MICDS senior James Proctor, pictured above, says he knew at the age of 5 that he loved the game of baseball and wanted to keep playing. “My parents started me in a tee-ball league, and it’s been my favorite sport ever since,” he says.
When asked if growing up in a well-known baseball city like St. Louis influenced his passion, he says it’s more about just loving the game (although he is definitely a Cardinals fan). “I became more competitive when I was 12 because I started traveling nationally to play,” he says.
Proctor feels comfortable on the mound. “I’ve always been a good pitcher and have liked competing in that position,” the 17-year-old says. “You can control the game when you’re pitching, which has always been appealing to me.” He also enjoys the team aspect. “You win as a team and lose as a team,” he says.
Baseball is a year-round commitment for the senior. Along with playing for MICDS’ Rams, Proctor plays club ball for the St. Louis Pirates. “I switched to that club team when I was 14,” he says. In the off season, he maintains a strict training schedule. “I work out five times a week and work with my pitching coach a lot more during the winter,” he says. “I’ll throw three to four times a week.”
He has high hopes for the MICDS team this year. “I would say this year’s team is the best we’ve had in the four years I’ve been here,” he says. “We’re much improved from where we were, so I’m excited for what the season holds.” The team has set specific goals for the season; one is to win Districts and the other is to make it to the state championship game. “I feel like this is the team to do that,” Proctor says. Personally, he’s off to a good start as well. He pitched a game early in the season where he gave up only one hit—and that, not until the seventh inning. Last year, he threw a no hitter and also was named All Conference.
His success was noticed by multiple schools, but when he visited Princeton, he says it felt like the perfect fit. “I like the coaches and am excited to play with the guys there,” he says. Beyond college, Proctor hopes to play professionally. “It’s always been a dream of mine.”
skating star: jake siegel
Jake Siegel was one of those cute kids skating around an ice rink at a very young age— probably doing better than many adults! His dad grew up playing ice hockey, which the Kirkwood High School senior admits has always had an influence on his involvement with the sport. “My dad is the first one that got me started on skates at the age of 3,” he says. “He was my coach almost every year growing up, and he was always at practices and games.”
Siegel has been at it a while; he played his first games wearing equipment at 5 years old and became more competitive in grade school. “I grew up playing for the Kirkwood Youth Hockey Association and knew a ton of guys from that when I got to high school,” he explains, noting many of his teammates can be counted among his closest friends.
The high school season starts in August and depending on the playoff schedule, could last until early March. “Kirkwood has always had a very strong program,” Siegel says. “I’ve played on varsity all four years as a center or right wing, and we’ve always made it to the Challenge Cup, the highest of the three divisions for high school playoffs.” This year, Kirkwood was knocked out by Lindbergh High School in the quarter finals, but the state championship game was still memorable for Siegel. Before the action started on the ice at Scottrade Center, he was presented with the Mid State Club Hockey Association scholarship award, which each year recognizes a senior hockey player who excels in both the sport and academics, as well as shows signs of leadership at school and in the community. “When I received the call about the scholarship, it was awesome,” Siegel says. “I had friends come and watch the presentation, and it was a really cool experience.”
His strong leadership also was recognized by his coaches, who appointed him an assistant captain this year. “That was a humongous honor,” Siegel says. “It told me that they had respect for me.” With his accomplished high school career behind him, the senior is still on the fence about continuing on at the collegiate level. “I will definitely keep playing no matter what,” he says. “I’ve met so many awesome people, and I always want to be involved in the hockey community as long as I can.
talk to … lizzie slinkard
Cor Jesu Academy senior Lizzie Slinkard is a triple threat. An outstanding basketball player, soccer goalie and field hockey star, she admits she doesn’t really have a favorite. “I’m playing field hockey in college, but I like different things about each one!”
Q| Do you like that they are all team sports?
A| I love the team aspect. All my teammates are my friends, and it’s great experiencing everything with them.
Q| How long have you been playing each?
A| I started soccer and basketball in grade school, and I just started field hockey my freshman year. All of my cousins went to Cor Jesu and played, so they encouraged me to try it out, and I love everything about it. When I started varsity my junior year, my coach helped me improve my stance and stick skills.
Q| Where will you play for college?
A| At DePauw University in Indiana. It’s a smaller school that I loved when I first got there! My friend who I’ve played all three sports with throughout high school is also going to DePauw for field hockey. I’m excited because I’m still learning and it’s still fresh and new. I want to keep playing my other sports on rec teams for fun.
Q| What’s your practice schedule like?
A| Field hockey is in the fall, basketball is in the winter, and soccer is in the spring. I have a practice every day after school all year, and I couldn’t imagine not playing a sport.
Q| What position do you play in soccer?
A| Goalie. I’ve played it since the third grade. It’s definitely a stressful position, but I love it.
Q| Any big honors or accomplishments?
A| I was one of 30 girls nominated for the Skippy Keefer Award, named after an athletic director who was a big proponent of girls getting involved in high school sports. It’s for athletes who play more than one sport. This past fall, I was awarded the Missouri Women’s Athletic Association (MWAA) 2015 All-Conference First Team for field hockey.