The Spartans’ winter athletic season kicked off in mid-November, and our varsity teams, coaches, and fans are looking forward to cheering on our Spartans in Alpine and Nordic skiing, basketball, hockey, swimming and diving, and fencing.
Alpine Skiing: This is the first year coaching Spartan Alpine for head coach Rob Thomas, who says his goal for the season is “to create a fun yet disciplined environment that supports the development of every athlete, regardless of skill level, so that each athlete’s progress sustains their passion for the sport.” The girls’ team will be looking to repeat their success from last season, which included winning the IMAC championship and qualifying for the State Meet as a team. Individual skiers to watch include Isabelle Wolpert ’21 (All-State 2019), and Julia Scott ’21 and Nikola Barkwell ’23 (All Conference 2019). On the boys’ side, Sam Steinhacker ’20 will be looking to repeat his trip to State last year. View upcoming meets and results.
Girls’ Basketball: New head coach Natalie McElligott has high expectations for her team, which has already won two games this season. The team includes a strong group of returning juniors and seniors: captain Rashmi Raveendran ‘21 will lead the team as the point guard, with Jane Christakos ‘21 and Annbelle Bond ‘21 leading the floor from the guard position. Gabriella Thompson ‘21 and Pilar Saavedra-Weis ‘21 will be strong contenders inside the paint, with Abby Hedberg ‘20 transitioning into a strong forward position. Julia Baron ‘21 is the team’s defensive specialist, and Ayla Straub ‘20 had two great first games as an aggressive rebounder. Spartans to watch include Lindsay Browne ’23, who has proven to be a huge new asset to the Varsity team in the first two games. View upcoming games and results.
Boys’ Basketball: Head coach Kevin Keto begins his first season with the Spartans with a seasoned group of athletes and a goal to “improve every time we step on the court. We want to be better today than we were yesterday, as individuals and as a team.” Keto is pleased with the team’s work ethic so far: “Our team is made up of smart, dedicated, and hard working student-athletes,” he says. “We have some exceptional leaders who set the tone and who ensure that we have high expectations for ourselves. We'll play a gritty and unselfish style of basketball with tough defense and a read-and-react offense.” Keto will rely on his seven returning seniors for team leadership: Eric Bottern, Zack Dyar, Alex Herrmann, Louis Kempainen, Ethan Richman, Griffin Thissen, and Liam Will. View upcoming games and results.
Girls’ hockey: St. Paul United, a co-op team with players from SPA and Visitation, looks to continue and build on the success of the last four years: United has qualified for the State Tournament every year since 2016. Head coach Mark Johnson has a #1 seed in Sections high on his list of team goals and is confident his team is up to the task: “We feel we have two of the top lines in our section,” he says, “as well as very strong defense. If we can stay healthy, we’ll have a great chance at the end of the year to return to the State Tournament.” View upcoming games and results.
Boys’ hockey: Head coach Eddie Wynne’s overall goal for the Spartans’ season is to compete in every single game. “We are most looking forward to improving and building off the last half of last season—we were playing our best hockey going into the playoffs last year,” says Wynne, who believes that this year’s team has a great chance to get back to the State Tournament. He points to goalie Thomas Kuriscak ’20 as one of the team’s top assets, but asserts that “the entire team is strong and every athlete is ‘a player to watch’. We will see who steps up and takes those leadership roles over the course of the season.” Last year’s All-Conference and All-Conference Honorable Mention honorees—Jake Hosszu ’20 (AC), Duncan Fleming ’20 (ACHM), Will Rathmanner ‘20 (ACHM), and Michael Bagnoli ’21 (ACHM)—will also be looking to build on their strong showings from last season. View upcoming games and results.
Fencing: Under the leadership of coach Sasha Pai, Spartan fencing has become a dynasty, winning the men’s State Championships for the last six years. Both the women and men’s teams are also strong in individual events, and will look to repeat their success this year in women’s and men’s foil, saber, and epee. Returning team leaders include Jax Wittenberg ’21, who finished third in men’s foil at State, and Mason Brooks ’22, who took first in men’s epee at State. View upcoming meets and results.
Nordic Skiing: Head coach Ed Day calls Spartan Nordic “a tale of two teams” this season. The boys’ squad graduated 11 seniors last year, so the team is in rebuilding mode under the guidance of co-captains Jonas Bray ‘21 and Anthony Chen ‘21. Chen was only a couple of spots away from earning All Conference Honorable Mention at last year’s IMAC conference race and hopes to move up a few places this year. On the girls’ side, the team is led by ten seniors, including co-captains Maddy Breton ‘20, who earned All Conference last season, and Lauren Dieperink '20, who just missed All Conference Honorable Mention. With a lot of experienced students in the fold helping others learn how to race, some younger skiers could be a surprise this season, including seventh-grader Inga Wing ‘25. View upcoming meets and results.
Boys’ Swimming and Diving: The Trojans, a co-op team with Highland Park High School, will look to continue its success in the pool this year after being crowned St. Paul City Champions for the past five years. Head coach Erin Bury wants to keep last year's momentum going, and to go even beyond the growth and success the team has experience over the last couple of seasons: "We have a wide variety of talent," Bury says, "with strong sprinters and distance swimmers along with more breaststrokers and butterflyers than last year." Bury is also encouraged by the number of new swimmers that have joined the team this year. Those newcomers will be looking to seniors and 2019 All-Conference honorees Aidan Lanz ’20 (diving), Cesar Gallagher ’20 (swimming), and Noah Rice ’20 (swimming) for leadership. View upcoming meets and results.