Senior recognized with Athena Award

Tennis, basketball, softball player Sophie Olmen receives recognition


Echo Staff Photo

Senior Sophie Olmen swings a bat at a varsity softball game in the 2018 season. Olmen was recently awarded the Athena Award for her performances in tennis, basketball and softball. Olmen has played softball since freshman year but took a year off to participate in golf.

Marta Hill

When senior Sophie Olmen was called down to the athletic office and told she had won the Athena Award, she said she was surprised she was the winner.

“I was shocked. This year there was a lot of really good competition for the award, and I felt really honored that I got it,” Olmen said.

According to athletics director Andrew Ewald the Athena Award is an award schools give to their most outstanding senior female athlete based on a series of characteristics that are determined by the school district.

Basketball coach Arsenio Richardson said he is proud of Olmen and excited about her accomplishment.

“It is so cool that we have a young lady who is participating in three sports and is successful in other ways. It is a huge honor, and I couldn’t be more proud and happy for Sophie,” Richardson said.

According to Ewald, the Athena Award winner is chosen through a combination of a voting system and a ranking system, and will get to attend a banquet with other schools’ winners.

“Any senior female athlete can nominate themselves, and we send that out as a ballot to all of the other nominees and head coaches of the female sports (at Park). We also use kind of a matrix with All-Conference, All-State, those kind of things so there is a measurable aspect to it,” Ewald said.

Olmen said it felt good to have her many years of dedication to sports finally pay off.

“Over the years I have played a lot of sports, and it is cool to be recognized for all my hard work. I wasn’t really working toward (the Athena Award), but it is nice to be recognized for it,” Olmen said.

According to Olmen, as she finishes her senior year, winning the Athena Award was a highlight.

“As I am closing out my final seasons, it’s kind of sad because it is all ending, but this was a nice surprise,” Olmen said.

Ewald said Olmen was a good candidate for the Athena Award because of her work ethic and dedication to tennis, basketball and softball.  

“I think Sophie won because she is a three-sport athlete, and has been for all of high school, which is a tough thing to do nowadays. I think it is tough for kids to do two, let alone three, sports and she has had success in all of them,” Ewald said. “I believe our coaches value her a lot for her hard work, and I believe her peers look at her and think that she is a deserving candidate.”

Richardson said when he found out Olmen had won the Athena Award, he wasn’t surprised because of her leadership skills.

“(Sophie) definitely leads by example on and off the (basketball) court. She is a really good student and works really hard,” Richardson said.  “Because she is a three-sport athlete, she can’t always come to everything, but when she can come to the things she signs up for, she is a really hard worker.”