Spartan Cross Country begins another season eager to improve personal times, as well as team finishes in the conference and section postseason meets. The girls' are anticipated to be very competitive this season with a solid group of seniors and some younger runners who will be key scoring members. The boys' are developing a solid, core group and will continue to build on last year's accomplishments. The strength of any cross country team is how well you manage to have your scoring runners packed together which is something both teams look to improve upon this fall.
The SMB Wolfpack—a cooperative team between SPA, Blake, and Minnehaha Academy—is widely considered one of the top Class 4A teams in the state this fall. SMB went 8-0 in the regular season in 2015 and 2016, winning those 16 games by a total margin of 652-119. This year will be a little different for the co-op, however. As part of the state's redistricting efforts, the Wolfpack will now play in the Twin City Maroon subdistrict, which is regarded as the toughest in the Twin City district. The team also dropped down to Class 4A for postseason purposes due to enrollment changes. Despite these new hurdles, Head Coach Collin Quinn anticipates the road bumps will be important learning opportunities for the Wolfpack as they continue to work towards a state tournament appearance.
Last year, girls' soccer went undefeated in conference play and won the Section 3A tournament to qualify for the State Tournament. The team will work to repeat their historic season this year by balancing strong and consistent veteran players like seniors Belle Smith, Kelly Fiedler (2016 All-Conference), Hayley Hoffmann (2016 All-Conference), Emily Carter (2016 All-Conference), and Dina Moradian (2016 All-Conference), with young and creative offensive players like freshman Olivia Lagos and Izzy Medrano.
Boys' soccer is coming off a strong 2016 season which included five wins against 2A schools, five wins against state-ranked 1A schools, and a deep postseason run which ended against the Holy Angels in the Section Semifinals. With 10 Class of 2017 players graduated, the Spartans will spend the beginning of their season adjusting to new roles on the field. The team will look for leadership from captains Eric Lagos '19 and Michael Forsgren '18, as well as veteran players Robin Bartlett '18, Ryan Moore '19, and Noah Solomon '18.
Girls' swimming and diving
The Sparks swim and dive team, a cooperative between SPA and Highland Park Senior High School, will enter the 2017 season with a new head coach, Smaranda Georgescu. Under Georgescu's direction, the Sparks strive to improve their dual meet performances so they may advance to the St. Paul City and Twin Cities Championship meets. The team also hopes to develop individual skills in order to become more consistent and confident swimmers/divers. Finally, 2015 and 2016 State Diver Abby Lanz ’19 will lead the Sparks diving program with hopes of returning to the University of Minnesota this fall for the MSHSL State Diving Contest.
After graduating six seniors, Spartan girls' tennis will look to their underclassmen for depth this season. The team will have a balanced lineup and look to be dangerous in both singles and doubles play. According to head coach Jono Martin, however, the season will come down to winning the close matches, which the team had a hard time doing in 2016. Overall, the team will be led by senior captains Numi Katz and Isabel Brandtjen who have both been on the team since Grade 8.
SPA volleyball has grown into a strong and competitive program over the last five years. As they begin the 2017 fall season, the Spartans have goals of winning the conference and earning a high section seed. The team anticipates that their inexperience in some positions will be made up for by the team's overall height, serving, defense, and athleticism. Student-athletes to watch for include seniors Sophia Rose, Ashley Jallen, and Emma Truma; Junior Blythe Rients; and sophomores Kathleen Bishop, Sydney Therien, Arie Walker, and Ella Carry.