Basketball has a long history at St. Paul Academy, Summit School, and the merged St. Paul Academy and Summit School. Numerous players have been awarded all-conference and all-state honors and the St. Paul Academy and Summit School boys' basketball team made their first state appearance in 2014 after winning the Section AAAA Championship.
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- Henry H. Putnam '25
- Donald G. “Don” McNeely '33
- Jeptha D. “Jep” Knox '40
- John M. Doar '40
- William E. “Bill” Frenzel '46
- William Langford '53
- Peter M.J. “Pete” Frenzel '54
- Mary “Molly” Priedeman Brown '39
- Patricia “Pat" Rogers Brown '39
- Jean West '45
- Nancy Gaver Priedeman '46
- Joan Adams Mondale '48
- Jean Carlton Whitaker Ambler '49
- Ann Luyten Dieperink '53
- Penelope Stout Shanks '58
- Jane Davis Bennett '59
- Hilary Raudenbush Magnuson '59
- Keren Gudeman '94
- Elizabeth O'Brien '73
- Cathy Paper '85
- Anthony Sanneh '90
Henry Putnam ’25, one of the first students to play on the recently built football fields on the Randolph Campus, became a star athlete under first-year coach Al Smith, who himself became a legend.
Putnam was captain of SPA’s football team his senior year and served as a kicker, receiver, and quarterback throughout the season. That year, the team had decisive wins over Cretin (26-6), Johnson High (12-0), University High (12-0), and capped off their season with an impressive 6-6 tie with undefeated Blake. Putnam was especially noted in the Now and Then for his play on the field during the Blake game: “The good old passing combination, Read to Putnam, once more to the rescue, when Putnam received the ball on a short pass and dove head-long across the line through three Blake tacklers to score." The game was noted as being one of the best games the Academy boys had ever played as of 1925, and Coach Al Smith would go on to remember Putnam as one of his most memorable players almost a quarter of a century later. In addition to football, Putnam was also the captain of SPA baseball and basketball teams and was awarded the Senior Athletic Cup.
Henry Putnam would go on to play at Williams College where he was awarded the Brooks Trophy, recognizing his athletics contributions as a senior in 1929.
As a member of the football and baseball teams, and captain of the champion intramural basketball team, Don McNeely was valued for his athletic abilities.
A right tackle on the football team his senior year, Don helped his team to impressive wins: 14-0 over Breck, 7-0 over Harding, and ended that year with a 7-0 win over rival Blake. In the 7-0 win over Harding, McNeely made an impressive interception to keep the opposing team scoreless and was noted in the Now and Then as a star player in the game against Blake, breaking up numerous passes and rushing the passer on multiple occasions.
On the baseball field, McNeely was an integral part of the Academy program. As shortstop and pitcher, McNeely helped his team win over St. Thomas and Blake and was noted for his consistency on the pitching mound as the season progressed.
As a classmate and teammate to Joe Schwab '33, Don led an effort to establish the Joe Schwab Award in 1965 to recognize those who embodied the similar athletic and leadership qualities that Schwab possessed.
Jep Knox '40 was a multi-sport athlete, captaining the football team and intramural basketball team, while also playing baseball. Additionally, Knox was named to the "All-Time Academy Football Team" and received the Junior Athletic Cup twice and the Harvard Cup for his athletic and academic ability.
Jep was known as a star football player at SPA, as he helped his team to an undefeated senior season with big wins over De La Salle (30-0), Blake (12-6 and 7-0) and Patrick Henry (33-0). In the final game of the season against Blake, Knox shone by scoring the only points of the game with the lone touchdown in the fourth quarter.
On the baseball team, Knox, along with captain John Doar '40, would go on to lead the team to a 5-3 season and complete one of the most successful seasons in athletics history at SPA. Following graduation, Jep attended Carleton College where he interrupted his studies and football career to serve in the Armed Forces in World War II. He went on to finish his studies at Carleton, eventually becoming the football coach at the school before finishing his coaching career down the road at Macalester College.
John Doar '40 was one of the best football and baseball players during his time at SPA. Hailing from New Richmond, Wisconsin, Doar served as captain of the intramural basketball team for two years, captain of the baseball team, sports editor for the Now and Then, and Head of Class for two years.
