Top female athletes earn Athena Awards

St. Paul luncheon scheduled April 19

Athena Awards programs in St. Paul and Minneapolis this spring will honor outstanding senior female high school athletes, including several from Dakota County schools.

The 23rd annual St. Paul Athena Awards luncheon will be 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 19, at Envision Event Center (formerly Prom Center) in Oakdale. Athletes from Apple Valley, Eagan, Eastview, Farmington, Lakeville North, Lakeville South and Rosemount will be among those honored at this event.

Burnsville High School’s Athena Award winner will be honored at the 45th annual Minneapolis Athena Awards luncheon at 11:15 a.m. Friday, May 5, at the Doubletree Hotel in Bloomington.

Here are capsules of the local 2017 Athena Award winners:

Amy Breckner
Apple Valley

Breckner is a 10-time letter-winner in soccer, hockey and golf, and has been a captain of the Eagles’ hockey and golf teams.

She is among the school’s career leaders in varsity hockey games played (124) and has earned four different team awards. She also is a two-time Academic All-State player in golf.

Angela Wollmuth

A nine-time letter-winner in softball and tennis, and a captain in both sports, Wollmuth will attend Hamline University to study psychology. She will play softball and possibly tennis for the Pipers.

She was a three-time all-conference player in tennis and held the Blaze’s No. 1 singles spot for three years. Wollmuth is a two-time all-conference softball player. She listed the Blaze’s 2-1 upset of Prior Lake in the first round of the 2016 softball playoffs as her favorite sports memory.

Gabrielle Orr

Orr already has started her college career at the University of Iowa, but before leaving in January she helped the Eagan volleyball team reach the state championship match four consecutive years, with the Wildcats winning in 2013, 2015 and 2016.

She earned six letters in volleyball and two in track and field. Orr was a three-time all-conference player, three-time team MVP and two-time All-State player. She will play volleyball at Iowa while studying psychology and pre-medicine.

Natalie Snodgrass

In addition to helping the Eastview girls hockey team reach the state tournament three consecutive years, Snodgrass has a piece of USA Hockey lore. She scored the tying goal in the final minute of the 2016 women’s world Under-18 tournament championship game against Canada, then scored the winner in overtime.

At Eastview, she was the leading scorer on three Lightning teams that qualified for state, taking sixth in 2015, fifth in 2016 and sixth this year. She also scored overtime goals to give the Lightning victories over East Ridge and Eagan in the 2016 Section 3AA tournament. She will play Division I hockey at the University of Connecticut.

Ashley Steffes

A three-time all-conference lacrosse player at Farmington, Steffes will continue her career in that sport next year at Butler University, where she will major in healthcare and business.

Steffes also was All-State in lacrosse in 2016 and is in her second season as the Tigers’ captain. She was a captain of Farmington’s basketball team last winter and also has competed in cross country.

Temi Carda
Lakeville North

Carda is an All-State basketball and soccer player who led Lakeville North to state tournaments in both sports. She will play basketball at Creighton University next year.

She helped Lakeville North reach the basketball tournament three of the last four seasons. In 2016-17, Carda averaged 14.8 points per game for a Panthers team that won the South Suburban Conference championship, placed sixth in the state Class 4A tournament and finished 28-4.

In soccer, she was one of the state’s top defenders as the Panthers made their sixth consecutive state tournament appearance. She was a finalist for the Ms. Soccer and Miss Basketball awards.

Jenny Mosser
Lakeville South

Mosser is the Lakeville South volleyball program’s career leader in kills and is second in digs, blocks and service aces. She had a state-record 49 kills in a regular-season match against Eagan. The UCLA recruit also helped the Cougars reach the state tournament for the first time and finish third in Class 3A last November.

When not dominating on the volleyball court, Mosser has been a contributor to the South track and field team. She ran the anchor leg for a Cougars’ 4×400-meter relay that set a state record in the 2015 Class AA meet. That victory also helped the Cougars overtake St. Michael-Albertville and win the Class AA team championship.

Gabby Sprang

Sprang is one of Minnesota’s top softball recruits from the class of 2017, but she actually settled that question years ago. A left-handed pitcher, Sprang verbally committed to Tennessee in 2012 and signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the Volunteers last November.

Sprang, who has pitched for the Irish varsity since eighth grade, is a three-time all-conference player. She was All-State in 2015 and honorable mention All-State in 2016.

Grace Ennis

Ennis is a three-time All-State runner in cross country after placing ninth in the Class A meet in November. She also helped Trinity to 10th place in the team competition. As a sophomore, she ran for Trinity’s 2014 state Class A championship team, finishing 11th individually.