Fifth grade Jr. Panthers take Kim Jackson Memorial Tournament championship

Top row, from left: Coach T.J. Posey, Addison Taake, Jori Posey, Mia Lieberman, Hanna Schmidt, Coach Dan Schmidt. Bottom Row: Elle Camfield, Lyla Twenhafel, Josie Christopher, Malia Frederking, Hailie Tart (Submitted Photo)

The 5th grade Jr Panthers are back-to-back champions of the Kim Jackson Memorial Tournament, held January 5-6 in Effingham, Illinois.

The team is also the 2018 Highland League Champions.

Third grade Jr Panthers take sixth in tourney

(Submitted Photo)

The 3rd Grade O’Fallon Jr. Panthers had an awesome weekend, traveling to Effingham to take part in the 2019 Kim Jackson Memorial Tournament.

On Saturday, during game one, the boys took on the Effingham Lightning. They went down to the last second left on the clock with a tied score of 20-20, when Logan Chalmers was fouled on the floor and given a free throw. Chalmers scored what would be the game winning free throw, giving the Panthers their first win, 21-20.

During game two against Morton Heat, the boys were tied 9-9 at the end of the first half of the game. Unfortunately, even with some tough defense, they lost 27-13 at the end of the game.

In game three against the Newton Eagles, the Panthers produced another exciting game, with an almost identical scenario as the first game. The score was 20-19, with one second left on the clock, and Foster Niemeyer was fouled during his shot and given two free throws. He sunk both baskets and won the game 21-20.

Based on their record in the first three games, they earned one final game on Sunday at 3 p.m. for the second place championship against Metamora Redbirds. The Redbirds won 22-11, putting Panthers in sixth place overall against 12 teams in their age group.

The 3rd grade O’Fallon Jr. Panthers send a sincere shout out of Congratulations to the 3rd grade O’Fallon Flight for winning first place in this tournament. The team would also like to congratulate the 5th grade Boys Jr Panthers Navy and 5th grade Girls Jr. Panthers for their first place wins as well.

Third grade O’Fallon Flight wins Effingham area tournament

Front row: Maddox Blaha, Talon Koster, Jake Taddei, Logan Leuchtefeld, and Bentley Miller
Back Row: Tate VandeLinde, Paxton Meadows, Braden Obszanski, Andrew Workman, and Trey Hrasky
Coaches: Travis Koster, Rick Gibson, Ryan Blaha
(Submitted Photo)

O’Fallon Flight 3rd grade is now 20-0 on the season after winning the Kim Jackson Memorial tournament in Effingham, Illinois. Flight bested MetroEast Ball Hoggs, Olney, and Metamora Redbirds in Saturday pool play with all three wins by double digit points. 

Entering bracket play on Sunday, the boys beat a talented St. Joe’s Royals to advance to the championship game against Nashville. Flight came to Effingham with the intention of staying unbeaten, and they did just that by finishing off Nashville by a score of 32-12. Flight 3rd grade is back in action again in 2 weeks at the Reebok Series in Saint Louis.

Carriel Dance Team qualifies for state

(Submitted Photo)

Congratulations to the Carriel Junior High Dance Team on qualifying for state with a perfect score on their jazz routine. The team, coached by eighth grade teacher Danielle Schnable, will head to Springfield on February 9 for the Illinois Drill Team Association state finals at the Bank of Springfield Center.

“I am so incredibly proud of this group of young women! Their hard-work, dedication, and passion for dance have paid off and we are ready for IDTA State 2019,” said Coach Schnable.

The OTHS Golden Girls, coached by Lara Hollenkamp, also earned state qualifying bids at the recent competition held at Edwardsville High School. The Varsity Golden Girls qualified in jazz and lyrical, and the JV Golden Girls qualified in lyrical. 

Panthers swimmers improving as season hits midpoint

The O’Fallon boys swimming team competed in the Champaign Centennial Charger Invitational the past Saturday and finished eighth out of 15 teams.

