PA Junior Competes at Speech Nationals

Providence Academy’s multi-talented Anika Austvold, ‘24, competed in the National Speech 2023 Tournament in Chanhassen, Minnesota. To receive this honor of participating in the tournament speech contestants must either receive two bids from judges or win the Minnesota State High School Speech Tournament. Austvold received two bids after her jaw dropping speech performance.  

Austvold and Pia Leiseth, ’23, feel accomplished after placing at a speech competition. PAW Photo Credit: Megan Simonsen.

Austvold has been on the PA Speech team since ninth grade. Over the past three years, she has grown more confident on the stage. At first, Austvold was nervous about the competitions, as talking in front of a crowd can be intimidating especially when being scored by judges. After much practice, she now performs with ease.

“I joined speech because I thought it would be a good way for me to learn how to talk in front of people,” Austvold explained. 

When the speech season starts contestants pick a category that allows them to speak on a topic of their choice. Per usual Austvold took part in the “Original Oratory” category. Her speech was titled,”Expectations vs. Reality.” It took her three weeks to write the speech as well as more time to fine tune it. Austvold’s topic was based on an idea that she is able to relate to. 

“While creating my speech I try to find jokes and base most of my speech off of how I can make people enjoy it,” said Austvold.

It was no surprise that her speech blew the judges away, as Austvold is a very gifted writer. This year at the Providence Academy Word (PAW) Austvold has taken on the title of Editor in Chief. She is easily able to stream words together and paint a picture for her audience. Her role as Editor allows her to guide others while they perfect their writing skills. 

Austvold commented, “My favorite part about journalism is being able to learn about all the things that go on around campus, it gives me a different perspective.” 

Austvold and Kira Cmiel, ’23, smile at the line of people waiting to sign up for Letters of Love at the Club Fair. PAW Photo Credit: Olivia Trader, ’23.

These aren’t the only things Austvold devotes her time to. She is heavily involved in the PA community as she partakes in many extracurriculars and clubs, including being the Kappa House leader, Vice President of Letters of Love, a tennis player, a Girls Scout, and a volunteer at various organizations. 

“Nationals was definitely an experience. There were so many speeches and different styles of presenting. It was really overwhelming because I was going against a lot of people who had titles, such as state champion,” commented Austvold.  

Austvold celebrates homecoming with Kappa House. PAW Photo Credit: Amy Fredrickson

It is an extreme compliment to be awarded a ticket to speech nationals. This year only 2,000 students were invited to the tournament. Austvold’s category was comprised of 200 students. Throughout the season Austvold put a lot of time and effort into perfecting her speech, but she was still surprised when the opportunity to attend speech nationals was presented to her. The chance to prove her skills on a bigger stage was rewarding for Austvold.

Austvold gave it her all at speech nationals and ended up placing 102nd. Next year she hopes to once again showcase her expertise on the stage allowing her to add to her ever growing list of accomplishments.

Ten Track and Field Athletes Compete in South Dakota

A select group of the Providence Academy Track and Field Team competed in the 98th Howard Wood Dakota Relays at the beginning of May. The Howard Wood Dakota Relays are located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Each year around 3,000 middle and high school student athletes compete. The meet consists of boys’ and girls’ standard track and field events along with two special events that vary from year to year. 

Brooke Hohenecker, ’24, poses for a picture after receiving her medal. PAW Photo Credit: Amy Hohenecker.

This year the special events were the girls’ 200 meter dash and the boys’ 800 meter dash. In order to compete in the special events student athletes must receive a bid. Brooke Hohenecker, ‘23, the reigning Minnesota State Class 2A 200 meter dash champion, was invited to race in the girls’ 200 meter dash at Howard Wood Dakota Relays. 

Ten PA Track and Field athletes were given the opportunity to take part in the Howard Wood Dakota Relays because of their qualifying times throughout the season. 

“When we got notice that Brooke was invited to run the girls’ special 200 event, I thought, ‘Well let’s try to get more kids in,’” explained Head Coach Amy Hohenecker. 

