Recently, the OTHS Golden Girls and dance teams from Carriel and Fulton Junior High Schools competed at IDTA State competition.
According to Golden Girls Coach Lara Hollenkamp, while none of the teams placed in the top three, all of the teams had their best performances of the year. Carriel, Varsity Golden Girls and Fulton competed back-to-back of each other.
Pictured are the girls from the three dance teams in the warm-up area getting ready to compete. (Photo submitted by Lara Hollenkamp)
The O’Fallon boys swim team competed in Sectionals this past weekend hosted by Edwardsville High School. The Panthers finished second, tying the best finish an OTHS swim team has ever posted at Sectionals.
“The boys swam phenomenally. Every single one of them. Every time that the team posted today was a season best time, by a lot. The team arrived ready to compete and did not lose that intensity at all throughout the day,” Head Coach Kimberly Eddy said.
Senior Michael Meyer will be again advancing to the State Meet in the 100 backstroke. Michael swam under the state qualifying time and placed third at the Sectional meet, the highest individual finish for the Panthers of the day.
“I am very proud of Michael for what he has done this season. He leads by example and motivates his teammates. He works hard to push himself and it is wonderful to see that hard work pay off with a state berth,” Eddy said.
OTHS started the day off with a second place finish in the medley relay. The relay of Meyer, Jack Peterson, Ethan Stein and Jonathan Stein dropped 3.97 second from their seed time to out touch Alton High School for the silver medal.
“It was a very close and exciting race. Alton’s backstroker took the lead on the first leg and our boys fought back the remaining 150 yards. Jonathan (Stein) dove in the water in third place and split a 22 to overcome Alton and touch just .03 before them,” explained Eddy.
In the 200 IM, two Panther swimmer were able to medal. Jack Peterson placed 4th overall and Nick Oulvey placed 5th. The next medal for OTHS came in the 100 freestyle. Meyer finished 5th overall. Peterson made it back to the podium in the 500 freestyle. Peterson dropped 15 seconds off of his seed time and placed 6th overall in the event. The final individual medal for OTHS came in the 100 back. Meyer’s state berth swim earned him a third place medal.
The Panthers also found success in relays at the meet. They earned hardware in all three relay events. In the 200 freestyle relay, the Panthers finished 5th overall. The relay of Kevin Liu, Brady Gotter, Nick Oulvey and Ethan Stein put together four strong swims to place well.
Coach Eddy said, “The 200 freestyle relay team all swan season best splits. This relay changed members a lot this season until we finally found the right mix of swimmers. The team consisted of only one senior, so three of the swimmers will return for OTHS next year. It is great for the underclassmen to get the experience, but it is says a lot about those underclassmen when they compete at this level and go best times.”
In the final event of the day, OTHS finished second in their 400 freestyle relay that consisted of Ethan Stein, Jack Peterson, Jonathan Stein and Michael Meyer. The Panthers swan a time of 3:23.61 coming in just two seconds over the OTHS school record set last year.
“This relay blew any expectation I had of them out of the water. They dropped 10 seconds off of their seed time in this race. Ethan, Jack and Jonathan all split times I have never seen them post before. Mike anchored the relay and as usual had the fastest leg.This second place finish was a great attribute to the guys working together and pushing each other to be better,” said Eddy.
Next season, the Panthers will be led by Ethan Stein, Jack Peterson and Nick Oulvey, who Eddy thinks have already stepped into the leadership roles this season.
“The team this year relied on each other and all stepped up at different times throughout the year. Going into next season, there will be no lack of leadership on the team. The team will have high expectations for any new comers and I expect the boys will find them selves one of the top teams at the Sectional meet again,” said Eddy.
O’FALLON – The third time was the charm for the O’Fallon Panthers Girls Bowling team, as they made school history and won the IHSA State Bowling Tournament on Saturday at Cherry Bowl in Rockford.
Coming so close in the past two years makes it just that much sweeter that they would not only win this year, but also be the first team in OTHS history to win a state team championship.
