The spring of 2019 was a memorable one for many local athletes and teams. In both baseball and tennis, a pair of area teams faced each other in the state championship.
Tennis was one of the sports that had an all-area state championship match as John Burroughs defended its Class 1 team championship with a 5-2 victory over MICDS at the Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield. The Bombers, who had an 18-1 overall record, did not lose a game in the post-season entering the title match with consecutive 5-0 wins in the playoffs against DuBourg in the sectional round, St. Pius in the quarterfinals and Pembroke Hill in the semifinals. MICDS was just as dominant, winning 5-0 matches against St. Dominic in the sectionals, Helias in the quarterfinals and Thomas Jefferson in the semifinals.
St. Louis University High had its first final four appearance in 13 years in the Class 2 team tournament. The Junior Bills defeated Oakville 5-0 in the sectionals and had a 5-1 win over Marquette to earn the trip to the state tournament, where they had a huge 5-3 win over Rockhurst. SLUH trailed 2-1 after doubles but shined in singles with four wins, three by freshmen (Gus Tettamble, Nick Fischer and Henry Dowd). Sophomore Leo Da Silva had the other singles win against the Hawklets. SLUH would fall in the championship match to Rock Bridge, 5-0. It was the fourth consecutive team championship for the Bruins, coached by Clayton graduate Ben Loeb.
Area players also dominated the individual portion of the tournament. CBC senior A.J. Woodman, who won a state doubles title two years ago, added a Class 2 singles championship with a 6-3, 7-6 win over Jeremy Ouyang of Ladue in another all-area title match.
There was another all-area finals in Class 1 singles; this time, it was a John Burroughs match-up as Akash Rajan defeated teammate Rory Sutter in straight sets. Evan Erb and Chase Nwamu of MICDS gave area players a sweep of the top four singles spots in Class 1.
Dav Nayak and Sam Wang fell one match short of giving Burroughs the triple crown (team, singles and doubles state titles). They reached the finals but lost a tough three-set match against Nathan Turtledove and Logan Stevens of Pembroke Hill. PRIORY’s Charles McEnery and Gary Gaertner and John Burroughs’ Adam Zhao and Thomas Dobbs also finished in the top 4 in Class 1 doubles.
The last game of any sport in the state was the Missouri State High School Activities Association Class 5 championship game. This year, it involved a pair of area teams with De Smet prevailing over Marquette 6-4 at Car Shield Field in O’Fallon.
That win capped an amazing turnaround for the Spartans, who started the post-season with a 9-13-1 record. The playoffs, though, were a completely different story for the team, which not only won six games in a row, but threw shutouts in four of them. The Spartans won the District 6 title without allowing one run, defeating Francis Howell North 3-0 and Parkway North 11-0. They made it three shutouts in a row with an 8-0 win over McCluer North in the sectional round and then beat a talented Rock Bridge team 3-2 in eight innings in the quarterfinals.
Staley became another shutout victim of De Smet in the semifinals as the Spartans won 1-0 before claiming the championship. The state title is just the second in history for the Spartans (the first was in 2000), who were 6-11-1 at one time.
It was also a special season for Marquette; the team advanced to the final four for the first time in state history. The Mustangs had a tough run to the final four. They needed nine innings and two days to defeat CBC 4-1 in the sectionals and then they won over defending champion Vianney 5-1 in the quarterfinals. Marquette had a memorable first game in the final four as the team scored three runs with two outs in the seventh inning to defeat Willard 4-3 in the semifinals before losing to De Smet in the finals. Marquette finished with a 24-9 record.
Westminster came within a game of giving the area another baseball championship. The Wildcats breezed to the Class 4 championship game with postseason wins against MICDS (12-0), Jennings (12-0), St. Dominic (14-3) and Savannah (10-0). But nothing went right in the title game as the Wildcats fell to St. Francis Borgia 13-1. Westminster finished with a 29-7 record.
Valley Park and Whitfield each won district titles in Class 3. Valley Park (17-7) lost to West County 11-10 in the sectional round while Whitfield (9-7) fell to Montgomery City 13-1 in its sectional game. There were plenty of individuals who were among the leaders in the entire St. Louis area. CBC’s Colin Bergmann had 11 homers, which tied Jacob Hager of Lutheran South for the area lead.
Jimmy Obertop of Westminster was second in the area in both RBIs (48) and slugging percentage (.965). Area pitchers shined with three in the top five in ERA: Vianney’s Nathan Beaton was second (0.57), Josh Abel of De Smet was fourth (0.78) and Zach Brasier of Westminster was fifth (0.94). Priory’s Mark Shallenberger had the best strikeout percentage (12.84 with 74 strikeouts in 40.3 innings), and Vianney’s Ryan Insco was first in saves with eight. His teammate, Beaton, was first in shutouts with four.
A pair of area teams reached the title game in soccer. Nerinx Hall, which finished 18-4-2, had playoff wins against Eureka (2-1), Lindbergh (2-0) and Lee’s Summit West (3-2) before falling to Liberty 3-1 in the Class 4 championship game at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City. It was the first final four appearance for the Markers since 2005 and their first title game win since 1994. Nerinx Hall’s only state title came in 1988.
Visitation made it to the championship game in Class 2 with wins over Trinity (3-2), Southern Boone (4-0) and Pembroke Hill (1-0). The Vivettes lost in the championship game to Cape Notre Dame 4-0. Visitation, which won the District 6 title over Orchard Farm 4-1, finished the season with an 18-5 record. Rosati-Kain was another area team with a district championship. The Kougars beat University City 6-2 in the District 4 title game. They defeated Roosevelt 10-0 in the sectionals before being eliminated by eventual champion Cape Notre Dame 4-0 in the quarterfinals.
