Week 7 ASPIRE Athlete of the Week

Jack Teske | Eastview

Jack recently scored the game winning goal in his team's section final against Eagan with 6 minutes to play, sending his team to the state tournament where they will attempt to defend their 2012 class 2AA state championship. This is the second consecutive year that Jack has dramatically scored the game-winning goal in the section final during the last ten minutes to send his team to the state tournament. This will be Jack's third straight state tournament appearance for boys soccer.

Academically, Jack has a 3.5 GPA with a challenging schedule of upper level classes. According to his coach, "Jack is well respected by his teachers and peers for being an insanely positive person." In the community, Jack has volunteered to run soccer clinics for the Eastview Athletic Association in conjunction with his team. He is widely admired for his positive attitude and leadership attributes.

Week 6 ASPIRE Athlete of the Week

Megan Pekarek | Osseo

Megan led Osseo to a 5 1 record last week, bringing them to a 22 1 overall record. Her team won conference title last week with a 10 0 record and took 2nd place at the Apple Valley October Classic. In six matches last week, Megan collected 141 assists, 10 kills, and 7.5 blocks. Next weekend, she will likely surpass 2,500 career assists at the Moorhead Pumpkin Classic. She is a 5-year Varsity starter and has been elected captain the past two years. She is admired and highly respected as a leader both on and off the floor by her teammates. She has accepted an athletic scholarship to UW Parkside to play volleyball.

Academically, she challenges herself with a full load of HP and AP classes. In addition, she serves as an editor of the school yearbook. Outside of school, Megan has generously volunteered her time in the summer to instruct and mentor youth athletes at the Osseo Volleyball clinics. The participants at these camps love Megan's smile and fun personality.

Week 5 ASPIRE Athlete of the Week

Alexander Neve | Chanhassen

As a respected captain of the Chanhassen men's soccer team, scored a key goal in the team's win over previously unbeaten Waconia. He also scored the game-winning goal in his team's game versus Shakopee which allowed Chanhassen to enter its final conference game against Red Wing with at least a share of the conference title. In the game against Red Wing, Xander created a lot of offense with 3 assists that led the team to victory and the outright conference title. Xander has been an excellent captain, leading our team this season. He has made many sacrifices for the good of the team to help ensure our success. He has also been a leader both vocally and by example when times have been tough. Xander is also the kicker on Chanhassen's football team.

"He manages a lot," said Phil Walczak. "I don't envy him at all in terms of his schedule. Between kicking for the football team, playing soccer for us, and also keeping his academic stuff really high." Despite the obvious demands of playing two sports in one season, Xander has remained a great student with a 3.5 GPA. Recently, he worked in the school cafeteria to help cook so that our students could experience food from different cultural backgrounds. Xander is actively involved in the community as a volunteer through his church. Xander constantly "aspires" to uphold the highest standards of character – both for himself and his teammates.

Week 4 ASPIRE Athlete of the Week

Emi Trost | Cannon Falls

Emi Trost excels for Cannon Falls cross country – she's been ranked No. 1 in Class A all year – and yet she also thrives in the classroom. But this week's ASPIRE Athlete of the Week doesn't even attend her local high school.

"There are probably five to eight other home school people on our track team, cross country team," the senior said. "So it's been really cool like, all of the people here in Cannon have been really accepting of home schoolers." The other areas of Emi's life include singing and volunteering at church, taking care of animals like her cows, and working on 4H projects.

Week 3 ASPIRE Athlete of the Week

Nicholas Leach | East Ridge

Nicholas Leach of East Ridge has been named the ASPIRE Beverages Athlete of the Week. Prior to tearing his ACL against Park on Friday night, Nick was leading the state in rushing with 667 yards on 62 carries. He also compiled 11 touchdowns prior to the injury.

He was chosen over several other outstanding seniors in Oliver Cornelius-Knudsen, Blake School football; Thomas O'Neil, Waseca football; Zoya Wahlstrom, Lakeville North swimming; and Jalen Wuchko, Little Falls football. "Nick is an outstanding leader in athletics as he puts forth the effort and time during the off season to improve his all-around game," Athletic Director Jon Hinzman said. "Nick is leader in the school by showing others how to act and willing to reach out to new students," he added.

Week 2 ASPIRE Athlete of the Week

Emma Hughes | New Prague

Emma Hughes of New Prague has been named the ASPIRE Beverages Athlete of the Week. The hard-working senior setter broke the New Prague school record for career assists of 1,351 previously held Megan Erickson Giesen in 1999. Hughes is viewed as someone who can be counted on in all situations.

Hughes set a school record of 54 set assists in 2012, doing so against both Chaska and Northfield. She finished her junior season with 791 assists, also a school record. She was chosen over several other outstanding seniors in Nicole Varichak, Fridley volleyball; Jacob Alex, Rosemount boys soccer; Chris Meados, Andover cross country; and Laura Sonday, South St. Paul tennis. Hughes knows that it takes a well-rounded person to excel in athletics. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and the president of New Prague's PROUD organization.

Congrats to Emma for also winning the fan vote at the ASPIRE AOTW website.

Week 1 ASPIRE Athlete of the Week

Keaton Studsrud | Benilde-St. Margaret's

September 13, 2013 - Keaton Studsrud, the Senior Quarterback at Benilde-St. Margaret's High School, was selected as the ASPIRE Athlete of the Week. "He's got a lot of football smarts, doesn't make a lot of mistakes and we put a lot on him — a lot of reads he has to make," coach Jon Hanks said. "He is one of those kids who is a leader, who doesn't have to tell you he's good because everyone knows it. The kids gravitate to him because he doesn't have an ego."

Watch him run the spread offense and you can see he's mastered it. He makes a complicated offensive set look rhythmic and easy. "It's always fun running the spread offense - you have so many options," Studsrud said. "The guys up front do a great job at it." And he was selected as the ASPIRE Athlete of the Week because of not just what he does on the field, but what he does year round.

"Outside of football I'm captain for baseball and do a lot of volunteering at the Courage Center in Golden Valley," he said. "I'm also in peer ministry." Keaton was 9-for-9 throwing for two touchdowns and running for another Thursday night, leading his squad over St Louis Park 48-13.