At the meet, three girls competed individually and made it to the podium, finishing in the top eight. Brooke Hohenecker took seventh place in the girls’ 100 and 200 meter dash. Maddyn Greenway, ‘26, came in third in the girls’ 300 meter hurdles. Kylie Hartel, ‘26, achieved eighth in the girls 400 meter dash. 

Along with these fantastic results in individuals: Brooke Hohenecker, Hartel, Greenway, and Abby Daughtery, ‘25, went on to take first place in the Class A girls’ 4×400 meter relay. Although this was their first time being grouped together in a relay, the girls showed that they have no problem adapting. In addition to the challenge of running alongside new teammates, the girls were positioned to run in the first heat. Participating in the first heat often means that the team won’t make it through the next three heats, but if there is anything to be learned from this track and field team it is that they can overcome whatever is thrown at them. 

Maddyn Greenway, ’26, Kylie Hartel, ’26, Brooke Hohenecker, ’24, and Abby Daughtery, ’25, hold up their trophy in triumph. PAW Photo Credit: Amy Hohenecker.

“[What makes a good relay team is] having good handoffs and all the techniques, but in reality just trusting your teammates because anything can happen,” said Brooke Hohenecker. 

The boys also did well in their events. Abu Tarawallie, ‘25, placed 32nd in Discus. The boys’ relay team ran the 4×200 meter relay where they took thirteenth place. The relay team consisted of Jimmy Theim, ‘23, Isaiah Bluford, ‘23, Grant Heim, ‘24, and Kachi Anyamele, ‘24. 

These boys showed their strengths and skills at such a high level. 

Heim commented, “We could have done better but getting in front of a big crowd was definitely beneficial for the long term.” 

This meet was a full circle moment as Coach Hohenecker also competed at the Howard Dakota Relays from 1986 – 1989. She has been on the coaching staff of the PA Track and Field Team for the past ten years, and head coach for the past eight years. Over the seasons she has grown the program immensely. PA’s Track and Field Team is known for their exceptional worth ethic which can be credited to Coach Hohenecker. She pushes her team to be the best they can be because she wants to watch them succeed.  

“I always ask for them to give me their best effort, whatever it is, just give me your best effort,” commented Coach Hohenecker. 

The PA Track and Field Team never seems to come home empty handed. They are constantly setting the standard for their opponents. The team works extremely hard which continues to pay off for them. With success at a big arena like the Howard Wood Dakota Relays, the team will no doubt carry on with accomplishments throughout the rest of their season.

PA Student Athletes Announce Commitments

Over the course of the 2022-2023 year, Providence Academy recognized six high school students who have committed to play sports at the collegiate level.

Aly Marshall

Denison University

On November 10, 2022, Aly Marshall, ‘23, signed to Denison University for cross country, and indoor/outdoor track. A big factor when Marshall was choosing a college was the team itself—she wanted to feel at home.

Denison is a secular university, but Marshall reflected, “Everyone was very comfortable talking about their faith life, which put me at ease.” 

Marshall signs to Denison University to further her cross country and academic career. PAW Photo Credit: Liam Riley.

One of the many people that contributed to inspiring Marshall was her Providence coach, Mrs. Rachel Fogle. Fogle pushed her to keep working hard and achieve her goals. In addition to this, Coach Fogle’s son attends Denison University, which was another motivating factor in deciding to commit to the school.

Marshall gave a few reasons for why she enjoys the sport, two being the thrill that comes from running, and the workouts that go along with the sport. One of her favorite workouts is speed workouts. 

She says, “Speed workouts are my favorite since they’re a great opportunity to practice and refine pacing as well as try out new running strategies for races.”

Marshall takes advantage of any opportunity to do a speed workout because she finds enjoyment in running fast. 

Marshall commented, “I love my sport because I enjoy competing, and I thrive in competition. When I learned this about myself, I knew that I wanted to continue this sport competitively after high school. Competing is not the only positive aspect of my sport, however. For example, I love how running makes me feel good and relieved afterwards.”  

