Fall Sports Wrap-Up
When Kirkwood beat Vianney in an early season football game Aug. 26, there was no indication that both teams would finish the season as State Champions in Class 5 and Class 6, the divisions with the largest enrollment. Kirkwood’s championship was not all that surprising (pictured above), as the Pioneers never lost after their opener against Chaminade and seemed to get better as the season went on. But they had to beat a pair of perennial Kansas City-area powers in the final two games (Rockhurst in the semifinals, and Blue Springs in the Class 6 championship game Nov. 18).
The Pioneers got off to a fast start against Blue Springs as quarterback Reece Goddard threw three touchdown passes in the first 10 minutes of the game, giving the Pioneers a 21-0 lead. Goddard would eventually throw for 196 yards and rush for 154 more. Tahj Telfair was his favorite target, catching five passes for 119 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The Pioneers would put an exclamation point on their memorable season with a win over Webster Groves in the traditional Turkey Day game. It was the first time in 37 years the Pioneers won both a state championship and the Thanksgiving Day contest!
Goddard was stellar throughout the season, passing for 2,657 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also was the leading rusher of the year with 787 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Vianney’s first-ever state title was amazing as the Griffins entered the second half of the regular season with a 1-4 record, although they probably played the toughest schedule in the state. In addition to their loss to Kirkwood, the Griffins would eventually lose to Providence Catholic, Battle and Chaminade in succession. They also lost to CBC and entered the post-season with five losses.
But they eventually would become the first team in state history to win a state title with a handful of losses. The scary part for future opponents is that Mickey Morrell is only a junior and Kyren Williams is a sophomore; each rushed more than 130 yards in the match against Fort Zumwalt North. Quarterback Tionne Harris, who threw for over 2,500 yards and 19 touchdowns on the season, also is only a junior.
Brentwood and Parkway North are two other area teams that had spectacular seasons. Brentwood advanced to the semifinals in Class 2 before falling to eventual champion Lamar. The Eagles had an eight-game winning streak during the season and finished at 11-2. Kaylon Jenkins averaged more than a first down every carry (10.4 yards), finishing the year with 1,812 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns. Justice Harris added 989 yards on the ground, a 9.8 average and 27 touchdowns.
It was a special year for area schools in soccer as John Burroughs and CBC both won state titles. Rockwood Summit, which is just out of the Town&Style coverage area, also captured a title. John Burroughs captured the Class 2 finals as the Bombers shut out three of their final four opponents in the playoffs.
The Bombers needed overtime to get past Priory 1-0 in the sectional round. That was followed by a 3-0 win over Duchesne in the quarterfinals, a 3-2 triumph over Lutheran South in the semifinals and a 3-0 victory over Monett in the championship game Nov. 5. Senior Aliff Rush led the Bombers attack with 34 goals. Goalkeeper Chad Wunderlich had a dozen shutouts as Burroughs finished 20-4. CBC captured the Class 4 title, the division with the largest enrollments. The Cadets defeated Pattonville 3-0 in the sectionals, and the rest of the road was nail-biting. CBC defeated rival St. Louis University High 2-1 in the quarterfinals in overtime, and Francis Howell 1-0 in the semifinals. They capped off their 24-6-2 season with a 2-1 win over Rockhurst in penalty kicks Nov. 12. Senior Connor Lonero closed his high school career in style. He scored the Cadet goal in regulation that tied the game and also had the clincher in the penalty kicks.
Maplewood-Richmond Heights almost made it a St. Louis area sweep. The Blue Devils lost in the finals in Class 1 against St. Paul Lutheran 1-0. Maplewood, which finished with a 22-6 record, was led in scoring by Zach Barton, who had 32 goals.
Ladue also had a standout season. The Rams set a school record with 29 wins. They lost only twice, but one game was in the Class 3 quarterfinals as they fell 2-1 to Fort Zumwalt South in double overtime.
