How can one describe 2017?
The short way would be to say that it was a well-rounded year with many different schools and teams finding success.
That included historic years in track, wrestling, soccer and baseball. New Haven and Crosspoint Christian School each earned multiple state championships.
Below is a rundown of some of the 2017 highlights.
Run to the Medals
Three area athletes combined for five state championships at the MSHSAA Class 4 state track meet in Jefferson City.
Union senior Deric Purnell won the 100- and 200-meter dash titles. He won the 100-meter dash title in 10.64 and the 200-meter dash in 21.82.
Purnell is attending the University of Central Missouri on a track scholarship.
Washington junior Mikayla Reed dominated the Class 4 girls distance races. She won the 3,200-meter run title during the meet’s opening day in 11:04.06. She captured the 1,600-meter run in 5:02.52 Saturday just before a lengthy break due to thunderstorms. After the delay, she came back to finish third in the 800-meter run. Reed also ran a leg in the school’s fifth-place 3,200-meter relay on the opening day.
Not to be outdone, Reed placed third in the Class 4 cross country championship in the fall. She has signed to run track and cross country for the University of Missouri.
Washington’s Adam Gauzy was the fastest 400-meter dash runner in Class 4. Gauzy, who also played baseball, won with a time of 49.18. A favorite for the 200-meter dash, Gauzy had to turn around quickly for that race after the delay forced organizers to speed up the meet and placed seventh. Gauzy is attending Wichita State University on a track scholarship.
Gauzy also may have provided the quote of the year.
“It’s pretty hard to describe,” Gauzy said about winning a state title. “I guess the best way to put it is that I’ve never been so close to either screaming, crying and puking all at the same time.”
It was a massive year for New Haven High School. The girls track team started the run by winning the Class 1 state title with 60 points. New Haven scored four state championships.
Junior Emma Engelbrecht won the triple jump at 35-11. Junior Lauren Gerlemann was the long jump winner at 16-10.5 while Engelbrecht was third.
Junior Kate Ruediger was the javelin state champion for the second year in a row, throwing a distance of 127-6. The 1,600-meter relay team of Ruediger, Mackenzie Bauer, Nichole Zeitzmann and Engelbrecht won in 4:12.63.
New Haven’s boys captured the Class 1 cross country state title during November, scoring 94 points to beat Hermitage by 10 points for the team title.
Joseph Rethemeyer was New Haven’s top runner, placing 10th.
New Haven’s girls finished second to West Platte. Emma McIntyre was the team’s lone individual medalist.
Crosspoint Christian School’s sports program stepped up again in 2017.
The boys basketball Cougars won their second Missouri Christian Schools Athletic Association Class 3A state title, beating Christian Fellowship.
Crosspoint’s boys soccer team followed that up, winning the MCSAA Division I championship, finishing an undefeated season with a 3-2 win over Heartland-Belton.
Crosspoint’s girls soccer team went 11-4 and finished second with a 1-0 loss to Christian Academy of Greater St. Louis.
The basketball Lady Cougars went 22-2, finishing third at the state tournament.
The school had three girls basketball players, the Young triplets (Haly, Hana and Hope), sign to play for Missouri Valley College in Marshall. The school also was included in Missourian All-Area voting for the first time.
Titles for 218
The Washington Post 218 Freshman Legion team carried on the program’s tradition by claiming its second state title in a row.
Post 218 defeated Festus in the winner-take-all game in Hannibal, 12-10 (eight innings), to claim the championship. Joe Kopmann’s team also won in 2016 and the program claimed the state crown in 2014 and 2012.
Overall, it was the 10th state championship for Post 218.
Washington won the Ninth District regular-season title, but placed second in the district tournament to Sullivan Post 18.
In the state tournament, Post 218 won a rematch of the 2016 state title game over Jackson, 7-6. Washington the beat Festus, 5-3 and went to the championship series with a 9-3 win over Ballwin.
Festus forced a second championship game, winning the first championship game, 10-4.
In the final contest, Brayden Mayer pitched three scoreless innings in relief to seal the win.
Washington scored twice in the top of the eighth to break the tie. Festus had led after one inning, 6-2, but Washington worked to come back with four runs in the top of the second. Festus went up again in the bottom of that inning and held a one-run lead until the top of the fifth.
Joe Hackmann was Washington’s hitting star, going 5-5 with two runs and three RBIs.
Levi Weber knocked out three hits, including a triple. Cody Linders had three hits, including a double.
Bryce Mayer had a pair of hits, including a double. Wil Heggemann tripled.