With her first year of college approaching, and the season starting relatively soon, Marshall has started to think of some goals she wants to set for herself. One of the goals she already has in mind is to run the 3k in track. 

Marshall said, “I am most excited for the increase in competition because I will be traveling more often and competing in different areas. Most of the conference is in Ohio, but every other weekend I will travel around with my team and compete.” 

Marshall is very thankful to have gotten the opportunity to sign to Denison University, and is excited for the experiences that are to come.

Carly Bixby

Auburn University

This past fall, PA-Blake girls’ swim and dive team captain Carly Bixby, ‘24, committed to Auburn University where she will set out to pursue Division I swimming. The Tigers compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and are currently ranked #12 in the nation. AU is in the Southeastern Conference (SEC). 

Since she was seven Bixby has been passionate about swimming, having first discovered her love for the sport at her country club. After playing two competitive sports, swimming and soccer, Bixby decided swimming was what she was most interested in. Bixby took one of her favorite summer pastimes to the next level.

Bixby reflected, “I would be living a totally different life without swimming.” 

Bixby has received so much support throughout her swimming years. Her coach, Kate Lundsten,  has been her biggest supporter. Along with Lundsten, Bixby has made many memories and friends along the way. 

Bixby commented, “I just had the best relationships in swimming and some of my best friends came from swimming.”

Bixby stated that her decision to go to AU was an easy one, after AU reached out to Bixby to discuss furthering her career at the next level. She loved the people, the coaches, and the atmosphere in general. 

Bixby was all smiles while taking an official visit to Auburn University. Photo courtesy of Swimcloud.

Bixby said, “This sounds kind of cliché, but it just felt right. I liked Auburn a lot and there wasn’t anything to dislike about it. Everyone and everything worked with me. I love the coaches and staff, every single one of them. Auburn also had great facilities.” 

Excited for these next steps, Bixby knows that she will have to work hard. She is already setting out to accomplish many things. 

Bixby said, “Some of my goals are to make the NCAA and to qualify for the Olympic Trial Cuts.” 

Bixby is ready to pursue her love of swimming at the collegiate level. It hasn’t been an easy road; she, like any athlete, has had her struggles. 

Bixby commented, “I’ve had my ups and downs, but I stuck with swimming because I love it.”

Bixby’s dreams don’t stop at the collegiate level. Hopefully hers will be a name we hear in the years to come, not only on the national level but on the international level as well. 

Avery Lampe

Kentucky University

This past fall, Providence Academy girls’ soccer captain Avery Lampe, ‘24,  committed to the University of Kentucky where she will continue both her soccer and academic career. Lampe’s decision was easily made after realizing everything UK had to offer.

Lampe tries on her jersey during an official visit to the University of Kentucky. Photo courtesy Avery Lampe.

Lampe commented, “I chose UK because it had absolutely everything I wanted in a school – great campus, competitive soccer, and most importantly, amazing resources for their student athletes.”

The college women’s soccer recruitment process is highly competitive. Over Lampe’s thirteen year career, she has kept her eyes fixed on her goal of one day playing college soccer. Her diligence has paid off, making her a fierce competitor. In addition to her hard work, she is very grateful to have had multiple resources and supporters along the way. 

Lampe remarked, “My club, Tonka Fusion Elite, has been my home for the past 6 1/2 years. My coaches, teammates, advisors, and trainers through soccer have almost single-handedly made this possible. I have also been blessed with the constant support of my family, especially my parents and siblings, who are the other main reasons why I am the person and player I am today.”

Lampe is excited for the opportunity to attend UK and continue playing the sport she loves. The PA soccer team will miss her fantastic leadership in the upcoming seasons. However, we are excited to see her playing on a larger stage!

Grace Petzold

St. Catherine University

On November 9, 2022, Grace Petzold, ’23, signed with St. Catherine University for golf. Petzold is excited not only to further her golf career but also her academic career.

Petzold recognized her love for golf at a young age while playing with her dad. They constantly pushed each other to get better, and Petzold’s enthusiasm for golf continued when she joined the PA team in seventh grade. Determined to excel, Petzold competed in many tournaments and matches outside of PA. 

