By Eric Erickson,
Sports news and analysis
For the Bugle community, we offer a snapshot of the spring sports season and what they produced at Como Park Senior High School.
Track & field: For the third consecutive season, both the girls and boys placed third out of the seven teams in the St. Paul City Conference.
Four girls earned medals at the city meet for top-three individual finishes. Junior Ellery Tennison was the city champ in the 100-meter hurdles and took second in both the triple jump and the 300-meter hurdles. Junior Sahara Hinton won the city championship in the high jump. Freshman Aletha Keizer placed third in the 200-meter while freshman Olga Tetevi placed third in the shot put.
Five boys earned medals at the city meet. Senior Charlie Power-Theisen repeated as the city champion for both the 1600- and 3200-meter races. Junior Mason Aarness achieved second place in both the 1600 and 3200.
The Cougar dominance in the distance events was complete with senior Liam Schwie earning third place in the 3200 while junior Garrett Seppanen took third place in the 1600. Senior Emerson Spencer placed third in the 400-meter race.
At the Section 4AA Meet, Power-Theisen qualified for state in the 1600 and Tennison qualified for state in the 100-meter hurdles. Power-Theisen concluded his career on the podium with an eighth-place state medal.
Softball: The Cougars were a young team which lost more games than it won but created memories with a couple of dramatic come-from-behind wins. The team voted Murray eighth grader Lilly Coyle as the most valuable player on offense. Coyle was also selected all-conference.
Senior Kayla James earned all-conference honorable mention. Junior captain Desiree Vang earned all-conference honorable mention and was voted Como’s most valuable player on defense.
Badminton: As a sign of improvement through the course of a season, Como can point to its matches versus Eden Prairie. In March, the Cougars lost 5-2 to their suburban opponent. Two months later in the first round of the state tournament, the Cougars turned the tables and won 7-0 before losing to Johnson in the second round.
Senior all-conference honorable mention players Betty Hebble and Kaya Solheid formed an elite duo for the state double tournament, advancing to the quarterfinals. Team leaders returning to next year’s squad include juniors Xee Lee and Ta’Liyah McNeal.
Girls golf: After repeating as third-place finishers in the St. Paul City Conference standings, the Cougars concluded another fun season of improvement and persistence by taking second place at the conference’s season-ending 18-hole tournament.
The team was led by junior, all-conference player Genevieve DeGaetano and freshman Robin Engman-Phiri, who earned all-conference honorable mention.
Boys golf: Junior Elliot Donahue continued to make huge gains, cutting 30 strokes off his game since he began playing as a sophomore. His improvement and achievements were worthy of all-conference honorable mention.
Junior Alvin Leary was another Cougar golfer who made massive improvements and became a steady scorer for the varsity. Senior Gael Manzi was a newcomer who added a varsity golf letter to his soccer credentials as the Como varsity goalkeeper.
Boys tennis: A young Cougar tennis team that finished the year 1-5 in the St. Paul City Conference featured Murray middle schoolers playing key roles at the top of the ladder. Eighth grader Micah Treiber was an all-conference selection and eighth grader John Murray earned honorable mention.
Other Como players receiving all-conference honorable mention included sophomores Nolan Rognerud and Vincent Anderson and junior Daniel Klett.
Baseball: Como improved its conference record from a year ago, finishing 5-5 in a tie for third place. Seniors Frank Barnard, Nic Everson and Gabe Napierala were selected as all-conference players. Everson hit .379 and had 23 RBI. Barnard hit .346 and had 22 stolen bases.
Junior Marcus Heath and sophomore Royal Urman emerged as the team’s top pitchers, and both earned all-conference honorable mention. Junior outfielder Matthew Corniea made multiple diving catches to anchor the outfield and also earned all-conference honorable mention.
Boys volleyball: With a 12-3 regular season record, the Cougars qualified for Minnesota’s club volleyball association state tournament. After losing their opening contest in five sets to Eden Prairie, the boys won three consecutive matches to earn the 5th place trophy while also being named the best sportsmanship team of the tournament.
Senior leaders who have helped establish such a successful foundation for the Cougar program include Rin Htoo, Hla Kay, Peyton Lee, Ku Reh, Pray Reh, Taw Reh, and Ian Garcia. Pray Reh and junior Baw Reh were named to the all-tournament team. Next spring, boys’ volleyball will be operating as the newest sport sanctioned by the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL).
Eric Erickson is a teacher at Como Park High School and a longtime coach of school and youth sports in St. Paul.