Chloe Davidson plays strong in post-season

Chloe Davidson

Chloe Davidson has been nothing less than outstanding coming down the stretch this golf season. 

The sophomore has been working on her golf game extremely hard lately and has only been playing golf for 18 months. Chloe was unsure about trying out for golf her freshmen year as she was new to the game and like many others found it challenging and nerve racking at the start. 

One of Chloe’s most recent accomplishments and highlights took place in the final round of the conference tournament played at Far Oaks where she fired a 77 to finish in second place for the day. Two days later at the Edwardsville Invitational Chloe shot 77 to finish in fourth place. 

In her first IHSA regional tournament just a week ago she shot a personal best 74 to claim medalist honors. Most recently on Monday, at the IHSA sectional hosted at the University of Illinois, Chloe fired a 79 to finish fourth among 112 golfers. This excellent accomplishment advances Chloe as an individual to the IHSA state tournament this weekend. 

“Chloe has developed into a great golfer and has tremendous power off of the tee. I am extremely happy for Chloe and her accomplishments as she has worked very hard for her results and accomplishments. Chloe is extremely coachable and I look forward to watching Chloe develop as a golfer and person in the seasons to come,” said Coach Chris Eddy.

Chloe says her favorite thing about golf is getting to play different courses and working to improve every day. Chloe enjoys the camaraderie and constant support from her teammates. Chloe’s favorite memories from this season are the inside jokes within the team, the out of town trips, and the time spent with the girls and coaching staff.

Panthers Volleyball team continues strong play heading to post-season

The Freshman Volleyball team won the Belleville West tourney on Saturday, October 6. At the conclusion of the tournament the team was 18-0, 36-1 in sets this season. The girls took on Alton in a matchup that went final after this edition went to press. The freshman team is coached by Natalie Ott.
(Submitted Photo)

The Lady Panthers Volleyball team has continued their dominant season coming off of their recent third place victory at the Metro East Classic.

The girls began last week’s play taking on rvial Edwardsville at OTHS on Tuesday, October 2.

Ultimately, the Tigers would prove to be too much for the Panthers, winning in two sets.

Senior Kenzee Simmers put up the most kills for OTHS with eight, followed by Katherine Toftemark’s six, and Lauren Le Pere with five. 

The girls continued their week travelling to Mascoutah to take on the Indains. The Panthers rolled over Mascoutah, winning 2-0.

Simmers and Le Pere led the team in kills with ten and seven respectively.

On Tuesday, October 9, the Lady Panthers defeated the Alton Redbirds 2-0 in Alton. Stat lines were unavailable at press time. 

With the win, the Lady Panthers sit at 22-5 for the season. 

This Thursday, October 11, the team will take on Columbia Independent at OTHS in their Senior Night game. 

BEST Committee receives update on school consolidation

Dave Hopkins

O’FALLON – The effort to commission a study to determine the viability of school district consolidation in O’Fallon and Shiloh is moving forward, but at a slower pace than hoped.

Dave Hopkins representing the O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce gave an update on the struggle to find a qualified group willing to take on studying the impact consolidating as many as four school districts on the area.

“We started this process a year ago. I really expected to have this study in my hands by this time, but we can’t do it ourselves and we need professional help,” said Hopkins.

According to Hopkins, the Chamber has received some interest from a group based at St. Louis University who would perform the study as part of a research project.

“They have four individuals in their group. One would focus on finances and facilities. The other on curriculum and student success. The third on personnel. And the fourth on collaborative activities,” he explained.

According to Hopkins, the cost will be approximately $20,000 to $25,000 and the time frame would be approximately six months. The city of O’Fallon has pledged $7,500 and the village of Shiloh has committed $5,000. Hopkins said his committee will be soliciting among chamber members to make up the difference.

“We couldn’t begin asking for funds without having an idea what it would cost. Now that we have that we can start our fundraising efforts,” he said.

Hopkins said he also has learned that a consultant who had previously turned the Chamber group down because he was already involved in a study is now available and possibly interested in O’Fallon. He said that gives the Chamber another option to consider.