Petzold commented, “Each year’s team has different players, and each team has been a really fun experience… We always bond a lot as a team, so the players end up being some of your closest friends, not just your teammates.” 

Petzold signs with St. Catherine University to play golf. PAW Photo Credit: Liam Riley.

Petzold has excelled in her golf career over the years. She has won MSHSL 5AA Section Tournaments both individually and with the team. Petzold has also placed multiple times in the Minnesota AA State Tournament.

Petzold determined that St. Catherine University would be the best fit for her future in golf, and she is thrilled to attend this fall. 

Petzold said, “St. Catherine offers a competitive program with great coaches and teammates and a beautiful campus…. I got a chance to do an overnight stay with the team, and really liked the coaching staff and atmosphere of the team.”  

These next steps for Petzold will be thrilling as she navigates college and being a student athlete. PA is sad to see Petzold depart, but she has many coaches and teammates cheering her on. 

Eddie Dossantos

St. Scholastica 

He can be seen leading the Lions to a victory under the Friday night lights or catching a pop fly in the outfield. Quarterback and out fielder, Eddie Dossantos, ‘23, signs to The College of St. Scholastica for football.  

Although it might seem like a walk in the park to secure a spot on a collegiate level team, Dossantos shows how diligent athletes have to be. He has put in countless hours on and off the field, trying to fulfill a dream of his. 

Dossantos has no second thoughts while signing to St. Scholastica. PAW Photo Credit: Liam Riley.

Dossantos said, “A lot of work goes into the season, but a lot more has to be done off the field. You have to have a good work ethic and mentality so that you can accomplish things and play at the next level.” 

Dossantos is a dual sport athlete. During fall he can be found on the football field but when springtime rolls around he can be seen on the baseball diamond. Football has brought him more opportunities, so that is what he has chosen to pursue. Dossantos has been playing football since fourth grade and hasn’t looked back since. Throughout the many years of football there have been many supporters, but his biggest fan is his mom, Beth Dossantos. 

“My mom has gone through a lot to help me succeed. She has never missed a game. She is constantly there encouraging me. Even when I don’t play well she tells me I do,” Dossantos commented. 

Dossantos’s biggest career accomplishment was assisting the Lions in earning the title of 2022 Minnesota Twin Cities District Champions. The PA football team proved many people wrong as they were favored to finish second to last in their district. These prejudices didn’t hold Dossantos back from leading the Lions to a victory. As he said before, mentality plays a big role in the game. Dossantos has proven that he is mentally strong and can adhere to a challenge. 

When choosing a college Dossantos was looking for an environment that would work well with him. He often talks about the atmosphere that comes with football. The moral of the football teams he has been apart of portrays a family working towards one goal, which is succeeding. These same things stuck out to Dossantos at St. Scholastica. 

Dossantos said, “The coaching staff was a big reason [why I chose St. Scholastica]. The bond the players and coaches share is really cool. The coaches show that they care about you as a person, not just as a football player. It creates a really cool atmosphere.” 

Although PA will be losing an athlete in the community, we are all excited to root for Dossantos as he continues to showcase his talents at the next level.  

Grace Counts

University of Minnesota Duluth

On January 26, 2023, Grace Counts, ‘23, signed with the University of Minnesota Duluth, where she will be furthering both her basketball and academic career. 

Counts has had a love for basketball since third grade and this contributed to Counts joining the Providence Academy Girls’ Basketball team during her freshman year. As she showcased much talent and potential at tryouts, Counts secured a spot on varsity. Throughout the years on the PA team, Counts’ great leadership skills were recognized as she was chosen for captain for both her junior and senior years. 

Counts has had huge successes with the PA girls’ basketball team. The team has won the MSHSL 2AA Section Tournament for four consecutive years. Along with this big accomplishment, the PA team has also won the Minnesota State High School State Tournament two years in a row. Counts and the team achieved many titles, in addition to so many memories.  

Counts celebrates signing to the University of Minnesota Duluth. PAW Photo Credit: Liam Riley.

