The 2014 spring sports season for area teams featured an unprecedented championship and a title for the ages. The Westminster Christian Academy baseball team became the first in state history to string four consecutive championships, while the St. Joseph’s Academy girls soccer team came back from a two-goal deficit in the second half to defeat one of the country’s top-ranked teams and win its first title in a dozen years.

The Westminster Christian Class 4 championship was the highlight of the season as the Wildcats extended their string of elimination victories to 26 games. “Every game is an elimination game in the post-season,” coach Rich Van Gilst says.

The championship game was scoreless until the fifth inning, when the Wildcats broke through for a 5-0 victory over Pembroke Hill. The Wildcats defended their Class 4 championship this year. They had won in Class 3 in 2011 and 2012. Ten seniors were key contributors this year and two others, Shane Benes and Kyle Kinner, were injured for the year. None played in all four of the title games. “These seniors have played together a long time,” Van Gilst says. “I’m so glad they were able to get it done again as seniors. They were a close group of guys who had a goal they wanted and went out every day to achieve it.”

Vianney reached the final four in Class 5, finishing fourth after losses to 2013 champion Francis Howell in the semifinals and Blue Springs South in the third game. The Griffins ended the season with a 29-7 record and a Metro Catholic Conference title. “The pitching was good from beginning to end,” Vianney coach Scott Brown says. “We struggled to score runs at times, but we had a great group of seniors, with a lot to be proud of.”

Four other area teams finished the season as conference champions: Valley Park (South Central); Ladue (Suburban East); Parkway North (Suburban South); and Marquette (Suburban West).

Marquette senior Matt Scheibel was named Player of the Year in the Suburban West Conference. Scheibel hit .395 with eight home runs and 43 RBI. Ladue junior Jack Fox earned the same honor in the Suburban East Conference. The catcher finished the season with a lofty average of .484.


The game of the year this spring was the Class 3 championship soccer game, as St. Joseph’s Academy upset St. Teresa’s 3-2 in overtime. Kaley Nieters scored the game-winner after the Angels tied the game with a pair of dead ball goals in the second half. “We were playing the top-ranked team in the country and nobody gave us much of a chance to win,” says St. Joe coach Maureen McVey, whose team lost to St. Teresa’s 1-0 in last year’s state tournament. “We played relaxed but it didn’t look good when we got down 2-0 against the top-ranked team. I just wanted to make it respectable at that point. But we got the two goals within three minutes from almost the exact same spot on the field. It was a great accomplishment for a team with five freshmen.”

Nieters, who will play next year at Iowa State, capped off her high school career with game-winning goals in both the semifinals against Francis Howell North and again in the championship game in overtime.

The championship was the seventh for the Angels and the fifth for McVey. It was the team’s first since 2002.

Visitation also captured a state championship this spring. The Vivettes did so in dramatic fashion as they defeated Kearney 2-1 in overtime. And again, it was a senior standout who put an exclamation point on her career: Sarah Price, who is headed to Arkansas to play soccer, scored the championship-winner. Price, along with Liz Hopkins (who will play at Mercer) and Abby Grimes (who will play field hockey at Louisville), were the three senior captains who started since they were freshmen. They sandwiched a state title when they were freshmen in 2011 with this year’s championship. “Those three captains were terrific,” Visitation coach Dick Westbrook says. “They were very talented but also great leaders, playing every game like it was their last. The chemistry with this group was great, and it was so nice to have a storybook ending.” The state title was the fifth for the Vivettes, who finished the season with a 21-3-2 record.

Four area teams ended the season as undefeated league champions: St. Joe (Metro Women’s Athletic Association); MICDS (Metro); Crossroads (South Central); and Ladue (Suburban East). Webster Groves and Parkway Central shared the Suburban South Conference championship.

MICDS senior Caroline Militello was Player of the Year in the Metro League. Ladue senior Natasha Medler was Player of the Year in the Suburban East and Webster Groves junior Maddie Pokorny earned that recognition in the Suburban South Conference.

John Moten, JBS

Three area boys and one area relay team stood at the top of the podium. Kirkwood senior Bryant Boyd won the high jump in Class 4 (6-8) while Lafayette sophomore Dylan Quisenberry helped the Lancers to a second-place finish with a championship in the 800-meter run in Class 4 (1:54.52). John Burroughs senior John Moten was the other area individual champion. He won the 100-meter dash in Class 3 (10.58).

CBC defended its championship in the 4×400-meter relay in Class 4. Seniors Jerrick Powell and Stephan Hickman were on both champion relay teams. This year they teamed with seniors Dominic Vaiana and Jarred Pasley to run a 3:14.98. The Cadets finished fourth as a team in Class 4.

No area girls team finished in the top five this spring. The highlight of the season was the effort of Brentwood thrower Sophia Rivera. The Eagle sophomore defended her Class 2 titles in both the shot put and the discus. Her discus throw of 129-11 was more than 16 feet farther than any other competitor. She also defended her state title in the shot put, throwing 45-8, more than 6 feet better than the second-place finisher.