Hopkins reported that two prior studies are available on the BEST website and that the two studies came to very different conclusions. He said the goal of the committee of 13 that has been created is to determine the validity of the idea of consolidation and if it is good for the area.

“The O’Fallon Shiloh Chamber of Commerce has begun a school consolidation study. Its not an effort because we’re not leading the charge for consolidation. What our mission is, is to uncover what the benefits and what the weaknesses are of consolidation. We need to find out what the facts are and then disseminate that to the public at large,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins said the Chamber has stepped in to lend an impartial voice to the discussion as it was perceived by the community that if the schools were to conduct a study they would be able to purchase the preferred outcome.

The group of 13 met for the first time nearly a year ago and began their work by contacting the Illinois State Board of Education for guidance. From there, the group reached out to each school board president and superintendents for individual interviews.

Hopkins said the committee contacted all of the consultants recommended by the Illinois State Board of Education and a few other recommendations from other educators in the area but received no responses.

“Its a very specialized effort. Illinois school finance is a very specialized area and there aren’t a whole lot of candidates who are able to do the study.”

Hopkins said the Chamber has asked consultants to look at the feasibility of five different options. The first is the combination of all four school districts, while the second is the combination of just the grade school districts. The third would combine the two O’Fallon grade schools, 90 and 104. The fourth option combines the two largest districts, 90 and 203. And the fifth option includes the three O’Fallon districts, 90, 104, and 203.

Hopkins said the Chamber committee plans to meet with the SLU representatives on Monday, October 15.

Hopkins said the researchers from SLU were impressed by the collaboration already taking place between the four O’Fallon-Shiloh school districts.

“When we first contacted the group, they heavily promoted collaboration amongst the four districts, not knowing about the BEST committee. Once they found out about BEST they were very impressed,” he said.

The BEST Committee is made up of school board members and administrators from Shiloh District 85, O’Fallon District 90, Central District 104, and OTHS District 203. Formed in 2006, the Building Educational Success Together (BEST) committee is designed to facilitate communication between District 203 and its partner school districts to promote educational success of the students in each district. Through the years the districts have worked together in a collaborative way to save money, such as through common contracts for food services and transportation.

On Wednesday, October 3, the BEST Committee held their annual retreat where all members of all four school boards were invited, with most attending. Hopkins gave his presentation as part of the overall agenda of the evening which included growth updates from representatives of the City of O’Fallon and Village of Shiloh, an update on the effort to hire a communications director to serve all hour school districts, and the creation of a Metro East Board Academy that would offer continuing education opportunities for school board members.

Lady Panthers finish an outstanding season

The team celebrates their third consecutive Regional Championship. (Submitted Photo)

One week after winning the regional, the Lady Panthers fell just short of their goal of a fourth consecutive trip to the state tournament.  

Behind Chloe Davidson’s 79 at the challenging University of Illinois Orange course in Champaign, the Lady Panthers finished fifth in the sectional, just three strokes from advancing.  Other top scores for O’Fallon were Sophie Koesterer with 88, Dylan Kirchoff with 89, and Elizabeth Henken with 92. Davidson, who finished fourth in the tournament, will be O’Fallon’s lone representative at this weekend’s state tournament at Hickory Point in Decatur.  

O’Fallon finishes an outstanding season with nine tournament wins and the Southwestern Conference championship. 

“This was an outstanding season and all the girls should hold their heads very high. With only one returner from last year’s top six, to win nine tournaments and have a great opportunity to qualify for state says a lot for the girls’ hard work and dedication. This group fought very hard the entire round at the sectional and the coaching staff could not be more proud of them,” said Coach Chris Eddy.

Last week, the Lady Panthers won their third consecutive regional championship in convincing fashion by beating their next closest competitor by 10 strokes. Leading O’Fallon and bettering the personal best she recorded earlier this year by three strokes was Chloe Davidson with 74.  

Other top ten finishers were Sophie Koesterer with 77 (3rd), Elizabeth Henken with 79 (4th), and Briana McMinn with 81 (7th). Koesterer and Henken also recorded personal bests. 

“It is great to see our depth continue to pay dividends for us coming down the stretch. To win the regional is always a great accomplishment and something the girls should always remember,” said Coach Eddy.

