Tennis has a long and successful history at St. Paul Academy, Summit School and the merged St. Paul Academy and Summit School. A number of notable athletes have gone on to claim state championships, including Gina Suh '94 who won the Minnesota State Tennis Singles Championship an impressive five years in a row. The girls' program has made over 20 state appearances claiming the state title in 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1986, and 1988, while the boys' program has made eleven appearances and won the state championship in 1993, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2022, and 2023.
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- Anthony Sanneh '90
- Jean Carlton Whitaker Ambler '49
- Ann Luyten Dieperink '53
- Laura Floan Boone '53
- Penelope Stout Shanks '58
- Hilary Raudenbush Magnuson '59
- Elizabeth O'Brien '73
- Cathy Paper '85
- Kira Gregersen Steiner '89
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.
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 Dieperink '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.
Laura Floan Boone '53 played basketball, managed the volleyball team, and was a talented tennis player while attending Summit School. In addition, Laura was an active member of the Girls' Athletic Association.
In tennis, Laura teamed up with Ann Luyten Dieperink '53 to win the doubles championship in the annual Summit intramural tournament against fellow classmates their freshmen, sophomore, junior, and senior year.
The duo also would travel to play at the Rochester Invitational and at the Tennis Club. The impressive teamwork and skill that the two showed on the court was noted in The Flame for multiple years.
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.
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.
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.”
Kira Gregersen Steiner '89 was one of the best tennis players to attend St. Paul Academy and Summit School. Competing on the Varsity team throughout her time at SPA, she would go on to win the Minnesota Class “A” State Singles Championship an impressive four years in a row from 1985-1989, setting a Minnesota record for the most state championship wins. She also helped the girls' tennis program to a Minnesota Class A Tennis Championships in 1986 and 1987. Kira was recognized for her accomplishments as one of six finalists for the Minnesota State Athlete of the Year as well as in the November 1988 issue of Sports Illustrated.
During her senior season, Kira, along with her teammates, compiled a record setting 13-5 record en route to their ninth state title for the tennis program. “I was in awe of her ability,” teammate Anita Kuba '90 says of Kira. “We won state twice during my high school years largely because of her. She was phenomenal on court; I could watch her for hours. [Knowing her] was a highlight of my time at SPA and made a tremendous impact on all of us.”
Following SPA, Kira played tennis at the University of Wisconsin where she continued her impressive career. A member of a Top-25 team all four years, Kira was elected captain of the team her junior and senior seasons, and twice received All-Big Ten Honors. She would go on to serve as an Assistant Coach for two years at the University of Illinois at Chicago while earning her MBA.