony at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 20 at Vadnais Heights Commons.

KARE-11 news anchor Randy Shaver is the emcee. The keynote speaker will be Nicole M. LaVoi, director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport, associate professor at the University of Minnesota School of Kinesiology, and former varsity tennis coach.

Zoie Dundon, winner of the Burnsville High School Athena Award, will be part of the Minneapolis Athena Awards program on Friday, May 6 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center. The keynote speaker is Mary Jo Kane, who founded the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport and served as its director until her retirement in 2019.

Minneapolis is bringing back an in-person awards ceremony for the first time since 2019; they did not take place in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. The St. Paul chapter held a limited in-person ceremony last year, but winners were not allowed to bring guests due to COVID-19 protocol.

A 10-time varsity letter winner in three sports, Jensen’s next destination is Hamline University, where she will study psychology and play basketball.

Jensen earned five basketball letters and was twice named All-South Suburban Conference honorable mention. She led the Eagles in scoring in the 2021-22 season.

She earned three letters in soccer, once an honorable mention in all conferences and two letters in lacrosse. Jensen is a member of the National Honor Society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She coaches kindergarten and elementary school soccer and basketball players.

Dundon won a state Class AA track and field championship in the 800 meters in 2021 and has state experience in two other sports. She was one of the top players on a Burnsville hockey team that won the Class AA consolation championship in February. Dundon also helped lead the Blaze to another in-state appearance in 2020, as well as Burnsville’s first South Suburban Conference women’s hockey championship.

On the track, she holds the school records for the 800 and 1600 meters. Dundon is also the Burnsville 5 kilometer cross-country record holder. She qualified for two state cross country meets and would have advanced to 2020 if there had been a state meet (didn’t happen that year due to COVID-19)

She is president of the Burnsville Student Council and a member of the National Honor Society. She will compete in track and field and cross country at the University of Minnesota and major in physical therapy.

Maccarone is a seven-time state medalist in gymnastics and finished third in all-around at the 2022 Class AA competition. She was a four-time All-State selection in the all-around and earned All-America Elite honors four times , All-America four times, and Academic All-America four times. Maccarone is also a two-time All-America selection and helped Eagan place fourth in the 2021 state team competition.

She competes in the pole vault in track and field, earning three All-State Academic Honors.

Student 4.0 was an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction in 2021, is a member of the National Honor Society, and received the Dartmouth Book Award. Maccarone has been involved in many community projects, including serving as president of the Eagan High School Interact Club. She also found time to perform and compete with the Twin Cities River Rats Water Ski Club.

Hallum was a key part of the Eastview dance team dynasty, helping the Lightning win six state championships and eight state medals. She’s earned four letters in sports, winning All-Conference three times, All-State once, Tag Team MVP once, and Academic All-State in 2022.

In track and field, Hallum was a state qualifier in the 400-meter and 4×200 and 4×400 relays. She was part of an Eastview relay that won a South Suburban Conference championship in the 4×200. She won an All-Conference Award and an All-State Track Award.

Hallum, who has a 3.83 grade point average, is a member of the National Honor Society and the Developmental Psychology Club. She volunteers with Feed My Starving Children and the Lightning Dance Team Clinic. She plans to compete in dance at the University of Minnesota or Ohio State.

Moehle helped Farmington reach the state’s Class AA women’s hockey tournament three years in a row from 2018-21. She’s a four-time letter winner, two-time all-conference player, two-time all-conference player honorable of all conferences, team rookie of the year and team captain. Moehle led the Tigers in goals and points as a senior.

In lacrosse, she is a five-time letter winner and four-time team captain. She’s been an all-conference, Farmington rookie of the year, and an all-sections player.

Her volunteer projects include working with Feed My Starving Children and Toys for Town. She also works in Farmington’s youth mentorship program for hockey and lacrosse. Moehle will study business management and play hockey at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

One of the top Nordic skiers in the state, Engels has competed in three state high school meets (with a high finish of 10th in 2022) and twice qualified for the U.S. Junior Nationals. In each of the past two seasons, she has been the South Suburban Conference pursuit champion, Division 1 pursuit champion, and All-State. Engels earned six varsity letters in skiing, was named an all-conference five times, and was a three-time team captain and team MVP.

Engels earned three letters in cross country and was captain of the Panthers in 2021. She competed in two spring sports, earning two letters each in lacrosse and track and field. She played for a Lakeville North team that finished third in the state lacrosse tournament in 2019.

A member of the National Honor Society with a 4.07 GPA, Engels also does vocal music at school and participates in several community activities, including Feed My Starving Children.

A standout tennis player for the Cougars, Deml will participate in the sport at Minnesota State Mankato while pursuing a pre-med degree. She won 94 games at Lakeville South, the third most in school history, and played twice in the state’s Class AA doubles tournament. Deml was captain and MVP of the 2021 Lakeville South team that won the South Suburban Conference championship.

Other tennis highlights include going undefeated in college as a seventh-grader, three team MVP awards, and three all-conference awards. Deml was team captain in 2020 and 2021.

The National Honor Society member earned Academic All-State in tennis. Deml also sits on the student council and does several volunteer activities, including coaching young tennis players.

Ratzlaff helped two Rosemount teams reach the state women’s basketball tournament. The Irish were Class 4A runners-up in 2021 and finished fifth in 2022. It was the first time in the program’s history that the team qualified for state in consecutive years. Ratzlaff was a two-time team captain, a team MVP, a three-time defensive MVP, and also won Athlete-Scholar awards. She was all-conference once and all-conference honorable mention three times.

In volleyball, Ratzlaff was team captain, Rosemount Defensive Player of the Year, won the Irish Work Ethic and Leadership Award, was named All Conference Honorable Mention and won a college athlete award. She also played lacrosse and tennis, winning Most Improved Athlete and Scholar awards in each.

An A Honor Roll student who also participates in the Chess Club, Choir and National Honor Society, Ratzlaff will study at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.

Trinity School at River Ridge

Michalak will attend the University of St. Thomas to study mechanical engineering after a high school career that included eight letters combined with soccer and basketball.

She earned five football letters and was a captain for two years. Michalak was named All-Conference three times and All-State once. She also won the Trinity Award and was named the team’s Offensive MVP. In basketball, she wrote three letters and served as team captain in her senior year. She was named her team’s offensive MVP and earned an all-conference honorable mention once.

Michalak has received numerous academic awards, including Summa Cum Laude on the National Latin Examination three times.


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