Doar’s athletic prowess, along with his brother Tom '39, helped the SPA baseball team to memorable seasons in 1937 and 1939 and a memorable sweep of Blake during his final season in the spring of 1940. In football, John also excelled and was best known for making a key interception in the team's 1939 7-0 victory over Blake. The football team would go undefeated during the 1939 season.
Bill Frenzel '46, one of four brothers to attend St. Paul Academy, was known for being a talented multi-sport athlete. Bill served as a co-captain of the football team, member of the baseball team, captain of the intramural basketball team, and was named to the All-Academy Football Team. Frenzel was recognized by his peers in the SPAR yearbook as being one of the best linebackers in Academy history and one of the quickest players on the basketball court.
During Frenzel's senior year, the football team recorded a record of 4-2-1 and claimed impressive wins over Blake and Shattuck. Along with teammates Robert Bratnober '46 and John Driscoll '47, Frenzel scored an impressive 130 points in seven games during the season.
In basketball, Frenzel played center and was a consistent scorer. During the 1946 season, the team would go 11-3 in intramural play and claim wins against Washington High School and Blake School. In the final game of his basketball career against Blake he scored the final two baskets of the game to claim a 58-57 win for the team and scored 38 points, an Academy record.
William “Bill” Langford '53 was a talented athlete and was noted by classmates and nominators Ed Stringer, Mac Seymour, and George May for his standout skills in football, basketball, and baseball. On the football field, Bill played quarterback for three years and received All-League honors his senior season. He served as captain of the basketball team for two seasons.
Bill was most known for his pitching talents on the baseball team. He helped the team to a league title his senior year, recording two no-hitters during his time at St. Paul Academy.
Throughout his time at SPA, Bill and fellow classmates noted the impact of coach Roy "Coach" Rasmussen, who taught the student-athletes that in order to win they had to believe in themselves. In 1953 St. Paul Academy would win the Heffelfinger Trophy, an award recognizing the top school in the Minnesota Independent School League for its success in athletics. Langford was awarded the Boys’ Athletic Bowl given in memory of Thomas Frenzel '49 to a member of the boys’ varsity teams for exceptional performance and leadership. Bill was also the recipient of the Senior Athletic Award in an impressive two years in a row. The Now and Then noted, “Especially gratifying was [Bill’s] no-hit, no-run victory over Cretin, the first time since 1950 that any Academy team has defeated the Raiders. Bill’s leadership, spirit, and general all-around athletic ability have been a great factor in the success of the Academy team’s this year.” Bill noted that he was especially proud of his Class of 1953 for their academic and athletics successes.
Pete Frenzel '54 was a four-year member of the varsity football team, two-year member of the varsity baseball team, captain of the basketball team, while also running track. In his senior year, Pete was awarded the Senior Athletics Trophy, wrote for the Now and Then as the sports editor, and was named an All-Conference Football honoree two years in a row and an All-Conference performer in Basketball.
In football, Frenzel had a phenomenal senior season helping lead the offense to a 7-0 win over Shattuck, a 27-0 win against Breck, and a 26-13 win over Cretin, earning himself All-Conference fullback honors at the conclusion of the season. During basketball season, Frenzel led the team in scoring, helping the team finish with notable wins over Breck, Prior Lake, and Wilson. Entering the spring season, Frenzel's athletic ability really dazzled: he won nearly every shot-put event at track and field meets and was a key member of multiple winning relays. Frenzel was named the SPA Athlete of the Year on June 7, 1954 and would conclude his SPA career with 11 letters in four different sports. He was praised by his peers for his relentless work ethic and determination to keep improving.
Pete would later come back to SPA to teach German and coach track and field.
Mary "Molly" Priedeman Brown ’39, a lifelong athlete, excelled in tennis and golf. At Summit School, she learned fencing and was a member of the girls' basketball and field hockey teams.
As a sophomore in the fall of 1936, Molly’s fencing abilities helped the freshman/sophomore team to defeat the junior/senior team 2-1 and contributed to the team's closely fought 1-0 win over St. Mary's Hall in 1937 and the team's 5-1 rout of St. Mary's in the fall of 1938.
