ST. CLOUD -- Thirteen area athletes were given a special honor Wednesday afternoon. St. Cloud Area Schools held the first ever Central Minnesota Athena Awards at the River’s Edge Convention Center.

The ceremony was modeled after similar events held in Minneapolis and St. Paul. High schools from all over the region were invited to select a single recipient of the award named for the Greek goddess of wisdom, courage, and several other traits.

St. Cloud Area Schools’ Executive Director of Community Education Adam Holm helped bring the event to the area. He says the schools were able to use their own criteria for their selections.

Our goal was to provide the venue and say give us your best female senior athlete – you have to be a senior, but give your best athlete, what your school values. We don’t judge, we don’t critique it. We took whoever came and as you saw the schools did a great job. Each student was deserving.

In addition to sports, the honorees are involved in a variety of extra-curricular and volunteer groups in school and the community.

Holm says he hopes the event will continue to grow in the future.

So we hope just to keep growing and keep celebrating the great things our students are gonna be doing in the classroom and as they compete, and we hope it grows. We hope that other communities see the value, but at the end of the day, if we can celebrate one student-athlete for doing great things, we’re gonna continue to do that because that’s what counts.

University of Minnesota women’s basketball coach Lindsay Whalen, a former athlete at Hutchinson High School, was the event’s guest speaker.

She spoke about the importance of hard work, discipline, leadership, and teamwork as well as always being ready for your opportunity when it comes along.

2019 Central Minnesota Athena Award Recipients:
McKenzie Duwenhoegger, Alexandria
Olivia King, Brainerd
Jessica Milstroh, Foley
Elizabeth Wortz, Hutchinson
Brook Carney, Moorhead
Jenna Carlson, Royalton
Brooke Walters, Sartell-St. Stephen
Reece Ritter, Sauk Centre
Lariah Washington, St. Cloud Apollo
Megan Voit, St. Cloud Cathedral
Meya Washington, St. Cloud Tech
Emma Lezer, St. Michael-Albertville
Emily Beseman, Swanville

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