Panthers celebrate Senior Night with 13-6 win over Villa Duchesne

O’FALLON – OTHS Girls Lacrosse finished out their regular season play on  Wednesday, May 8, with Senior Night festivities and a 13-6 win over Villa Duchesne.

OTHS will host an IHSA Sectional Quarterfinal Monday, May 20, at 5:30pm, at the O’Fallon Sports Park.  OTHS, who is the number one seed, will play Minooka High School, the number eight seed.  Then, at 7pm, Lockport Township, the number four seed, will play Belleville West High School, the number five seed. The winners of these games will play in the IHSA Sectional Semi-Finals on May 22 at Washington High School.

(Photos by Tim Grout)

VanAlstine named Memorial Foundation Scholar Athlete

Will VanAlstine of O’Fallon has been named a Memorial Foundation Scholar Athlete of the Month for April.

A senior at O’Fallon High School, Will VanAlstine has a 3.6 GPA and participates in cross country and track. A 2019 MVP in cross country, he is a four-time state qualifier in cross country as well as a member of the all-conference and all-Metro teams for four years.  VanAlstine is a member of the National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Spanish Club Officer and Athletic Leadership Council. He was a volunteer track coach for Holy Trinity Middle School.  He plans to attend Xavier University where he was offered a position on the Cross Country and Track teams and received an academic merit scholarship.

The scholar athlete program, sponsored by Memorial Foundation in cooperation with Memorial Rehab and Sports Medicine and BJC Medical Group Orthopedics and Sports Medicine recognizes senior scholar athletes from a high school in Memorial’s primary and selected secondary service area. The monthly award winners from September 2018 through April 2019 will be eligible for one of two $1,500 scholarships to be awarded in May 2019.

Panthers defeat Ladue Horton Watkins 10-9 in close battle

O’FALLON – The final Boys Varsity Lacrosse regular-season home game was held last Wednesday, May 8.

The team took on Ladue Horton Watkins and came away with a close win, 10-9.

Josh McIntyre led the scoring with five goals and Braden Gaab followed with three. David Tady and Beau Carney each added one.  

Braden Gaab won 72 percent of the faceoffs while Josh Bjornson led the defense with six ground ball pick-ups.  

Tommy Fulford held Ladue’s offense at bay and came on strong in the late quarters, saving 72 percent of the shots on-goal in the second half.  

The team had a solid season finishing 11-5 and locking in the #1 seed for the Missouri Scholastic Lacrosse Association (MSLA) 2019 Show Me Cup Tournament. As a result, the Panthers got a first-round bye and will play Kirkwood in Round 2 at home on Wednesday, May 15 at 6:30 p.m. on the OTHS Panther Stadium turf.   

 (Photos by Scott Gaab)

Panthers baseball racks up four wins

Vonner Panek started and threw five innings, allowing four runs on four hits, and
striking out five in a recent game against Granite City. (Submitted Photo)

O’FALLON – The OTHS baseball team had a very successful week adding four wins and improving their overall season record to 21-7.  

It was also another record breaking week for senior Josh Gibson, who set the single season stolen base record. The record had been held since 1987 by Steve Vollmer with 40 stolen bases. Gibson, who has also broken the career stolen base record and career varsity games played record, currently has 42 stolen bases for the season and leads the St. Louis area.

The Panthers started the week with a 4-0 victory over Granite City. Two freshman pitchers, Mike Larson and Corey Quintal, combined to throw the shutout. Larson started and threw five innings, allowing two hits, no runs and struck out three. Quintal entered in relief and threw two innings, allowing one hit, no runs and struck out two.  

Cody Bauer led the Panthers with two hits in three at bats and Wes Collins hit a home in the third inning, bring his total home runs to five on the season.

The team battled Waterloo on Tuesday and came out on top with a 7-6 win in extra innings. Gibson and Collins each collected multiple hits with Gibson going 3 for 5 with a home run, bringing his total home runs to five on the season. 

Kaden Joggerst started on the mound with Drew Tebbe and Logan Lowery in relief.  

