Amy Quanbeck (Grade 12) was crowned as this year’s Athena Award winner of Wayzata High School. Her poise and dedication in dance and academics will advance her to the next stages of her life and career. “I think it’s a great honor that means a lot. This is a darn big building and I think anyone who receives this award carries a lot of influence,” said Jamie Sherwood, athletic director. Mike Schumacher, head girls’ golf coach, agreed. “I think it’s a tremendous honor, especially in a school this size,” he said. “[Amy is] a shining star in the competition and a good person,” said Leslie Swiggum, head coach of the Trojets.
Quanbeck communicated a sense of joy toward her outstanding achievement of winning the Athena award. “I’m really honored to represent the senior ladies of Wayzata. I am especially happy to represent the dance team.” With this award, Amy hopes the dance team will receive more recognition for their success. “I think this will with start the pathway for other dancers [to win the award].
It’s no secret how accomplished the Wayzata Trojets dance team has been over the years. The high ranking’s for the four years Quanbeck has been on the team is phenomenal. The jazz team has been able to place in the top three at state for all four years. “It’s unbelievable to medal in jazz every year of high school, but I owe that to the team and coaches,” said Quanbeck. “She is a great leader, but a humble leader,” Swiggum said.
Sherwood defined the Athena Award as, “the top female student athlete in the school. The award focuses more heaviely on the athletic aspect, but academics are a deciding factor.” “Amy is the first dancer to receive this award at Wayzata,” Swiggum said. Swiggum also stated that the Athena award winner is a representative role model of the school that is something younger female athletes should strive for. The greek goddess, Athena, was the daughter of Zeus. She was the helper of champions and the goddess of heroic endeavor.
The Athena Award stems from “the outgrowth of Title IX and its superior female athletes,” according to Sherwood. Title IX was an education amendment passed in 1972 that eliminated gender discrimination in education, which eventually evolved in athletics as well. After the amendment passed in ‘72, the coverage of female sports has grown tremendously. In education and athletics it shows that “girls can play right along with the boys,” Sherwood said. “This quantity of athletic opportunity is all these girls know. It never used to be like that.”
Quanbeck has plans to continue dancing after high school, in college and beyond. She is deciding between the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and the University of California-Irvine. Quanbeck will either double major in dance and physics or dance and kinesiology, and she has gotten into the dance programs at both schools after auditions.
The award banquet for the Athena Award will be held on May 9th at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Quanbeck will attend the banquet with the other award winners from neighboring schools.