Sports news and analysis
For the Bugle community, we offer a snapshot of the spring sports season and what 15 programs produced at Como Park High School and Murray Middle School.
Adaptive bowling—Freshman Walter White, sophomore Ethan Johnson, and senior Victoria Jefferson were excited to participate in the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) Adaptive Bowling State Tournament on May 17. They boarded a bus with their coaches Shontae Williams and Malachi Long (both Como Park educational assistants) to Bowlero in Brooklyn Park.
They returned to Como later in the day—as state champions.
In adaptive bowling, student scores are indexed throughout the season’s practice rounds. A handicapped score is established (similar to bowling leagues and golf) and then the actual pins knocked down in competition are added to the indexed handicap.
White’s average was 49. In the boys’ singles event, he rolled an 84, followed by a personal best 103. Adding his handicapped score to his two-game total of 187 brought White to the top of the leaderboard—and a state title.
Jefferson’s average was 94. In the girls’ singles event, she rolled a 95 and 98, which was good for 10th place. When she paired up with Ethan Johnson for the doubles’ competition, the duo really got on a roll.
Jefferson was hitting strikes and picking up spares, posting scores of 144 and 138. Her momentum carried over to Johnson who tallied 125 and 118, well above his average of 92.
Como’s coaches knew something special was happening. Their highest hopes were confirmed when the Victoria and Ethan doubles team was announced as the first-place finishers—state champions!
Track and field—Junior Alistair Pattison qualified for the Minnesota State Track Meet in the Boys’ 800 meters with a time of 2.02.40. Pattison’s time was good for second place in highly competitive Section 4AA (the top-two finishers from each section qualify for state). The thrilling race at Stillwater High School on May 30 was a “surreal feeling,” Pattison said. As the Bugle went to press, Pattison was training for the state meet, which was scheduled for June 8 and 9 at Hamline University.
The girls’ team was well-balanced this season and finished third in the St. Paul City Conference. Sophomore Wynter Cross was the city champion in the 100-meter hurdles. Freshman Saylor Landrum placed third in the 800 meters and fourth in the 400 meters. Freshmen Laura Blumenfeld was fourth in the high jump. Junior Emma Wolters was fourth in the 100 meters and fourth in the long jump. Sophomore Justine Wulff was fifth in the 3,200 meters and sophomore Abang Cham placed fifth in the shot put.
Badminton—More than 50 girls participated in the Cougars badminton program. While the varsity team’s overall record of 7 wins and 10 losses may not impress the casual observer, the team’s 4-1 non-conference record revealed the strength of the St. Paul City Conference, as did the Minnesota State Tournament.
Twenty-four teams took part in the state tourney. All seven St. Paul City Conference schools advanced to the state quarterfinal round of eight teams. Como lost to the Washington Eagles by a score of 5-2 in the quarterfinals. (Washington finished state runner-up to Johnson).
Como sophomore Nag Poe had a wonderful run to the state semifinals in the individual singles competition. Como’s other top singles players were senior Taw Bee and junior Shar Too, who both won their opening matches at state before falling in the second round.
Softball—Como’s goal was to defend its 2018 St. Paul City Conference championship, but it wasn’t meant to be in 2019. Still, the Cougars had a strong season with an overall record of 14-9 and an 8-4 record in the conference, good for a third place, behind Central and Highland. Como won all three games in the Nicollet Tournament to take the title and won one playoff game in the Section 4AAA Tournament.
Senior captain Gigi Gabrielli and sophomores Bailey Huepenbecker and Isabella Proper were selected All-Conference. Junior Jade Sklar and sophomore Emilie Hanson received Honorable Mention.
Girls’ Golf—The Cougars’ golf team had a successful season, despite several early-season weather-related postponements and cancellations that limited outdoor practice time. Abby Levin, Serena Raths, and Reagan Kerr provided senior leadership and kept improving through the year. Abby Levin earned St. Paul City Conference Honorable Mention.
Girls’ Ultimate Frisbee—The Como “Aurora Ultimate” team concluded its season in style at the state tournament in Blaine on June 1 and 2. The team went 4-1 over the weekend while competing in the Division 2 (D2) tourney. A grant from the Como Park Booster Club made it possible for the girls to participate in the tournament.
Senior captains Kayla Selbitschka and Olivia Helmin were both chosen as members of the East Metro All-Conference team. Senior Ruby Beckman was also selected as an All-Conference player.
Baseball – In the St. Paul City Conference, Como finished in fourth place with a record of 6 -6. All-Conference players included seniors Tommy Freberg and Raef Eddins, and junior Nicholas Jacobsen. Honorable Mention was earned by seniors Matt Sprandel and Jakob Koep, and junior Ephraim Mau.
Boys’ Golf—After a two-year hiatus, boys’ golf made a comeback at Como with a small group of guys, most of whom were novices. While the team didn’t win any matches, they learned the fundamentals of a challenging sport and tried their best to compete at the varsity level.
Bridger Carlson and Nic Branson, both seniors with previous golf experience, led the team in scoring. Carlson finished seventh overall in the St. Paul City Conference, earning All-Conference Honorable Mention. He also qualified for the second round of competition in the Section 4AAA Meet.
Boys’ Tennis—The Cougars had an uptick in participation this season with Como alum and current math teacher Kia Yang stepping in as head coach. Como’s captains were seniors Will Larson, Antero Sivula and Isaac Harker, and sophomore Aiden Reynolds. Sivula and Reynolds earned Honorable Mention in the St. Paul City. Larson and Harker were All-Conference. Larson advanced to the quarterfinals of the Section 4AA singles tournament.
Boys’ Ultimate Frisbee—Como Area Ultimate (CAU) had more than 20 players with a majority of them seniors. CAU captains were Josef Miller, Jackson Lee, and Vinny Diaz. The team entered the season as the defending champions of Division 2 (D2). This season, the boys had some tough luck with three losses on the first day of the D2 tourney, but then rebounded the following day. With a well-played 15-10 win over Stillwater, and a convincing 15-7 victory versus Roseville, CAU ended the year on a high note. Boys’ Volleyball—As reported earlier in the Bugle, this was the inaugural campaign for boys’ volleyball at Como. The Cougars held their own in the Central Conference of the Minnesota Boys’ High School Volleyball Association, finishing with a 4-5 record. Eh Ta Lee Htoo led the team in kills. Moua Xiong started every game and is a rising freshman star. Va Lee and Jackee Saw were senior leaders on and off the court.