Girls’ soccer will begin the 2016 season with experience and depth. The Spartans return 15 letter winners, including a dynamic attack, featuring Lauren Hansen ‘17, Kate Bond ‘17, and Hayley Hoffmann ’18; a creative midfield, including seniors Maria Perkkio, Emily Thissen, and Ella Matticks; and, brick wall goalkeepers, Emma Sampson ‘19 and Belle Smith ‘18. The team will be a bit inexperienced at the center back position. With a roster stacked with high-level talent, however, the Spartans should be able to acclimate new players to the position quickly.
The Spartan boys’ soccer team won the IMAC championship last year, an accomplishment that capped off an impressive 10-7-2 season. In 2016, the team hopes to continue this forward momentum as they tackle a tough schedule and the state’s most elite teams. Eric Lagos ‘19 and Eli Goldman ’18 will be go-to players for the Spartans, bringing creativity and skill to the attack. The team will also compensate for its lack of size with a commitment to fitness, collective team effort, and quick, intellectual play.
GIRLS’ SWIMMING AND DIVING
The Sparks swim and dive team, a cooperative between SPA and Highland Park Senior High School, has high expectations for 2016. The team hopes to continue to improve their Dual Meet results this season so they may advance to the St. Paul City and Twin Cities Championship meets. They will also continue to build up their diving program with 2015 State Diver Abby Lanz ’19 leading the way. As the team works towards these goals, Head Coach Katy Vandam expects that the Spark’s biggest strength will be that it is a co-op. “We have many talented swimmers from both schools and we are strongest together,” says Vandam. Lanz, Michaela Polley ‘19, Mina Mandic ‘21, Jasmine White ‘21, Lauren Dieperink ‘20, and Katherine Welsh ‘22 will represent SPA.
The Spartan girls’ tennis team will return nine varsity student-athletes this season. Despite playing in one of the toughest conferences and sections in Class A, the team is excited to build on its doubles strategy and will look to compete at its highest capacity in every point and match. Players to watch for include Numi Katz '18 who played #1 doubles last season and has been a member of the varsity team since Grade 8, and Diane Huang '17 who played #2 singles for most of last season and is also one of three captains.
Volleyball had a very strong season in 2015, ending the fall with a 7-3 conference record and several big wins over powerhouse teams Minnehaha Academy and Visitation. The team expects to build on these successes in 2016 by leveraging their strengths: middle blocking, defense, and outside hitting. They will also look to Blythe Rients ’19, Sophia Rose ‘18, and Ashley Jallen ‘18 for leadership as they pull in players from their young bench. Head coach Jim Abbott says, “This is a very young and talented team that will face a challenging schedule. We hope to compete for the IMAC Conference championship and to advance further in the section tournament.”
BOYS’ AND GIRLS’ CROSS COUNTRY
The girls’ and boys’ cross country teams will start the 2016 fall season with a solid group of experienced runners. The girls’ team will look for leadership from juniors Greta Sirek and Val Hart who competed in the State meet as ninth graders. Maddy Breton ‘20 and Emma Hills ‘18 will also be top competitors for the Spartans, as they build on big successes from last year. Kyle Ziemer will be the lone senior on the boys’ team. With his direction and example, however, the team hopes to move up in the pack and compete with the conference and section’s top runners.
In the team’s inaugural season, the SMB Wolfpack, a football cooperative between SPA, Minnehaha Academy, and The Blake School, exceeded all expectations. The team earned an 8-0 regular season record and had several crushing victories over IMAC Rivals Breck (39-6) and Providence Academy (38-20), and Twin Cities neighbors Como Park (44-7), Minneapolis South (42-6), and St. Paul Johnson (35-0). Heading into their second season, the Wolfpack hopes to have another dominating season and push deeper into the postseason. SPA will be represented by seniors Mark Ademite, Weston Lombard, and Dominic Picciano, juniors Jake Adams, Peter Blachfield, Tony Bogolub, Breandan Gibbons, Jesper Salverda, and Harry Stephenson, sophomore Riley Tietel, and freshman Tommy Stolpestad.