The other area champion, Jordan McClendon of John Burroughs, won the Class 3 championship in the shot put with a throw of 43-8.75. John Burroughs, which had the best team finish as sixth in Class 3, also had a second-place finish from Annalise Wagner in the 800-meter run.

One of the highlights locally was the second-place finish in the 4×800-meter relay by MICDS. It was accomplished by three sophomores (Katherine Laughlin, Geneva Lee and Margaret Sliney) and a freshman (Lexi Walsh).

Michael Peters, JBS
Michael Peters, JBS

[boys tennis]
The state tournament featured an individual singles and doubles and team championship in Class 1.

John Burroughs’ junior Michael Peters won the Class 1 singles title after finishing second in doubles as a freshman and sophomore. He also finished second with the team last year and was part of two second-place finishes on the Bomber football team. “I’ve always believed that champions are decided long before trophies and medals are awarded, and Michael proved that to be true this year,” Burroughs coach Matt Waite says. “Michael set the intention of winning the state tournament the day he left Springfield last year as runner-up.” Peters defeated MICDS’ Tyler Raclin in the championship match.

Westminster Christian seniors Derek Bell and Bailey Merkel defended their Class 1 doubles title. It was the fourth state medal for Merkel.

MICDS won the Class 1 team championship, doing so in dominant fashion. The Rams did not lose a set in defeating John Burroughs in the semifinals and Pembroke Hill in the championship match. Rams Tyler Raclin and Joe McAllister shared time at the No. 1 singles position, along with senior captain Geoffrey Raclin and sophomore Rex Serituk. “We had strong players at the top of the lineup but we were very fortunate to have such a deep team,” MICDS coach Patrick Huewe says. “We had six guys who could have played in the top three on almost any team in the state.”

[boys golf]
There were no champions, either individually or as a team, this spring, although three teams finished in second-place in their respective classes.

De Smet Jesuit was second in the Class 4 Tournament, which was played at the Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau. James Siegfried was the top Spartan finisher. He was sixth. Parkway South’s Raymund Gonzales had the best state finish in Class 4. He finished third.

MICDS tied with Logan-Rogersville for second-place in the Class 3 Tournament at the Fremont Hills Golf Club in Fremont Hills. Andrew Lilly, who finished fourth, had the best Ram finish and the best for an area golfer.

Whitfield ended four strokes behind Barstow, placing second in the Class 2 Tournament at Silo Ridge Golf and Country Club in Bolivar. Chase Kinder and Colin Strege earned all-state recognition for the Warriors.

Parkway Central
Parkway Central

[boys volleyball]
It took 20 years but Parkway Central coach Tom Schaefer was finally able to celebrate a championship with his team. The Colts defeated Affton 25-18, 25-12 to win the Class 3 championship.

Parkway Central won a championship in 1991 when boys volleyball was a club sport. They also reached the finals in 2011. “We were in the final four last year and lost to eventual champion Vianney in the semifinals,” Schaefer says. “We were bringing the bulk of the team back so I knew we had the experience and the talent. They played fantastic volleyball in the post-season.”

The Colts were seeded first and needed to defeat the second seed (Webster Groves) in the quarterfinals, the fourth seed (Parkway North) in the semifinals and the third seed (Affton) in the finals. The Colts were undefeated in the Suburban South Conference and finished the year with a 28-8-2 record.

CBC lost to Lindbergh in three games in the Class 4 championship. Lafayette was undefeated in league in winning the Suburban West Conference, while Vianney, De Smet Jesuit and SLUH shared the league crown in the Metro Catholic Conference.

It was an MICDS sweep as the Rams captured both the boys’ and girls’ titles.

The boys upset top-seeded CBC in winning the Missouri Scholastic Lacrosse Association Division I championship. They did so with drama as Will Cella scored in sudden death overtime for an 11-10 victory (CBC had defeated MICDS by the same score in the regular season). The championship was the fourth for the Rams, but their first since 2005. “This was a six-year effort for the seniors,” MICDS coach Andy Kay says. “Those guys were my first group of seventh graders when I came to St. Louis and it’s been amazing to see the evolution of the program in these six years.”

Marquette was the top seed in Division II and advanced to the championship game but lost a thriller to Lindbergh, 4-3.

The MICDS girls followed the championship of the boys the next day, with an 11-7 victory over rival John Burroughs. The Rams were led by senior Olivia Polk, who was named co-player of the year in the Metro League along with John Burroughs junior Barrett Carlson. Ursuline finished third in the state tournament. The Bears defeated Eureka 10-7 in the third place game.

[water polo]
Parkway West captured its third title in winning the Missouri Water Polo District Championship game at the Rec-Plex in St. Peters. The Longhorns defeated perennial powerhouse SLUH in an exciting championship game, 13-12. The Junior Bills were defending champions and have won 16 state crowns. Seniors Grant Keesling and Chandler Klemm scored four times each in the title game. They led the way during the season as Klemm finished with 131 goals while Keesling had 105.

Four area players were named Players of the Year in their respective conferences: Parkway South senior Trent Davis (Gateway South); De Smet Jesuit senior Zach Holtgrewe (Gateway West); Kirkwood senior Geoffery Berger (Gateway Central);and MICDS senior Tommy Stupp (Gateway North).

By Bill Hester