John's Journal
Honoring A Hometown Hero At St. Paul Como Park2/5/2018
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter was standing at center court in the gymnasium at St. Paul Como Park High School on Monday evening, speaking about an athlete who has and is inspiring countless young people in the community.

It was halftime of a St. Paul City Conference girls basketball game between Harding and Como Park. Halftime stretched a little longer than usual, with a 17-minute ceremony that was equal parts celebration and inspiration. The star of the show was Andrayah Adams, a 2016 Como Park grad who is a sophomore basketball player at St. John’s University in New York.

The objective was to do something that had never been done before: retire the jersey number of a Como Park girls basketball player. And during the halftime ceremony, it became very clear how much Andrayah means to the Como Park and wider St. Paul community.

“This is beyond Como,” Carter told the cheering crowd. “This is the whole city of St. Paul celebrating right now.”

He turned to face Andrayah as he said, “Athletic accomplishments are very important, because young people in our community, people of all ages, are looking to you and seeing an example. When they look at how you pushed yourself to heights and greatness, it’s an example of what we can do ourselves. What’s even more important than the athleticism that you show is the leadership that you’ve shown in this community. You’ve inspired people to be their best selves, starting with your teammates.”

During the first half of Como Park’s 67-36 victory, Andrayah sat on the bench with the Cougars. After the halftime ceremony, she spent the second half visiting with friends in the bleachers, posing for photos and signing autographs. She seemed just a little bit overwhelmed … and who wouldn’t be?

“I used to be in the gym all the time,” she said. “I lived here. This is pretty cool.”

It also was pretty cool that she and St. John's coach Joe Tartamella were able to get away from their Division I season for one day. The Red Storm won a home game against Xavier 70-36 Sunday in Queens, and don’t play again until they go to Villanova in Philadelphia on Friday.

“I’m glad I was able to get away to be here,” Andrayah said. “We had a day off today and go back tomorrow.”

Monday’s victory gave the Como Park Cougars a record of 13-7 this season, including 9-0 in the City Conference. Adams played a large role in helping build the program. The Cougars are chasing their fourth consecutive conference title and they have a conference record of 43-1 in that time, winning 36 consecutive conference games.

Other halftime speakers included Como Park coach Alexis Gray-Larson, principal Theresa Neal, former and current teammates, Andrayah’s siblings Raiyne and Robert and parents Patrick and Leigh. Raiyne is a senior on the Como Park girls basketball team and Robert is a senior on the boys team.

Surrounded by players, coaches, family and friends, Andryah was handed a beautifully framed Cougars jersey bearing her famous No. 15. No one on the Como Park girls basketball team will ever wear that number again.

But No. 15 will live on for Andrayah … it’s also her number in college.

--To see a photo gallery, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
Class 1A Gymnastics Rankings1/31/2018
From the Minnesota Girls Gymnastics Coaches Association.

1 Detroit Lakes 8A 151.025
2 Willmar 6A 146.675
3 Mahtomedi 4A 145.925
4 Sartell-Saint Stephen 7A 145.808
5 Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa 1A 145.508
6 Watertown-Mayer/Mound-Westonka 5A 145.275
7 Worthington 3A 143.983
8 Perham 8A 143.700
9 Big Lake 7A 142.450
10 Monticello 7A 141.317
11 Melrose Area 6A 140.700
12 North Branch 7A 140.583
13 Waconia 2A 140.525
14 Becker 7A 139.967
15 Jackson County Central 3A 139.825
16 Chisago Lakes 7A 138.983
17 New London-Spicer 6A 138.667
18 New Ulm Public/NUACS/MVL 2A 137.292
19 Austin 1A 137.250
20 Mankato West 2A 137.125
21 Hendricks/RTR 3A 136.783
22 Fergus Falls 8A 136.159
23 Alexandria 8A 135.767
24 Breck 5A 135.425
25 Benson-KMS-Montivideo 6A 134.975
Class 2A Gymnastics Rankings1/31/2018
From the Minnesota Girls Gymnastics Coaches Association.

1 Owatonna 1AA 148.058
2 Stillwater 4AA 147.842
3 Lakeville North 2AA 147.717
4 East Ridge 3AA 146.858
5 St. Cloud Tech 8AA 146.758
6 Lakeville South 2AA 146.600
7 Cambridge-Isanti 7AA 146.033
8 Maple Grove 5AA 144.908
9 Anoka 7AA 144.200
10 Rosemount 1AA 142.617
11 Apple Valley-Eastview 3AA 142.383
12 Eden Prairie 6AA 142.200
13 Champlin Park 5AA 141.475
14 Eagan 3AA 141.292
15 Rogers 5AA 140.517
16 Prior Lake 2AA 140.433
17 Wayzata 5AA 140.342
18 New Prague 2AA 139.458
19 Farmington 1AA 139.308
20 Northfield 1AA 139.208
21 Saint Francis 7AA 139.142
22 Forest Lake 7AA 139.108
23 Roseville Area 4AA 138.325
24 Buffalo 8AA 138.233
25 Brainerd 8AA 138.192
Class 4A Girls Basketball Rankings1/31/2018
From Minnesota Basketball News.

1. Eastview 17-0
2. Wayzata 20-0
3. Hopkins 19-3
4. Lakeville North 14-5
5. St. Michael-Albertville 15-3
6. Centennial 16-3
7. Cretin-Derham Hall 13-3
8. Park Center 13-6
9. Maple Grove 15-4
10. Roseville 14-4
11. Champlin Park 14-4
12. Park-Cottage Grove 15-4
13. Moorhead 11-8
14. Minnetonka 9-8
15. Minneapolis South 15-2
16. Apple Valley 11-8
17. Farmington 12-7
18. Anoka 12-8
19. Stillwater 12-8
20. Eden Prairie 11-8
Class 3A Girls Basketball Rankings1/31/2018
From Minnesota Basketball News.

1. Robbinsdale Cooper 15-2
2. Mahtomedi 16-1
3. DeLaSalle 12-4
4. Holy Angels 17-3
5. Northfield 15-3
6. Willmar 16-2
7. Hutchinson 15-5
8. Waseca 18-2
9. Red Wing 13-3
10. Alexandria 14-3
11. Fergus Falls 14-4
12. Hermantown 20-2
13. Chisago Lakes 11-6
14. Grand Rapids 14-6
15. Waconia 13-5
16. Marshall 15-4
17. New Ulm 14-5
18. Mankato West 12-6
19. Hill-Murray 10-8
20. Benilde-St. Margaret’s 12-6