In a glimpse of things to come, the Lady Panther Blue and Gold junior varsity teams took first and second out of 12 teams representing nine schools in Thursday’s JV event held at Yorktown in Belleville. O’Fallon, paced by Christine Favela’s even par round of 54, placed eight individuals in the top 10.  Also medaling for O’Fallon were Maddie Vanderheyden with 58 (2nd), Bri Bierly with 61 (3rd), Grace Meade with 62 (4th), Sophia Toner with 66 (6th), Jaquelyn Whyte with 69 (8th), Haley Bartimus with 70 (9th), and Isabel Fowler with 71 (10th).

First National Bank of Waterloo hosts shred day, donates to food pantry

(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

The First National Bank of Waterloo branch located within Schnucks on Highway 50 hosted their fall shred day on Saturday. The community took full advantage of the service, shredding nearly 13,000 pounds of paper during the three hours the truck was on site. 

(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

Additionally, the bank collected food and cash donations that were presented to the O’Fallon Food Pantry on Tuesday.

First National Bank of Waterloo hosts two shred days per year. The first is typically in late April while the second is in October. There is no charge to bring items to the shred day.

Woman’s Club honors WW I Pvt. Alva Neely at flag ceremony

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon Woman’s Club partnered with members of Girl Scout Troops from Moye Elementary and Shiloh Schools to honor the life and service of Private Alva Neely at their monthly flag ceremony.

Originally from Cainsville, Missouri, near the Iowa border, Alva Neely came to the O’Fallon area to work at the Taylor mine. While working here he boarded with Mrs. Wilhite at Carbon, now present day western O’Fallon. He was drafted into service during World War I on September 23, 1917. After serving several months of training at Camp Taylor, he embarked for overseas duty. He was killed in action in France in October 1918. He was 24 years old.

Following the reading of Neely’s biography by Emily Scott, Kat Rubish sang the National Anthem. Girl Scout Troops with members present included Troops 164, 360, 367, 641, 742, and 1123. The Girl Scouts were coordinated by Katrina Bergman. 

The next flag ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. on Saturday, November 3, in Downtown O’Fallon.

Maher and Ashkar named 2018 Homecoming Queen and King

During the 2018 Homecoming Dance Saturday evening, Riley Maher and Mohammed Ashkar were named the Homecoming Queen and King.

Riley is the daughter of Jeff and Kelly Maher. In school, Riley player for the Girls Varsity Lacrosse Team, is the NHS Vice President, and is a member of the National Spanish Honor Society. Outside of school, Riley is a St. Nicholas Youth Group Leader, a Children’s Hospital Teen Life Council, and coaches a Youth Lacrosse team. Riley’s favorite memory so far was the 2018 minus 36 Boys vs Girls lacrosse game because the community donated over $6,000 to St. Louis Children’s Hospital for cancer research in her name. 

Mohammed is the son of Maha and Waleed Ashkar. He is the Vice President of the Senior Class on Student Council and of Key Club. He also participates in FOR Club, Culture Mix Club, Chemistry Club, Spanish Club, National Honor Society, and Spanish Honor Society. Outside of school, he volunteers for St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and is a member of the St. Clair County Teen Court. His advice for OTHS students is to stay strong because what doesn’t challenge you won’t change you.

(O’Fallon Weekly Photos by Nick Miller)

 

Abby Braswell adds leadership, stability to team

Abby Braswell

According to Head Volleyball Coach Melissa Massey, its no understatement to call senior Abby Braswell the rock of the team.

“Abby is pretty much our steady player every single game, involved in every single play as our only setter. Being a senior she takes on a leadership role and has done a bang up, consistent job for us all year. We look to her all the time to pick us up,” Massey said.

Braswell, who last weekend was awarded All Tournament Honors at the Metro East Classic, has set herself apart from the rest of her team through her attitude and constant drive.

“What sets Abby apart from a lot of volleyball players I’ve seen is that she is always in a good mood, even in practice, picking her teammates up. She knows that when she’s passed out on the floor, the others feed off of that and not in a good way. So not only does she carry a big load being our only setter, she also has to emotionally be on her game all of the time because the girls are feeding off of her,” Massey explained.

