District 833: Four area student-athletes honored with Athena Awards
In Greek mythology, among other things, Athena is the goddess of heroic endeavor.
The four local seniors each were awarded with their school’s Athena Award.
Now in its 20th year, the Athena Award is given annually to one outstanding female athlete in the senior class. The Athena is awarded based on excellence and accomplishments in both individual and team sports, throughout the duration of the student-athlete’s career. Consideration is given to both one-sport and multi-sport athletes. Athletes are nominated by their coaches and chosen by the Athena Awards Committee, which is comprised of school representatives, parents of previous award winners and business volunteers.
Keys, of Cottage Grove, has earned 13 varsity athletic letters in her time at Park High School – five in hockey, four in soccer and four in golf. She has been named all-conference in the Suburban East three times for golf and twice for hockey. She also has one all-conference honorable mention award for hockey and for soccer. She was a team captain for the Park soccer, hockey and golf teams, was a Hobey Baker Character Award winner on the ice and a state participant and all-state honorable mention award winner on the golf course. Keys was also a three-time academic letter winner, was academic all-state and was part of Park’s Link Crew program. She will attend Minnesota State University-Mankato next fall, where she plans on pursuing a degree in nursing or education while playing Division 1 hockey.
Jamie Swanson, of Woodbury, earned seven letters for East Ridge High School – three in volleyball and four for basketball. Swanson, who is East Ridge’s all-time leading scorer in basketball, was named all-conference three times and all-conference honorable mention once on the basketball court and was all-conference honorable mention twice in volleyball. She was a volleyball team captain once and a basketball team captain two years. Outside of the field of play, Swanson was on East Ridge’s prom and homecoming committee, was a member of Link Crew and part of the school’s captains council. She also volunteered at the Woodbury Health Care Center and was a Raptor Reader. She is currently undecided on college, but has plans to attend a four-year college and play basketball.
Kristina Swanson, of Woodbury, earned nine athletic letters at Woodbury High School – six for swimming, two for golf and one for Nordic skiing.
Kristina Swanson was a four-time all-conference award winner for the Woodbury girls swimming and diving team. She was a team captain and state finalist with the Royals’ 200-yard medley relay and 200-yard freestyle relay teams. Swanson was also a captain for the golf team. She also was a member of the National Honor Society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, volunteered as a Sunday School teacher and was a middle school science tutor. Swanson will attend the University of Minnesota next fall, where she’ll plan on studying nutrition and Spanish.
Chloe Westlund, of St. Paul Park, has 10 varsity athletic letters from New Life Academy in Woodbury – five in soccer and five in softball. With one softball season still remaining, Westlund has already been named all-conference in the Minnesota Christian Athletic Association five times – four for soccer and once for softball. On the soccer field, Westlund was a team captain two years, won the school’s Eagle Award twice and the team’s Golden Boot Award four times. On the softball field, Westlund is a team captain this season and was named to the all-section team and all-state tournament team in 2013 along with winning the team’s Eagle Award last season. Westlund also takes part in choir, is a teachers aid and the student manager of the NLA boys basketball team. She also volunteers at Feed My Starving Children and Operation Christmas Child and has been a Salvation Army Bell Ringer. Next year she will attend Southwest Minnesota State University and play soccer.
Keys, Jamie Swanson, Kristina Swanson and Westlund will be among 42 young women, representing St. Paul city and suburban public and private high schools, to be recognized at an awards ceremony and luncheon, on Wednesday April 16, at the Prom Center in Oakdale. The keynote speaker for the event is Nicole LaVoi, Associate Director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sports, from the University of Minnesota. KARE 11 TV news anchor Randy Shaver will again emcee this year’s ceremony.