Since 1976 the Brainerd Warriors have recognized at least one male and one female athlete of the year.
At times, more than one male, or more than one female, have shared the award.
Never in the award's history have three girls shared the honor, as was the case at Monday night's all-sports banquet when twin sisters Ally and Taylor Hartje and Hilary Smith shared the girls' award, while Chris Woodard received the boys' honor.
Chris Woodard (left) received a hug from Hilary Smith as Ally Hartje and her twin sister, Taylor, smiled after Woodard was named Brainerd High School Male Athlete of the Year and Smith and the Hartje twins were named female athletes of the year at the all-sports banquet Monday night.
The Hartjes, who combined to earn 17 letters between them in six different sports, are virtually inseparable and plan to remain that way. Both will attend the University of Minnesota-Duluth next fall, major in engineering and hope to compete in track and field.
"I really wouldn't have wanted to win it without her," Ally Hartje said of Taylor.
"It was awesome," Taylor said. "When they did us together it was like the coolest thing ever. It would be hard to get it without her because we really are alike."
Smith earned 11 letters in swimming, hockey and softball. She has thrown five shutouts in softball this spring.
"It's a great honor," said Smith, whose leading college choices are North Dakota, Concordia-Moorhead and Moorhead State. "I have to thank all my teammates and coaches and all the players because I couldn't have been here without them. I was just real surprised."
Woodard was surprised to receive the honor but had an inkling he might win it.
"The whole night I had people saying to me, 'It's going to be you,' so the thought had crossed my mind," said Woodard, who will attend North Dakota State next fall, major in computer engineering and run cross country and track. "It's something I kind of hoped for since my freshman year. I thought it would be really cool to win that someday."
* Ally Hartje was captain in all three of her sports.
Chris Woodard smiled seconds after he was named Brainerd Warriors Male Athlete of the Year at the all-sports banquet Monday night in the Brainerd High School gym.
In basketball she was scholar all-conference.
In soccer, she was all-conference and scholar all-conference as the Warriors won the conference and were section runners-up.
In track and field, she was a member of the section True Team championship team and a state True Team participant. She also was a member of the Warriors' conference, North Subsection and section championship teams and a Brainerd Dispatch Scholar Athlete.
* In dance team, Taylor Hartje was scholar all-conference, academic all-state and a member of the conference championship team. She was named to the academic all-state team and was a member of the state finalist team.
In soccer, she was all-conference, scholar all-conference and a member of conference champion and section runner-up teams.
In track, she was captain, all-conference in the triple jump, individual section champion in triple jump and a state participant. She was academic all-state, a member of the section True Team championship team and a state True Team participant. She was also a member of conference, North Subsection and section championship teams and a Dispatch scholar athlete.
* In swimming and diving, Smith was a member of the section runner-up team.
In hockey, she was captain, most valuable player, all-conference, scholar all-conference and won the Hobey Baker Character Award.
In softball, she was captain, all-conference, a member of the conference championship and North Subsection runner-up teams and a Dispatch scholar athlete.
* Woodard was captain in all three of his sports.
In Nordic skiing, he was most valuable, all-conference, scholar all-conference, all-state, a member of conference runner-up and section championship teams and a state meet participant.
In cross country running, he was most valuable, all-conference, scholar all-conference, section runner-up, all-state and academic all-state.
In track, he was all-conference in the 3200-meter run, academic all-state, a member of section True Team and North Subsection runner-up teams and a Dispatch scholar athlete.
Mike Bialka can be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5861.
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