During the Metro East Classic, the competition got very difficult for the Panthers, who had to play top flight schools such as Gibault Catholic, Cor Jesu Academy, and Ursuline Academy. Massey said Braswell kept her cool and kept the team focused.

“Despite the day being long, Abby is such a level headed tone on our team and its just so refreshing to see and have on our side. Today was so draining. She was physically drained because she is involved in every single play and if another player is struggling, its her job to chase a ball down. No one else is doing that. So not only does she have to stay physically in the game, but also emotionally. Abby does a really good job carrying that load,” Massey said. 

Braswell, who has played volleyball her whole time at OTHS and joined the Varsity team in her sophomore year, really has blossomed into the leader.

“She’s been with me three years. Her biggest thing has been leadership, becoming a mature athlete and understanding how to deal with pressure. She takes a lot of pressure playing for a school like O’Fallon and getting into these matches. We do not have an easy schedule. I feel like she has risen to the occasion and can handle high pressure situations.”

Massey said Braswell not only is doing well on the volleyball floor, but also in the classroom.

“She’s committed. She’s committed not only on the volleyball floor but in the classroom. She’s got really great grades. I’ve seen a big level of maturity in her not just as an athlete but as a person too.”

Braswell is still trying to decide where to go after OTHS.

“Abby is still trying to narrow it down. Missouri Baptist has made an offer and so has Cumberland University in Tennessee. I actually get coaches reaching out to me daily and she’s just trying to figure out what she wants to do. Does she want to stay local or go away? She’s definitely going to pursue volleyball in college,” Massey said.

Wherever she goes, Massey said they will be picking up a fantastic teammate.

“The rest of the team just loves Abby. She’s one of those kids that is really likable. She is friends with everyone on the team. She is very respectful and is very coachable. She listens to everything we say to her and tries to fix what we say to fix. It’s just so refreshing to have a player that is so instrumental to your team and have them stay so humble and honestly understand her role on the floor and be a good teammate. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Lady Panthers Three-Peat as Southwestern Conference Champions

By Nick Miller

Three days after finishing fourth in the 17 team Pekin Invitational, on Tuesday the Lady Panthers took full advantage of a change in determining the Southwestern Conference golf championship by coming back from a one shot deficit to win the conference championship by a whopping 27 strokes over second place Edwardsville. 

With the conference championship now being determined by the aggregate score of two separate tournaments, the Lady Panthers were led by medalist Brianna McMinn who followed up the school record 67 she shot at Belk Park with a 73at Far Oaks. McMinn’s two round total of 140 easily outdistanced her nearest competitor by 18 strokes. Dylan Kirchoff and Kelly Short finished tied for 6th with a two round score of 173 while Chloe Davidson, aided by a personal best round of 77, finished 8th with a score of 174. 

“The girls played fantastic, to shoot a team score of 319 at Far Oaks is outstanding. It was great to have five very solid rounds on a challenging golf course. Winning three consecutive conference championships is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the girls in the program,” Coach Chris Eddy said.

In Pekin, the Lady Panthers were led by McMinn whose 82 was good enough to tie for fourth. Rounding out the scoring for O’Fallon was Chloe Davidson with 90 and Kelly Short, Elizabeth Henken, and Sophie Koesterer all with 93. 

Coach Eddy said, “Lick Creek is always a challenging golf course with great competition that we will see at the sectional. Our girls learned and improved through this round, and this team is looking forward to finishing strong as the season winds down.”

Hot off their triumph Tuesday, the Lady Panthers blew through the field at Thursday’s Edwardsville Invitational by shooting a score of 305, one stroke off the school record. McMinn once again led the charge by shooting an even par 71 at Oak Brook to earn medalist honors. O’Fallon had three other top 10 finishers with Chloe Davidson placing fourth by matching her personal best with another 77, Sophie Koesterer placing fifth with a personal best 78, and Kelly Short placing seventh with a personal best 79. This was their eighth tournament win of the season. 

Coach Eddy said, “It is great to see a complete team effort today. We have been working on several things this season with the girls and they are starting to get more comfortable with their swing and the game plan for each course. I could not be happier with the momentum and the progress of these girls heading into the post season.”

