The official student-run news publication of Edina High School.

Edina Zephyrus

The official student-run news publication of Edina High School.

Edina Zephyrus

The official student-run news publication of Edina High School.

Edina Zephyrus

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Jace Haerter: Defining ExCELlence

Jace Haerter in action during a race. PHOTO COURTESY OF JACE HAERTER

Edina High School junior Jace Haerter was selected as EHS’s Minnesota State High School League ExCEL Award winner for the 2023–24 school year. The MSHSL ExCEL award recognizes juniors in high school who excel in community, education, and leadership.

  Since freshman year, Haerter has run for the Varsity Cross Country team in the fall. During the winter, he transitions to Varsity Nordic Skiing and finishes off the year in the spring with Varsity Track and Field, all while tackling a heavy course load and playing for Varsity and Jazz Band. 

Since the ages of four and seven, Haerter has fostered his love for skiing and running. “I like seeing [how by] putting the work in, you can see the results by getting faster and better,” Haerter said. “It’s a good feeling when you cross the finish line knowing you gave it your all and your team will progress.” 

Since meeting Jace in fifth grade, junior cross country runner Kevin Nybeck has watched him grow not just as a runner but also as a friend. “He’s matured and developed a lot,” Nybeck said. “He manages friendships really well, and he’s someone you can trust and is very loyal to you.”

Cross country and Nordic skiing do not come without their challenges. Both sports demand significant amounts of endurance, power, and strength even in extreme weather conditions. Amidst  the harsh physical demands of cross country, what sets Haerter apart from others is his exceptional mental fortitude.“What separates people with physical talent and those who can push past the next level is their mental strength. He’s very strong mentally and always pushes himself which is necessary in a sport like cross country,” Nybeck said. 

During each season, Haerter brings positivity and builds team spirit by pushing himself and others to new limits. “He cares a lot about how everybody else is performing and makes sure that everybody else is proud of their effort and their results,” senior and Boys’ Cross Country Captain Jack Liethen said. 

During the winter season, his versatility can be seen through his skill in Nordic skiing. In seventh grade, he made Edina’s Varsity Nordic Ski team and through his hard work has transformed into one of the team’s top skiers. 

Haerter’s dedication and perseverance extend beyond athletics. The EHS MSHSL ExCEL award nominations are granted to those who demonstrate a strong commitment to their community through community service and leadership in addition to school activities. By emphasizing school, band, and practice, Haerter puts in the work knowing it will pay off. “He works really hard at school and cross country. He never gives up in life and always tries to give his best effort no matter what he does,” junior Ray Anderson said. 

Each MSHSL member school submits one junior girl and boy to be judged before a panel of judges. On Feb. 6 the League will release their list of ExCEL award recipients. “I feel blessed that [Edina] chose me. I’ve been working pretty hard so it means a lot to be recognized,” Haerter said.

This piece was originally published in Zephyrus’ print edition on January 25, 2024. 

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Lexi Han
Lexi Han, Section Editor
This year will be Lexi’s (she/her) redemption arc. She is back except this time she won’t be cutting her hair or doing her nails three times a day. This summer, she spent her time working at 4 different jobs despite everyone advising against it. Not only was she hustling every day, she was spending extravagant amounts of money. This was extremely stupid. Lexi loves Dr. Pepper and chips that taste like dill pickles. She still obsesses over professional male tennis players and lets FOMO rule her life.

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