Counts acknowledged, “Providence basketball has gotten me ready to be set up for success at the next level.” 

Counts chose UMD because of its outstanding reputation in girls’ basketball, and its excelling academics. As well as the idea of being close to home. 

“I am super excited to be able to have this opportunity to play at a great program where I can compete for a DII national championship every year and stay in state,” Counts commented. 

Counts is extremely grateful for the opportunity to play at the next level, she is beyond excited for what the future holds at UMD. 

PA journalists contributors: Gabby Rampetsreiter, Annabelle Whitaker, Rein Rose Lee, Delaney Flanigan, Leightyn Ferrell, Maddyn Greenway, and Amelia Madden.

Back to Back State Champions

For the fourth year in a row the Providence Academy Girls Basketball team has made an appearance at the Minnesota State AA Tournament. This is the second consecutive year the Lady Lions are undefeated in the State Tournament and have taken home the championship title. 

There must be a secret to this team’s success. Along with their constant effort the players, coaches, and managers are putting in, there is more behind their accomplishments. Word on the street is the secret to their victories is the bond their team shares. They use “family” as an acronym rather than a noun. It stands for “Forget About Me I Love You.” The team realizes the importance of being the best teammates they can be. They set aside their own goals and instead focus on the goal for the team as a whole. 

Guard Brooke Hohenecker, ‘24 said, “Every year I’ve been on the team, we’re truly been a family. It’s such a big reason as to why we’re so successful. I think it sets us apart from other teams.” 

Paving the way to the State Tournament the girls competed in the MSHSL 2AA Section Tournament. The Lady Lions walked through sections with ease. On March 11th the team played at Augsburg University where they faced Holy Family Catholic High School in the Section Championship game. All season long the Lady Lions outpaced their opponents and found ways to speed up the games, making their competitors adjust to their style of playing. The team secured the title of Section Champions for the fourth year in a row with an impressive score of 89-36. 

Head Coach Connor Goetz said, “Our biggest strength is our ability to play with speed.” 

For the past six years Goetz has been PA’s head coach, and he took what the Lady Lions already had and continued to build the program into what it is today. The team is a competitive, hard working group of girls that the whole state is paying attention to. They have become the team to beat thanks to coaches Goetz, Mark Forbish, Daniel Makepeace and Thomas Gorilla. 

Coach Goetz ponders his next moves. PAW Photo Credit: Tierney Dennison, ’24.

The pressure of being the returning State Champions come with thousands of eyes. The team was not fazed by expectations or nerves as they have had much experience. It is always an advantage coming in and being the favored team and not having nerves play into the game. 

Point Guard Maddyn Greenway, ‘26, said, “We have had experience from past years. There was definitely more excitement [than nerves].” 

The girls basketball team competed at The Barn at the University of Minnesota where they sailed through both the State Quarterfinals and State Semifinals, beating the other teams by twenty or more points to solidify their wins with big margins. Coming into the State Championship game on March 19th the team knew this wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. Both Albany and PA wanted first place, reflected in the game score shifting back and forth throughout the first half. At half time the score was 32-33, with Albany leading. The PA girls took halftime to refocus their minds on the goal they set out to accomplish at the start of season, which was securing another State Championship title. They ended up taking the win over Albany 74-60 and they are once again the State Champs. 

The Lady Lions jump for joy after their big win. PAW Photo Credit: Dennison.

Providence student and fan Jayden Mersereau, ’24, said, “They’ve showcased their talent by winning back to back championships. They represented the program and showed off their skills.” 

With an outstanding season, once again, there is so much than can be said about this team. One major highlight of their season was taking the win over Hopkins High School who is currently ranked No. 1 in MN. The PA girls basketball team ended AAAA Hopkins’s 100 game win streak. The Lady Lions have been able to showcase their talent on so many different levels. 

In addition to coming home with a ring a few other players also received individual awards. Grace Counts, ‘23, and Greenway both won spots on MN’s 2023 all-state team along with MN’s 2023 all-tournament team. Additionally, player Emma Millerbernd, ’27, won a place on MN’s 2023 all-tournament team. 

