White Bear Lake Area Prep Elite 2013

A day in the life of four standout high school students.
Bethany Kozak of White Bear Lake Area High School-South Campus.


Keep an eye on Megan Koenig: She’s already said she’ll play soccer at our very own University of Minnesota. And if her high school record is any indicator, she’ll be front and center in no time. At the moment, Koenig plays for Mahtomedi High School and a club team, St. Croix Academy. Her parents had signed her up for a Mahtomedi Youth Soccer Association team when she was 5, and she’s been passionate about the sport ever since. It helps that Koenig is, by her own measure, “extremely competitive and [has] a lot of energy.” Koenig has served as a captain for her club team for four years.

“Soccer is always the highlight of my day,” Koenig says. “I have made amazing friendships through the sport, and my teammates have easily become some of the most important people in my life.” Participation in collegiate sports has long been a dream of hers. “I couldn’t be more excited to play at the next level with such a respected program,” she says. Koenig’s extracurricular activities include the National Honor Society, volunteering as a Sunday school teacher at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church and training youth soccer teams. When she has time, she enjoys boating, reading and spending time with friends.  

This summer she plans to spend time at the family cabin tubing, water-skiing and fishing, along with training for soccer and travelling with her team. Koenig intends to live her last year of high school to the fullest. 

Morning routine: I wake up for school at seven.
School: AP language and composition; English is a favorite subject. I love to read in my free time. Accelerated pre-calculus, Pottery,Chemistry; Science has always been interesting to me. CIS physics, CIS Spanish 4
After school: I go home and take a nap, eat dinner and then have soccer for the rest of the night.
Evening routine: By the time I usually go to bed, it’s around 11:30.


Bethany Kozak’s accomplishments would make anyone dizzy—especially since she’s still in high school. She has a 4.0 GPA, a school letter in academics, has earned the Principal's Award and the Perfect Attendance Award, is a perennial on the A honor roll, a student of the month, is enrolled in accelerated math and Spanish classes, and was a state History Day regional competitor. But wait, there’s more! She’s an all-conference musician in the school honors band, the honors band section leader and first-chair clarinet and letter recipient in concert and prep bands.

As if that weren’t enough, Kozac is also a runner on the cross-country and track and field teams, where she’s piling up recognitions for everything from Rookie of the Year to MVP to all-conference and all-state participant, and the Star Tribune’s Prep Athlete of the Week; and that’s just the short list (no surprise that she won the 2012-2013 Excel Award for leadership, athletics and volunteering).

She initially learned about running from Tom Paulson’s Bears’ Track Camp during elementary and middle school summers, and has always enjoyed an active lifestyle, from dancing to soccer. “The most rewarding thing about running is seeing the results of my hard work and dedication,” Kozak says. “I hold my coach Patti Percival’s quote close to my heart, ‘You get out of it what you put into it’.”

This summer, Kozak hopes to do some of her favorite things: exercising, volunteering, traveling, cooking, arts and crafts, and spending quality time with family, friends and her cat, Cutie. She will train for the upcoming cross country season while researching and visiting colleges. In her senior year, Kozak wants to get stronger, stay healthy and improve her race times, maintain a balance between academics and athletics, and have fun and stay positive in all that she does.

Morning routine: I get up at 6:30 a.m. and have either an omelet or cereal with fruit for breakfast.    
School: Pre-calculus and trigonometry, Honors wind ensemble band, World history, College in the Schools–Spanish, Honors language arts, Honors chemistry
After school: Depending on the season, I am involved in track and field or cross country practices, pep or concert band performances, volunteering for Ambassadors and taking private clarinet lessons once a week.
Relaxation: massage, stretching, watching TV, reading books/magazines and spending time with my cat, family and friends.
Evening routine: I have about two to three hours of homework on average nightly. I aim to get to bed between 9 and 10 p.m. for adequate sleep to stay healthy.


Jake Wahlin has been playing hockey since he was 2 years old; he grew up with a backyard rink where he watched his older brother Brandon play. Wahlin is a forward on the White Bear Lake Area High School team and has excelled at the varsity level in both his freshmen and sophomore years. He was invited last summer to the U.S. Hockey’s Top 40 Players developmental camp in New York, played in the Elite league last fall, was all-conference Rookie of the Year, on the Pioneer Press metro team and took the single-season scoring record at White Bear Lake Area High School. “The most rewarding thing [about hockey] is stepping on the ice, hearing the roar of the crowd and helping my team to victory,” Wahlin says.

This one-time Student of the Month enjoys golfing in his spare time and hopes to play this summer, along with training for hockey, hanging out with friends and spending time with family. Next year, Wahlin looks forward to being captain, getting good grades, getting stronger in hockey, and leading his team to the state tournament and taking home the state title. Wahlin was awarded a full-ride scholarship to the University of Massachusetts and will get to play Division I hockey with his older brother.

Morning routine: Up at 6 a.m., shower, eat breakfast and go to school.
School: Language arts and American history; My favorite subjects.
After school: Hockey practice until 4:30 p.m.
Evening routine: Homework, shooting pucks in the basement, a little TV and in bed about 9:30 p.m.


High Honors awards await James Gannon every year as he stays in the upper echelon of his class academically. He has been accepted into the National Honor Society and his GPA is consistently over 3.96. This academic superstar is president of the Interact Club, part of his school’s Student Council and an officer in the Mahtomedi Chapter of the National Honor Society. Acting, drawing, downhill skiing, tennis, waterskiing, wakeboarding, Jet-Skiing and playing piano and guitar round out his staggering litany of talents.

Gannon also made his mark in school sports and lettered in track and field. “Since I am a cross country runner, I thought it would be fun to run [track and field] this spring to get a jump-start on the cross country season next fall” he says. “It’s different from cross country where you are racing off in the woods most of the time; in track, there can be more pressure because everyone is watching the whole time.”

Gannon’s summer will be bursting with various activities, including working as a valet at his local country club, taking a trip to New York with his family, spending time at leadership and volunteering camp and studying for next year’s AP courses. Like the other intrepid students, Gannon wants to have fun and enjoy his last year of high school.

Morning routine: I get up between 6:15 and 6:45, go downstairs and eat breakfast. I go to a club meeting or talk with a teacher, if necessary.
School: AP language and composition; I enjoy my science and world-language classes. Chemistry Spanish 4; I have taken college-level Spanish this past year and I will continue this next year and into college. AP macroeconomics Accelerated pre-calculus
After school: Track or cross country practice—I love how hard it can be and the feeling I get after I finish a tough run or when I beat a time. I like endurance sports like this. I hit the weight room. At home I eat a snack while watching TV and start homework. Break for piano, guitar or some other random thing.
Evening routine: Eat dinner and finish homework. Pack up backpack for the next day; go to bed around 10:45, so I can do it all over again.