Post season competition begins next week as the Lady Panthers travel to Arlington Greens in Granite City for regional competition.

Lebanon Woman’s Club holds 2018-19 inaugural meeting

(Submitted Photo)

Meeting Thursday evening at the Foundry Cafe, the Lebanon Woman’s Club kicked off its 2018-19 season. Members discussed the club budget, scholarships, upcoming events such as Witches Night Out, and a variety of other topics. The next meeting will be held on October 25 at the Foundry at 7 p.m. for those interested in learning more about the group.

Marching Panthers named Grand Champions at Bands of America Tennessee Regionals

By Nick Miller

The O’Fallon Marching Panthers took home big wins at the 2018 Bands of America Tennessee Regionals, and were ultimately named Grand Champions.

The O’Fallon Marching Panthers won First Place Class AAAA, with Caption Awards Music, Visual, and GE. After moving onto the Finals, they won captions for Music and GE and tied for Visual with Franklin High School.

The city greeted the returning Marching Panthers on Sunday afternoon at the Smiley campus. For photos from that event, please visit our gallery at www.OFallonWeekly.com.

Their next competition is on Saturday October 20 at Illinois State University. They are also hosting a spaghetti dinner fundraiser on Saturday October 13.

Lady Panthers take third in Metro East Classic

By Nick Miller

The OTHS Panthers Volleyball team faced tough competition at the Metro East Classic tournament September 28-29 and managed to walk away with a solid third place victory, losing only to Cor Jesu Academy on Saturday.

On Friday, the team took on and defeated Gibault Catholic and Breese Central in two sets.

Then on Saturday, following their loss to Cor Jesu, the girls would step up and defeat Ursuline Academy and Incarnate Word Academy in three sets to claim the third place prize. 

Coach Melissa Massey said there were some aspects of the team’s game that weren’t firing correctly but she’s looking forward to post-season play.

“I feel like we struggled a little bit today. Our passing game was not on and our receive game was off. So despite some of those issues, to pull out third place in a big tournament like the Metro East Classic, its a pretty big deal. We came off an emotional week this week too. We played Collinsville which is a conference game and won. Then on Wednesday we went over to St. Louis to play Oakville and it was a tremendous match,” Massey said.  

“I saw things from our kids that made me so excited for post season to see how deep they could go. And even in this tournament there were so many high pressure moments where we were in deep that they pulled it out. 

Not only high school kids, but high school girls, they can be tough to keep emotionally stable,” Massey continued.

The team played Edwardsville High School in a conference matchup on Tuesday, October 2, after this issue went to print. Following that game, the Lady Panthers travel to Mascoutah to play the Indians at 6:15 p.m. on Thursday, October 4. 

OTHS celebrates 2018 Homecoming this week

By Nick Miller

O’FALLON – Students, faculty, and alumni will celebrate Homecoming this week at O’Fallon Township High School.

The fun began on Monday at the Homecoming Bash, which included the Panther Olympics. 

From there, the annual Homecoming Parade will take place on Wednesday, October 3. The route has been changed this year to remove State Street. The parade will start at 5:45 p.m. and will move north on Smiley from OTHS to 2nd Street, where it will turn west down 2nd to Lincoln. Once at Lincoln, the parade will turn south down Lincoln and then east onto 3rd Street, where it will return to Smiley and back to OTHS.

The Pep Rally will occur on Friday at 11:30 a.m. in the Panther Dome. Then that night the football team takes on Alton at 7 p.m.

Finally, Homecoming Week will conclude with the Homecoming Dance at the Panther Dome Saturday evening.

The O’Fallon Weekly will be taking photos and posting galleries all week at www.OFallonWeekly.com.

POW/MIA Council recognizes thousands still missing

By Nick Miller

The Scott POW/MIA Council held its 27th annual recognition ceremony Saturday morning, honoring those that had been captured during service or are still missing.

According to Geof Bambic of the POW/MIA Council, 82,232 Americans are still listed as Missing in Action as of September 14, 2018. Bambec went on to thank the assembled veterans, including some POW’s and the families of POW’s that were present.

“You sirs are true examples for our armed forces. Every American ones their freedom to all of you, and for that we would like to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” Bambic said to the small assembled group of former prisoners of war.