Maplewood won a district title in Class 1, defeating Metro 10-1 in the championship game. The Devils lost in the sectional round to St. Vincent, 2-1. St. Joseph’s Academy and Westminster won Class 3 district championships. The Angels, who had a fantastic year with an 18-3 record, lost to Summit 1-0 in the sectional round. Summit reached the championship game in Class 3, losing to St. Dominic on penalty kicks. St. Joseph’s won its District 4 title game against Clayton 3-0. Westminster defeated Parkway Central 1-0 in the District 6 title game before losing to Incarnate Word 3-0 in the sectional round.
No area team or individual won in golf this year, although in many cases, it was a close fight to the finish. Area teams placed second in Class 2, 3 and 4. Whitfield was second in Class 2. The Warriors finished with a two-day score of 686, which was eight strokes behind champion St. Pius X of Kansas City. Whitfield’s Drew Newlin was third individually, three strokes behind champion Cole Elling of St. Pius X. Maplewood’s Kal Kolar was fourth.
MICDS was a distant second for Class 3 with a score of 633. Pembroke Hill won with 614. John Burroughs was fourth, and Priory sixth. Henry Mikula of MICDS had the best area score with 148 for two days, only two points behind champion Ryan Lee of Pembroke Hill.
The closest competition was in Class 4. Jackson High School won at 611. Chaminade was just two strokes back at 613, Marquette finished third and Lafayette fifth. Marquette’s John Cronin was second individually with a score of 148, and Glendale High School’s Dawson Meek won with 146. Chaminade’s Josh Heidenry and Ryan Walsh and Lafayette’s Maxwell Kreikemeier all tied for third with 149.
MICDS continued its dominance with yet another Missouri Scholastic Lacrosse Association title. It was the sixth in a row for the Rams, who have a streak of 92 consecutive wins against area teams. Their last loss against a St. Louis team was April 10, 2014, against CBC. The title match was no contest as the Spartans defeated De Smet 15-1. Graham Bundy Jr., a Georgetown recruit, scored in the first 11 seconds of the championship game. He had five of his six goals in the first half. MICDS led 7-0 after 12 minutes and 10-1 at halftime. Boston University signee Thomas Niedringhaus had four goals in the title game and Henry Carpenter, who is going to Penn State, had three goals and four assists.
Parkway West defeated Westminster 6-5 to win the Show Me Cup title, the first title for the Longhorns since winning the Division II state title in 2015. The team finished 10-7.
St. Joseph’s Academy lost to Rockwood Summit 9-6 in the championship game in the MSLA girls contest. It was the first-ever title for the Falcons, who finished 18-1. They became the first public school to win since Lafayette in 2000. St. Joseph’s finished with a 13-6 record.
The Class 4 meet was one for the ages. Area teams swept the top four team positions. Parkway North won, followed by Webster Groves, Parkway Central and MICDS. Parkway North’s Alicia Burnett won both the 100 and 200, breaking a state record with a time of 11.58 in the 100. Parkway Central’s Kayelyn Tate was second in both races.
Parkway North also won the 4×200 and 4×400 and was second in the 4×800. Webster Groves had three individual state champions: Angelina Arinze won the 300-meter hurdles, Nia Lyles won the shot put, and Eliza Maupin won the high jump.
Ladue’s Lila Bensky was yet another area state champion in Class 4 for the 1,600. Nerinx Hall’s Courtney Williams had an outstanding state meet in Class 5. She won the 400 (54.87), placed second in the 100 and got third in the 200. Lafayette was the only area team in the top 10. The Lancers finished eighth and were led by Elizabeth Schilling who was second in the long jump and third in the pole vault.
Madison Fuller of John Burroughs made her last high school appearance a memorable one. She led the Bombers to a second-place team finish in Class 3 by winning the 100 (11.82), 200 (24.03) and 400 (55.95). While Fuller dominated in the sprints, Kylie Goldfarb of John Burroughs did extremely well in the distance events, winning both the 800 (by .02 of a second over Mercedes Schroer of Christian with a time of 2:20.62) and the 1,600 (5:14.02).
In Class 2, Principia’s Busiwa Asinga won the 100 (12.00) and the 300 hurdles (in a Class 2 record time of 43.32). She also finished second in the 200. Principia had the top team finish at eighth place. Crossroads’ McKinlee Morris won the shot put with a toss of 42-1.
There were no area team champions but plenty of noteworthy individual performances this spring in boys track. Kirkwood’s Christian Baker and MICDS’ Joshua Sutton each won a pair of individual races at state. Baker won the 1,600 (4:13.03) and the 3,200 (9:16..34) in Class 5. He also ran a leg on the Pioneer 4×800-meter relay team, which finished first at 7:43.68. Sutton won both the 100 (10.85) and 200 (21.85) in Class 4.
Kirkwood had the best area finish in Class 5, finishing sixth. Lafayette was 10th. SLUH’s Lazarus Williams was the other area champion in Class 5, winning the 800 (1:53.29). SLUH also finished second to Kirkwood in the 4×800.
Ladue had the best team finish in Class 4 at fourth. The strength for the Rams was in the relays; they were state champs in the 4×100 and 4×400 and third in the 4×200.
It was another brilliant state meet for Malik Stewart of Maplewood. He won the 800 by .08 of a second (1:57.84), was second in the 1,600 and was a part of the Devil’s 4×400 relay team, which finished third. Maplewood finished fourth as a team in Class 3.
Principia’s Nathan Babcock had both an individual and relay team title. He won the 800 by more than 3 seconds (1:57.71) and teamed with Bramwell Havi, Kyedence Jordan and Stevie Keyes to win the 4×800. Principia finished fourth as a team, just 17 points behind Class 2 champion Monroe City.