OTHS was the visiting team at Blazier Wednesday night, after the game was moved from Granite City due to weather. The Panthers took an early lead with seven runs in the second inning to defeat Granite City with a final score of 8-4. Vonner Panek started and threw five innings, allowing four runs on four hits, and striking out five.

The team ended the week on Friday on the road with a 11-5 win at Freeburg. Down by four runs after the fourth inning, the Panthers took the lead with five runs in the top of the fifth. Luke Gasser started and threw six innings, allowing eight hits, five runs, striking out five and walking none. Quintal entered in relief in the seventh inning. The OTHS Panthers combined for a total of 14 hits, including multiple hits by Drew Tebbe, Tyler Stanton, TJ Morgan, and Logan Lowery.  

The Panthers end their regular season this week with two games against Edwardsville, Senior Night on Friday versus Breese Central, and final regular season game Saturday versus Triad.

Local basketball coach to be inducted into Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame

O’FALLON – Rich Stein, a former athlete of New Baden High School and a starting guard for McKendree College who reached the “Final Four” in the N.A.I.A. State Championship Play-Offs with Western Illinois University, Wheaton College, and Southern Illinois University, was inducted in the Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame on May 4 at Illinois State University. 

Rich spent 32 years as a teacher and coach at Pontiac Jr. High in Fairview Heights and one year at Belleville East High School.  Rich spent three of his four years in the Air Force serving as a player and coach for Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico and had the privilege of coaching and playing along side Dick Bouska, an “All American” who just returned from winning a gold medal in the World Olympics. 

“Most of my students went to Belleville East. One of the most memorable things was winning the ’73 – ’74 championship for the season,” Stein said. “I was really shocked about being nominated to be in the Hall of Fame. I was very honored to even be considered for such a thing.”

Rich was inducted into the McKendree College Hall of Fame in 1999.  He and his wife Carol live in O’Fallon and have four children – Karen, Keith, Ken and Kay.

Panthers down Lancers in double header

After dealing with several schedule changes and rain outs last week, the OTHS baseball team was able to get in a double header on Friday at Blazier field.  

The Panthers claimed two wins against conference opponent Belleville East.  

Logan Lowery #3 gets a good jump at third base ready to score with Wes Collins at bat (Submitted Photo)

Game one of the double header only lasted five innings with the Panthers taking a 11-1 victory over the Lancers. The offense got an early start with Logan Lowery leading off with a walk and Josh Gibson following up with triple, scoring Lowery. Gibson then scored on a ground ball by Kyle Becker.  

The Panthers tallied five more runs in the second inning with Lowery, Gibson and Wes Collins all driving in runs.  

Ben Koenig was strong on the mound throwing five innings, allowing one run on three hits and striking out six.

Ben Koenig #6 gets the win in 5 innings over Belleville East (Submitted Photo)

O’Fallon defeated East 4-3 in game two of the double header. East had the lead after the first inning, but the Panthers pulled ahead in the second on Drew Tebbe’s line drive single scoring two runs. TJ Morgan also scored in the inning on a passed ball after his walk and two stolen bases bringing the lead to 4-2.  

Luke Gasser started and threw four innings, allowing three runs on four hits and striking out 11. Logan Lowery entered in relief and threw three innings, allowing no hits, no runs and striking out seven. The two Panther pitchers combined for a total of 18 strike outs.

The O’Fallon Panthers improve their record to 17-7 on the season.

Boys Lacrosse captures win on Senior Night

The eight 2019 seniors and their parents celebrate Boy’s Lacrosse Senior Night. (Photo by Scott Gaab)

O’FALLON – Last Friday evening, the O’Fallon Boy’s Lacrosse program recognized and honored its eight 2019 graduating seniors and their parents in front of a home crowd before playing Parkway West. 