Millerbernd shuts down Albany’s offense. PAW Photo Credit: Dennison.

Four players will graduate this year. Counts will be moving on to play at the collegiate level at University of MN Duluth. Kyra Miller, ‘23, Marie Heyda, ’23, and Bridget Healy, ‘23, are also departing, but this will be their last season playing basketball. The girls are sad to be moving on, but expect nothing less than success for the PA team in the future. 

“With the win comes the loss of my teammates next year. After spending 6 months+ together for four years they turn into some of your bestfriends and even though I’ll always be a supporter and keep in touch I’ll never be able to play with them again which I’ll miss immensely,” Counts reflected. 

Game, Set, Match

After finishing third in the MN State Class A Tournament last year, the Providence Academy Girls’ Tennis team came back wanting to add a state championship to their collection. After a hard-fought season, the Lions swept through sections, and on October 26th, they played their hardest and took home the fourth place trophy in the Class A State tournament.

On the morning of Monday, October 10th, the team traveled to the Gustavus Adolphus College campus to play in the section tournament. In order to get ready for a full day of tennis, the team listened to music and got hyped on the ride down. After an all day battle, the girls returned home with the title of Section 5A Champions, and a ticket to the state tournament. 

Grace Ardnt, Marie Heyda, ’23, Skylar Bartz, ’23, and Koral Horstman, ’23, smile from ear to ear holding the section champions trophy. PAW Photo Credit: Leightyn Ferrell.

Along with the team winning the section championship, First Doubles players Lisey Langhus, and Katelyn Clements, ‘24, competed in the individual sections tournament the following day. Langhus and Clements came home with another championship medal and a state ticket for individuals. Along with them, First Singles player, Annika Harberts-Ott, ‘24, placed second in the section, also qualifying her for the individual state tournament. 

Anni Harberts-Ott, ’24, drives a backhand down the line. Photo courtesy of MSHSL.

In the excitement of taking home two championship medals Clements commented, “We came, we saw, and we conquered.” 

Harberts-Ott reflected on sections saying, “The best part of the matches was having my teammates by me and being able to cheer each other on.” 

Following their section championship, on the morning of Tuesday, October 25th, the upper school students attended a brief ceremony to introduce the team, pray for the Lady Lions and send them off to victory with the Providence Band drumline playing. As the team exited the PA building, middle school students lined the hallways to offer their support.

While thinking about the sendoff, Brooke Hohenecker, ’24, exclaimed, “I thought it was really special that the tennis girls were able to be sent off by the whole school. It was a special moment for them as they have put so much work into their season.” 

After their sendoff, the team loaded the bus and headed to InnerCity Tennis to play in the state tournament. 

The Lions won their first match against Luverne 7-0, and moved onto the state semifinals the next day. 

Marie Heyda, 23′, smashes a volley at the net. PAW Photo Credit: Delaney Flanigan.

“The whole team dominated,” Langhus remarked.

The following day, the girls watched the sunrise from the bus on their way to compete in the state semifinals. The Lions fell to Rochester in their match, moving on to compete for third place later that day. 

After the match, spectator Lonaiah Ferrell reflected, “It was really exciting to watch everyone play. There were some scary moments, but the team held it together.” 

However, in a turn of events the Lions ended up falling to Litchfield, putting them in fourth-place. 

Although the team missed out on the championship, Head Coach Bryan Turunen commented, “I feel really happy for this team. They worked hard all year. They played to their ability, and they deserved to be there.” 

The Lady Lions rally together after moving onto state semifinals. PAW Photo Credit: Alyssa Wilkins.

In the days following the team state tournament, Clements, Langhus, and Harberts-Ott, competed in the individual state tournament. Clements and Langhus fell to Breck, taking eighth place in the doubles tournament. Harberts-Ott also fell to Breck, taking fifth place in singles. 

Despite the outcome at State, all the girls still had a triumphant season to remember, filled with wins, laughs, and good memories. They can’t wait to get back to work and make an appearance at next year’s state tournament.