Fire Track and Field Athletes Look Forward to Section Meet

With the track and field championship season now in full swing, the primary goal of every track and field athlete is the same: perform well enough to advance to the next round. When the bus left Jordan High School, host of the Section 2A, Sub-Section 8 Championship meet on Thursday, May 25, many Fire athletes met that goal. Holy Family will send a large contingent to sections.

Holy Family Girls Team Fared Well

The Holy Family girls fared well as a team, battling their way to a third-place team finish in the seven-team Sub-Section. The Fire’s 140 points trailed team champion and host Jordan’s 234 points. The Holy Family team attack was spurred on by qualifying efforts in three of the four relays, three event titles, three Honor Roll standards, and 12 Section 2A Championship meet qualifiers.

With the top four athletes in individual events and the top two relays qualifying for the next round, the Fire needed great performances.   Holy Family would boast the winner in two of the individual events led by senior captain Kendra Franck, who rolled to another victory in her primary event, the 800m run. Franck’s winning time of two minutes, 25.07 seconds was just off of her personal best time, but almost two seconds ahead of the next competitor and a Section 2A championship qualifying performance. The Fire received another Section 2A meet standard in this event courtesy of junior Megan Beulke, who ran a personal best time of 2:30.63 to advance to the 4th and final qualifying position. The final individual Fire victory belonged to sophomore distance specialist Ellie Marschall, who paced herself to an easy victory in the 3200m run with a winning time of 12:58.23, over 17 seconds faster than the next competitor. Also sparking the Holy Family distance attack was senior captain Abby Ernst, who qualified for sections with a 4th place time of 5:49.80, a new personal best, in the 1600m run.

Senior captain Emily Willenbring advanced to the Section 2A meet in three events. Willenbring set a new Holy Family Catholic school record in the long jump competition, stretching the tape to a new personal best mark of 16 feet, 11 inches to place 2nd overall. Willenbring then also set a new personal-best time in the 200m dash, shaving almost 1.5 seconds off her previous best. Her time of 26.14 seconds was a Minnesota Class A Honor Roll Standard and placed her in 2nd overall, just 0.04 of a second out of 1st place. She then capped her day by anchoring the Holy Family 4 x 200 relay to victory in a time of 1:48.54. Willenbring’s relay teammate junior Emma Terris also qualified for the Section 2A meet in three events: the high jump competition with a second place 4’7” effort, the 4 x 200 relay, the Fire 4 X 100 relay with Section 2A second-place qualifying time of 51.97.

Also qualifying in more than one event were Holy Family sophomore sprinter Evelyn Willenbring in 4 X 100 and 4 X 200 relays, and junior Alexis Pricco in the 4 X 100 relay, and as an individual in the 300m hurdles with a personal best time of 50.85 seconds and a 4th place finish.

Junior Maggie Mahota advanced to sections with the top Fire time in 300m hurdles and second place 49.75-seconds. Mahota (5th) and Pricco (6th), also posted personal bests in the 100m hurdles but did not advance to sections in this event. Mahota then teamed up with fellow juniors Casey Krasowski and Gracie Lund along with sophomore Grace Conroy to claim Holy Family’s 4th and final event win of the day in the 4 X 400 relay with a time of 4:20.34, almost 8 seconds better than the next team, and just off a season-best mark.

“Our girls took care of business today by advancing to the Section Meet in multiple events,” noted Fire head coach Ian Parzyck. “Emily had a great day with the school record in the long jump, we had two individual champions, and our relays were good again. All in all it was a good day for our girls, but our multiple personal best performances show us that everything is coming together for them at the right time with the Section meet on the way.”

Fire Boys Track and Field Athletes Fight to Move On

The Holy Family boys were able to fight their way to 5th place in the team standings behind Jordan High School’s Sub-Section 8A Championship 280 points at Sub-Section 8A meet. Staring down the possible end to their track and field season, a number of Holy Family boys showed their fight by demonstrating that they were far from finished; as they sent six athletes in four events on to compete at the Section 2A meet.