For the senior boys, it was a bitter sweet event; however, the future looks bright for these young men. Donovan Balisteri (#33) will be playing junior hockey for the Milwaukee Power,  Josh Bjornson (#11) will be attending Liberty University and majoring in Computer Systems, Nolan Bradley (#10) will be attending Penn State University and studying engineering, Evan Carney (#19) plans on joining the Air National Guard, Brooks Hackney (#21) will be attending Missouri State University,  Gabriel Picato (#12) will be attending college to study mechanical engineering, James Randolph (#25) will be attending Rockhurst University to study civil engineering, and Daniel Walker (#35) will be attending SEMO to study mechanical engineering.

Following the pre-game ceremony, the O’Fallon Varsity Boy’s Lacrosse team captured a win against Parkway West on this honorary night with a score of 12-4. Several Panthers scored to garner the win, but it was a total team effort that resulted in the final score. Josh McIntyre led the scoring with 5 goals, Braden Gaab scored 4 goals and had 2 assists, Nolan Bradley scored 1 goal with 3 assists, and both Evan Carney and Nick Johnson added to the score with a goal each. 

The defense had a strong performance keeping Parkway West off balance.  Goalie, Tommy Fulford, played tough with 7 saves and allowed only 4 goals. The Panthers close out the home-game schedule against Ladue this week.

O’Fallon Panther Junior commits to play for USPHL Florida Eels for the ’19-’20 season

(Submitted Photo)

O’FALLON – O’Fallon’s Grant Miner will soon be heading to Florida to play for the USPHL Florida Eels during their 2019-20 season. 

Miner has been playing hockey for the past nine years and has been a part of O’Fallon Panther Hockey since he was an eighth grader. 

Wearing number 48, Miner is a junior forward. From watching hockey on side lines at a Junior’s game when he was six, to getting on the ice and actually playing the sport, Miner is now living out his life long dream of pursuing hockey at a new level.  

“From watching the sport as a child and wanting to play it, to actually getting to play it, hockey has been a long dream of mine. The decision to play for the Florida Eels wasn’t too hard to make, since hockey has been my dream, since I was six. I am looking forward to meeting new people and having a different hockey experience, than playing at a high school level,” Miner said.

All his team members and coaches will miss him, but wish him luck during the next hockey season. 

OTHS boys track wins St. Clair County Championship

(Submitted Photo)

The OTHS boys track team are the St. Clair County Champions for the second year in a row.

The team won the event on Tuesday, April 23, beating out many of the area’s best athletes. 

Will VanAlstine, Chris Wichlac, Nick Novy, Alex Tillock won first place in the 4×800, while Rod Williams, Alex Tillock, Taylor Lehman, Ryan Somraty took first in the 4×400. 

Additionally, Dorian Brown won first in the 100m, Will VanAlstine in the 1600m, and Christian Wallace in the 400m.

The Panthers also had a number of second place finishes. Rod Williams brought home the silver in the long jump, Nick Farmer placed second in shot put and discus, and Brendan Krell won second in the 3200m.

(Submitted Photo)

Will Ray won third in the 3200m, while Dewan Brown, Tamarion Bivines, Taylor Lehman, Tevion Holmes placed third in the 4×200. 

“We had an exceptional day across the board. Many athletes and relays ran season best or personal best times. The top finishes are always nice, but every point is important. We have a young group that continues to improve. They are great kids to work with and it is a blast to watch them win something that is important to them. The distance group really showed up well today by winning the 4×800 and placing two in both the 1600 and 3200m runs. All in all it was a great day,” said Coach Joe Speaks.

OTHS names 2018-19 Scholar Athletes

O’FALLON – The OTHS Athletic Department is proud to announce its 2018-2019 Scholar Athletes. 

“As OTHS teachers and coaches, we are truly blessed to work with some of the very best and brightest young people, and we are always looking for ways to praise and acknowledge this very special list of student-athletes,” said Assistant Athletic Director Dave Gan. “We are extremely proud of the sacrifices our student-athletes make to their sport and in the classroom”

The following student-athletes have achieved a 3.50 cumulative GPA or higher.

