Becoming a full member of the Archdiocesan Athletic Association, all of Borgia’s spring sports teams will have a chance to play for conference titles.
That includes the baseball Knights and soccer Lady Knights.
Borgia’s track team hosted the AAA varsity meet last spring and will host the event again.
Borgia has one returning state championship team. Dave Neier’s golf Knights won the Class 3 state title by one stroke last season. Neier has been busy with the boys basketball’s team run to the Class 4 state quarterfinals and only recently has been able to focus all attention on the golf program.
Dave Neier returns as the team’s head coach, but has been busy with the Borgia boys basketball team, which reached the Class 4 quarterfinals.
The Knights graduated three players, including their two all-state golfers Cameron Stahlman and Bryce Dolan.
Borgia returns two players who competed at the state meet last year.
Sophomore Clayton Voss finished 38th with a two-day state total of 160 while junior Alex Rennick shot 164 to place 56th.
Rennick has played extensively and carded a hole-in-one on a par four last summer.
Other veterans are Andrew McClure, Parker DuMontier, Andrew Timpe and Josh Kleekamp.
Neier said there are seniors who are out for the first time and the team has one freshman.
The Knights open the season with three meets this week. Borgia visits Lutheran st. Charles Tuesday before competing in a three-team meet with Washington and St. Clair Wednesday at Wolf Hollow Golf Club. That has a 3:30 p.m. start time.
Borgia plays Thursday at home against St. Dominic. The meet at Franklin County Country Club starts at 3:30 p.m.
Returning many players from last year’s 19-8 squad, Borgia baseball Head Coach Rob Struckhoff is positive about this season.
“We haven’t been able to see everything we need to, but I think everybody is in the same boat (no pun intended),” Struckhoff said. “Hopefully we’ll get outside later this week and get some decisions made.”
Struckhoff knows he’s going to need everyone after having been assigned to Class 5 District 4, also known as the “District of Death.”
MSHSAA split into five classes this year, bringing some different school groupings for the classes.
Borgia will host the district tournament with Pacific, Priory, St. Clair, Union and Westminster Christian coming to Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field this spring.
Borgia does have a number of players with big-game experience. Many played on the Washington Post 218 teams last summer. The Seniors and Freshmen won their respective state titles.
The Knights are looking to five returning seniors to lead the way this spring.
Tony Helfrich will be a leader both at pitcher and in the outfield.
“Tony is looking really strong in practice,” Struckhoff said. “He is in extraordinary shape, looking to have a great year on mound and in the outfield.”
Helfrich batted .283 last spring with two homers while going 5-2 with a 2.27 ERA on the hill.
Noah Borgerding returns after a .381 season last spring. He can play a number of positions, including catcher, first base and center field.
“Noah is working at multiple positions including catcher and center field,” Struckhoff said. “He is a great athlete.”
Senior Matt Jones, a Hannibal-LaGrange recruit, batted .368 with three homers last season. He also went 4-0 with a 0.75 ERA on the hill.
“Matt is our leader behind the plate,” Struckhoff said. “He will see more innings on the mound and will hit in the middle of the lineup with Noah and Tony.”
Senior Grant Eckelkamp returns to shortstop and the top spot in the order. He was a .324 with a .516 OPB last season.
“He is a smooth fielding shortstop and will bat from the leadoff spot again,” Struckhoff said.
Senior Jacob Haskins is expected to see time at third base and second base.
“We’re looking for a good year from him at the plate,” Struckhoff said.
Helfrich, Borgerding, Jones and Eckelkamp played last summer for the Post 218 Seniors. Borgerding, Jones and Eckelkamp were position starters while Helfrich was one of the top pitchers.
A number of others are pushing for playing time.
Senior Nick Jacquin is trying to lock down playing time at first base while senior Michael Kren is looking for a spot in the outfield.
Junior Justin Horace, who played for the Junior Legion state runner-up Daniel Boone team, is competing for a spot in the infield.
Junior Mitchell Hammack likely will be one of Borgia’s pitchers and also is competing for playing time in the infield.
Junior Todd Kleekamp is looking for an infield spot, probably in the middle infield.
Lefty Tyler Murray is expected to see action in relief on the mound.
A trio of sophomores who helped the Post 218 Freshman Legion team win the state title, are pushing for playing spots as well.
Spencer Juergens could help on the hill and at third base. Nathan Hillermann is an outfielder and pitcher. John Himmelberg also plays in the outfield and Struckhoff said he’s been hitting better.