Lafayette continued its amazing streak of dominance in girls volleyball as the team won its sixth consecutive state Class 4 crown at the Show-Me Center in Cape Girardeau. The Lancers played a very tough early schedule, but they won 27 games and tied one of their last to finish at 33-6-1. Lafayette finished 5-1 in pool play at state and then won a very hard-fought 20-25, 27-25, 25-21 championship match over Francis Howell.
It was the second year in a row that the Lancers came back in the championship match after losing the first game. A well-balanced attack was the key all year for Lafayette. Senior Hannah Flowers led the team with 280 kills, but juniors Merry Gebel (257) and Staciana Stock (198) weren’t far behind. Senior Emelie Orlando had 829 assists and 6-foot-5 junior Lily Cooper led the team with 112 blocks. Kailey Kantouth had 405 digs.
boys swimming and diving
In the boys swimming and diving State Championship Nov. 4 and 5 at the Rec-Plex in St. Peters, Kirkwood junior Jack Wever won in a tight head-to-head matchup with Chaminade senior T.J. Halliburton in the 100-yard backstroke. This year Wever and Halliburton both broke the 50-second barrier, with Wever winning at 49.67 and Halliburton at 49.98. Both easily bested their 2015 time. Wever would finish the meet with four medals as he led Kirkwood to an area-best sixth-place finish. No other area team was in the top 10.
Lafayette senior Austin Hindman, who was second to teammate Devin Meyrer last year, won the Class 4 boy’s title in 15:22.30. Other area top 10 finishers were: Lafayette’s Thomas Laarman (fifth); Parkway Central’s Charles McIntyre (seventh); and SLUH’s Joseph Laughlin (eighth). Lafayette, which was the defending team champion, was third this year behind Rockhurst and Rock Bridge. Parkway West was fifth and SLUH 10th.
Whitfield senior Simon Gelber won the Class 2 individual title. Gelber, who was fifth last year, finished in 16:24.62. The Warriors ended up an area-best eighth as a team in Class 2. Westminster Christian was ninth in Class 3. There were no individual or team champions from the area in girls cross country. Whitfield finished fourth as a team in Class 2, and the Warriors were paced by a third-place finish by Hannah Surmon. MICDS was fifth in Class 3. Grace Gore of John Burroughs was the lone top 10 finisher, placing ninth. A sixth-place team finish by Parkway West was the best in Class 4. Parkway Central’s Lizzie Dejoie had the top area finish individually, placing ninth.
girls golf/field hockey
St. Joseph’s Academy won the girls Class 2 golf championship. The Angels finished with 675 points, just eight better than Rock Bridge. MICDS was third and Marquette sixth.
Emily Guzy, Grace Aromando and Grace Renfer each finished All-State to lead the Angels.
MICDS’ Shannon Gould was fifth individually to pace local golfers.
John Burroughs was second in Class 1, although the Bombers were 40 strokes behind champion Cape Notre Dame. Victoire Ippoliti of John Burroughs and Ashton Sinak of Visitation each finished tied for seventh. St. Joe also won the Midwest Field Hockey Championship. The Angels, who finished 21-2-1 overall, won a memorable title game as they battled Cor Jesu through 60 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtime sessions without scoring a goal. The game and state title was eventually decided in penalty strokes. Annie Genovese led the way for the Angels, with a league best 40 goals.
It was a big year for area girls tennis players and teams. John Burroughs defended its Class 1 team title, while area players won both individual singles championships. JBS defeated rival MICDS in the semifinals, and then Barstow 5-2 in the title match Oct. 13. They were led by freshmen sensations Gaby Thornton and Sami Remis. Thornton would finally win the singles match 6-2, 3-6, 7-6.
Lafayette’s Caroline Pozo capped off her amazing high school career with a singles championship in Class 2. After losing in the finals as a freshman while at St. Joe, Pozo never lost a match or even a set in her final three years at Lafayette. For the second year in a row, Ellie Burger of St. Joe finished second to Pozo. Marquette’s Ellie Lewis and Athena Zeng were third in Class 2 doubles, while Elena Wilner and Rebecca Davis of Parkway Central were fifth.