Molly was on Summit’s varsity basketball team in her junior and senior years, and the team won impressively over University High in 1938 as well as in close contests against Oak Hall and Northrop Collegiate School. Later in life she attained championship status in trap and skeet shooting, and became a private pilot.
Patricia Rogers Brown '39, was active in Summit School’s fencing class in 1937 and was a member of the girls' basketball and field hockey teams.
A member of Summit’s varsity basketball team, Pat contributed to narrow victories over Oak Hall School for Girls and Northrop Collegiate School as well as to an impressive win over University High School in 1938.
Pat’s experience as a fencer, where her Summit freshman/sophomore team won over the junior/senior team 2-1, helped move the Summit fencing team to 1-1 victory over St. Mary's Hall in 1937, followed by the team's decisive 5-1 defeat of St. Mary's in late 1938. Pat’s other sporting activities included tennis, golf and water skiing.
Jean West '45 was a member of the girls' basketball and field hockey teams while at Summit School. In addition, Jean served as captain of the basketball team during the 1943-44 season.
In field hockey, Jean was part of a talented class of players that defeated the seniors during the 1943-44 year by a score of 2-1. She would also go on to help her team to a 6-0 win over Derham Hall in the fall of 1944.
In basketball, Jean helped her team to an exciting win over Northrop during the 1944-45 year.
Nancy Gaver Priedeman '46 was a member of the girls' basketball, field hockey, and speedball teams while at Summit School. Nancy was also the captain of both the basketball and field hockey teams her senior year.
In basketball, Nancy helped the senior team to a 6-1 record against the other grades at Summit in the school tournament in 1946.
In field hockey, Nancy was part of an impressive team which defeated Derham Hall in the fall of 1944 by a score of 6-0 and her junior grade defeated the seniors 4-2 and the sophomores 20-4 in the intramural tournament.
Joan Adams Mondale '48 was a member of the girls' basketball, speedball, and field hockey teams while at Summit School. Joan was also the captain of both the basketball and field hockey teams her senior year. In addition to her athletic abilities, she was also known for her table tennis skills and was featured in the Minneapolis Morning Tribune in 1950 for her talents.
During her junior and senior years at Summit, Joan helped her team to close finishes against St. Mary's and Northrop in basketball during the annual play-days against both schools.
Following graduation from Summit, Joan would go on to become a known supporter of the arts and nonprofit organizations and served as Second Lady of the United States from 1977-1981.
Jean Carlton Whitaker Ambler was a multi-sport star at Summit School. She was named captain of the basketball team for three years, captain of the field hockey team during the 1946-47 season, a talented member of the tennis team, and founded the figure skating club at Summit.
In basketball, Jean helped the team to an impressive 17-4 victory over Northrop in 1948. In the spring of 1949, she helped her senior class to a 15-15 tie against the seniors from Northrop.
In tennis, Jean won the Summit singles tennis intramural tournament for three years in a row (1947 to1949) and teamed up with Aleeta Engelbert '49 to win the doubles tournament in 1948.
Ann Luyten Deiperink '53 was a talented multi-sport athlete while at Summit School. She was captain of the girls' basketball team for three years, captain of the volleyball team one year, played field hockey, and was an impressive tennis player. In addition, Ann was the Vice-President of the Summit Girls Athletic Association during the 1950-51 year.
During the 1950-51 field hockey season, Ann and the team defeated Northrop 5-0 and defeated St. Mary's Hall 5-4 in their annual competition. During her junior year, Ann and her classmates defeated the sophomore team 7-0 and tied St. Mary's 2-2.
In tennis, Ann teamed up with Laura Floan Boone '53 to win the doubles championship in the annual Summit intramural tournament against fellow classmates during their freshmen, sophomore, junior, and senior years. The duo would also travel to play at the Rochester Invitational, the St. Paul Tennis Club and other private clubs in the Twin Cities by invitation. The impressive teamwork and skills that the two showed on the court was noted in The Flame for multiple years. In addition, Ann was a multi-year singles champion on the tennis court throughout her time at Summit School.
