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
- 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
- Jane Davis Bennett '59
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.
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.
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.”