The Knights open the season in the Four Rivers Classic next Monday and Tuesday.
The Knights host Owensville at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field and will play Tuesday at Montgomery County.
Grant Kang takes over the 11-7 soccer Lady Knights this season, replacing Jeff Hill. It’s Kang’s second stint as Borgia’s girls soccer head coach. He also is head coach of the boys soccer team.
Hill led the team for two seasons (2011-12) after replacing Kang.
Borgia returns three senior starts from last season, goalkeeper Emily Sisco, defender Addy Brinkmann and midfielder Jenna Hellebusch.
Sisco split time with Mackenzie Haddox last spring, posting a 3-2 record with a 1.20 GAA.
Brinkmann focused on the defensive side of the ball and will be a key defensive player this season.
Hellebusch, who has signed with Central Methodist University, is returning from a knee injury suffered at the end of the 2012 season. She netted six goals and one assist last year, including the lone goal in a win over Washington.
Borgia returns key underclassmen as well.
Junior Emily Grahl, one of the area’s fastest players, is expected to contribute up front after scoring 27 goals and seven assists in 2012.
Junior Janie Arand plays a key role in the central midfield. She netted seven goals and added seven assists last year.
Sophomore Molly Arand was Borgia’s top central defender last season and is expected to fill a key role on the defense again this year.
“We hope that three returning players will make important contributions,” Kang said. “The goal right now is to prepare to play each game with mental toughness, an organized defense, and a possession philosophy.”
Borgia opens the season at home next Tuesday against Union. Junior varsity action is slated to start at 5 p.m. That’s a rematch of last season’s district championship game, won by Union in overtime.
Borgia stays at home next Wednesday to host St. Clair and will play its first AAA Large Division game Thursday, March 21.
Borgia girls Head Coach Stacia Parsell hopes her team can compete for the AAA title this season. Borgia hosts the league meet Tuesday, April 30.
“The girls track and field team is looking forward to another successful season,” Parsell said. “We look forward to contending for a AAA conference title later in the season.”
Borgia will be showcasing its track multiple times this season. While the school will not be hosting the district meet for the first time in three seasons, it will be hosting meets for Washington High School.
In an act of neighborly cooperation, Borgia will host the Washington Pentathlon Saturday, March 30, and the Nix Relays Tuesday, April 16. Washington’s track is in need of repairs and those haven’t been made yet.
Parsell sees the 3,200-meter relay as being a strength for the team.
“Last year our success was in the 4x800 relay and early on this seems to be our strength,” Parsell said. “Juniors Ashton Deitrich, Emily Grahl, and Taylor Nadler will lead the way in this race.”
Another strong returner is senior Katie Lindemann in the throwing events.
“We have a lot of new young faces on the team,” Parsell said. “We are excited for the new season to begin next week in Pacific.”
Boys Head Coach Bill Stevison cited seniors Luke Schriewer (200-meter and 400-meter dash events) and Casey Kuchem (throwing events) are key returners.
“Otherwise, we’re young with two-thirds of our roster as underclassmen,” Stevison said.
Borgia opens at the Pacific Quad next Tuesday in Pacific. The meet starts at 4 p.m.
The team competes Thursday, March 21, at the Wright City Meet and Saturday, March 23, at the AAA Relays hosted by Lutheran St. Charles.
The first home meet will be Tuesday, March 26, with Union, St. Clair and New Haven coming to Borgia.
The third season of Borgia boys volleyball starts with the team coming off a 4-20 varsity and 7-9-1 JV season.
John Nieder’s team graduated most of its offense in Ryan Maune (Hannibal-LaGrange) and Alex Severino.
“We graduated our two best offensive players last year,” Nieder said. “Both these guys together compiled more than 70 percent of our offense. Two other standout players chose not to return this season.”
That leaves senior setter-hitter Alex Blechle and junior outside hitter Jimmy Pak as the top returning players.
Expected to step up are middle hitter Jacob Maune and outside hitter Korey Fumagalli.
“We’ve only had a couple weeks of practices under our belt but all four of these guys are really doing a nice job of filling the offensive and defensive void left from last season,” Nieder said.
A newcomer who has impressed is Po-Chun Huang, a foreign exchange student from the Republic of China (Taiwan). He’s expected to help with the setting duties.
The Knights open the season with a home match against DuBourg Tuesday starting at 5 p.m.