Fall Sports Wrap-Up
It was a season of firsts for some of our area’s teams this fall. Webster Groves captured its first-ever boys soccer championship. CBC, which has won numerous state titles in a variety of sports, won a football championship for the first time, and MICDS brought home its first girls golf championship.
Webster Groves advanced to the post-season for only the second time in school history, and the Statesmen made the most of it, capturing the Class 3 championship with a 1-0 victory over Glendale High School in Springfield, Mo., at Blue Springs South High School. Willie Zampel scored the only goal of the game, while the Statesmen defense limited the Falcons to just one shot on goal. The shutout was the 17th of the season for Webster, which was ranked No. 1 in Class 3 for the entire season.
“We knew we would have a good team this year; it was just a matter of how good,” Webster coach Tim Cashel says. “We played a very tough schedule, and we knew we would take some losses. We also made a trip to Germany and Holland last summer, which provided us with more competition. We had some talented players, but just as important was the togetherness of this team. The boys played for each other, and that is what made us successful.” Sheriden Smith led the Statesmen with 20 goals, but defense was the key, with Sam Craig recording 16 shutouts. Webster finished the season with an overall record of 24-5-1.
Chaminade had the best record in the area at 25-3-1, but the Red Devils fell a game short of capturing the state title, losing in penalty kicks to Lee’s Summit in Class 4 after the teams battled to a scoreless tie through regulation and two overtime periods. Crossroads also made a Final Four appearance this fall. It finished fourth in Class 1.
Five area teams finished with conference titles: Kennedy in the AAA Small; John Burroughs in the Metro; Chaminade in the Metro Catholic; Parkway Central in the Suburban Central N-SC; and Webster Groves in the Sub XIIS. Legendary CBC coach Terry Michler was honored by the Missouri State High School Activities Association at the state tournament. Michler, who is the nation’s all-time leader in wins with 896, was given the Distinguished Service Award. He was the head coach for seven of CBC’s record eight state championships.
The last game of the 2014 fall sports season may have been the biggest highlight of them all, as CBC won the Class 6 football championship with a thrilling 31-24 victory over Rockhurst at the Edward Jones Dome. “It means so much to these guys, and it means so much to the guys who played there before,” says coach Scott Pingel.
CBC reached the championship game in 2006 and 2011 but fell one game short of the state title. The Cadets trailed 24-17 late in the third quarter against the Hawklets but scored a pair of late touchdowns. Blake Charlton hit Kameron Curtis with an 11-yard touchdown pass to cap a 10-play, 58-yard drive midway through the fourth quarter with what proved to be the game-winning score. CBC, which outscored its opponents 695-125 in its 14 games this season, became the first St. Louis team to win the Class 6 (largest school class) title since Hazelwood Central won in 2009.
John Burroughs advanced to the state championship game for the fourth time in the last five years. But for the fourth time the Bombers fell in the title contest, this year to Oak Grove, 49-27. Burroughs led 21-7 at one point, but Aaron Graham rushed for 270 yards to lead Oak Grove to the win. John Moten rushed for 187 yards on 25 carries in the title game for the Bombers, which gave him the St. Louis area rushing title of 2,589 yards. Jacob Clay of Brentwood was second in rushing, with 2,554 yards and Clay led the area with 45 touchdowns.
Kirkwood and Ladue each made it to the state semifinals. Kirkwood fell to CBC in the semifinals in Class 6 but capped its 11-2 campaign with a big 27-6 win over Webster Groves in the annual Turkey Day game. Ladue advanced to the Class 5 semifinals in its first year in this class before falling to Battle High School. Ladue won the Suburban Central N Division and finished 12-2 overall. Kirkwood was a league champion in the SubXIIS Conference, and CBC won the Metro Catholic Conference. John Burroughs and Westminster Christian Academy shared the Metro League championship with Lutheran North. Three area players finished in the top five in the entire St. Louis area in passing yardage. Brendan Bognar of Westminster Christian was second, Rob Thompson of Webster was fourth and Tre Moore of John Burroughs was fifth.Vianney’s Nolan Snyder was second in reception yardage.
There were some tremendous individual performances by local players, but no team from our area made it to the Final Four in Springfield (Eureka finished fourth in Class 4). Parkway North and Westminster Christian made it the farthest as a team, advancing to the quarterfinals in Class 4 and Class 3, respectively. Four area teams did win conference championships this fall. St. Joseph’s Academy (MWAA White), Kirkwood (SUBXIIS) and Parkway South (Sub West A) won outright titles, while Valley Park shared the South Central AA title with Hancock.
Valley Park’s Amanda Kraus had a season for the ages, leading the entire St. Louis area in batting average (.825), home runs (13), RBI (64), slugging percentage (1.778) and on-base percentage (.851). Lafayette’s Madison Seifert and Kirkwood’s Haley Thogmartin were dominant pitchers. Seifert was 16-2 with a 0.90 ERA. Thogmartin also had an ERA under one and was second in the area with 193 strikeouts in 122 innings.