Isabelle Akoro

Austin Ames

Olivia Anderson

Katarina Ausley

Mallory Bader

Emmayra Baez

Suzanne Baker

Hillery Balisteri

Alaina Balance

Haley Bartimus

Jordan Baskette

McKenna Bates

Cody Bauer

Samuel Becker

Amelia Bell

Brianna Berres

Makayla Best

Lucas Biehn

Abigail Blue

Andrew Boone

Nolan Bradley

Olivia Branz

Abby Braswell

Maisey Breedlove

Savanah Breithaupt

Ayanna Brown

Caden Brown

Dorian Brown

Miley Brunner

Alex Buchheit

Abbey Burkhalter

Jessica Camp

Alexander Carmichael

Beau Carney

Jamal Carter

Jacob Castillo

Chloe Cavazos

Trinity Choice

Anna Chor

Sidney Christopher

Kylie Clark

Grace Clinton

Harrison Clinton

Mia Colebrooke

Elizabeth Colson

Andrew Combs

Kayla Conklin

Megan Conner

Cortney Conners

Erin Connor

Sarah Cooley

Alyssa Corso

Leah Corso

Isaiah Craft

Noah Cutter

Kimberly Davenport

Shelby Davinroy

Lauren Dawson

Brandon Dawson

Joseph Deagan

Ryan Deagan

Alexis Denton

Kyle Dismukes

Kelsey Dismukes

Sarah Doyle

Jennai-Nicole Dugger

Grace Dumstorff

Kaleigh Dunahee

Ashlee Dunks

Rachael Dziaba

Nicholas Edwards

Laura Edwards

Kyla Ellis

Christopher Erickson

Hanna Ertel

Ashleigh Farmer

Valerie Finck

Tristen Fornes

Braden Gaab

Aidan Gass

Evan Gass

Abigail George

Amber Germuga

Hannah Gibson

Blaine Gittner

Sofia Gonzalez

Elyse Gordon

Kaylie Grout

Grant Gruenloh

Julia Gundlach

Cale Gundlach

Taylor Guy

Claire Hackney

Bridget Hagarty

Celena Haight

Brady Halloran

Travis Halverson

Quinn Harris

Nicholas Hartmann

Matthew Hartmann Rivera

Jacob Hayes

McKenna Heap

Savannah Hendrickson

Elizabeth Henken

Johnathan Hileman

Brendan Hill

Bridget Hill

Reagen Hoefle

Ethan Hoerner

Samantha Hogue

Cale Holan

Tanner Hollerich

Blake Holliday

Andrew Hong

Luke Hruby

Gavin Hughes

Alexa Huller

Abigail Hurst

Kaylee Jackson

Abigail Jackson

Vishal Jacob

Madeline James

Mackenzie James

Aaron Johnson

Emma Jordan

Hayleigh Juenger

Madison Jung

Morgan Jung

Klaire Keel

Aidan Keen

Calvin Keller

Noah Kellermann

James Kelly

Liam Kenney

Dylan Kirchoff

Jacob Knaust

Katelyn Knaust

Benjamin Koenig

Sophia Koesterer

Alexander Koesterer

Nathan Kolb

Jack Kollins

Ryan Komm

Alexa Kosmopolis

Austin Kostedt

Jan Kreft

Kennedy Kreidell

Ryan Krell

Brendan Krell

Danielle Landvogt

Michael Larson

Lauren Le Pere

Morgan LeeBurton

Conner Levin

Sarah Lewis

Connor Lindsey

Kevin Liu

John Lloyd

Sofia LoBue

Simoriah Longhorn

Logan Lowery

Madison Luechtefeld

Darwin Mah

Adler Maher

Riley Maher

Khang Mai

Isabella Malone

Lucas Mantay

Maximus Marrel

Brady Martinez

Amanda Matthews

Faith Mayfield

Benjamin McCoy

Zoey McDonald

Matthew McGee

Hailey McGinnis

Joshua McIntyre

Sophia McLeod

Briana McMinn

Samantha McNary

Joseph Medley

Hannah Meier

Michael Merrill

Ryan Merril

Makayla Mersinger

Michael Meyer

Kayla Miller

Emma Minton

Aubrey Mister

Brandon Monson

Stephen Monson

John Moore

Caroline Moxley

