Murray Middle School and Como Park Senior High spring sports roundup

Here’s how spring sports at Como Park Senior High School and Murray Middle School concluded.

Como Cougars

Baseball: There was a tight St. Paul city race that concluded with the Cougars beating Highland at home to gain a share of the City Conference Championship with a 10-2 record. The season was full of postponements and rescheduled games, but coach Matt Smith credited his senior leadership for putting the team in position to win a championship. “The seniors kept us focused this season. They’ve experienced the cold-shortened season from last year,” he said. The boys made good use of time in the gym early in the season to stay sharp, and it led to fundamentally strong baseball when they competed.

Boys tennis: The team was led by co-captains Nate Parsons, a junior who played No. 1 singles, and senior Zach Lee at No. 2 singles. Parsons was a state tournament qualifier last year on a doubles team, and this year, he became the first Como tennis player to qualify for state as a singles player. Parsons was undefeated through the regular season and marched to the Section 4AA championship. He played two competitive matches in the state tournament before bowing out in the consolation round. Collectively, the varsity team finished fourth in the city conference and netted impressive nonconference victories over North St. Paul, Tartan and Richfield.

Boys golf: For the second consecutive season, the Cougars were the St. Paul city champions. With an undefeated conference dual meet record and the season-ending conference tournament victory, the Cougars were dominant in 2014 with a variety of players stepping up with key performances. Luke Berndt medaled with a 4-over-par at Phalen in April, and Matt Klein medaled twice in May. Tom Fritts medaled five times and won the city tournament, while Klein placed second. This earned both golfers All- Conference honors. Elliot Berven’s consistency earned an honorable mention.

Softball: The impressive play of the young team earned the girls a No. 3 seed in the deep pool of talented teams in Section 4AA. The St. Paul City Champions won their first playoff game in convincing fashion but eventually fell in the double- elimination tournament to finish the season with a 19-3 record. All- Conference players included senior co-captain Cindy Pawlitschek, junior Grace Maruska and sophomore Emma Hartman. An honorable mention was earned by senior co- captain Grace Jensen, sophomores Cassie Prescott and Brianna Menssen, and freshman Kathryn Proper.

Badminton: Thirty girls took part in the 2014 badminton season. The Cougars were seeded No. 9 going into the playoffs and successfully advanced to the second round after defeating conference rival Highland Park. Senior captain Meg Stover played No. 1 singles. The No. 1 doubles team of Mouana Yang and Emily Vang, both juniors, posted an impressive winning record and finished fourth in the city.

Girls golf: The Lady Cougars golf team finished third in the St. Paul City Conference. Several golfers produced personal bests this season. Senior captain Kyndra Plowman was the medalist in three matches this season and earned an All-Conference selection. Sophomore Olivia Berven earned an All-Conference honorable mention.

Track and field: The girls team finished fourth in the conference, led by sisters Mary and Kathleen Miles, who were strong in the distance events. Mary, a sophomore, was the city champion in the 3200 meters with a time of 11:57. The boys also finished fourth in the conference as sophomore Trevon Clay won three individual events: the long jump, 110-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles. Clay followed that up with victories in both hurdling events at the section meet and qualified for state. A Star Tribune article featured Clay’s accomplishments and his work with Como’s legendary hurdles coach MarvRouse.

Murray Pilots

Baseball: The Murray baseball team took top honors in the City Conference, beating Highland Park Middle School 15-5 in the championship playoff. The team’s overall record was 9-1 and included six wins in a row to conclude the season. The team was led by returning eighth-graders Malcolm Lurie, Joel LaChapelle, Graeme Thompson, Gunnar Olson, Rory Ierien and Ben Jackson. The starting pitcher for the championship game was Donny Ventrilli.

Track and field: Inclement weather forced meet cancellations, but the boys and girls teams both performed strongly in the four meets that were held. The boys were seventh in the city meet. The girls team finished second in two meets and placed fourth overall in the city meet. Seventh-grader Anna Erickson was the conference champion in the 800 meters.

Softball: The Pilots had an excellent season with a solid second-place finish in the City Conference. Their overall record of 8-2 included outstanding performances in wins over Ramsey, Humboldt, Washington and Battle Creek.

Badminton: The team had an overall record of 8-5 for the 2014 season. Their consistent effort paid off with a fifth-place finish in the 12- team St. Paul middle school conference standings. The conference tournament included impressive efforts by Mie Mae Lee and Malee Yang, both of whom advanced to the third round of singles play. The doubles teams of Beth Fryxell and Olivia Mancia, Wang Her and Deborah Oo, and Kaleena Yang and Aliana Portoghese also advanced to the third round.

Eric Erickson is a social studies teacher at Como Park High School. He has coached a variety of school and youth sports teams in St. Paul in the past 20 years.


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