Anna LaRose has added a second special honor as a senior athlete at St. Michael-Albertville after being named the school Athena Award winner.
The program recognizes the top female senior student athlete from each high school. LaRose was recently named the top senior hockey goalie in the state by Let’s Play Hockey newspaper.
“I was very surprised because we do have a lot of great athletes at our school,” said LaRose. “I am just grateful.”
LaRose also was surprised when given a big top goalie trophy in the morning at the state girls hockey awards banquet prior to the state tournament. Added surprise was receiving six tickets to the Minnesota Wild pro hockey game that night in St. Paul.
Not only was LaRose the STMA varsity starting goalie in four seasons, she was named All-Conference and team most value player each year. She served as a senior captain this past season when named to the All-0State team.
LaRose holds school records with 657 saves in a season, 2,399 saves in a career, 16 career shutouts and 61 wins.
“I mainly started hockey because my sister played,” said LaRose, who remembers going to open skate sessions with the whole family. “I always wanted to be a goalie. I thought it was cool playing with all the pads. You have a different spotlight on you.”
LaRose started playing in the mite program where players switched off trying different positions. She ended up playing goalie most of the time because she wanted to and not everyone else did.
In her first year of youth hockey in fourth grade LaRose was a full time goalie. About every other year she would be moved up to play with older girls because the program did not always have enough goalies.
“That helped a lot because I faced better shots,” said LaRose. “That also helped me socially when I reached high school because I knew all the older girls on the team, plus the ones coming up with me.”
As a junior, STMA advanced to the Section title game, losing to Bemidji, the team that finished as state tourney runner-up that year.
“We were OK with it since Bemidji did well at state and gave us half our loses,” said LaRose. “We lost six games that year, three to Bemidji all by one goal.”
LaRose was a three-sport athlete, also playing lacrosse and tennis.
“A core group of us started to play lacrosse on fifth grade travel teams,” said LaRose. “In eighth grade the high school team opened up to us. We all tried out and made it.”
LaRose jokes that she played the attack position rather than goalie like in hockey because, “I need to score sometimes. I mainly am a passer, getting more assists than goals.”
She was on JV in eighth grade and named varsity rookie of the year in ninth grade. This year she was a senior captain. STMA joined the Lake Conference recently. LaRose said it was pretty intimidating playing teams like Eden Prairie, which is ranked at the national level.
“It is very frustrating not to be playing lacrosse now,” added LaRose about the pandemic causing the start of spring sports to be delayed. “This week we would have been starting tryouts. I wanted to finish school playing lacrosse with my friends. It kind of sucks it may not happen.”
While LaRose focused on hockey and lacrosse, four years ago she said yes to the urging of her friends to play tennis in the fall season. She played on the junior varsity four seasons, saying it was supper fun and it was great to learn a new sport.
After her junior year playing hockey, LaRose committed to play hockey at the University of Maine and study marketing.
The recruiters at Maine may have seen LaRose play in yearly summer hockey tournaments in Vermont, not that far away. She played in the off season for the Minnesota Junior Whitecaps, a branch of the state’s professional women’s hockey team.
STMA athletic director Keith Cornell adds how, “Anna is described by all of her coaches as an outstanding teammate, positive leader and the type of player all coaches love to have on their team.”
The Anoka area Athena Awards banquet set for May has been postponed until further notice.