Husky athletes sign to play sports in college
Friends and family gathered to view as 14 Owatonna student-athletes took turns putting pen to paper and signed their National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, Feb. 7. at a ceremony in the school’s commons area.
Owatonna Director of Activities Ryan Swanson said the school’s largest class in his tenure.
“We have had a couple classes where there has been six to eight signees,” he said. “But I don’t think we have ever had this many. There are 14 and we still have five or six more kids who will have some opportunities to play but are still undecided.”
Swanson said the overall talent of class in strong and widespread with an athlete from nearly every sport signing with school.
“We have a lot of depth and talent in all sports in the this class,” he said, adding the unusually high number of signees can be attributed to a combination of things.
“I think it’s just good athletes coming from good families, that teach them the value of having good character,” he said. “Then, our coaches do about as good as a job as any coaching group that I have seen. They really prepare our athletes for their best.”
Swanson said other things such as the community’s youth groups, the parks and recreation programs and the schools weight program help to develop well-rounded athletes.
“We have a lot of good things going for our kids, so our athletes have a lot of opportunities to succeed here,” he said. “In this class, specifically, we just had a lot of talent, but there is a lot of hard work and drive in all these kids.
“You don’t see any quit with any of these kids,” Swanson continued. “We have seen them in the some pretty tough situations too and their character prevails.”
Signed to play women’s basketball at Concordia University in Saint Paul.
Schultz said she chose Concordia because she fell in love with the way they play the game.
“I went to game and watched,” she said. “I liked their style and the way the played. The coach is really nice and I’m going to be playing where I want to be, which is important to me.”
Schultz said she will play primarily at small forward for the Cobbers.
She said has some friends who already attend the university and she really enjoyed the campus atmosphere.
Schultz is the Owatonna girls basketball program’s all-time leading scorers with more than 1,600 career points.
She said she is excited to see what the future holds.
“I’m going to be working a lot in the offseason to make sure that I am faster, stronger and a better shooter and ball handler,” Schultz said. “It’s going to be cool to see where I can go from here.”
Signed to play women’s basketball at Wisconsin-River Falls.
Zeman said UW-RF was the right choice for her by how she felt when she visited the campus.
“River Falls just gave me that at-home feel,” she said. “I probably went to like nine campus tours and I just felt at-home and I loved the coaching staff and school.”
Zeman said she also has family members who attended the university and they really enjoyed their time in River Falls.
Another big factor in her decision making was the fact that the Huskies and Falcons have similar offensive and defensive philosophies.
“It’s a lot of set plays,” she said. “The point guard runs the offense. I’ll still able to score too like I do in [Owatonna’s] offense, but my main focus will be to facilitate my teammates on floor.”
Zeman said that the distance from home was another reason she liked River Falls.
“It’s only an hour and half,” she said. “I can come home whenever I want.
“I’m just looking forward to getting a new perspective,” Zeman continued. “I’m excited to start a new journey. It should be fun.”
Signed to play men’s lacrosse at University of Northwestern in Saint Paul.
The defenseman led the Huskies’ lacrosse team with 15 takeaways this past season. Dub also plays goalie for Owatonna’s boys hockey team. He has made 191 saves on 219 shots on goal this season for a save percentage of 87 percent.
Dub said he received a few other offers, but he knew Northwestern was the place for him once the school hired new lacrosse coach Jay Mayes this past June.
“I knew that they were a newer program and I went and watched them play,” he said. “I toured the school and fell in love with it. It has definitely always been my top choice while I looked at other options.
“I’m really excited for the future,” he continued. “i’m so looking forward to the Christian atmosphere of the school. Everyone there loves to play lacrosse, but we are all playing for God as well.”
Signed to play lacrosse at Wittenburg College in Springfield, Ohio.
Meier said his decision to attend Wittenburg was a culmination of a couple of things.
“First of all, the campus is really pretty,” he said. “The city is pretty nice. It is around 100,000 people, so too big, not too small.”
Meier said the opportunity to play for Wittenburg coach Jay Owen was another reason he decided on the Tigers.
“Coach Owens is an amazing guy,” he said. “I have heard a lot of compliments and positive feedback about him from other coaches, and he’s been great throughout the process. They are really building a program there and I’m excited about that.”
Meier also plays hockey for the Huskies, he said he’s been leaning towards playing college lacrosse over hockey since the summer of his junior year.
“I’ve been traveling a lot and playing on club team,” he said. “We have been all over the country and that’s what kind of led me to making that decision.”
Meier said he feels like lacrosse is a sport he can excel at in college, but getting to know his teammates is what he’s looking forward to most.
“All of them were really nice when I went out there for visit,” Meier said. “I didn’t have any trouble talking to any of them. We had a good time and I’m just really excited to start making those bonds with my teammates.”
Signed to play baseball at Saint Cloud State University.
Alstead is a catcher and outfielder. He also played American Legion baseball for Owatonna Post 77.
Alstead said he’s looking forward to getting to know his teammates and coaches better.
“I’ve met some of them and they’re really cool, good guys,” he said. “it should be fun.”
Alstead father, Jason, also played baseball at SCSU, as well as professionally with the Baltimore Orioles organization.
“We would also go watch baseball games and other sports,” he said. “It just felt like the right place for me, kind of like home.”
Alstead attends to major in criminal justice.
