[hometown hero: matt vierling]
Matt Vierling has been playing baseball ever since he can remember. “It’s just always been in my life,” he says. And St. Louis is the perfect town for it. “I’ve always been a huge Cardinals fan, which propelled me into the sport even more.”

The recent CBC graduate, who dominated the field when playing with both his school and select teams, had a tough decision to make recently. He had already committed to playing at Notre Dame when he was drafted by the Cardinals in June. “Every player who meets certain guidelines is eligible for the MLB draft,” Vierling explains. “I went through a showcase before the season started and did well at those events, so scouts came to my games. My adviser told me to listen for my name on day three of the draft because teams were interested, and I was watching at my computer at home when the Cardinals called my name. I just flipped out and ran and told my brother.” His brother, Mark, also plays baseball at CBC and will be a junior this year. Vierling has chosen to stick to his original commitment to the Fighting Irish.

The outfielder and pitcher played with the St. Louis Gamers during the off-season, a team he joined in seventh grade. “Summer baseball is how colleges scout you, so it’s  an important decision,” he says. Even with all of Vierling’s success, the baseball star, who started out in local CYC leagues, says playing with his brother and winning the state championship together was the best part of his year. “I just love the camaraderie of baseball and the brotherhood it builds,” he says. “You might be able to find that with other sports, but baseball is special because you can work on your personal stats, but you also have to play as a team to win.” The CBC team had the formula down last season: It won every major tournament, from Districts to the State Championship. “Obviously the championship game was the best,” Vierling recalls. “But we had some close wins throughout the playoffs, some really tough games. The whole season just stood out.”

Sport-Jake-Drysdale[running machine: jake drysdale]
When soon-to-be senior Jake Drysdale is asked about his involvement with Priory cross country, he makes sure to credit his coaches and teammates for their role in his success. “I had never run competitively before I came to Priory,” he says. “I started running to get in shape for basketball, but with proper training and support from the coaches, I fell in love with it.”

As a freshman, Drysdale moved his way up to the varsity team by the end of the season and finished as the school’s No. 2 runner. He was All-League and All-District and advanced to State his sophomore and junior years. “The entire team made it to State when I was a sophomore, and that’s our goal again,” he says. “We have a motto every season, and this year it’s ‘Finish strong.’ We have a lot of senior runners, and everyone has a great attitude. We all really want to do well for our coaches.” Drysdale says the coaching staff is extremely committed to the team. “Coach Gleich has been at Priory for 40 years, and Coach Rebello is in his 70s and has been coaching forever. We want to get them back to State.”

Drysdale runs year-round. He trains in the winter, and in the summer with Saint Louis University’s head track and cross country coach. He also runs the 3,200-meter, mile and 800-meter relay races for varsity track in the spring. “Cross country is the best, though,” he says. “It challenges you physically and mentally. You’re competing against dozens or even hundreds of runners at the same time, and you’re also competing against the course and outdoor conditions, which constantly change.” The season runs from August through November, so there might be extremely hot temperatures at the beginning, and at the end, wind chills below freezing. “Wind, mud, hills—it all adds to the fun,” he says. The course is always a 5K run, and Drysdale’s favorite in St. Louis is Priory’s challenging home course. “I just ran the Logan Pass along the Continental Divide when I was in Montana,” he says. “It was pretty cool to pass mountain goats on the side!”

Earlier this summer, Drysdale organized a summer training camp with the team’s top eight runners, and he recently attended Harvard’s running camp, where he trained with the university’s coaches and also met with coaches from MIT. “I got interest from both schools based on academics and then got invited to this camp,” he explains. “As much as I love running, I’m even more passionate about renewable energy and nanotechnology. I will choose a college to pursue that, and running would just be a bonus!”

Sport-Anthony-Cameron[talk to … anthony cameron]
The Clayton senior is a triple threat—he’s on the football, basketball and track teams—but admits his main focus is under the Friday night lights. He has big dreams, and this season will determine his future in the sport.

Q| When did you get involved in all these sports?
A| I’ve played football since I was 6, when I started at the City Rec by my house. I started basketball around the same time, but stopped after a few years until the seventh grade, when I picked it up again. I didn’t play my sophomore year because I kept getting hurt but played shooting guard my junior year. I’m still trying to decide what to do this season. I started track my sophomore year because I needed to get my 40-yard dash down for football and college scouts.

Q| Does track help condition you for your other sports? 
A| Yes. I got my 40 time down to 4.7 seconds, which is fast for me. I’m really competitive, so it pushes me and keeps me motivated. I run the 200- and 400-meter races and compete in the long jump, too.

Q| What are some of your major accomplishments at Clayton?
A| My sophomore year, I was honorable mention for All-Conference, but I led our conference in interceptions. Out of 12 games, I played in seven and started five, and I caught five interceptions that year. My junior year, I was first team All-Conference as a defensive back and second team All-Conference as a wide receiver.

Q| Any goals this year?
A| I want to break Jairus Byrd’s interception record. He graduated from Clayton in 2004 and now plays for the New Orleans Saints. He holds the school record at 12 interceptions during his high school career. I’m at No. 2 right now with nine.

Q| Do you hope to play in college?
A| That’s my biggest dream. Ever since I was little, I’ve wanted to play college ball at Ohio State. It all depends on how well I do this season.