High school girls’ soccer
It wasn’t quite a perfect finish in the Class 2 and 3 girls’ state soccer tournaments in Kansas City for the Duchesne Pioneers or the Fort Zumwalt South Bulldogs, but both teams came away from Swope Soccer Village with good vibes after the weekend of June 4.
Four-time defending champion Duchesne had their hopes for a school-record fifth consecutive state championship ended by eventual champion Cape Notre Dame in a 2-0 semifinals loss on May 31. The Pioneers did not pout, though. Duchesne bounced back and turned in a championship effort the next day, pulling off a 3-2 victory to claim third place in the tournament.
“It’s always nice to make it to the Final Four, and it’s a successful season if you made it there. From there anything can happen,” Duchesne coach Patrick Turner said. “That’s what we’ve learned the past five years now, and it was nice to get out of there with a win after losing in the semifinals.”
Junior Maria Wilder scored two goals and senior forward Natalie Schroeder scored her first career goal in her final game to lead the Pioneers to the third-place trophy.
After being 7-10 late in the season, the Pioneers finished the season winning seven of eight games to reach state for the fifth straight season.
In the Class 3 Tournament, Fort Zumwalt South’s girls made their first trip to the Final Four and the Bulldogs acquitted themselves fairly well thanks to a hard-earned third-place finish.
Fort Zumwalt South lost a heartbreaking semifinal match to Webster Groves in the semifinals on June 1, battling them to a 0-0 tie in regulation but losing 3-1 on penalty kicks.
The Bulldogs, who did not allow a regulation or overtime goal in either game, were equally stout in the third-place game a day later as they battled Washington to a 0-0 tie. Per state rules, both teams were awarded a third-place trophy due to state time limits on third-place games.
“I think in both games we were the better team [offensively] but we just couldn’t find the back of the net,” Fort Zumwalt South coach Jim Layne said. “We did a great job defensively and giving our team an opportunity to be successful.”
Fort Zumwalt South was led by senior forward Claudia King, senior center back Stacy Muehling, senior midfielder Madison Schmied and senior goalie Grace Gehner.
The bar has been raised by this group of Bulldogs. “This group was phenomenal,” Layne said. “They kind of came out of nowhere.”
High school baseball
All that stood between Fort Zumwalt West and a storybook ending to the 2017 baseball season was one out. One measly out.
The Jaguars, winners of six straight playoff games, were that close to claiming the school’s first state title, but Jefferson City scored a run with two outs in the seventh and added another with a walk-off hit batter, beating the Jaguars 2-1 for the Class 5 championship on June 3 at CarShield Field in O’Fallon, Missouri.
“Without a doubt, both battled, and both pitchers kept making pitches. Unfortunately we just came out on the wrong side of a great high school baseball game,” Fort Zumwalt West coach Eric Gough said. “What an experience being in that, and what a ride.”
Despite loading the bases in three different innings and coming up empty, the Jaguars still got ahead, thanks to Tyler Eckman’s two-out RBI-double. That would be the only run they could get against Jefferson City and their ace lefthander Jacob Weirich.
The Jaguars were unable to close the deal over the final six innings as Jeff City won its first title in 28 years. In the end, Fort Zumwalt West’s 24-15 record, plus the program’s first district title, sectional, quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, made the trip to the state tournament well-worth all of the hard work and struggle.
“It just shows that all the hard work and all the years of hard work that Coach Gough has put in,” junior third baseman Jake Verschoore said. “He’s building us toward more and more winning baseball. The teams are just getting better and better as we go.”
Gough said that the community and school support during the magical run to the title game was nothing short of amazing. “It’s been such a fun ride to see all the fan support from the alumni, the administrators, staff, the teachers and family and friends, and maybe most importantly, future Fort Zumwalt West baseball players,” Gough said.
As the game ended, the Jaguars coach shed a few tears, but not because of the loss. “I cried my butt off yesterday, not because we finished second in state, but because I’ll never get to coach these guys again,” Gough said. “Those seniors, I’ll never be able to coach again. I’m so proud of what they accomplished this year.”
Student and athlete community service
During the 2016-17 academic year, Francis Howell High activities, clubs and sports were actively involved in the community through outreach and charity fundraising efforts. Leadership development, community service and outreach are all vital components of the school’s activities and sports.
School programs took part in 51 projects over the course of the 2016-17 school year, benefiting 25 different charities. For the year, $40,034 was raised for charities and 6,949 hours of service were performed. Over the past two school years, the Howell Activities department has completed over 12,000 hours of community service and donated more than $65,000 to local charities.
“It’s great to see that the focus of our programs goes well beyond academics and the development of skills in our sports and activities,” Francis Howell Activities director Sean Erwin said. “The opportunities and experiences that our student-participants gain from being involved in our community and with various charities is very influential in helping them prepare for life after high school. I’m proud that our programs have been actively engaged in this work and have become passionate about helping others.”
Among the 35 programs that Howell students supported during the recent school year were: The BackStoppers, Friends of Kids with Cancer, KEEN, Lutheran Senior Services, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Oasis Food Pantry, Susan G. Komen Foundation, Siteman Cancer Center, Special Olympics, SPENSA, Toys for Tots, St. Charles County Sharing Meals and St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
“Community service is important because it not only allows us to give back to the community, but it also gives us a way to connect with everyone,” Howell girls’ swimmer Madison Nguyen said.
Girls’ soccer and softball player Megan Teersteeg also has been active in the Howell service programs and believes it is an essential part of a complete and positive student experience.
“Giving back allows us as students to get involved in the community and help amazing organizations and people in need. Every time our program does something outside our sport, all the students learn the benefits of giving back to the community,” Teersteeg said.
During the 2017-18 school year, Howell clubs, activities and sports programs will look to expand their community outreach, support and involvement.