Two juniors nominated for MSHSL ExCEL Award


Alyssa Brinza

Juniors Braeden Fitzgerald and Claire Grazini were nominated from the MSHSL ExCEL Award that recognizes strong leadership and academic performances.

Will Whitmore, Staff Writer

BSM juniors Braeden Fitzgerald and Claire Grazzini were recently nominated for the Minnesota State High School League ExCEL Award. The ExCEL Award is a prestigious award that recognizes juniors that are active in school activities, show quality leadership skills, and work voluntarily in the community. Every school member of the MSHSL is invited to nominate a boy and a girl for the award. This year, Grazzini and Fitzgerald are two very accomplished nominees.

Grazzini showed a tremendous amount of leadership this past fall as a goalie for the girl’s soccer team. Grazzini was forced to lead and make sure her defenders are always in the right position as a part of her role on the team. “As a goalie, you are able to see the whole field, so I have a great opportunity to make sure all of my players are in line and prepare to make a good play on the ball,” Grazzini said.   

These skills displayed by Grazzini helped the soccer team win back-to-back state championships, and she plans to continue to be a leader in the BSM community. “I really strive to be an example to all of the underclassmen and students that look up to me,” Grazzini said.

Fitzgerald, a football captain, showed constant leadership throughout the season, which helped the Red Knights win their first football state championship. Throughout the season, Braeden was the most vocal player on the field and always made sure his teammates were in the right spot. He also led by example by becoming one of the most feared defenders in the west metro, collecting over 50 tackles and five sacks in eight games. “The whole football season was a great experience. I tried to show leadership every time I hit the field, and give the most amount of effort possible in every practice,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald was excited to see his hard work and leadership pay off, and he wants to continue to be a community leader.  “I want to keep working hard in school and be a role model to the younger kids on and off the field. [Being nominated for] this award is a tremendous honor, but it is only a small part of the process of being great,” Fitzgerald said.