APS Column: Winter activities at Austin HS

Published 5:50 pm Friday, February 25, 2022

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By Lisa Quednow

Austin High School Activities Director

This winter has been a flurry of fantastic activities and accomplishments for our students here at Austin High School. We are about halfway through section and state tournaments and we have already experienced some remarkable successes.

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One of the big highlights this winter has been our traditionally strong dance team. They were crowned the Big 9 Conference champions in early February and went on to win the Section 1AA High Kick competition in Winona. This victory capped off a remarkable season as they qualified for the Minnesota State High School League State Dance Meet for the 20th consecutive year. Over that time, our team has had second and third place finishes, but on Feb. 19, our dance team kicked their way to a state championship at the Target Center in front of a fantastic group of parents, families, alumni, as well as our superb student section.  This marked Austin High School’s first state championship team in 34 years, since 1987, when our softball team won it all.

Coach Kayla Sellers, an APDT alumni herself, and assistant coach Alyssa Abrego have put in countless hours with our girls working on choreography, going to competitions, and practicing until they perfected their routine. The theme this year was “Warrior,” and the girls were nothing less than fierce as they conquered the first place podium. Congratulations to all our dancers on this fantastic accomplishment!

Austin High School activities also saw some exciting individual accomplishments this winter as well. Our gymnastics team qualified three individuals for the state gymnastics meet on Feb. 19. Junior Hannah Fritz competed in the balance beam and vault while freshmen Reese Norton and Kiki Rodriguez competed on the floor. Kiki Rodriguez was the Section 1A floor champion with a score of 9.5.  They all had remarkable success at the state tournament and our gymnastics future is looking bright.

We are also excited to celebrate some of our activity achievements this winter. Our student scientists, who participated in the Science Olympiad, did some magnificent work that qualified them for the state Science Olympiad in March. Grace Anderson and David Vu finished first in the state for Ornithology, Grace Anderson and Nawras Zaki finished second in Anatomy and Physiology, and Halie Meyer, Carys Clinefelter and Nadia Hummel finished second in Code Busters. We wish them luck in the upcoming state competition.

Our speech team has also enjoyed a great winter season. This is a program that is returning to AHS after a hiatus and our coach, Dan Hanson, is doing a fantastic job recruiting participants. These participants have been enjoying success at their individual meets throughout the season, and in the last two meets we have had students make finals and improve their standings. We are looking forward to sections for this group of participants on April 14.

Our girls’ hockey team also had a competitive section tournament run, finishing as Section 1A runners up. This Friday, Feb. 25, our wrestlers and our boys swimming and dive team competed in sections to qualify for their respective state tournaments. Our girls’ basketball team wrapped up their regular season in the hunt for the Big 9 Championship Friday and begin sections with a home game on March 2, while our boys basketball team is also at the end of their regular season play and will begin section playoffs on March 8.

Our students have had tremendous success this winter, and we are looking forward to an outstanding finish to the winter sports season.