Leading the way in the individual events was Fire sophomore and middle distance specialist Zyler Niece, who paced himself to a 2nd place finish in the 800 meter run with a time of 2:10.37. Holy Family would see one more distance runner advance as sophomore teammate Jack Fink grabbed the 4th and final Section qualifying spot in the 1600m run with a time of 4:54.64. Fink became the Fire boys’ only two-event qualifier when he anchored the Fire 4 X 400 relay team of junior captain Joe Olson, with sophomore teammates Nick Lynch and Brendan O’Connor to 2nd place in a near season-best time of 3:35.47.

The Holy Family boys would also see success in the field, as senior throws captain Daniel Trieff punched his ticket to next week’s section meet with the 4th and final qualifying spot in the shot put competition. Trieff threw a personal-best mark of 44 feet, 2 inches to ensure his season would continue. “I was really pleased to see Daniel chuck out that personal best throw with his season on the line,” exclaimed Coach Parzyck. “And while there were a couple of near misses from some of our athletes in other events, I was truly happy to see our boys battle back and eek out one more Section qualifying performance in the 4 X 400 in exciting fashion at the end of the meet.”

The Holy Family Catholic track and field teams will now set their sights on Mankato West High School, host of the Section 8AA championship meet. The top two individuals and top relay teams, plus any qualifying standards, will earn the right to compete at the MSHSL State Championship meet in June. “All of our Section qualifiers performed well on Thursday, and will now see the best in the Section 2A Meet on Saturday, June 3. We have 18 girls and boys who are set to compete at Mankato this week for an opportunity at State. It should be a lot of fun for our athletes to perform at their best to see just how far they can go.”

Photo by Paige Wicka

Holy Family Catholic High School Announces New President

After an intensive search led by current and former members of our Board of Directors, in collaboration with Cohen Taylor Executive Search Services and Holy Family administration, we are pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Brennan as the new president of Holy Family Catholic High School. The Most Reverend Archbishop Hebda gives his blessed approval.

Brennan will succeed Kathleen Brown, who has served the high school in a dual role as president and principal since 2010. Brown is eager to focus on the role of principal, allowing her to continue to enhance the strong college preparatory curriculum of our school and execute the academic initiatives of the 2017-2021 strategic plan: Growth & Excellence. She describes the partnership with Brennan as “a gift that will strengthen our commitment to touch the hearts and minds of students, thereby transforming lives.”

A product of Catholic education, Brennan has a bachelor of arts degree from Boston College, a Master of Education and a Master of Educational Administration from the University of Notre Dame. His career in Catholic education includes five years as a teacher, four years as a principal, and, most recently, six years as the Director of Catholic Schools in Rochester, MN.

As the Director of Rochester Catholic Schools (RCS), Brennan oversaw a unified school system that provides high-quality Catholic education to more than 1,600 students living in the greater Rochester, Minnesota area and the Diocese of Winona. He managed a $15 million budget, oversaw a $34 million building project, managed a team of 250 staff, and cultivated extensive community relationships.

Brennan and wife, Denae, along with their four young children, will relocate to the southwest Twin Cities metro this summer. Brennan looks forward to bringing to Holy Family his passion for helping youth develop a love of learning and faith.

Holy Family Board Chair Chris Moakley shared his sentiments about the hiring of a new president, “As a school community, we will begin our 18th year in Catholic education with an increase in enrollment, continued commitment to high academic achievement, and a diverse program of athletic and extracurricular activities. The success of Holy Family is a direct result of the leadership of Kathie Brown, the administration, teachers, and our dedicated students. Our current families will immediately benefit from the energy and experience Michael Brennan will bring to this role. Our future students, including the children of our more than 1600 alumni, can look forward to a school characterized by Christian values and a continued pursuit of excellence.”

Holy Family faculty and staff will have the opportunity to meet Mr. Brennan before the end of the school year. More information regarding a community-wide welcome reception will be announced in the coming weeks.