Post 218 made things tougher on itself with five errors and gave up 15 walks.
Herman Wins State Title
Taking the lead in the third period, St. Clair sophomore Ryan Herman became the school’s fourth MSHSAA wrestling state champion in February.
Hermann (39-2) won the Class 2 145-pound state title over Clinton’s Benny Ladd, 6-4, to lead the area charge in the state meet. Herman was the only area wrestler to claim a state title this season.
A total of 13 wrestlers from around the area earned medals at the state meet.
In postseason awards, St. Clair’s Herman and Coach Mel Hughes won The Missourian All-Area top awards. St. Clair won its first-ever district title (Class 2). Union was the Four Rivers Conference champion. Borgia had multiple state medalists for the first time in program history.
Washington High School, Soccer Power
Washington High School’s soccer teams made history twice during 2017.
Both the Washington girls and the Washington boys advanced to the Class 3 state tournaments.
The girls team of Adam Fischer set the pace, advanced to the Class 3 state tournament in the spring. Led by Mizzou recruit Cassidy Nurnberger, goalkeeper Katie Baer and a solid supporting cast, the Lady Jays defeated Union for the district title and then knocked off Glendale and Bolivar to reach the state tournament in Kansas City.
Adam Fischer’s team fell to Notre Dame de Sion, the defending state champion and then the top-ranked team in the USA Today National Poll, in the semifinals, 3-0. Washington tied Ft. Zumwalt South in the third-place game, 0-0, to end the season at 22-5-1.
Derek Schriewer’s boys team took it a step further. The Blue Jays won the district title by beating Pacific. In the sectional round, Washington got past Webster Groves and then shut out North County in the quarterfinals.
The Blue Jays won 4-3 in double overtime against Harrisonville in the semifinals. Jeremiah Collins scored with seven seconds left in regulation to tie it after the Blue Jays rallied from behind twice, including once by two goals. And, the Blue Jays played for over 80 minutes a man down.
In the state championship, Parkway Central edged the Blue Jays, 1-0.
Two area schools ended the season at the MSHSAA Championships in Cape Girardeau.
New Haven placed second in the Class 1 state tournament, losing to Northland Christian.
Hermann was third in the Class 2 state tournament, beating St. Michael the Archangel in the final match. Hermann also won the Four Rivers Conference championship.
Borgia ended its season one win short of making the state tournament with a loss in the Class 3 quarterfinals. Sullivan was knocked out in the Class 3 sectional round.
Borgia and Washington also won conference championships. Borgia tied for the Archdiocesan Athletic Association Large Division with St. Dominic. Washington won the Gateway Athletic Conference Central Division.
In some of the closest voting since The Missourian All-Area team started, New Haven’s Engelbrecht was named the player of the year by beating Hermann’s Tess Schannuth by five points. New Haven’s Jaime Hoener edged Hermann’s Linda Lampkin for coach of the year honors by three points.
Lampkin became the first area coach to reach the 900-win plateau as her team won the Lebanon Tournament.
Members of the All-Area first team were Engelbrecht, Washington’s Savannah Christian, New Haven’s Ruediger, Hermann’s Symantha Fredrick, Borgia’s Martha Glastetter, Pacific’s Grace Smiley, Hermann’s Schannuth, Borgia’s Abby Lynn, Washington’s Hannah Struckhoff and Borgia’s Paige Lynn.
Three area teams claimed softball district championships this season with Washington, Borgia and Sullivan moving forward in the state tournament.
While Washington’s run ended in the sectional round with a loss to eventual Class 4 state winner Marquette, Borgia and Sullivan advanced to the Class 3 quarterfinals before losing. Borgia, playing in the state tournament for the first time since 1980, fell to Cape Notre Dame after beating Festus. Sullivan edged Osage in the sectional before losing to eventual state champion Monett in the quarterfinals.
Sullivan swept The Missourian All-Area team major awards. Pitcher Addison Purvis received every first-place vote for player of the year. Sullivan’s Ashley Crump was picked the coach of the year.
First-team selections were Purvis, Borgia’s Lizzie Lynchard, St. James’ Mikaela Donnelly, Borgia’s Josie Lindemann, Union’s Lauren Boyd, Pacific’s Annie Mueller, St. Clair’s Mikayla Weirich, Washington’s Nichole Brinker, Sullivan’s Hanna Johanning, Pacific’s Lilly Prichard and Sullivan’s Hannah Cox.
New Haven Post 366’s Junior Legion team pulled off the miracle during the Ninth District Tournament.