Alexandra Mueller

Paige Mueller

Peyton Mueller

Maicy Mueller

Megan Mueller 

Kalilah Muhammad

Tiffany Nguyen

Jessica Nguyen

Garrett Nichols

Josephine Nieroda

Madison Northrop

Nicholas Novy

Joseph Novy

Drake O’Leary

Olivia Ori

William Osuma

Sarah Owens

Vonner Panek

Nicholas Papachrisanthou

Marcus Parker

Gabrielle Parker

Milee Patel

Taylor Patterson

Taylor Peck

Jack Peterson

Gabriel Picato

Makenzie Pitts

Ashley Plaisted

Gabriella Poe

Christopher Porter

Evan Potter

Alexa Prouhet

Mark Joseph Prozinski

Corey Quintal

James Randolph

Riley Randolph

Noah Reed

Sophie Reilly

Sean Rhodehamel

Donald Richards

Brooke Riggan

Sara Rizzoli

Christopher Robinson

Chaya Ross

Garrett Roumpos

Jonathan Russo

Emma Ryan

Sophia Ryan

Sienna Salcido

Kaitlynn Schaefer

Donavon Schexnayder

Kelsie Schieppe

Kendall Schieppe

Peyton Schieppe

Ryan Schmidtke

Gabrielle Schram

Joshua Schulhofer

Logan Schweigert

Eric Shackelford

Raniyah Shannon

Kristina Sharpe

Luke Sheerin

Cameron Shelton

Kelly Short

Katherine Short

Kaylee Shull

Jackson Slaby

Claire Slone

Sarah Smith

Connor Sorgea

Natalie Spain

Hannah Spencer

Ethan Stein

Benjamin Stephenson

McKenna Stiles

Gabrielle Stone

Julia Streit

Curtis Stutsman

Samantha Suchanek

David Tady

Ava Taylor

Drew Tebbe

Madison Thornton

Alexander Tillock

Christopher Toennies

Katherine Toftemark

Aiden Toohey

Samantha Tooley

Mary Trelow

Mikaela Trujillo

Lairra Unverzagt

William Van Alstine

Hayden VanDeVoorde

Kaden Vollmer

Madison Vorce

Benjamin Wagener

Emerson Wallace

LiliAna Ward

Avery Ward

Michael Ward

Ally Ward

Ashton Wells

Lillian Wenkel

John Werner

Christopher Wichlac

Sophie Wichlac

Alexander Wilhelm

Kai Williams

Haydin Williams

Nylah Wise-Muhammad

Jennifer Zhao

Kirstin Zimmermann

Paige Zywickia

O’Fallon Panther senior to play for Milwaukee Power

By Kate Crutcher

O’FALLON – A member of the O’Fallon Hockey Panthers will be taking his talents to Milwaukee.

Senior forward, number 75, Donovan Balisteri has been tendered by the Milwaukee Power hockey organization. Balisteri will be hard to miss, standing at six feet seven inches tall with skates. Under the guidance of Coach Ernst, Balisteri will be able to develop his playing skills and be “all-in” when it comes time to getting on the ice. 

“Donovan is a raw, highly talented power forward with the ability to put the puck in the net. He has the ability to be a dominant force below the dots and bring a heavy and hard brand of hockey to our Power organization,” Coach Ernst said.

Baseball Panthers split week against tough opponents

Josh Gibson broke the all-time career varsity games played record in the 117 year history of O’Fallon Baseball on Saturday, April 20, by appearing in his 132nd and 133rd games.
(Submitted Photo)

O’FALLON – The OTHS Varsity baseball team split two series and ended the week with a current season record of 12-7.  

