High school wrestling
Francis Howell senior wrestler Jack Flynn and his Viking teammates made sure they walked away from the Gateway Athletic Conference Tournament with plenty of hardware.
Flynn, whose older brother, Connor, also was a standout wrestler for Howell, won the 195-pound championship on Jan. 6 at Lindenwood University as he pinned Fort Zumwalt North’s Nate O’Neal in 1 minute, 40 seconds. Flynn stayed undefeated on the season and in the process helped the Vikings roll to the team championship.
Howell racked up a whopping 214 points to pull away from second-place Timberland [154 points] and third-place finisher Fort Zumwalt North .
The Vikings finished the meet with impressive title wins by Flynn, Nathan O’Donoghue at 220 pounds, and Ryan Skillington at 295.
“We definitely knew it wasn’t going to be easy, and our GAC [Gateway Athletic Conference] is pretty tough when it comes to wrestling, but we put the work in and have the talent,” Flynn said. “If we do what we should, we know that we should just come out on top in the end.”
Francis Howell coach Kevin Stroh felt his squad turned in a top-shelf effort against the conference’s top wrestlers.
“I was really proud of how our guys battled,” Stroh said. “It was special, any time you can come in and beat Howell Central, Holt, Zumwalt South and those guys, it makes it happy getting the bragging rights of St. Charles.”
Flynn won all three of his matches in the tournament, adding to his perfect 32-0 record.
Like his brother and father, Flynn is hoping to win a state title at Howell before he heads off to the University of Missouri next year. He was second to Staley’s Zach Elam at state last year.
“It won’t be easy but I know who my competition is going to be and that’s the way I like it,” Flynn said.
Sophomore Josh Kyle won an 18-9 decision over Timberland’s Andrew Pisciotta to claim the 120 championship.
Other top finishers in the meet included Holt’s Hayden Farrell at 106 pounds and Luke Hardy at 145 pounds. Howell Central crowned a champion in Kayden Hart in the 126-pound class.
Fort Zumwalt North grappler Cameron Pickering claimed first place at 182 pounds.
Timberland posted three top three finishes as Caleb Conedera won the 132 championship over Winfield’s Ben Provost and the Wolves grabbed second place in the 106- and 120-pounds divisions.
High school girls swimming
The 21st Fort Zumwalt North Invitational ended up being another successful showing for the Timberland girls swim team. The Wolves, with 447 points, captured the team championship on Jan. 6 for the third consecutive season.
Junior Bekah Lipski led the Wolves, winning the 500 free in 5 minutes, 32.36 seconds. Sophomore Hannah Kuhlmann teamed with seniors Mason Misener and Maddie Est to claim the 200 medley and 200 free relay races.
The meet also proved to be a strong outing for Fort Zumwalt West as the Jaguars took second with 382 points.
“I was very excited with our performance,” Fort Zumwalt West coach Sarah Martin said. “They [the girls] were phenomenal.”
Lexi Eckman came up big for the Jaguars in the 500 free with a third-place finish in 6 minutes, 13 seconds.
“Lexi Eckman has been unstoppable and dropping time left and right lately,” Martin said.
Zumwalt West also faired well in the 200 medley relay and 200 free relay. Skyler Boyle, Hannah Hilke, Charlotte Reichensperger and Emily Martin came in third behind Timberland and St. Dominic in the 200 free relay. The quartet turned in a time of 1:48.
In the 200 medley relay, Boyle, Hilke, Martin and Reichensperger swam a time of 2:03.50 to gain third place.
“Our individuals in our two relays really did an outstanding job,” Martin said.
It was a very productive day for Zumwalt West as virtually every swimmer improved on their event times.
“I think with the exception of maybe two individual events, everybody dropped time,” Martin said.
Autumn Looney and St. Dominic senior Sarah Nelson both won a pair of individual gold medals. Loony won the 50 and 100 freestyle. Nelson claimed the 200 medley and 100 butterfly races.
Joanna Dohrman of Francis Howell North won the 200 freestyle.
Fort Zumwalt North senior diver Dani Smith won the diving competition with 197.35 points.
In the team standings, Fort Zumwalt South [293 points], Holt [291 points], Fort Zumwalt East  and St. Dominic  rounded out the top six finishers in the meet.
High school girls basketball
The road to the Gateway Athletic Conference girls basketball championship appears to be pointing to Francis Howell Central these days.
Through almost the season’s first half, the Spartans have been loading up in the win column in an impressive fashion of late.
Rolling into mid-January, Howell Central was humming, thanks to a superb 10-2 start that allowed the Spartans to stay neck-and-neck with Troy Buchanan for the GAC South’s top spot.
Central started off the season well with a pair of wins in the Lutheran St. Charles tournament in early December. However, that was only a sample of what the team could do. The Spartans followed that performance with a four-game winning streak over the next three weeks.
The four-game winning streak included victories over Parkway South [46-40], Fort Zumwalt South [46-37], Francis Howell North [58-43] and North County Tech [61-22].
Yani Curry drives the offense for the Spartans. Curry, a 5-foot-9 guard, was averaging a team-leading 12 points a game, and three steals per game at presstime.
Hannah Currant, a 5-foot-11 forward, has been strong down in the paint. Currant is averaging almost 9 points a game and has been the club’s rebounding force, grabbing 6 boards a game.
Guard Lauren Ebert also is making her mark. Ebert is riddling defenses an average of 10 points, 4 steals and 2 assists per game. She also has been lighting it up from beyond the three-point line, knocking down over 30 percent of her shots from beyond the arc.