Joshua Schipper
Video/Digital Content/Graphic Design Producer
December 12, 2018 // Diocese

Seminarians seek repeat in Cupertino Classic

Joshua Schipper
Video/Digital Content/Graphic Design Producer

Priests aim to reassert basketball dominance

Bishop Dwenger High School, Fort Wayne, will host the fifth annual Cupertino Classic basketball game on Thursday, Dec. 27. Once again, diocesan seminarians will face the priests in a fierce battle for bragging rights.

Last December, the seminarians pulled off their first win in the game’s history. Now the priests, coached by Father Jacob Runyon, seek revenge. Among those returning to the team are the wildly athletic Coonan brothers — Father Matthew and Father Terrence. New additions include the recently ordained Father Jay Horning, Father Thomas Zehr and Father Patrick Hake.

What does Father Horning think it will take for the priests to win the game? “An exceptional amount of athleticism from the new priests — and for some of the seminarians to not play,” he joked.

The priests of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend seek revenge in the Cupertino Classic basketball game. The game tips off at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 27 at Bishop Dwenger High School, Fort Wayne. Admission is free.

He then baited the opposing team of future priests, saying: “I was once like you but now I am not: Good luck, and be nice to those who give you the sacraments.” 

While the priests attempt to reassert their dominance on the hardwood, the seminarians, coached by seminarian Sam Anderson, seek back-to-back wins. Team captain Ben Landrigan spoke of the team’s preparedness for the upcoming match.

“The seminarians are absolutely ready for this year’s game. Ever since handling the priests last year, our goal has been to get the repeat,” he said. They have prepared by playing basketball together as much as they can, and watching Notre Dame basketball, “which is “our own version of studying film.”

As captain, Landrigan wants his fellow seminarians to “have no fear — whether that’s taking a big shot, trying to defend one of the Fathers Coonan, or pushing a priest out of the way for a rebound. All they’ve got to do is go out there and take the victory that’s waiting for them.”

Regarding his roster, Landrigan said seminarian Holden Berg might be their best player this season. “I’ve never seen him play, so he is a total wild card.”

The seminarian team expressed a pre-game desire for their opponents to know how much they are loved, and that they are appreciated for all they do. “However, if they never win a game the rest of my time as a seminarian, that’s cool, too,” Landrigan added.

The Cupertino Classic is named after St. Joseph of Cupertino, a Franciscan who learned to love God through devotion to prayer and voluntary acts of penance. He was known to levitate while in prayer, especially when Christmas carols were sung at Mass. St. Joseph of Cupertino was chose to represent the annual priests vs. seminarians game because it takes place in a season where Christmas carols proclaim the joy over the coming of the Messiah. St. Joseph of Cupertino is also the prime saint to represent the diocesan basketball tradition, because both sides are presumably praying for the gift of levitation at the moment of the game-winning dunk.

The Cupertino Classic is an event for people of all ages. Everyone is invited to gather as a community to bond over not only the game, their shared faith and the fun of watching parish priests and the seminarians compete against each other.

“I’d add that our main goal as always is to have a great night with the Catholic community,” said Landrigan. “We love seeing everyone and hanging out with them after the game. In the midst of anything else happening in the Church right now, this is a great way to celebrate and support the health of priests and vocations in our diocese.” 

The event is free. The game begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be broadcast by Redeemer Radio on 106.3 FM.

Priests roster: 

Coach-Father Jake Runyon – Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception – FW

Father Andrew Curry 23  St. Robert Bellarmine – N. Manchester

Father Jason Freiburger 7  St. Thomas the Apostle – Elkhart

Father Matt Coonan 33  St. Vincent de Paul – Elkhart

Father Terry Coonan 12  St. Therese Little Flower – South Bend

Father Zak Berry 11  Queen of Angels – Fort Wayne

Father Jonathon Norton 2015 Sacred Heart – Warsaw

Father Mark Gurtner 3  Our Lady of Good Hope – Fort Wayne

Father Jay Horning  1  St. Vincent de Paul – Fort Wayne

Father Patrick Hake 14 St. Vincent de Paul – Elkhart

Father Thomas Zehr  24  St. Elizabeth Ann Seton – Fort Wayne 

Father David Violi 72  St. Joseph – Bluffton

Seminarians roster:

Coach – Sam Anderson St. Vincent de Paul – Fort Wayne

Ben Landrigan – Captain 22 St. Elizabeth Ann Seton – Fort Wayne

Brian Florin  2 St. Pius X – Granger

Brian Isenbarger  26  St. John the Baptist – Fort Wayne 

Deacon Spenser St. Louis 14 St. Vincent de Paul – Fort Wayne

Jake Schneider 20 St. Charles – Fort Wayne

Vince Faurote 3 St. Mary of the Assumption – Decatur

Nick Monnin 9 St. Matthew Cathedral – South Bend

Holden Berg 34 St. Vincent de Paul – Fort Wayne

Zane Langenbrunner 31 St. Bavo – Mishawaka

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