Senior Lauren Tomaszewski averaged 212 over 12 rounds for the Lady Panthers. Her 683 and 670 on Saturday helped her to finish second overall in the tournament with 2,552 pins.
Juniors Mary Orf and Natalie Heltne also came in big, scoring 2,430 and 2,429 pins respectively. Senior Hayleigh Williams walked away from state scoring 2,398. Along with junior Grace Braswell, the team finished the tournament with 12,122 pins, only 98 more than the previous year’s champion, Machesney Park Harlem. The remaining teams in the top five consisted of Minooka, Joliet West, and Lockport.
“This was an amazing experience coaching these girls. I was so proud to be their coach and was so impressed with the hard work they put into this. The success they found in this will carry over into the success they will find in their lives, as long as they bring the same principles of hard work into everything they do,” said Head Coach Garrett Spencer. “Its a great day to be a Panther.”
The team celebrated the historic victory on Monday, starting with a ride around town on top of an O’Fallon Fire truck and escorted by the O’Fallon Police Department. From there, the team was honored at a reception at the Panther Dome.
“This weekend, history was made at O’Fallon Township High School. We have our first ever state championship team in our girls bowlers,” Superintendent Darcy Benway began the celebratory reception by saying.
Principal Rich Bickel said the team exemplified what the athletic program at OTHS is about.
“Three of the pillars of our athletic program at OTHS are ‘Lead Boldly’, ‘Compete Fiercely’, and ‘Love Strong’. Those principles are embodied by this squad. Talk about competing fiercely, that state tournament is set up to be grueling. It’s set up as a 12 round, over two day, endurance test of mental strength for these girls. One of the things that struck me was how fiercely they competed but did so with total class,” Principal Rich Bickel said.
“One of the things that gave me total chills was in the eleventh round of this twelve round bout was when they were neck and neck with the defending state champions, and then they dropped that hammer on that team!” Bickel continued.
The girls program first began at OTHS 23-years ago. At the start, Bickel served as the coach for what was a co-ed bowling team.
Athletic Director Todd Moeller said the Lady Panthers are a fantastic example for the whole community of how to deal with adversity.
“Last year the girls went to state. We had such high expectations and things just didn’t work out the way you planned. But you made a resolution in your minds and you came back and you did it! Let that lesson live in you for the rest of your lives. Failure doesn’t mean failure forever. It’s only failure for the moment. So great job for everyone here in O’Fallon serving as a model of what failure can mean for us,” Athletic Director Todd Moeller said to the team.
Moeller compared the team to Roger Banister, who is known for being the first man to run a four-minute mile.
“After he ran the four-minute mile, he broke the belief barrier for everyone behind him. That’s exactly what you’ve done at OTHS. Because now we’re going to have more [championships]. We’re going to have more in other sports because you have broken the belief barrier. It not only can happen here, it has happened here and I’m so proud of all of you,” Moeller said.
A banner will soon be designed and hung in the Panther Dome.
O’FALLON – The OTHS Girls Bowling team has won the first state championship in the school’s history and the public is invited to welcome them home and party with them to celebrate.
The team will climb aboard a fire truck at Fire House 4, located at Venita Drive near the O’Fallon Sports Park, at 2 p.m. on Monday, February 18. The truck will ride the team around town running from Venita to Porter to Obernueffeman, to West State, to Lincoln, to Third, to Smiley, and finally to OTHS.
Fans are asked to arrive by 1:45 p.m. to line up and cheer for them the team passes by.
From there, a reception will be held from 2:30 until 3 p.m. in the foyer of the Panther Dome. Fans and community members are invited to stop in and congratulate the Lady Panthers on their historic accomplishment.
“Let’s celebrate together as a community and congratulate the Lady Panthers!! Congrats to Coach Spencer and the Lady Panther Bowling team,” Athletic Director Todd Moeller said in an email announcing the event.
The O’Fallon boys swim team competed against Chatham Glenwood, Sacred Heart Griffin, and Springfield High School this past Saturday. The Panthers finished in third place, just 25 points out of second place.
