Notebook: Local athletes up for Lions awards
Winners to be announced May 15
Four seniors from South Suburban Conference high schools are finalists for St. Paul Downtown Lions Club athlete of the year awards that will be presented May 15.
The presentations will be part of an awards and recognition luncheon at the Prom Center in Oakdale.
Finalists for the male athlete of the year award include Drew Bauer of Eagan and Dan Motl of Burnsville.
Bauer started at quarterback for the Eagan football team in 2011, helping lead the Wildcats to the section championship game. He also played varsity basketball and qualified for the 2011 state Class 3A boys golf tournament, tying for 36th place. Bauer signed to play football at the University of Minnesota – Duluth.
Motl is the center fielder for Burnsville’s baseball team, which won the state Class 3A championship in 2011 and is ranked first in the state this year. He played quarterback for the Blaze’s football team and also saw time at defensive back and on special teams. He will play baseball at the University of Minnesota.
Eastview’s Paige Palkovich, a finalist for the female athlete of the year award, was a starting guard for the Lightning basketball team that reached the 2012 state Class 4A tournament. She also is an All-State player in softball, and pitches and plays infield for Eastview. She will attend the University of Minnesota on a softball scholarship this fall.
Eagan’s Alanna Stangl has competed at state in hockey, track and field and cross country. She made four state appearances in cross country and three each in hockey and track. Stangl, who also is her school’s Athena Award winner, will attend the University of Minnesota.
Other finalists for the male athlete of the year award are R.J. Alowonle of Park, Jerad Gardner of St. Paul Central, Eric Gebeke of White Bear Lake and Dayo Ogundepo of East Ridge. Also in the running for the female athlete of the year award are Erika Allen of Roseville, Erica Dombro of St. Paul Highland Park, Alexis Foley of White Bear Lake and Julia Stedman of North St. Paul.
The St. Paul Lions award program started in 1943. Previous winners include Natalie Darwitz, Joe Mauer, Paul Molitor and Dave Winfield.
Ekstein’s record still perfect
Eagan High School sophomore Zach Ekstein, who plays No. 2 singles for the boys tennis team, defeated Eden Prairie’s David Zhou 6-1, 6-4 on Monday to improve to 16-0 this season.
Last season Ekstein teamed with Brendan Hollidge to win the Section 3AA doubles tournament. Still to be determined is whether Ekstein will play singles or doubles in this year’s section tournament. Hollidge graduated last year, so Ekstein would need a new doubles partner. But playing singles also might be attractive as Eagan coach Scott Nichols called Ekstein possibly the best No. 2 player in the state.
Who’s No. 1? Eastview, for now
It’s becoming increasingly difficult for a team to dominate in Minnesota High School boys lacrosse. At of Wednesday, only one Minnesota State High School League-sanctioned team was undefeated – White Bear Lake, which was 9-0 and ranked seventh in the state.
Eastview had been undefeated until Tuesday night, when the No. 1-ranked Lightning was upset 8-7 by Lakeville North in a South Suburban Conference game.
The Lightning was coming off an 11-4 victory over Eagan, which had been ranked first in the state earlier this season and now is No. 4.
Eastview junior Ryan McNamara had three goals and three assists in the Eagan game and came into this week with 41 points (24 goals, 17 assists). Eagan managed to keep Jake Heppner, Eastview’s other explosive scorer, from getting a goal or assist, but Heppner scooped up seven ground balls.
Eastview is 5-1 in the South Suburban, tied with Eagan for first place.