Spring sports roundup: Como Senior and Murray Middle schools
Como Park Cougars
Baseball—The Cougars placed second in the St. Paul City with a 10-2 conference record, one game behind Highland. The final conference game of the season was an 11-0 win over Harding, played under the lights at CHS Field, the new downtown home of the St. Paul Saints.
The Cougars then made a deep run in the Section 4AA playoffs, recording three wins before losing a nail-biter to Holy Angels in the final four. The team’s overall record was 16-7. Seniors John Wenger, Matt Klein and Richie Gulner were named All-Conference, along with juniors Kevin Smith and Jacob Barnard.
Boys Tennis—Senior captain Nate Parsons led the team and earned the Section 4AA Singles Championship. Parsons participated in the state tournament for the third consecutive year, going undefeated through the regular season and the section tournament before bowing out to Rochester Century’s Jessie Laney in a closely contested match in state.
Joining Parsons on the All-Conference team were senior Ben Reynolds and freshman Gabe Reynolds. Honorable mention went to Joaquin Bravo, Joey Pratte and Murray eighth-grader Simon Grow-Hanson. The team finished third in the St. Paul City with a 4-2 record, 8-8 overall.
Boys Golf—Junior Tom Fritts was the top individual in the St. Paul City. Fritts was dominant in conference competition, finishing as the medalist in 10 of 11 conference meets. In the 18-hole conference tournament at Highland National, Fritts shot 74 and 78 to win the tournament by 16 strokes. Junior Eliot Berven and senior Luke Berndt both finished in the top 10 at the tournament, helping the team to an overall second-place finish in conference standings.
Softball—For the seventh time in nine years, the Lady Cougars earned a share of the conference title. Highland and Como each finished at 11-1, splitting their season series with each other. Como’s overall record was 18-7, highlighted by a top-three finish in the Section 4AA Tournament of 13 teams.
Grace Maruska, the team’s only senior, earned All-Conference, as did junior Cassie Prescott, sophomore pitcher Kathryn Proper and freshman Sylvia Villarreal. With four other juniors earning honorable mentions—Delilah Wolf, Brianna Menssen, Emma Hartmann and Bekah Hausman—next year looks promising.
Badminton—With more than 50 participants, the badminton team had a rewarding season capped off by a state championship for the doubles team of Sheng Vang and Kia Vang. The team’s conference record was 6-6 (9-9 overall).
Victories over traditional rivals Central and Harding were significant, and propelled the program forward as they competed in the year-end city and state tournaments. Seniors Emily Vang and Moua Na Yang received All-Conference honorable mention. The St. Paul City dominated the state tournament with conference members Johnson and Washington finishing first and second, respectively.
Girls Golf —The Lady Cougars Golf Team was very young and finished fourth in the St. Paul City final 18-hole meet. Senior Stella Quale earned an All-Conference honorable mention, and junior Olivia Berven was the only other returning player from last year’s team. Together they led the new players through their first competitions and experienced growth. Sophomore Elianna Wiersma was voted the team’s most improved player.
Track and Field— The boys team finished fourth in the conference, led by junior Trevon Clay, the State Champion in the 110-meter hurdles. Sophomore Innocent Murwanashyaka placed third in the 1,600 meters and second in the 3,200 meters. Close behind was Junior Geleto Roba, placing fourth in both events.
The girls team also finished fourth in the conference, led by the Miles sisters. Junior Mary Miles achieved second place in the 1,600 meters and third in the 3,200 meters. Senior Kathleen Miles was third in the 1,600 and was the St. Paul City champion in the 3,200 with a blazing time of 11:56.
Baseball—For the first time in a decade, Murray was able to offer both a gold (A) squad and a blue (B) squad, with both teams competing against other city schools. In total, more 35 athletes participated in the Pilots baseball program this season.
The gold team posted an overall record of 7-2, finishing with top honors in the premier division of the conference. This year’s eighth-graders helped keep the gold team focused and positive: Tommy Freberg, Tommy Heesch, Raef Eddins, Matt Sprandel, Nic Branson, Quincy Altman, Jakob Koep, Barnabus Preble, Khyrie Lueben, Bridger Carlson and Theo Sblendorio.
Track and Field —The boys and girls teams trained together throughout the spring. The girls won two quadrangular meets during the regular season, with multiple victories in distance events from eighth-graders Valerie Bares and Anna Erickson. The boys also won two meets, and they placed fifth out of 11 in the year-end conference meet. Eighth-grader Zach Konkol was the City champion in the 55-meter hurdles, and eighth-grader Kobe Anderson was the City champion in the 100-meter.
Softball—Murray Softball enjoyed another successful season, recording 6 wins and just 2 losses. The team had a nice mix this year, including eighth-graders Adina DeGaetano, Gianni Gabrielli, Isabelle Hoppe, Caitlin Jones, Cai Marben, Madi McPhee and Asia Faulk, and seventh-graders Carter Brown, Leandra Dahlke, Bailey Huepenbecker and Maggie March.
The girls played well in all games, and after some early struggles, finished the season with six straight wins.
Badminton—A combination of 40 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders had an excellent season. The Pilots had an overall record of 9-4 for 2015 with a fourth-place finish in the 12-team, St. Paul middle-school conference standings. Seventh-grader Premika Giurung was Murray’s singles champion; eighth-graders Olivia Helmin and Elinor Kiebler-Diggs were champions of doubles. Seven of the team’s 10 starters are returning to the team next year.
Eric Erickson teaches at Como Park High School and 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.