“There was a very costly disqualification on one of our relays in the last event. That DQ cost us 22 points and would have put us in front of SHS (Springfield High). Every meet is a learning experience and a DQ is part of that experience. Other than the DQ, our team looked strong and ready to take on the post season,” Head Coach Kim Eddy said.
The Panthers came out fast early in the meet with a second place finish in the medley relay. The relay of Michael Meyer, Jack Peterson, Ethan Stein and Jonathan Stein has had a lot of success all season and Saturday was no exception.
In the 200 individual medley, OTHS scored big points when they had three swimmer place int eh top six. Nick Oulvey led this charge for the Panthers with a third place overall finish. Kevin Liu and Brady Gotter were the other two competitors coming in fifth and sixth respectively.
“Nick is a swimmer that has been a very key part of every line up for OTHS this year. He has dropped significant time in his events since last year and is now one of the top swimmers on the team,” said Eddy.
The Panthers found a high level of success in the 500 freestyle as well. Freshman Brady Gotter earned OTHS its only gold medal on the day in this event. Jonathan Stein touched the wall third.
Coach Eddy said, “Brady’s 500 was the swim of the day. He swam his own race and was able to come back on the leaders in the last 100 and take it in the last 50. Brady is not only talented but competitive. He won’t back down from a challenge.”
OTHS finished the day with another strong performance in the relays. The 400 freestyle relay of Meyer, E. Stein, J. Stein and Oulvey took second overall to add points to the final tally.
“The guys swam really well. Swimming off events is tough and they were still able to drop time.Heading into the Sectional meet next week, I think the guys are in a great place. I am expecting them to do well and see some great times posted up on that board,” Eddy commented.
The Panthers will travel to Edwardsville next week to compete in the Sectional meet and hopefully qualify swimmers for the state meet.
For the second year in a row, the OTHS Lady Panthers won sectionals and punched their ticket to the IHSA state tournament.
The girls shot 6,221 and won by an impressive 452 pins over runner-up Salem who shot 5,769. Joining them in Rockford, Illinois, will be third place BTHS East and fourth place Collinsville, who shot 5,710 and 5,603, respectively.
OTHS was led by junior Mary Orf who won the individual medal with a 1334, 85 pins better than teammate, runner-up senior Lauren Tomaszewski’s 1249 and 87 pins better than teammate third place junior Grace Braswell’s 1247.
BTHS East sophomore Caitlynn Radliff took home fourth place honors with a 1246. It was by all counts a very tight race at the top of the standings. Junior Natalie Heltne placed 14th but was only 24 pins from fourth place – there were 10 other bowlers in a narrow 24-pin span. Senior Hayleigh Williams round out the team with a 24th place finish with an 1169.
The 6,221 posted by the team was third highest in the state this past Saturday. They were bested by very strong teams from Harlem and Lockport, shooting 6320 and 6269, respectively. This scenario bodes well the hometown team to compete for the IHSA State title this weekend in Rockford, Illinois, at The Cherry Bowl.
This team will have a final chance to capture what no team has done for the OTHS Sports Program – win a team state championship. All eyes will be on this incredible group of girls that will most likely go down as the best girls bowling team in OTHS history. This weekend will be the last time they bowl as a team, let’s hope they can give the performance of a lifetime to win it all and go out on top.
O’FALLON – The O’Fallon Athletics Department honored its past athletes last Friday, recognizing the 2018-19 inductees into the O’Fallon Township High School Walk of Fame.
During the halftime of the boys varsity basketball game on Feb. 8, past student athletes from the cross country team, football, soccer, golf, wrestling and basketball teams were recognized.
• Cadian Lawrence, graduate of 2001, was inducted into the Walk of Fame by his achievements with both the OTHS cross country and soccer team.
Lawrence was an all state, 18th Regional champion, all conference individual champion in 2000 and all conference/ all area in 1999 for cross country.
For soccer, Lawrence took home an all- conference/ all- area/ all- sectional award her junior and senior years. In 2001, she was recognized as the OTHS Athlete of the Year.