“Seven of the boys were able to score points in their individual events. That is the highest number of scorers for OTHS at an invitational this year. The team is starting to be comfortable in their roles and challenge the competition with more confidence,” Coach Kimberly Eddy said.

In the 200 Individual Medley, OTHS had two athletes score points, Jack Peterson and Brady Gotter. These swims brought in ten points for the Panthers.

In the 50 freestyle OTHS was able to score 18 points with standout performances from seniors Michael Meyer and Jonathan Stein. Stein also finished in the top ten in the 100 freestyle.

“Jonathan has evolved over his high school career to become a sprint freestyler. He has found his niche on the team and is making a big impact in the line up. He is a swimmer to keep your eye on in the second half of this season,” said Eddy.

The Panthers top scores of the day came in the 100 backstroke. Meyer finished 2nd place overall continuing his trek to another state appearance. Nick Oulvey joined Meyer in scoring points for the Panthers to add 21 to the team score.

The 200 freestyle relay finished with a top time for the season. Oulvey, Gotter, Stephen Monson and Ethan Stein put together a strong performance. The four boys dropped nearly a second off of the previous top time and set a new standard for OTHS in the event.

“I am proud of the boys and the way they swam at the Charger Invitational. The boys are not backing down from the competition and not swimming scared. They are improving on their times and having to reset goals for the season because of early success. The veteran swimmers on the team are doing an amazing job teaching the underclassmen what it is like competing at this level. I only expect to see more improvement in the team’s future,” said Eddy.

Coming up the Panthers have a triangular meet with Edwardsville and Chatham Glenwood Thursday, January 10. Last year at the sectional meet, Chatham, Edwardsville and O’Fallon were the top three finishing teams respectively. Eddy said this meet should be a good indicator of where OTHS stands at the midway point in the season.

Will VanAlstine signs to run for Xavier

VanAlstine surrounded by family and OTHS coaches.
(Submitted Photo)

Senior OTHS cross-country runner Will VanAlstine recently signed a letter of intent from  Xavier University, located in Cincinnati, to run cross country and track. 

VanAlstine said he was looking forward to running at his college home.

“I chose Xavier because of their strong academic and athletic programs. I look forward to being a Musketeer,” VanAlstine said.

OTHS honors student athletes

OTHS honoring All-State athletes and teams for their outstanding athletic accomplishments, as well as the two athletes named Athlete of the Year for 2017-18, in between the Boys and Girls Basketball games on Friday, January 4.  

All State Athletes for the 2018 calendar year honored were:

Winter 2017- 2018

• Jack Bond – Wrestling

• Lauren Tomaszewski – Bowling

• Jalen Hodge – Basketball

Spring 2018

• Hayden Juenger – Baseball

• Quinn Lowery – Baseball

• Nate Martin – Baseball

• Sam Stutsman – Girls Soccer

• Bryce Backhus – Boys Volleyball

• Connor Sheehan – Boys Volleyball 

• Dominic Macaluso – Boys Tennis

All State Teams honored for the 2018 calendar year were:

• Winter 2017-18 Boys Bowling

• Winter 2017-18 Girls Bowling

• Winter 2017-2018 Golden Girls 

• Spring 2018  Boys Lacrosse 

• Fall 2018 Boys Cross Country

The 2017-18 Athletes of the Year honored were Hayden Juenger for his achievements in baseball and bowling and Alyssa McMinn for her spectacular accomplishments in girls golf. 

Among his numerous achievements, Juenger was the 2018 Baseball MVP and named the MVP of the All-State All-Star baseball Game, as well as being named to the 1st team all-conference in bowling. 

McMinn, who holds the lowest tournament average, the lowest match average and lowest single round score in OTHS history, finished in fourth place at the IHSA state tournament earning her all-state honors by the IHSA. She was also named the Metro East Golf Coaches Association Player of the Year.