Penelope “Penny” Stout Shanks '58 played field hockey and basketball, but was renowned for her tennis skills during her time at Summit School. At Summit, Penny served as the volleyball team captain and played second singles for the St. Paul Tennis Club, winning the Jr. Whiteman State Tennis Cup in 1957. She was also selected as one of five Widjiwagan campers for their Voyageurs canoe trip in 1957.
Penny attended Middlebury College where she was on the varsity field hockey, volleyball, and softball teams for four years and spent three years on the varsity basketball team. She was also a member of the Middlebury Alpine Ski Team her freshman year. In her words “I was practicing the giant slalom with the team before a meet, I made a turn around a pole, my skis didn’t catch the snow, and I flew off a high cliff. I ended up knocked out and hanging by my stomach over a tree trunk. After this, I decided to ski for fun and to play varsity basketball.”
After graduating from Middlebury, Penny moved to Winchendon, Massachusetts to teach English at Murdock High School. She also competed in the Women’s Volleyball League and was named MVP in 1963. Following a brief return to Minnesota where she taught at Summit School, Penny and her husband moved to Keene, New Hampshire where she taught at Keene High School for twenty years, and was awarded the New England Association of Teachers of English Outstanding Teacher Award in 1997.
In Keene, she was a member of the Racquet Club, and was selected to play doubles against other teams in New Hampshire and Vermont, compiling a 21-5 record. She also played second base for ten years for the Keene Fast Pitch Softball League, compiling an impressive .400 batting average each year, leading the team in stolen bases and runs scored, and helped her team to state titles in 1980, 1984, and 1985, and went on to play in two national tournaments where her team placed third in 1985.
Penny also served as the field hockey and softball coach for fifteen years while at Keene High School. In 1986, the varsity softball team won the only state title Keene softball has won to date and lost in overtime in their second state title game in 1989. Penny and her team were honored in 1989 with a letter from the New Hampshire House of Representatives recognizing their hard work and dedication.
Jane Davis Bennett played field hockey, volleyball, and basketball while attending Summit School.
As a member of the field hockey team, Jane was part of a talented sophomore class which claimed the field hockey intramural championship during the 1956-57 year. As seniors two years later, Jane and the team were once again the champions with a 3-0 win during the 1958-59 year.
In volleyball, Jane and the sophomores defeated the freshmen team 28-26 in the volleyball intramural tournament before losing to the juniors 22-19 in the championship. During her junior year, Jane helped her class to a narrow win before losing the championship to the seniors in another close match. The team would go on to defeat the Northrop junior class 23-21 during the Summit-Northrop Play Day on February 12, 1958.
In basketball, once again, Jane and the sophomore team were dominant and defeated the juniors 26-5 and the seniors 31-9 to claim the intramural basketball championship. As juniors, Jane and the team not only won the intramural basketball tournament with a 25-6 win in the championship, but also defeated St. Mary's Hall when the team came to play Summit.
Jane excelled on the tennis court regularly winning statewide invitational tournaments in Rochester, MN with her doubles partner Hilary Raudenbush Magnuson '59. She was also an exceptional alpine skier.
Widely regarded as the best athlete in her class, Jane would have thrived in the post-Title IX era, which passed thirteen years after her graduation. Jane stated in an interview that “If Title IX had been in place when I was in school it would have meant everything to me. I would have pursued every athletic opportunity to the fullest. I would have wanted to do it all.”
A four sport athlete during her time at Summit School, Hilary Raudenbush Magnuson '59 has been an athlete her entire life. Her nominators, Fritz Magnuson '66, Mike Brown '66, and Ann Dieperink '53 say she was known for her talents and tenacity on the tennis court.
Introduced to field hockey, volleyball, basketball, and tennis by Maxine (“Gunny”) Gunsolly at Summit School, Hilary was part of a talented class of athletes, including her doubles partner Janie (Davis) Bennett '59. The two put together a number of impressive performances, going undefeated an impressive six years, and Hilary would go on to win the singles tournament hosted by the school her senior year.
