First-year head coach Jonah Fields led the Cougars back to the state tournament for a third straight year. Como concluded the season with class in a close quarterfinal loss to Chaska, finishing with a record of 14-5-2. A strong defense secured 11 shutouts, including two over St. Paul Central, and one against top-ranked Minneapolis Washburn in the Section 3A play-offs. Senior goalkeeper John Wenger, junior defender Ryan Yang and sophomore Tyler Johnson formed the spine of the defense, while Will Kidd tallied 18 goals and 12 assists to lead the attack (see story above).
The Cougars football team advanced to the second round of the section play-offs following a gritty 10-6 win over Minneapolis Roosevelt. The St. Paul City season was punctuated with a convincing and memorable 30-6 victory over rival Highland Park. Coach Kirby Scull credited captains Jacob Graff, Devon Nelson and Isaiah Flores for demonstrating outstanding leadership. Nelson and Flores earned All-Conference, as did Richie Gulner, Erik Hoonsbeen and Trey Clay. Graff received Honorable Mention, along with Isaiah Wallace and Billy Kray.
As reported in last month’s Bugle, the committed training and spirit of the team made for a memorable season. Both the boys and girls teams placed third in the conference meet. Innocent Marwanashyaka and Geleto Roba both placed in the top five out of 40 participants. Sisters Kathleen and Mary Miles duplicated the feat on the girls side, finishing second and fourth, respectively. Academically, the boys team achieved the Gold Award for a team GPA of 3.99, and the girls earned the Silver Award for a team GPA of 3.64.
The Cougars had a solid season and were in the running for the conference championship until the final match. A loss to Highland left the Cougars in second place, with an overall record of 14-7 (10-2 conference). They advanced to the second round of the section play-offs following an impressive opening round triumph over Minnehaha Academy. Jenna Krivit, Delilah Wolf and Emily LaCroix-Dalluhn were selected All-Conference, with Bekah Hausman and Elianna Wiersma receiving Honorable Mention.
The Lady Cougars posted an 8-4 conference record.
Coach Steve Cox noted unselfish teamwork was critical to the success, along with solid defensive play led by All-Conference seniors Grace Maruska (goalie) and Ellen Purdy (defender.) All-Conference junior forwards Brianna Menssen and Vanessa Acosta led the offense with 12 goals each. Season highlights included decisive wins over Harding and a buzzer-beater over Johnson with a last-second goal by senior midfielder Celia Commers.
The varsity squad dedicated this season to the recovery of MaryHelen Tapio, Athletics secretary at Como, who is fighting breast cancer.
Como’s courts were in constant use as practices and matches took place throughout the warm fall weather. The tennis team beat Humboldt and Washington for a 2-4 conference record, and added a nonconference victory over Fridley. The doubles team of seniors Tessa Portuese and Mackenzie Olson earned All-Conference and advanced in the section tournament by defeating a strong Central team. Junior Emma Hartmann and sophomores Mira Kammueller and Lizzy Larson earned All-Conference Honorable Mention.
The swim team finished third in the conference. Senior Rachel Williams and sophomore Maggie McGuire won All-Conference awards, and junior Lia Chin-Purcell and sophomore Claire Sponheim received Honorable Mention. Rachel also was the winner of the Roger Bosveld Spirit award. This prestigious honor is given to the most outstanding swimmer in the conference based on success in swimming, academics and other sports, as well as community service.
Eric Erickson is a social studies teacher at Como Park Senior High School. He has coached a variety of school and youth sports teams in St. Paul over the last 20 years. Follow twitter @eestp for current school sports news.