After OTHS, Lawrence was a NCAA Division I student athlete at Campbell University and competed in the Atlantic Sun Track and Field Conference Championship in 2002 and also was a NCAA Women’s Soccer College Cup participant in 2004.
She led her team with four game winning goals her senior season and completed her career with 13 tallies and five assists.
• Daniel Moore, graduate of 2005, was recognized by his achievements on the OTHS football team.
Moore was a 1st team all conference, all- area and all- state champion and was an OTHS record holder for139 career solo tackles as a middle linebacker.
Moore graduated earning his bachelors and master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin. He was a starter as a defensive tackle for the number one ranked run defense in the Big 10.
• Josh Boemecke, graduate of 2007, was recognized as having 51 career goals and 24 assists during his soccer career at OTHS.
Boemecke also captained and led his senior year team to their first trip to the state finals in school history for the soccer program.
Boemecke played at St. Louis University his freshman year then played at San Jose State University. He was recognized as Newcomer of the year his sophomore year (2008) and Offensive MVP (2010) and received college soccer team of the week honors (2010).
• Jason Dowdy, graduate of 2000, was recognized for his achievements on the OTHS Wrestling Team.
Dowdy was recognized for 12x career tournament championship, 6x tournament championship, 4x conference champion, 4x sectional qualifier, state qualifier his senior year. He had an overall record of 135-27.
He was considered the Most Valuable Wrestler his junior and senior years and finished his career at OTHS as record holder for: Most takedowns in a season (176), most career takedowns (436), most tournament championships in a career (12), most tournament places in career (20), most wins in a season for a sophomore and junior, most team points in career (633).
• The 2006-2007 Panther Boys Basketball Team and its players were recognized Friday evening.
The Basketball team had a record of 28-8 and took runner up in the IHSA Class AA State Tournament, were IHSA Regional Champions, IHSA Sectional Champions, IHSA AA Super Sectional Champions.
They placed first in the Belleville East Conference Challenge, beat Edwardsville for the first time as a member of the SWC, won the Regional Championship but lost to Derrick Rose and Chicago Simeon, resulting in a second place finish in the state of Illinois.
The 2006-2007 team head coach was Rick Gibson and assistant coaches were Eric Meinkoth, Ryan Blaha, Brian Muniz and LP Wills.
Student athletes on the team included: Beau Benton, Keith Burton, Brock Conley, Brad Copelin, Terrance Gaddy, Malcolm Hudson, George Huff, Chris Hursey, Arsenio Johnson, Kenneth Leverette, Jon Levin, Mike Malat, Cameron Meyer, Wesley Philips and Jared Woolfolk.
Managers included: Kevin Bayus, Adam Hicks and Matt Lezon.
• The 1992-1993 Panther Boys Golf Team was recognized for their achievements on Friday.
The Golf team had a record of 20-0-1 and were Edwardsville Invitational Campions, Conference Champions, IHSA Sectional Champions – the first in school history – and 11th place in the IHSA State Tournament.
The head coach for the 1992-1993 team was Dan May and assistant coach was Jeff Yates.
Student athletes on the golf team included: A.J. Adams, Jason Akley, Brian Bent, Brian Conley, Jeff Johns, Andy Villegas, Rob Reidelberger and Todd Hancock.
All athletes were recognized during the Friday halftime ceremony and given plaques.
Post-season wrestling began this weekend at the IHSA 3A Regional tournament, and O’Fallon Township High School was well represented.
Ten Panther wrestlers took part in the event with six boys placing.
Alex Fulton placed first in the 145 bracket, while Damian Ross (170, Nathan Vasquez (182), and Terry Thompson (220) all placed second in their respective brackets. Ethan Tinarwo took third place in the 195 bracket, and Gabe Thomas was awarded fourth in the 126 bracket.
Alex, Ethan, Damian, Terry, and Nathan will advance to the Sectional tournament in Joliet next weekend.
Austin Kostedt, Wyatt Robinson, Abe Ford, and Isaiah Hill also took part in the tournament.
