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HR Awards: Goodwin, Hoehne, Lee, Thunstedt are 2014’s winners

Dawson-Boyd's Joey Lee.1 / 4
Montevideo's Ashley Hoehne.2 / 4
BBE's Brian Goodwin3 / 4
New London-Spicer's Taylor Thunstedt.4 / 4

It would have come down to a coin flip. Check that: two coin flips.

The Tribune’s Hengstler-Ranweiler Award was founded 54 years ago to honor each year’s best senior male athlete. Since 1979, the awards have been given to the top male and female athletes.

The assumption was always there would be just one male and female winner.

But it was an exercise in futility to flesh out the careers of this year’s top male and female nominees — Brian Goodwin and Joey Lee, Taylor Thunstedt and Ashley Hoehne — then attempt to put some distance between one and the other.

In the last four years, Goodwin and Lee were pretty much recognizable by a single name, like Elvis and Prince. Dominant in one sport, superb in another and very, very good in a third.

Hoehne produced so efficiently and consistently in four sports that several opposing coaches still can’t pronounce her last name (hay-nee) correctly, even after she tore up their teams.

Thunstedt, too, was a gifted, versatile athlete whose stellar play in softball and volleyball was somewhat overshadowed by her brilliant basketball career.

Parsing the four athlete’s numbers and achievements over and over never provided any distinct separation, so this year there will be four honorees. Congratulations to them all.

This is the second time in the history of the awards — second time since 2009 — that two males and two females shared the award. In 2009, Redwood Valley’s Mike Felt and Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg’s Kevin Steinhaus and Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa’ Heidi Lensing and Emily Roelike shared the awards.

It’s the third time male athletes have shared the award (Felt and Steinhaus in ’09 and two Willmar athletes, Lane Erickson and Jeff Hinz, in 1965).

It’s the fourth time female athletes have been co-winners (Lensing and Roelike in ’09, ACGC’s Kara Karlsgodt and Willmar’s Beth Zimmer in 2004, and MACCRAY’s Kristina Ervin and New London-Spicer’s Tonia Nelson in 1993).

Brian Goodwin, BBE

Goodwin’s head basketball coach, Dave Montbriand, lived a couple doors from the Goodwins and got to watch Brian grow up.

He was younger and smaller than the other kids but they let him play. And they soon found he was as good or better than the older players. Everyone wanted the little guy on their team.

“Brian is what you call a winner,” Montbriand said. “He knows what it takes to win and does all he can to make it happen for himself and his teammates.”

Now 6-foot-4, Goodwin was one of five Mr. Basketball candidates in the state this year and he’s the No. 6 career scoring in the Tribune area with 2,012 points. He also had 648 assists and his 436 steals rank No. 8 all-time in Minnesota.

He averaged 24.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 3.1 steals and he led the Jaguars, who were 121-4 in his four years, to two Class A state championships and a state runner-up finish in four years.

Although he’d never mention it.

“He’s a humble kid who routinely gives credit to his teammates,” Montbriand said.

Goodwin played almost as much football and baseball as he did basketball.

He started three seasons at quarterback and twice was voted All-Central Minnesota Conference. Goodwin threw for 2,308 yards and 22 touchdowns and he also ran for 364 yards and 18 TDs.

Goodwin also made 127 tackles, intercepted 8 passes and had 365 return yards.

In baseball, Goodwin was a three-year starter, pitching and playing the outfield.

He was a career .320 hitter, a 2014 all-conference honoree, the team captain and MVP.

“Brian was one of the funnest kids to coach,” said Jags head coach Pat Illies. “He was very coachable, respectful and displayed good sportsmanship.”

Taylor Thunstedt, NLS

Thunstedt’s basketball career is the thing of legend in the area.

She’s the Tribune’s all-time leading scorer, among boys and girls, with 2,766 points, and she averaged 24.3 points, 4.5 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 4.2 steals.

“Her offensive production was amazing,” said head coach Mike Dreier, “especially considering that she was the focal point, defensively, for every opponent we faced the last three years.”

But Thunstedt wasn’t a one-trick pony.

She was a three-year starter for the Wildcats’ softball team and this season hit .455 to earn a spot on the Tribune’s All-Area team. She hit .347 and scored 35 runs in her career.

Thunstedt missed most of her senior volleyball season because of an injury sustained last summer, but she still finished her career with 387 kills, 29 ace serves, 25 ace blocks and 373 digs.

“Taylor’s natural athletic abilities and competitiveness allowed her to be a strong contributor in all areas of the game,” said head coach Gina Macik.

Ashley Hoehne. Montevideo

There was never a lot of flash with Hoehne. Just points, kills, base hits and victories in abundance.

Then she gets back to work making herself even better.

“She always asks questions on how she can correct and improve her skills,” said Thunder Hawks head softball coach Kyle Goslee. “I think her competitive nature is a definite asset to all her teams. She loves sports and I see her working on many different skills during her free time,”

Hoehne was selected to eight all-conference teams during her varsity career.

She was a three-year honoree in basketball, scoring 1,046 career points and finishing just shy of 500 career rebounds (491).

Hoehne averaged 16 points and 6 rebounds for the 18-6 Thunder Hawks, who she helped lead to a 14-2 record in the West Central South. She averaged 14.3 points and 6.7 rebounds in her career.

“She has put in countless ours in the gym, working to make herself a better basketball player,” said head coach DeDe Epema.”

Hoehne was equally productive for the T-Hawks’ softball team, finishing her career with a .375 average and 90 runs batted in. In volleyball, she had 453 career kills, 34 ace blocks and 339 digs.

A testament to her dedication, as a junior, she started playing tennis one month before the season began. She earned the No. 3 single spot and put together a 20-7 record.

“Ashley is an amazing athlete,” said head coach Allison Hutchens.

Joey Lee, Dawson-Boyd

Dawson-Boyd football coaches knew they had a pretty good team going in 2011. Maybe a state tournament contender.

And they had no qualms about putting a sophomore quarterback in charge of the offense.

The result was a Class A state title.

“Joey is a natural leader and is very respected by teammates, coaches and competitors,” said Cory Larson, Lee’s football and basketball coach.

Lee finished his football career with 5,638 passing yards and he threw and ran for 90 touchdowns for teams that were 46-6 in his career.

Lee scored 1,642 career points in basketball and he also had 512 assists and 292 steals.

Lee competed in the state track and field meet this spring and also won conference titles in the triple and long jumps.

Tom Larson

Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.

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