By Eric Erickson
The first months of the 2019-20 school year have flown by as has the fall sports season. For Como Park and Murray student athletes, the time spent with teammates and coaches pursuing shared goals enhanced their educational experience.
For a glimpse of student highlights and accomplishments, the Bugle offers a summary of each Como Park Cougar varsity team and every Murray Pilots program.
Como Park Cougars
Football—A young team with only four seniors faced challenging competition in the Twin Cities District City Blue Division. The Cougars began the season with six straight losses, but then rebounded with a memorable come-from-behind victory during a snowstorm at Minneapolis South.
The Cougars came from behind in the fourth quarter to force overtime. Quarterback Stone Frasl ran for a touchdown in the second overtime to secure a 12-6 victory and set off a euphoric celebration.
Tyroun Sain, Willie Wright and Kaelyb Sears were selected to the Twin Cities All-District Team. Players receiving honorable mention were Sully Lucy, Tha Lay Htoo, Aaron Adekplovi, and Jahrese Adeagbo.
Boys’ Soccer—The Cougars played at an intense pace and used their speed and skill to notch signature wins over St. Croix Prep and Austin, who were both state tournament qualifiers. Como also defeated Washington in the Rice St. Rivalry Game, and dramatically claimed the Mayor’s Cup at Humboldt by beating the Hawks 1-0 in overtime.
Overall, the Cougars completed the season with a record of 10-7-1, finishing 7-5 in the St. Paul City Conference.
Senior Aziz Ahmed was selected as an all-state player in addition to all-conference. Hamse Djama was also all-conference, while Shakur Bati, Nasri Gemadid, and Alo Tusa each earned St. Paul City honorable mention.
Cross Country—It was another successful season for the boys’ and girls’ teams that both placed third in the St. Paul City Conference. In the eight-team Pike Island Invitational, both teams placed first, with senior Alistair Pattison crossing the finish line first in the boys’ race.
At the boys’ St. Paul City meet, Pattison was the top Cougar finisher and earned all-conference status. Freshman Charlie Power-Theisen also earned all-conference honors. Shakur Bati, Dylan Aarness, Mohamed Aboushanab and Soren Sackreiter finished with honorable mention.
At the girls’ St. Paul City meet, Justine Wulff was the top Cougar finisher for the girls’ team, closely followed by fellow captain Claire Olson. Addie Anderson-Loupe also had a strong race and earned all-conference status with Wulff and Olson. Ruby Kosiak and Aurdrey Power-Theisen received all-conference honorable mention.
Volleyball—The Como girls’ volleyball team rebounded in 2019 with the varsity improving on its 2018?? record by eight games, finishing 13-8 for the season. The Cougars’ 8-4 conference record netted them a third-place finish.
Season highlights included a thrilling five-set victory over Central in front of an energetic home crowd, and an eight-game winning streak during the second half of the season. Senior setter Anisa Smith and junior outside hitter Hannah Hausman were recognized as all-conference. Senior middle hitter Carter Brown received honorable mention.
Girls’ Soccer—The Cougars had a historic season, winning the St. Paul City Conference championship for the first time since 2005. In the playoffs, Como advanced to the Section 4A semifinals and finished with an overall record of 12-4-1.
Given their undefeated conference record, Cougar players captured numerous honors. Those earning all-conference honorable mention were sophomore Mariatu Kanu, and juniors Htee Wah Paw and Olivia Barnes. All-conference selections included junior Abrianna Armenta and seniors Diana Rodriguez, Tina Million, Ree Bar Htoo and Shar Too.
Shar Too finished her four-year varsity career as the conference’s all-time leading goal scorer, earning first team all-state, and being named a finalist for the Pioneer Press East Metro Player of the Year.
Girls’ Tennis—The Cougars enjoyed their time on the court and improved their skills despite few team victories. Individuals who earned St. Paul City All-Conference honors included Abby Karan and Stella LaCroix-Dalluhn. Eva Larson and Ashley Hartwich both earned honorable mention.
Girls’ Swimming—Como and Johnson high schools continued their co-op program and placed third in the conference dual meets. With the Como pool unavailable due to construction for the season’s first five weeks, the team held its practices at Johnson.
Amira Boler and Imani Simmons were captains and helped many young swimmers on the team make steady improvement. Boler, Katarina Kocher, and Izzy Macheel all earned St. Paul City Conference honorable mention.
Volleyball—After a 10-1 record and second place finish in the regular season, the Pilots flipped the script on Highland in the conference tournament to claim the city title. Murray won the final match in straight sets and ended the year with a high note.
The team’s accomplishments came from a positive attitude, great work ethic, steady improvement and unselfish playmaking. Ultimately, the team played its best when it mattered the most.
Girls’ Soccer—The Pilots finished tied for second place in the city with a 6-1-1 record. Captain Ava Lopez was a highly skilled player and a great communicator who led the team in assists. Captain Kora Becker did anything she could to help the team including playing many positions and helping less experienced players.
Boys’ Soccer—The Murray boys finished in the top half of the city conference with a 6-4 record. Captains Abdullatif Alhumam and Alex Sandoval Soto provided excellent leadership along with the entire eighth grade class, demonstrating teamwork and commitment that served the team well against challenging competition.
Eric Erickson is a social studies teacher at Como Park High School and a longtime coach of school and youth sports in St. Paul.