OTHS Varsity Cheer competed Saturday at IHSA State. Only the top 25 teams in the state competed. O’Fallon placed 17th in the state. Edwardsville placed 18th. They were the only local teams. All other teams were northern schools.
O’FALLON – The Panther Dome was packed with basketball fans this past weekend watching some of the best in high school hoops from around Illinois at the fifth annual Bank of O’Fallon Shootout.
The action began on Friday evening when Alton took on Springfield Southeast. Terrion Murdix led Springfield Southeast over the Redbirds, 64-58.
Game two featured the O’Fallon Panthers against the Belleville West Maroons.
The game was tight and competitive, but West led O’Fallon 35-28 at the half.
After three quarters Belleville West continued to lead O’Fallon 46-37. However, O’Fallon’s Drew Tebbe led all scorers with four 3-pointers at the end of the third.
The Panthers rallied back but ultimately fell short, losing 55-49 to Belleville West.
The final game on Friday evening featured the Collinsville Kahoks against Springfield Lanphier. Collinsville led the game, ultimately winning 76-59.
Saturday, February 2, featured a number of games basktetball fans were clamoring to see.
The first game featured CBC against Normal West. CBC took a small lead before heading into the second half and retained it through the third and fourth quarters. CBC defeated Normal West by a score of 61-50.
Game five of the Shootout was nicknamed the Battle of Scott-Troy Road, when the O’Fallon Panthers took on the Triad Knights. At the end of the first half, the Panthers led Triad 26-21.
The two teams were fairly evenly matched, but it was O’Fallon that pulled ahead when it counted, winning game five by a score of 37-35. Shaun Riley II was named the Northwestern Mutual MVP for the game.
“This win gives us some big momentum. We’re just looking forward to playoff time,” Riley told a student reporter for OTHSToday.com in a post-game interview.
Game six featured Whitney Young versus Iowa City West. Whitney Young came out to an early lead and led 24-17 at the half. By the end of the game, Iowa City West would put up some more points, but not enough to defeat Whitney Young. Whitney Young won 58-42.
The final game of the Shootout featured the Belleville West Maroons against Simeon. The game was extremely tight, with West only leading 26-25 at the half. The teams would go into overtime, tied at 45. Ultimately it was West who pulled off the 55-54 OT win.
O’FALLON – The fifth grade Junior Panthers are champions of the Okawville Hoopfest. The team finished the season with a 32-5 record.
Pictured from left, front row: Elle Camfield, Malia Frederking, Josie Christopher, Lyla Twenhafel. Back row: Coach TJ Posey, Jori Posey, Mia Lieberman, Hailie Tart, Addison Taake, Hanna Schmidt, Coach Dan Schmidt
What a day for the OTHS girls bowling program! The Lady Panthers traveled south and won the IHSA Columbia Regional in stellar fashion on Saturday Feb 2, 2019.
The girls were firing on all cylinders from the start and never looked back, defending their title from last year with a wire-to-wire win, and posted the second highest state-wide regionals series of 6321 (210 avg).
“The incredible team effort was evident with them bowling over 200 in 21 of their 30 games bowled,” exclaimed OTHS Girls Bowling Head Coach Garrett Spencer.
The two highest games of the day were bookend performances by our very own Lady Panthers. The first game 1142 was the tournament high game as well. During that game the scores were; lead-off Natalie Heltne (Jr) 191, Grace Braswell (Jr) 257, Hayleigh Williams (Sr) 211, Mary Orf (Jr) 269, and anchor/SFA recruit Lauren Tomaszewski (Sr) 214. The last game, game six, would be where the Lady Panthers finished strong and shut the door on the competition shooting a fantastic 1141. Each of the girls surpassing the 200-mark shooting; Natalie 225, Grace 233, Kayleigh 265, Mary 203 and Maddi Thornton (Sr) 215.