Panthers down Tigers in close matchup

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon Panthers played hard and narrowly defeated their conference rival, the Edwardsville Tigers, 42-40 on Friday, January 4.

Edwardsville led the Panthers by one at the close of the first quarter, but O’Fallon would flip the script and lead 18-17 at the half.

Following halftime, the teams were evenly matched, both scoring 11 points each in the third quarter. However, O’Fallon would manage to score one more point over the Tigers in the fourth, giving them the narrow two-point victory.

Senior Kyle Dismukes led the Panthers with 11 points, while Amarey Wills was close behind scoring ten points. Drew Tebbe led the team with three-pointers with two.

OTHS Football Head Coach, Joggerst, resigns from position

Brandon Joggerst

O’FALLON – Football Head Coach Brandon Joggerst has resigned from his position effective with the 2019-20 school year. 

In a letter submitted to Principal Rich Bickel and Athletic Director Todd Moeller, Joggerst thanked the school for the privilege of coaching the team for the past twelve years.

“I have had the pleasure of personally interacting with thousands of players during the past twenty four years as both a head and as an assistant coach. OTHS has great student-athletes who work extremely hard both on the field and in the classroom. Our football program has had over 100 players attend college and play at 60 different universities during the last twelve years as their high school coach,” Joggerst wrote.

During his time as coach, OTHS won three conference championships and participated in seven state playoffs.

In his resignation letter, Joggerst had positive words for OTHS and his time coaching.

“I want to thank all of my assistants who have spent countless hours providing unwavering support for our football program. OTHS is truly a special place and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to guide our student-athletes as their football coach. I want to thank all of the stakeholders for their continued support during the past twelve years,” Joggerst wrote.

Since taking the reigns of the team in 2008 from Moeller, Joggerst would take the team to a 86-50 record. This past fall the Panthers struggled and went 1-8 for the season.

Boys bowling team proves to be a force to be reckoned with

The O’Fallon Township High School Boys Bowling Team has had an exciting and grueling past couple of weeks, proving they are a force to be reckoned with. They have pride in their team and their school and it shows on the lanes.

This past Saturday, December 29, 2018, they hosted the 2019 Panther Team Challenge at St. Clair Bowl. They have been hosting the tournament for over ten years.  

This year 40 high school boys bowling teams from all over the state competed for first-place in the last bowing tournament of 2018. Usually high school bowling bowls on what is called a ‘house shot’, a typical shot shared by most bowling alleys. But this tournament was played on a ‘sport shot’ which is much more challenging for the bowlers. Sport shots are typically seen at the collegiate and PBA levels of bowling. 

Some local teams that bowled in the tournament consisted of Collinsville, Mascoutah, Columbia, Belleville East, Belleville West, Freeburg, Althoff, Triad, Cahokia, and Lebanon. But some northern Illinois teams, some driving more than five hours, also vied for the title: Harlem, Hononegah, Rockford Christian, and Rockford Boylan.  

O’Fallon entered three teams in the challenge. Team O’Fallon Gold consisted of Donny Richards, Ryan Komm, Josh Herran, Aiden Toohey and Kameron Rachell.  Team O’Fallon Blue consisted of Caleb Horton, Larry Carter, Jonathan Brewer, Kolson Mendelson and Jordan Peacock. Team O’Fallon White consisted of Aidan Keen, Jacob Horton, Ethan Hoerner, Benjamin Hall, Nolan Hall and Michael Cottom.

The day started with three full games from each of the teams. Notable individual scores for O’Fallon were Ryan Komm with a 256, Kameron Rachell with a 241 and Donny Richards with a 216. After the first three games O’Fallon Gold was in fifth place, O’Fallon Blue in eighth place and O’Fallon White in 37th. 