Illinois Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti served as the guest speaker and began by saying what an honor it was for to be present at the event. 

“On behalf of Governor Bruce Rauner and myself, we made it a priority to be here today for this ceremony,” Sanguinetti said. “From the shores of Normandy, to the jungles of Vietnam. From the mountains of Korea to the Persian Gulf, tens of thousands of American soldiers have experienced capture or disappearance. Tremendous efforts have been made, dedicated to finding our lost brothers and sisters. Over decades there have been successes, but I think this morning we recognize that this fight, is not even close to being over,” 

Sanguinetti said that while its important to remember and focus on returning all 82,232 missing Americans, she wanted to highlight another number. 

“Here is another number I want you all to remember. Four thousand, one hundred and seventy seven. This is the number of Illinoisians that remain unaccounted for since World War II. Behind each of these figures are countless stories of stories left patiently waiting for the return of their loved ones,” Sanguinetti said.

Bambec explained how the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) works to locate and identify remains so missing soldiers can be confirmed as found and returned home. 

Sanguinetti said DNA testing has assisted greatly in identifying the remains of those who had been previously lost. Bambec echoed that statement, revealing how many formerly missing soldiers had been found since last year’s ceremony.

“Since last year’s ceremony, the DPAA has discovered, identified, and returned 181 of America’s finest,” Bambec said. “Of those identified, 138 were from World War II, 25 were from the Korean War, and eight were from the Vietnam War,” Bambec said.

Sanguinetti said that her family’s history reminds her constantly why it is important to fight for freedom and remember and honor those who have fallen or been lost doing so on your behalf.

“This all makes me reflect and think about my family. As a Latina, my family is comprised of immigrants and refugees. My mother was a refugee from Fidel Castro’s Cuba. My mother never failed to tell me each and every day how much freedom means. She told me how Fidel Castro was very charming and at the beginning he came on the island and said ‘You can trust me and give me your ability to defend yourselves’ and they did that. But then next came liberties and properties, because freedom isn’t free,” said Sanguinetti.

The O’Fallon Township High School Junior Air Force ROTC posted the colors and performed the POW/MIA table ceremony, where a table for one is set with many symbolic items.

A 21-gun salute was conducted by the Polish American War Veterans based out of Caseyville, Illinois.

The annual event was hosted and held at VFW Post #805. Following the ceremony, attendees were invited to stay for a complementary barbecue lunch.

The Lady Panthers continue success as they gear up for the Conference Tournament and the Post Season

By Nick Miller

The Lady Panthers defeated Edwardsville and Alton on Tuesday, September 18, in a match at Oakbrook golf course in Edwardsville. 

The Lady Panthers shot a team score of 151, Edwardsville 161, and Alton 191. The Lady Panthers saw great play from several girls and were led by Briana McMinn with a score of 36, Sophie Koesterer 38, Elizabeth Henken, 38, and Chloe Davidson 39. 

“I was happy to see us get several good scores during this match. Our depth has proved to be very helpful for us this season, but I would like to see our girls get more consistent.” Said Coach Eddy.

The Lady Panthers finished fourth of 17 schools at the Pekin Dragon Invitational at Lick Creek golf course. This tournament featured the top five teams the Lady Panthers will see in the sectional and Lick Creek is a very challenging golf course. 

The Lady Panthers were led by Briana McMinn who shot 82 and tied for fourth individually, Chloe Davidson 90, Kelly Short 93, Elizabeth Henken 93, and Sophie Koesterer 93 also counted for the Lady Panthers. 

The Lady Panthers finished behind tournament champion Sacred Heart Griffin, as well as Normal U-High, and Normal Community. 

“We had several girls who played 15-16 holes very well, but we still need to improve on our course management and limit some of the big numbers on holes. I feel the girls are excited and ready for the final stretch of the season. Our girls have worked hard all season and have continued to improve and they know they can compete with the best teams around” said Coach Eddy. 

The Lady Panthers will play in the conference tournament on Tuesday, September 25, at Far Oaks and the Edwardsville Invitational on Thursday, September 27, to help gear up for the IHSA post season the following week.