“As well as the team did there was one person who outshined them all, Grace Braswell having her best day bowling as a Lady Panther. She was the individual champion shooting an incredible 1404 (234 avg) and shot her first sanctioned 300!”, said Coach Spencer. Her 300 came in the second game of the tournament, every shot hitting the pocket flush and looking perfect.
“Even in the tenth frame when she needed three more strikes, Grace was calm, cool and collected delivering that final blow to the pins again hitting the pocket flush, a no doubter with ten in the pit,” Coach Spencer remarked. Returning off the approach after that last shot, her teammates, coaches, and opponents congratulated her. But it was her mom walking to the settee area to give her daughter a big hug that was the best of all.
Another Lady Panther having her best season ever is junior Mary Orf. She finished second in the individual running with an amazing 1367 (227.8 avg), just 37 pins behind Grace.
“Mary has been rock-solid for the Lady Panthers all season long with a 209 avg during conference matches. Her second-place finish was the fourth time this season, the team can always count on Mary to perform at her best,” Coach Spencer said.
Along with Mary is fellow teammate and junior Natalie Heltne who finished the day in ninth place shooting 1233 (205.5 avg).
“Natalie is definitely one of the best spare shooters in the state. Her 205 average on the day is even more impressive considering she didn’t get a turkey until the tenth frame of the last game – she didn’t miss a makeable spare all day,” Coach Spencer said.
Coach Spencer said, “The three seniors had some key games for the team. Lauren Tomaszewski (187.8 avg) had her high game of the day in game 1 with a 214 helping the team start the day off strong. She is also having her best year with a 212 avg in conference matches. Hayleigh (201 avg) saved her best for last shooting an amazing 265 in game 6. Maddi (186.5 avg) also saved her best for last with a 215 in game 6. The team is definitely peaking at the right time and I am really proud of the girls’ performance on Saturday. I am also very excited for Grace and looking forward to the next two weeks. If they can keep it rolling like today, they will punch their ticket to the IHSA Girls Bowling State Tournament for the eighth year in row (third year for the current team).”
OTHS Lady Panthers will be heading to IHSA Sectionals in Carterville IL (SI Bowl) on Saturday Feb 9th. The other three teams that qualified from Columbia Regional are BTHS East, BTHS West and Mascoutah shooting scores of 5986, 5866 and 5778, respectively. They will be joined by the top 4 teams from the Collinsville Regional; Collinsville (5596), Highland (5347), Edwardsville (4961) and Jerseyville (4907), and the Johnston City Regional; Salem (5696), Anna (5320), Harrisburg (5251) and Herrin (4923).
TROY – Four games equalled four wins for the Third Grade Junior Panthers this past weekend at Triad High School.
The boys displayed excellent teamwork and the energy was high as they won all four games.
During game one on Saturday, the boys took on the Roxana Shells. They showed off their skills, defeating Roxana 22-4.
Later in the day on Saturday, the Jr. Panthers squared up against the Troy Little Knights Gray. That matchup was a bit more even, but O’Fallon still prevailed 19-12.
The boys took to the hardwood Sunday morning for game three, where they played against Troy Little Knights White. They must have gotten some good rest the night before because the Jr. Panthers rolled up and down the court, winning 35-4.
Finally, the boys took on the Bethalto Jr Eagles at noon on Sunday. They came away with the win, sweeping the weekend, 27-7 against Bethalto.
Up next for the Third Grade Junior Panthers are games on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. at St Jacob Elementary School.
The Fifth Grade Junior Panthers – Navy basketball team recently took first place in two local tournaments.
The team became back-to-back champions of the Wesclin Hoops Tournament after winning the event held January 18-20 in Trenton, Illinois.
Later, the boys won the championship at the Winter Slam Tournament, held January 26-27 in St Louis, Missouri.
Pictured is the team celebrating their win at the Winter Slam Tournament. Front row, from left: Eli Whyte, Jase Foster, Carson Nix, Reagan Woomer. Back row, from left: Coach Kevin Smith, Sam McCollum, Ethan Kessler, Maddox Ritzel, Owen Stoffel, Luke Smith, Coach Patrick Stoffel.