The next part of the challenge consisted of four blocks of Baker games. In a Baker bowling game each individual bowler bowls two frames of one game. The teams bowled four games within each block. A running total of pins from the individual scores and baker games seeded the teams for the finals. The field was cut to the top eight teams. O’Fallon Gold was in fourth place in the cut. O’Fallon Blue finished the challenge in a respectable 12th place and O’Fallon White ended in 33rd. 

Coach Mike Imes was impressed how the players were able to adjust with the lane conditions. The oil on the lanes would break down and was an entirely different shot than the beginning of the tournament. 

At this point in the tournament, the remaining teams bowled in a bracket format. Each team bowled two baker games against their opponent, total pins determining the winner. Winning team only advanced. In the first tier of the bracket O’Fallon Gold bowled against Mascoutah beating them by 51 pins in the two baker games. Moving up in the bracket they played Harlem next, besting them by only five pins. Now advancing to the final tier of the bracket they bowled Columbia winning by 30 pins. 

This is the first time the O’Fallon Boys have won the Panther Challenge.  

At the end of the day coach Mike Imes stated “When you face two of the top teams in the state, Harlem and Hononegah, and win it makes you feel good heading into the last week of your conference matches then into Regionals.” 

Captain Donny Richards said “It was great to win our own tournament my senior year. We bowled as a team. We helped each other and made adjustments as the lanes broke down. I’m proud to be part of such a great team.”

Earlier last week on Christmas Day the O’Fallon boys drove up to Rockford to spend Christmas night as a team in order to bowl in the Boylan Invitational at Park Lanes on December 26. 

This tournament had a similar format that consisted of three individual games from the 5-man teams and then the rest of the games were baker format. The O’Fallon boys’ varsity team consisted of Donny Richards, Ryan Komm, Jordan Peacock, Josh Herran, Kameron Rachell, and Aiden Toohey. After the three individual games O’Fallon was in fourth place. 

Notable high school for O’Fallon were Justin Peacock with a 232 and 216, Kameron Rachell with a 228, Aiden Toohey with a 227, Josh Herran with a 214, Donny Richards with a 210 and Ryan Komm with a 205.  

After the 3 individual games and 21 baker games the field was cut to the top 5 teams. O’Fallon was in fifth place going into the final step-ladder finals. In the step-ladder format the winning team only advances to play the next team above them in the ladder. O’Fallon faced Collinsville first beating them by an impressive 83 pins. Next, they faced Rockford Auburn. The boys but up a strong fight but fell short by 6 pins. 

The Panthers finished fourth overall in the tournament. Harlem finished first in the tournament. O’Fallon entered a second team as well but despite their best effort they did not make it into the finals.

In Conference play O’Fallon is undefeated with a record of 8-0 to date. They bowl two more conference matches to end the regular season. Monday January 7th, they have a home match at St. Clair Bowl against Alton. Then on Wednesday January 9th they have an away match at Camelot Bowl against Collinsville. At the end of next week on Saturday January 12th is Regionals at West Park Bowl in Columbia. Please come out and support your O’Fallon High School Boys Bowling team!

OTHS Girls/Boys bowling win Inaugural Hi-Top Challenge

The boys and girls bowling teams celebrate their victories at the Highland Hi-Top Challenge. (Submitted Photo)

The OTHS Girls and Boys bowlers traveled to nearby Highland, Illinois, for the inaugural Hi-Top Challenge on Sat, December 22. 

After grinding out 14 Baker games in the morning session, nine in the afternoon along with six more in match play, the OTHS bowlers won the combined team score by 336 pins over second place BTHS East. Other teams from Southern Illinois included third place Collinsville, fourth place Columbia, fifth place Salem, sixth place Mascoutah, Highland in seventh, and Waterloo taking eighth. 

Collinsville Coach and tournament director Sean Hay said, “It seemed like both the boys and girls teams enjoyed the all-Baker format and had fun on the challenging house pattern at Hi-Top. Congrats to O’Fallon for winning the girls and the overall championship. Hopefully everyone will come back next year!” 

