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Michaela Mills is Hastings recipient of Athena Award

Michaela Mills is this year’s Athena Award recipient. She will receive the award at a ceremony April 16. Submitted photo

Hastings High School senior Michaela Mills, daughter of Mike and Danyll Mills, is this year’s recipient of the prestigious Athena Award for outstanding achievement in athletics.

Mills was nominated for the award by her softball coach, Dean Robinson.

“It takes great leadership, humility, commitment to be noticed as an Athena winner and Michaela has 100 percent of what is needed and is very deserving of this distinguished award,” Robinson said.

Mills, who found out a couple weeks ago that she had won, said she felt honored to receive it and that her hard work has been recognized by her coaches.

“I was very honored,” she said. “I know it’s a very special award.”

Sports have been a major part of Mills’ life since she was very young. She started playing softball at age 5 and still plays today on the HHS varsity softball team. She plays second base. She’s also been in dance and gymnastics and has been on the HHS cross country team for three years.

To Mills, sports are about working together as a team toward a common goal, she said.

“Sports really teach you about character building and hard work, work ethic, teach you what it means to be a teammate, a team player,” she said.


Mills has earned letters in softball and in cross country. In softball, she earned the All Conference Award in 2012 and 2013 and was honorable mention in 2011. She was on the All State second team in 2012 and the state tournament All Tournament team in 2011. She was named the most dedicated player from 2011 to 2013, was captain from 2012 to 2014 and offensive MVP in 2013. She also earned All Section Honorable Mention in 2011.

Her athletic honors aren’t the only reason Mills was selected for the Athena Award.

“Michaela is a coach’s dream to have on the field, it doesn’t matter if it’s practice or a game,” Robinson said, “she has great knowledge for the game and when a coach is tweaking any player she is paying attention and taking in all of the information and adding it to her data base between her ears so she can remember and help out other teammates if the issue ever comes up again. You only need to tell Michaela once and she will adjust to everything needed to excel.”

In cross country, Mills earned an Honorable Mention in 2011, was named most valuable runner in 2011 and 2013 and was captain of her team in 2012 and 2013.

Outside of sports, Mills is a Student Council officer, a Link Crew leader and a member of the National Honor Society. She volunteers at her church, Feed My Starving Children, Hope for the Journey Home and is a volunteer coach.

She maintains a 4.0 GPA in school and is the top of her class. She has earned an AP Scholar Award, three academic letters and academic achievement awards in biology, social studies, English, AP calculus and AP chemistry.

After graduation, Mills plans to attend Florida International University to play softball and study to become a pediatrician.

The Athena Award

The Athena Awards honor female athletes for their dedication and excellence in sports.

This year, 42 young women representing St. Paul city and suburban public and private high schools were selected to receive the award. They will be recognized at an awards ceremony and luncheon on Wednesday, April 16, at 11:30 a.m. at the Prom Center, 484 Inwood Ave. N., in Oakdale. For tickets, call Kathy McIntyre of the St. Paul Area Athena Awards Committee at 651-645-1858.

The keynote speaker for the event is Nicole LaVoi, associate director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sports, from the University of Minnesota. KARE 11 news anchor Randy Shaver will emcee the ceremony honoring each young woman and her specific achievements.

The Athena Awards Committee is composed of representatives of St. Paul city and suburban schools, parents of previous award winners and business volunteers.