Katie Alto and Silas Hess have been named the Bemidji High School Female and Male Athletes of the Year for the 2019-20 school year, the school announced Wednesday as part of its virtual 2020 Athletic Celebration.
Both student-athletes participated in soccer and basketball this year, with Alto also planning to compete in track & field and Hess in tennis before the coronavirus pandemic cancelled the spring sports season.
Alto co-captained the girls soccer team to a third-straight Section 8A title and appearance in the Class A state tournament, contributing four goals and four assists from a defensive midfield position while helping a defense that allowed just two goals in four games during the Section 8A tournament. In basketball, Alto was a major contributor on both ends of the floor. She was among the team leaders in both points and steals as the Lumberjacks ended with 19 wins and a Section 8AAA runner-up finish.
Hess posted a record-breaking autumn for boys soccer, scoring 18 goals and setting a new single-season mark with 19 assists as Bemidji finished as runners-up in Section 8A after winning the section the previous three seasons. He finished as the program’s all-time leader in career points (122) and assists (54) and became the first Bemidji soccer player to be named a finalist for the state’s Mr. Soccer award in Class A. On the basketball court, Hess earned the Playmaker Award by virtue of leading the team in assists (4.8 per game) and plus/minus, a stat combining assists, steals, and blocks with turnovers subtracting.
College soccer is in the plans for both student-athletes next season, as Alto will be attending and competing for Concordia-St. Paul and Hess will suit up for Colorado Christian.
Several other awards were handed out as part of the virtual Athletic Celebration. Nina Lubarski was named the 2019-20 Assistant Coach of the Year for her contributions to Bemidji cross country and track & field. (Cross country head coach Ryan Aylesworth shared some comments about Coach Lubarski at the 44:09 mark of the video below.)
Kolden Michalicek and Gwendoline Youso were also announced as Bemidji’s Triple-A Award nominees for their achievements in academics, fine arts, and athletics.
A full list of winners of various scholarships were also announced for the 2019-20 school year. (Begins at the 40:12 mark of the video below.) Bemidji High School previously announced that there will be no new inductees to the Athletics Hall of Fame in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, with inductions planned to resume in 2021.