Signed to play soccer at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter.
The 5-foot-2-inch outside midfielder said she knew Gustavus Adolphus was the right place for her based on how she felt when she visited the campus.
“I knew that I didn’t want something too big like the [University of Minnesota] and kind of feel like I was drowning,” she said. “But Gustavus is small school and they made it feel big, which was really cool.
“It had my major and I liked the coaches,” West continued. “I think it was a good decision for me.”
West led the Huskies in assists her sophomore and junior seasons. She was also named as an All-Big 9 performer her junior year.
“I’m really excited to move on to the collegiate level and that speed of play,” she said. “I’m also looking forward to the experiences I’ve have with meeting people and stuff. That will be real exciting.”
Signed to play soccer at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.
Spears will transition to playing some defense after almost exclusively playing midfield for the Huskies.
“They’re going to start me out on defense because they just lost some defensivemen,” she said. “The coaches said they are going to fluctuate me back and forth between midfielder and defense.”
Spears said she knew SWMSU was the right place for her when she first visited the campus.
“When I went for my visit everyone was so welcoming,” she said. “I hung out with the soccer girls there and they made me feel like that was where I wanted to spend the next four years.”
Signed to play women’s soccer and track at College of Saint Benedict in Collegeville.
Achterkirch said the most important reason she wanted to attend Saint Benedicts was because of the school’s strong academics.
“They have a really good nursing program,” she said. “Athletics kind of came second, but I really liked the coaches and everything that they stand for. It is exactly what I needed.”
Achterkirch has also been a standout for Owatonna’s girls hockey team since her eighth grade year.
She led the Huskies in goals her freshman, sophomore and senior seasons and in assists for the past four years.
“I just have greater passion for soccer,” she said. “Plus, hockey is a longer season and with going into nursing I think playing soccer will be easier.”
Achterkirch competed in the 100-meter, 200, long jump, 400 relay and 800 relay this past season for the Huskies track team.
Signed to play soccer at the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse.
Amundson said her interest peaked in Lacrosse after it’s coach came and watched her play in the All-Star game.
It just seemed like the right place to be,” she said. “I’m just looking forward to having a good time playing the sport the love and making new memories.”
Amundson was selected second team All-State after she helped lead the Huskies to a 12-3-1 record this past season.
She said she really liked the size of the Lacrosse campus.
“It isn’t too big or small,” Amundson said. “It was just right.”
Amundson is one of three Owatonna athletes that will attend Lacrosse, along with Zack Mensink and Ben Stelter.
“We have been friends to a while,” she said. “It will be nice to have a familiar face in stands I can look for, and just know that we will be cheering each other on throughout our whole college careers.
Signed to play football at the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse.
Mensink said he chose Lacrosse for multiple reasons.
“Just the coaches and the great atmosphere,” he said. “It’s great city. Everything about it, I just got good vibes and I liked it there so I committed.”
The 6-foot, 225-pound linebacker was a captain for the Huskies’ state championship team this past season. Mensink finished as the Huskies second leading tackler. He had 54 solo and 29 assisted tackles to go along with four sacks.
“I’m excited to be a part of the program up there,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to meeting all the guys and getting back into the grove of things.”
Signed to play football at the University of Sioux Falls in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
“When I visited they were very welcoming and coaching staff is something else,” Conner said. “But also the school has a good business program and is located in a real nice community.”
The 6-foot-5-inch, 250-pound offensive tackle helped power a Huskies offense that rushed for 3,229 yards and passed for 3,232 in route to winning the Minnesota 5A State Championship this past season.
He said he is looking forward to meeting new people and starting the next chapter of his life.
Signed to wrestle at South Dakota State Univeristy
The two-time Minnesota state champion said there were multiple reasons he chose to attend the SDSU, including the campus, the coaches and the opportunity to be teammates with some good friends.
“Everything is going up hill there,” he said. “They just got a new health center and a football stadium and they’re getting new wrestling rooms. It’s a really exciting time to be part of the program.”
Robb is also a multi-time national champion and All-American.
The Jackrabbits, a Big 12 Conference member, are currently ranked No. 12 in the latest USA Today/NWCA Division I Coaches Poll.
Robb said he is excited for his next challenge.
“I think its the college wrestling atmosphere compared to high wrestling atmosphere that I’m looking forward to most,” Robb said. “In high school you get those kids in the room that don’t really want to work as hard or aren’t full committed to it, but next year when I am at SDSU in the wrestling room, everyone is going to be just as committed because all of them chose to be there.”
Signed to play women’s hockey at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.
Davison said the her future teammates were a pivotal factor in her decision to commit.
“They made me feel at home and included when I met them for the first time,” she said. “I knew that where I wanted to be and that’s the kind of team I wanted to be a part of.”
“They wanted me there,” she continued. “It made me feel really included and like part of the team already. That’s what made me decide I wanted to be there.”
UW-Superior is a Division III school that competes in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in men’s and women’s hockey.
Davison, who’s primarily a defenseman, scored seven goals and dished out 10 assists this past season for the Huskies.
“I’m just looking forward to playing at that next level,” she said. “I’m also excited to play with new people and to gain that next level of understanding for the game.”
Signed to swim at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
Stelter was a captain for the Huskies’ swimming team this past season.
He plans to major in biochemistry at River Falls.