Hilary attended Smith College where she competed in volleyball, basketball, tennis, fencing, squash, crew, and her favorite soccer. She would be named to the varsity teams for tennis, basketball, and soccer and given the competition limitations before Title IX, the teams competed between grades and dorm houses. In 1963, Hilary was one of four seniors to be awarded the coveted “S PIN” in recognition of dedication to the athletic program and other areas of school life.
Hilary returned to St. Paul Academy and Summit School as a teacher in 1983 and was a member of the Lower School faculty until her retirement in 2004. During this time, she established a summer tennis program which grew to include over eighty students. Hilary would also work with the Lower School Athletic Director, Geri Meyer, to start a jump rope club to help students prepare for the annual Jump-A-Thon in support of the American Heart Association, and partnered with Dr. Tim Elchert to coach the Lower School’s co-ed soccer program for a number of years. Geri and Hilary also worked to include line dancing and step aerobics into the conditioning mini courses which were regularly demonstrated during Lower School Open Houses. Her lifelong passion for athletics has had a significant impact on the entire SPA community.
Keren Gudeman '94 was a talented multi-sport athlete while at St. Paul Academy and Summit School, competing on the soccer, basketball, and track and field teams and serving as captain of all three teams. In her junior season, the girls’ soccer team went 14-1-4 and Keren led the team in scoring with 21 goals. She would be named All-Metro and All-State honorable mention following her junior season. In her senior season, she helped lead the team to an impressive 16-3 record, and was named to the All-State soccer team by the Pioneer Press. In track and field her senior season, she was a member of the 4 x 800 team that competed in the state track meet.
Keren played soccer and lacrosse at Harvard University, where she helped lead the soccer team to Ivy League titles in 1995, 1996 and 1997 and the NCAA soccer tournament three times. The team advanced to the NCAA soccer tournament quarterfinals in 1997, the Crimson’s best national tournament finish in fifteen seasons. Gudeman was a two time All-Ivy league second team honoree, NCAA Regional All-America third team selection, and is top 10 for season career assists in Harvard's soccer record books. In lacrosse, she made the varsity lacrosse team as a freshman after never having played, and served as team captain her senior year, also earning All-Ivy league first team and first team regional All-American honors in 1998. Following Harvard, Keren played in the Women’s Premier Soccer League for the San Francisco Nighthawks.
Keren eventually moved back to the Twin Cities and took a teaching and coaching position at SPA. She taught Middle School English and coached girls’ varsity soccer and varsity track and field. The girls' soccer team advanced to the state championship in 2004 and earned 2nd place in Class A. She was then hired as Carleton College’s Head Women’s Soccer Coach, coaching the Knights for six seasons. She compiled a 79-31-11 (.697) record as Carleton’s head coach and guided the Knights to the NCAA Tournament in 2008, 2009, and 2010. She was a two-time MIAC Coach of the Year (2006 and 2010) and was also named the 2008 NSCAA Central Region Coach of the Year after the Knights set a school record for victories in a season (18-6) and advanced to the elite eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Elizabeth “Lisa” O’Brien ’73 was a talented tennis and basketball player at Summit School and was a member of the first graduating class of the merged St. Paul Academy and Summit School. As one of the top all-around female athletes at Summit in the years before Title IX, Elizabeth was a dominant tennis player who competed on both the girls’ and boys’ varsity tennis teams. Classmate Bob Mairs, a member of the boys’ tennis team, says that “Elizabeth motivated the team to play better and she could hold her own against anyone.”
She lettered in all twelve seasons that she competed in athletics and received a boys’ tennis letter her senior year. She was the inaugural Girls’ Athletic Award recipient her senior year, which recognized her for her athletic talents and accomplishments.
Elizabeth attended Smith College, where her natural gift for athletics made her a strong competitor who played on the varsity tennis, basketball, squash, field hockey, and lacrosse teams.
Following college, Elizabeth coached multiple high school and collegiate sports. She spent over 20 years as a squash competitor and teaching pro. A lifelong “student of the game,” she obtained a masters’ degree in Physical Education. Tom Doar '69 calls her “a terrific athlete -- versatile, accomplished, an athlete who did it all well. Her poise, awareness and determination coupled with her terrific athletic ability allowed her to excel on multiple levels and multiple sports. She is clearly deserving of this Hall of Fame induction.”