Seeded eighth for the postseason event, New Haven opened the tournament with a 2-1 win over top-seeded St. Charles and then beat No. 5 Elsberry, 6-2.
In the winners’ bracket final, New Haven stunned two-time defending state champion Washington Post 218 at Borgia, 2-1.
In the championship series at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field, New Haven lost to Post 218 in the first game, 10-0, but bounced back to win 9-3 in the title contest.
Hansi Bloch’s team featured a cast of double-rostered players and players who didn’t make other teams, which made the story even more special. New Haven’s high school team hadn’t won a game in two seasons.
New Haven hosted the Zone 1 Tournament, but being involved in separate postseason tournaments finally caught up to the team. Hosting the Zone 1 Tournament, New Haven lost in eight innings to the Moberly-Kirksville Post 6 squad, 3-2. St. Charles Post 312 reversed the district result, winning 10-0 to eliminate New Haven.
Borgia’s boys and Washington’s, Sullivan’s and New Haven’s girls were district basketball champions.
All three were defeated in the sectional round. Parkway Central defeated Borgia at the Kirkwood sectional, 70-68.
The Lady Jays fell to eventual state champion Kirkwood in the Class 5 sectional, 65-51.
Parkway North knocked out the Sullivan girls, 66-45.
Scotland County edged New Haven in the Class 2 sectional, 37-35.
In The Missourian All-Area voting, Sullivan’s Dino McKinney was selected the boys basketball coach of the year. Borgia senior Alex Movila edged Sullivan’s Jared Woodcock for the player of the year award.
The All-Area first team consisted of Movila, Woodcock, Union’s Ethan Hughes, St. James’ Trey Marshall and Pacific’s Cameron VanLeer.
On the girls side, the All-Area coach of the year was Terry Wells of St. James. Devin Fuhring of St. James was the overwhelming coach of the year winner.
The All-Area first team consisted of Fuhring, Pacific’s Devon Fleming, Washington’s Reese Arnold, St. James’ Kenzie Guese and Washington’s Kyra Hardesty.
Business as Usual
Washington Post 218 rolled through the Ninth District Senior Legion once again this season.
Mike Gardner’s team (32-8) won the regular season title and the postseason tournament before falling in the Zone 1 Tournament to Jefferson City Post 5.
Washington’s accomplishments during the season included winning the title of the Washington Tournament. Post 218 beat Brown’s Baseball Academy of Rolla in the championship game.
Washington also had two tight games with New Haven Post 366. The first turned into a pitching duel between Washington’s Zach Finley and New Haven’s Matt Wade. Washington won the game, 2-0, but Wade threw a no-hitter in the game.
In the Ninth District Tournament, the same pitchers started, but didn’t figure in the decision. Washington won in the bottom of the 14th inning over Post 366. New Haven had taken a 3-0 lead in the top of the first.
Borgia football rolled to an undefeated record in the regular season, winning the Archdiocesan Athletic Association Large Division title. Head Coach Dale Gildehaus was the league’s coach of the year and also reached 250 career victories during the season.
Jacob Unnerstall and Matthew Sinnott were named the league’s offensive and defensive players of the year, respectively.
Owensville and St. James shared the Four Rivers Conference title. Their quarterbacks, Wyatt Ellis (Owensville) and Ryan Harlan (St. James) shared offensive player of the year honors. Pacific’s Matt Strong was the defensive player of the year and Greg Harlan of St. James was picked the coach of the year.
Borgia, St. James and Warrenton were top seeds for district tournaments. Borgia and Owensville were the last remaining area teams, both losing in the district championship contests.
In one of the biggest rules changes of the year, area baseball teams had to quickly adapt to the USA Baseball Pitch Smart rules.
The new rules, designed to decrease wear and tear on young arms, came in without any sort of grace period, and forced many schools and teams to make massive adjustments to how they approach games.
The rules limited pitchers to so many pitches per day (depending upon their grade for high school and playing level for Legion) and caused many teams to use players who normally wouldn’t pitch into mound roles.
Pitchers also had mandated rest days depending upon how many pitches had been thrown. This brought an adjustment in how teams set up game strategy.
For instance, Borgia used 10 different pitchers during the first week of the season alone.
At other times, pitchers had to come out of the game an out short of completing a game.
For deeper teams, the new rules were a small adjustment. For teams with smaller rosters and staffs, some games turned into adventures.
Effects were seen the most during compact tournaments, where teams played every day or multiple times per day.
The rules will stay in effect in 2018, but with one change. The pitch limit at the Senior Legion has been dropped to be in line with high school juniors and seniors.