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OHS announces athlete of the year candidates
Roy Koenig, Sports Analyst
sports wrap, roy koenig, owatonna, sports

It’s difficult to narrow the list of top student-athletes at Owatonna High School, but the process to do so has come up with the finalists for senior and junior female and male athletes of the year.

The seniors are Samantha Bogen, Molly Achterkirch, Carsyn Brady, Jacob Ginskey, Owen Beyer and Mitch Seykora. The junior finalists are Blake Davison, Nolan Ginskey, Seth Johnson, Halle Theis, Jozie Johnson and Kennedy Schammel.

These 12 athletes represent well over a dozen state qualifications and a multitude of Big Nine Conference championships across fields, gyms, rinks and tracks. Accomplishments include a near-dynasty in gymnastics, back-to-back state true team track and field appearances and a state tournament football game last fall.

At least a couple of them battled some serious adversity. Beyer missed his junior seasons of hockey and baseball due to a back injury. Jacob Ginskey was sidelined a couple of times in football and sat out most of his senior basketball season due to a wrist injury.

Brady is a five-time state meet qualifier in cross-country. Achterkirch earned six letters in hockey. Bogen is a 12-time letter winner. Beyer scored a historic goal versus Lakeville North in the playoffs. Jacob Ginskey was a Mr. Football nominee. Seykora played in the high school all-star football game.

Many will continue athletics after high school. Brady will run at North Dakota State University. Bogen will play hockey at the University of St. Catherine. Beyer plans to skate for a junior hockey team. Seykora will head to Iowa Central Community College for baseball. Jacob Ginskey will suit up with Gustavus Adolphus University for football.

Jozie Johnson is a four-time state gymnastics qualifier. Theis has gone three times. Schammel was voted a top-five Big Nine Conference soccer player. Davison is an ExCEL Award winner. Nolan Ginskey was the MVP in football and basketball. Seth Johnson competed in both hurdle events at the Hamline Elite Meet.

An awards ceremony on May 22 includes honoring the 110% recipients and members of the O-Club.


Salute to the seniors

Owatonna softball held its Senior Night on May 16.

“A lot of us have played together for a long time. So, it’s super cool to continue those bonds as we finish out our careers,” said Izzy Radel on the Owatonna Live Coaches Show.

Taya Selbrade stepped into the role of starting catcher.

“It’s been really fun to ease into playing with all these girls and it hasn’t been that big of an adjustment. I feel like all of us have just come together to form a really good connection, and it’s helped me behind the plate find my spot,” said Selbrade.

“Many have been starting since their freshman season. Four years of starting. And really as they have come up this program has risen. They’re a tremendous group. Competitors. Talented. Great on and off the field. Good leaders. We’re going to miss them a lot,” said Owatonna head coach Jeremy Moran.

The Huskies beat Albert Lea 6-4 to close a 15-5 regular season. Zoie Roush homered. Seniors include Radel, Selbrade, Roush, Samantha Bogen, Mehsa Krause, Kennedy Hodgman, Danika Ringhofer, Jennalyn Maloney-Fisher and managers Brooklyn Lacher and MaKenna Neumann.

The season started with the opening of Federated Park.

“We were definitely anticipating it leading up to it. And then having that bigger crowd there, just feeds into the energy in the game and it was super fun,” said Radel.


Airplane racing coming through town

It doesn’t necessarily lend itself to being a spectator sport, but airplane racing is coming through Owatonna’s Degner Regional Airport in mid-June.

The 47th Air Race Classic starts in Illinois on Tuesday, June 18, with teams of at least two women making their way to Loveland, Colorado, by Friday, June 21.

“There’s about 10 stops along the way and these airplanes get timed. We’ll be the fifth stop. So, we’re expecting some fun things there. They do a really good job. It was fun to be selected as a stop for that event. The folks came in. They said this is a great facility. It’s a good location for the route,” said airport manager Dave Beaver on Owatonna Live’s Business Talk.

Race director Theresa White expects racers to hit Owatonna on Friday, June 19, but indicates, “After they start, teams are on their own to fly as many legs as they want each day and stay overnight wherever they want, as long as it’s at one of the official race stops. The weather is the main factor that plays into those decisions.”

Each plane receives its own handicap. A news release says, “Teams are racing against their own best time, not against each other. This creates a level playing field, so slower planes can compete against faster ones on an equal basis.”

“The history of it dates back to the ’20s when Amelia Earhart and other famous women aviators did these air derbies all over the country. It was picked up 47 years ago by a group that said, ‘Let’s bring that back,’” said Beaver.

He said it doesn’t have to be university teams, but the last race included teams representing the University of North Dakota, Purdue, and Minnesota State-Mankato.

“It’s really neat because they tell a little story about the racers in all their publications, about all the landing points along the way. So, we’ll get featured in a couple national publications on that in June. It’ll be fun,” said Beaver.


Opener is a winner

The Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener in Owatonna last October was chosen as an Owatonna Tourism Award winner. It will be celebrated during National Tourism Week during a reception at Foremost Brewing on May 22.

Committee chair Glenda Smith, Director of Conventions and Tourism for the Owatonna chamber, wrote in an email, “No one individual could possibly be recognized by themselves for this award due to the collaboration, commitment of each committee member and the willingness to work together to highlight so many great aspects of our community and county.”

Activities during the opener included a land dedication at the Somerset Wildlife Management Area, media tours of the new high school and McKinley’s Willow Creek Wildlife Area and a special display at the Owatonna Arts Center of the works of Jim Killen and Sherry McCartney.

Governor Tim Walz flipped a ceremonial coin at Federated Field for the Huskies’ football game on that rainy Friday night. Members of the OHS clay target team assisted with several aspects of the event including teaching media members the art of trap shooting.


Free pickleball

The Owatonna Pickleball Association is hosting a free introduction to the sport on Wednesday, May 29 at the Morehouse Park courts from 5:30-7 p.m. Equipment is provided. No need to register. Just show up in tennis shoes and comfortable clothing. play-by-play schedule

Thursday, May 23
OHS softball playoffs
OHS baseball vs. Park, 5:30 p.m.
JV/varsity girls lacrosse vs. Mankato, 6 p.m.

Monday, May 27
OHS baseball playoffs

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