For the second year in a row, rivals MICDS and John Burroughs finished one-two in the state in Class 1. This year, though, MICDS came home with the title trophy (John Burroughs won in 2013). The Rams finished the two-day tournament with a score of 664—14 strokes ahead of second-place Burroughs. “This year was a magical one for us,” says coach Steve Johnston, whose team had its first undefeated dual meet season at 12-0 and its first-ever wins in the Angel Classic, River Challenge, and district and sectional tournaments. “I believe last year’s taste of high performances helped us this season,” Johnston says. “We lost to our arch rival, John Burroughs, in our dual match and at districts, sectionals and state. This year, we used that experience to our benefit, knowing we were close to them in ’13, and we had the team depth this year to carry us to the top.”
Depth was a key for the Rams, who were led by juniors Abby Schroeder and Nicole Shearing and freshman Shannon Gould. Gould (fourth) and Schroeder (seventh) each had top 10 performances at state. John Burroughs’ Logan Otter was the top area finisher in Class 1. The Class 2 tournament was limited to one day because of weather. Kirkwood finished second to Blue Springs, while Marquette finished third. Parkway Central’s Elizabeth Leath finished second individually in Class 2.
It was an all-area championship match in Class 4 in Cape Girardeau as Lafayette defeated St. Joseph’s Academy 25-20, 25-20 in the title contest. The championship was the fourth in a row for the Lancers. Unlike the others, this may have been a bit of a surprise as the Lancers were a senior-dominated team in 2013. “Each year is different and equally special,” Lafayette coach Zach Young says. “We’re so proud of this group and how much they improved from day one until the end of the season. I know there were several doubters if we could win it this year. However, we knew we had a team full of kids with heart and perseverance, and I thought if we came together at the right time we’d have a shot.”
The Lancers had the lead for most of the championship match against the Angels, but Young realized they could not celebrate until the final point. “We knew St. Joe had a great team defensively and that no lead was safe against them,” Young says. “I was very proud of our girls for keeping their focus in each set after St. Joe would come back and tie the score or come within a point or two of us.”
Villa Duchesne fell just a match short of giving the area a pair of volleyball champions. The Saints advanced to the title game in Class 3 but fell to powerhouse Jefferson City Helias 25-18, 18-25, 25-17. Helias finished the season with a perfect 43-0 record. The 43 wins set a new single-season state record.
Lafayette’s Caroline Pozo won the Class 2 singles championship at the Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield. Pozo, who finished second last year while at St. Joseph’s Academy, ended the season with a perfect singles record. In fact, she did not lose a set all season, and she defeated former state champion Risa Takenaka of Francis Howell North in the championship match. “Caroline played a really smart match in the championship,” Lancers coach Donna Stauffer says. “Risa is a fabulous player, and you have to be able to hit winners against her. But Caroline has a complete game, and she showed it in the championship match and all season.”
Clayton seniors Connor Cassity and Cameron Freeman won the Class 1 doubles championship, an especially gratifying championship for the duo, who finished second at state last year. John Burroughs and St. Joseph’s Academy had the best finishes for the team portion of the tournament. St. Joe was second in while John Burroughs was the runner-up in Class 1.
Villa Duchesne had its best season ever. The Saints finished third as a team in Class 1 and had three state medalists: freshman Riley Clarke was second in singles, while seniors Brittany Green, last year’s state singles champion, and Merrit Stahle were third in doubles. Whitfield sophomore Grace Klutke lost only one match all season, which was at state where she finished third.
Vianney’s Nick Alexander was the star of the state meet at the Rec-Plex in St. Peters. The area’s most dominant swimmer during the regular season, he capped it all off with two state titles, including a state record. “We (myself, Nick and assistant coach Joe Wilson) started talking about breaking the 200 IM record and 100 back record last year, after the state meet,” Vianney coach Bill Alexander says. “By Saturday, it was pretty clear Nick was going to go after the records, especially after coming so close to both during prelims. Like any athlete, he wanted to do his best when his time came to perform, and in both cases he did. He was very happy to break the 200IM record and to break that 1:50.00 barrier as well—a big number in that event.” The day got even better for Alexander as he received the MISCA Swimmer of the Year Award at the end of the meet.
The area also had a champion in the diving portion of the Swimming and Diving Championships, with Lafayette’s Matt McCool finishing first. “In state, you need to perform each dive well to ensure the opportunity to move on to the next round of dives,” Lafayette coach Hilarie Wilson says. “Matt had a lot of energy and a generous lead going into the last round. There was excitement because he knew what he needed to do in order to win, and he knew he was capable of doing it. I was beyond excited for Matt and very proud of him.”
MICDS continued its recent dominance with a second consecutive Midwest championship. The Rams defeated Cor Jesu 2-1 in the title game, which gave them a 37-game winning streak against area teams. Their record the last two seasons is 46-1-2. MICDS, which was led by Metro League Co-Players of the Year Emily Adamson and Bridget Condie, finished the season 13th nationally in the Maxx Field Hockey ranking. “I am extremely proud of this accomplishment,” Rams coach Lynn Mittler says. “Our girls were focused since Aug. 4 on attaining their goal and came to practice daily with a great attitude. Our six seniors are beloved by the underclassmen, and there were plenty of tears when they realized this was going to be the last time they would play together.”
Pictured: Caroline Pozo