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.

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. 

Girls’ Soccer Makes School History, Goes to State

Going to State is something every athlete dreams of in their high school career.  Coming into the 2022 season, the Providence Academy girls soccer team set out to beat last year’s record of 1-14-1. However, following a 6-0 win against Rockford in the first game of the season, they knew that they could make it all the way to State. 

The team breezed through the regular season with a record of 13-3-0, becoming the number 1 seed for the Section 6A tournament. 

When asked how they felt going into sections, Maddyn Greenway, ‘26, said, “I feel that we came in confident and that we played how a number 1 seed team should play.” 

The Lady Lions first beat Rockford 9-0 in the Quarterfinal, then came out over Watertown-Mayer 5-3 in the semifinals, and finally defeated Southwest Christian 3-0 in the Section Final with goals from Avery Lampe, ‘24, Lydia Grajczyk, ‘26, and Greenway. 

Section 6A win against Southwest Christian, 3-0. PAW Photo Credit: Alan Lampe

On Wednesday, October 26, the team traveled to Monticello High School, a neutral site, to play against St. Cloud Cathedral in the State Quarterfinal. They defeated St. Cloud 6-1, with three goals coming from Lampe and the other three coming from Greenway, all scored in the first half. 

Then on Wednesday, November 2, the team had the opportunity to go to U.S. Bank Stadium where they played St. Anthony in the State Semifinals. After two goals from Greenway and a late goal from Elizabeth Hughes, ‘26, the team sadly  was not able to bring the game back, and lost 3-4. 

Greenway noted, “The nerves got to us, but we eventually settled in and dominated the field, even with the unfortunate result.”   

On Thursday, November 3rd, the team traveled to West St. Paul where they played Breck for third place. The score was 0-0 in the first half, however Kira Cmiel, ‘23, put Providence in the lead after scoring in the second half. At 78 minutes, Breck scored a goal, tying up the game.  

The team ended the game with a 1-1 tie against Breck, giving them a shared 3rd Place finish in State. Their 17-4-1 record for the season has become the best in the program’s 19 year history.  Along with this, the team experienced many firsts; becoming the first team in school history to be the number 1 seed in sections, going to the Section Final, winning Sections, going to State, and placing third. 

Shannon Healy, ‘26, Bridget Healy, ‘23, Kira Cmiel, ‘23, Avery Lampe, ‘24, Gabby Hankel, ‘24, Ceci Carron, ’26, Ella Vincent, ‘25, Ava Schroepfer, ‘25, huddle against the cold in football sherpas at the section quarter final against Rockford High School. PAW Photo Credit: Rien Rose Lee

In addition, Tatum Janezich, ’25, and Greenway broke records in Minnesota history. Janezich made 31 assists this season, as opposed to the previous record of 27 assists. And Greenway’s 58 goals this season made her the second main scorer in state history. 

Even though the season didn’t finish the way they wanted it to, the team still accomplished much more than they set out to. As noted by captain Rylie Schoenfelder, ‘23, “The season went very well and we made a lot of improvements. We also had a lot of success on and off the field.”    

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.

PA Hosts First “Super Soccer Saturday”

On Saturday, September 10th, Providence Academy and the Lions’ Soccer Booster Club hosted its first ever “Super Soccer Saturday” to celebrate the sport and Youth Soccer Day. 

The day was packed with fun, running from 9:00am to 12:00pm, with Lions games afterwards. 

The first activity on Super Soccer Saturday was an intramural soccer clinic for the “Cubs” (students in grades 3-5), and both boys and girls varsity team members volunteered to help the coaches run the program. It was a great experience for the aspiring PA soccer players to learn from the upper schoolers, who shared their love of soccer with them. 

Girls varsity soccer player Tatum Janezich, ‘25, said she volunteered not only to receive service hours, but also because, “I enjoy working with kids! It’s cool to help share the experience of being a soccer player with the younger ones.” 

Towards the end of the clinic, all of the younger soccer players broke into two teams—a girls’ team and a boys’ team—and played a very lively, but shortened game of soccer. Both teams even came up with their own chants to cheer each other on. The Middle School mini-scrimmages began shortly after the Cubs’ clinic, with both the girls’ and boys’ teams each playing an exciting match. 

The “Cubs” wrap up their clinic with a scrimmage. PAW Photo Credit: Maddyn Greenway

The players were not the only ones able to participate in the Super Soccer Saturday experience. Parents were able to watch their children play soccer while also enjoying the “Minnesota Carnivorium” food truck stationed at the fields and also the concessions. Even the varsity and JV girls’ teams gathered in community for a brunch that morning, to bond and fuel up before their own games against Wayzata High School and Heritage Christian Academy.

The girls’ junior varsity team played an exciting game against Wayzata High School, but unfortunately didn’t pull off a win. The boys’ varsity team faced off against Heritage Christian Academy, winning their matchup 2-1. And finally, the girls’ varsity team, who also took on Heritage Christian Academy, came out ahead with an 8-1 win.

Varsity boys’ goalkeeper Ben Martin, ’23, makes an impressive save. Photo credit: Jodi Lewis.

After the varsity game, to celebrate Youth Soccer Day, all youth players who wore a club or school soccer jersey received a free treat from the concession stand, which they could enjoy while they watched the Lions’ games. Many of the lower schoolers remained at Providence after their own soccer concluded to participate in this celebration and to cheer on the Lions.

The varsity Lady Lions in action on Mithun Field. PAW Photo Credit: Maddyn Greenway.

Fifth grader Annie Lee, who attended the Cubs’ Clinic, said that her favorite part of the day was, “The girls’ varsity game because my sister is on the team and I love watching the high schoolers play!” 

Overall, the PA Soccer Booster Club’s first Super Soccer Saturday was a success and a great experience for all players—lower, middle, and upper schoolers.

There is a possibility that this event will continue in future years, as Girls’ Varsity Head Coach Paul Cronin noted, “We would absolutely do it again. This is the first time we’ve done an event like this. It was very inspiring to see the older players serve as such good role models for all of the aspiring young players.” 

Perhaps the lower school students will someday be teaching young players how to play the sport they love, as varsity team members.