Presley Norby wasted little time establishing herself as a Minnetonka freshman.
Football coach and physical education teacher Dave Nelson raved to girls’ hockey coach Eric Johnson about a ninth-grader taking on all comers in dodge ball.
“Coach Nelson said, ‘She’s the most competitive kid I’ve ever had in class; she just lays in on the line every day,’ ” Johnson said.
Norby’s first season ended with a Class 2A state tournament championship. Now a senior, she captured Ms. Hockey honors during Sunday’s banquet at the St. Paul RiverCentre.
“It’s an honor,” said Norby, who joined Sydney Baldwin, Minnetonka’s 2014 recipient. “The people on the list before me, from last year to the very first year, are all unbelievable players. So I’m really thankful.”
Johnson said Norby’s ultracompetitive nature, which impressed Nelson, had a similar effect on new teammates.
“Her work ethic and energy made people like her,” Johnson said. “Our upperclassmen wanted her on the team because she worked so hard.”
As a senior, Norby led her team with 33 goals. She scored 14 goals in the final eight games and was named Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year despite the Skippers falling one victory short of the state tournament.
“Her ability to take games over and inspire our team to play better really pushed us through the past few years,” Johnson said.
Beyond the local prep scene, Norby added her third career gold medal after helping the United States repeat as winners at the Under-18 World Championship.
Norby, who has committed to Wisconsin, headlined a group of finalists chosen by Let’s Play Hockey magazine. The others were Sydney Brodt of Mounds View, Carly Bullock of Blake, Katie Robinson of Dodge County and Mekenzie Steffen of Hill-Murray.
Jenna Brenneman of Breck won Senior Goalie of the Year.
Winners are chosen based on consultations with Division I and III women’s college coaches from Minnesota and Wisconsin, and a panel of high school coaches.
Asked about preparing for Sunday, Norby joked, “It’s always fun to dress up because I’m always in sweatpants around the rink.”
Serious at the podium, Norby gave a short acceptance speech full of gratitude.
“I wouldn’t be here without a lot of people working hard,” she said.