For Cathy Paper '85, athletics was and continues to be an important part of her life. A four-sport athlete at St. Paul Academy and Summit School, Cathy was a talented tennis player and member of the basketball, track and field, and softball teams, earning fourteen varsity letters and captain honors five times over the course of her SPA career.
In tennis, Cathy helped lead her team to three state championships, winning the individual state doubles championship as a junior. A captain her senior year, she led her team to an impressive 11-5 record against some of the top schools in the state and a third-place overall finish. She also partnered with teammate Cynthia Wang ’86 to claim the region doubles championship and a state runner-up finalist.
On the track and field team, as an eighth grader, right as middle schoolers were being allowed to play on Varsity sports, Cathy set the school record in the 3200m and earned All-Conference honors. Outside of St. Paul Academy and Summit School, she set a top-five record at the Grandma’s Marathon with a time of 3:33 for the U18 division.
Cathy was awarded the Girls’ Athletics Bowl for her exceptional performance and leadership, along with the Headmaster’s Bowl, awarded by the Headmaster in consultation with the faculty and given to an individual who makes significant contributions to important aspects of school life. Mr. Harris, SPA’s headmaster at the time, praised Cathy’s athletic and academic achievements, her work on the Student Activities Council and as editor of The Rubicon, and noted her enthusiasm and involvement in all aspects of the school.
Cathy attended Williams College where she earned four varsity letters in tennis and squash and was named to the All-New England Team in Women’s Rugby. She continues to run and play tennis, and has run two additional marathons and competes in USTA tennis programs, where she recently competed at Over 40’s Nationals.
“To know Cathy is to be buoyed by her energy and compassion,” says classmate Peggy Driscoll '85. “She's a fierce competitor, as demonstrated by her accomplishments, and an amazing leader. Her teammates loved her, and she was a great captain. She would be an excellent addition to SPA's Athletics Hall of Fame.”
A renowned soccer player, Tony Sanneh ’90 was known as a gifted scorer and a crafty playmaker. He was an integral part of the nationally recognized St. Paul Academy and Summit School boys’ soccer program in the late 1980s. Tony, along with teammate Manny Lagos, lettered as 8th graders on a team that finished 3rd in state. He helped lead his team to State Championships in 1986 and 1987 and a runner-up finish in 1989. The ’88 team was named "One of the Best Teams in the United States'' that year and went on a 63-game winning streak over two and a half seasons. Tony was a two-time All-State selection and was awarded the Frenzel Athletics Bowl at commencement his senior year.
Tony also led the basketball team in scoring his senior year, was Conference Player of the Year, and represented the metro area in the State All-Star game winning the Dunk Contest and being named honorable mention All-State. On top of these already impressive accomplishments, Sanneh was also 3-time letter winner, 2-time captain, and 1st doubles player on the Tennis Team.
Tony attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where he became one of the most decorated student-athletes in the history of the Milwaukee Men's Soccer program, setting school records for points (138), goals (53), and assists (32). He currently holds the record for most points and assists with the program. In addition to being named an All-Conference First Team honoree, he was recognized as an NSCAA All-Mideast performer as a freshman and sophomore and earned All-America honors. He also helped the Panthers to their highest national ranking to date at No. 9 and an automatic berth to the 1990 NCAA Tournament.
He went on to play professional soccer, eventually earning a spot on the United States Men’s National Soccer Team. Tony would make 333 professional soccer appearances, netting 97 goals between 1994 and 2009. He ended his national team career with forty-three international appearances and three goals, and played a significant role in the 2002 World Cup, where he started all five games.
In 2003, he founded The Sanneh Foundation to leverage what he saw as soccer’s unique potential to create positive social change for youth. Serving as President and CEO, Tony is a driving force in the Twin Cities soccer and nonprofit communities, empowering youth and improving the lives of those in the community.
In addition to his executive leadership role with The Sanneh Foundation, Tony serves as a Sports Envoy on behalf of the Sports United Division of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. In this capacity, he has worked in numerous countries including Cyprus, Bangladesh, Kenya, Cote D'Ivore, Bahrain, Haiti, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Malaysia, and Bolivia to further American cultural values of diversity and gender equity initiatives.