The Panthers started the week on Tuesday, April 16, with a 7-5 win at conference opponent Collinsville.  The game was tied at five with O’Fallon batting in the top of the sixth when TJ Morgan doubled and scored one run to take the lead.  Wes Collins tripled in the top of the seventh and scored on Kyle Becker’s sacrifice bunt.  Ben Koenig pitched four innings with Logan Lowery in relief.  Lowery pitched three scoreless innings, struck out four and allowed one hit.  

Unfortunately, the Panthers lost the lead late in a 3-2 defeat to Collinsville at home on Wednesday, April 17. Luke Gasser started and pitched a complete game, allowing three runs on five hits, striking out seven and no walks. The Panthers were held at two runs despite multiple hits, including doubles by Logan Lowery, Drew Tebbe, and Tyler Stanton. Cody Bauer led O’Fallon with two hits in four at bats.  

Vonner Panek entered in relief and threw four and a third innings, allowing two hits and no runs. (Submitted Photo)

On Saturday, April 20, the Panthers played a double header at Blazier Field against Quincy Notre Dame.  The games were the 132nd and 133rd varsity games played for Josh Gibson, who broke the all-time career varsity games played record in the 117 year history of O’Fallon Panther baseball.

The Panthers put up a strong fight in game one against Quincy Notre Dame.  Despite a seven run deficit in the third inning, O’Fallon came back, eventually falling 7-6 to Quincy ND.  The Panthers six runs included a home run by Wes Collins in the third and a home run by Josh Gibson in the fifth.  Wes Collins (4) and Josh Gibson (3) are currently two of the the area’s home run leaders.  Mike Larson started for O’Fallon and pitched two and two-thirds innings.  Vonner Panek entered in relief and threw four and a third innings, allowing two hits and no runs.  O’Fallon rallied back and defeated Quincy Notre Dame 10-0 in game two.  The Panthers tallied 11 hits, including multiple hits by Kyle Becker, Wes Collins and Drew Tebbe.  Tebbe went 3-for-3 at the plate to lead O’Fallon.  Kaden Joggerst started, allowing one hit, no runs, and striking out five over three and a third innings. 

OTHS Senior signs to go to Rockhurst University

Front row left to right: Pete Papachrisanthou (Niko’s dad), Niko Papachrisanthou, Sherry Papachrisanthou (Niko’s mom) Back row left to right: Asst. Coach Johnny Connors, Head Coach Erin Thoman, Asst. Coach Mimi Shelton, Asst. Coach Doug Mennerick (Submitted Photo)

By Kate Crutcher

O’Fallon – Following the school day on Wednesday, April 10th, Niko Papachrisanthou, met with teammates, coaches and his parents in front of the Panther Dome, to sign his dedication to attend Rockhurst University, in Kansas City, Missouri. Papachrisanthou has been playing varsity tennis for the past four years and is OTHS’s number 1 singles player. He has also attended state qualifiers three times. Though Niko played sports such as hockey in the past years, tennis was the only sport Niko asked his parents to play, according to his mother. 

“I actually enjoyed playing Wii tennis as a kid. I know it is sort of funny, but that is what really made me get started with the sport. After all the practices that I have with school, I usually practice at least 5 to 7 extra times, on my own, like when I am at home. My dad also played in high school, so he had his old rackets in the garage, so when I saw them, it also inspired me to start playing,” Papachrisanthou said. 

Tennis Coach, Erin Thoman, said, “We are so proud of Niko signing with Rockhurst. Niko has elevated his game through a tremendous amount of hard work and focus. Niko is our captain and is an awesome role model to our young team. Niko is a true scholar athlete. It has been a pleasure to coach Niko and watch him grow into the person and athlete he is today.”

O’Fallon Girls Lacrosse overwhelms Parkway West

The O’Fallon Girls Lacrosse defeated the visiting Parkway West Longhorns team by a final score of 11-5 in Thursday’s match. 

With the win, O’Fallon betters its record to 10-0 for the season. The Panthers will host Lafayette to play the Lancers in a match on Thursday, April 18.

The player of the game for Thursday’s match was Mikaela Trujillo with one goal on one shot, her 100 shooting percentage and for her indispensable work in the transition. 

Photos by Tim Grout