Baker format is where five bowlers each bowl two of the ten frames for a combined team score.

The standings after the morning session had the Lady Panthers in first in the Girls Division with 2790 pins (199 avg) followed by Columbia (2706), Collinsville (2694), BTHS East (2673), Salem (2612), Highland (2448), Mascoutah (2418) and Waterloo (2260). 

“The girls bowled well as a team and were able to make adjustments all day to keep the ball in play. When the scoring pace dropped the Panthers were still able to post big games,” OTHS Girls Head Coach Gary Spencer said.

The Panther boys were a close second with 3017 pins (215 avg) in the Boys Division, only 21 pins behind Columbia followed by Mascoutah (2928), BTHS East (2864), Salem (2779), Collinsville (2777), Highland (2664) and Waterloo (2515).

“I am very proud of their performance today, the team did well – I even had to bring up two JV bowlers due to the family holiday plans,” OTHS Boys Head Coach Mike Imes said.

After the last pin fell, it was the Lady Panthers’ 5926 that was 460 pins better than Collinsville who bested BTHS East Lancers by a single pin. 

The boys ended up with 6107, 60 pins behind BTHS East who claimed the first place trophy.  

On a special note, the OTHS bowling program would like to thank Ray Voss, Hi-Top Proprietor, for his support of youth bowling in the southern Illinois area. He has provided a great environment for the youth bowlers in our area including hosting this tournament.

OTHS to honor All-State athletes at ceremony January 4

OTHS will be honoring All-State athletes and teams for their outstanding athletic accomplishments, as well as the two athletes named Athlete of the Year for 2017-18, at the Boys and Girls Basketball game on Friday, January 4, immediately following the Varsity Girls game and prior to the Varsity Boys game.  

All State Athletes for the 2018 calendar year to be honored are:

Winter 2017- 2018

• Jack Bond – Wrestling

• Lauren Tomaszewski – Bowling

• Jalen Hodge – Basketball

Spring 2018

• Hayden Juenger – Baseball

• Quinn Lowery – Baseball

• Nate Martin – Baseball

• Sam Stutsman – Girls Soccer

• Bryce Backhus – Boys Volleyball

• Connor Sheehan – Boys Volleyball

• Dominic Macaluso – Boys Tennis

All State Team Recognition for the 2018 calendar year to be honored are:

• Winter 2017-18 Boys Bowling

• Winter 2017-18 Girls Bowling

• Winter 2017-2018 Golden Girls 

• Spring 2018  Boys Lacrosse 

• Fall 2018 Boys Cross Country

The 2017-18 Athletes of the Year to be honored are Hayden Juenger for his achievements in baseball and bowling and Alyssa McMinn for her spectacular accomplishments in girls golf.

O’Fallon Flight third grade champions of MetroEast Classic tourney

Pictured from left, front row: coach Travis Koster, Jake Taddei, Logan Leuchtefeld, Bentley Miller, Talon Koster, Maddox Blaha, Trey Hrasky.
Back row: coach Rick Gibson, Tate VandeLinde, Paxton Meadows, Braden Obszanski, and Andrew Workman, Coach Ryan Blaha (Submitted Photo)

O’Fallon Flight third grade was named the champions of the MetroEast Classic tournament in Collinsville hosted by the Junior Kahoks. 

Third grade bested Ball Hogg’s (20-0), Junior Kahoks (42-7), and Team Mascoutah (29-4). Third grade beat Big Time from Jacksonville, Illinois, and is now 11-0 on the season. 

This weekend, the boys are taking their talents across the river to take on teams in the Christmas Classic Reebok Series basketball tournament at Whitfield high school. 

The boys are hoping to build on their wins from this season while facing different and new competition. 

Jr. Panthers host team’s fourth annual tourney

By Nicole Steen

The Third Grade Junior Panthers hosted the 4th annual Jr. Panthers Tournament at Carriel Jr. High tournament this past weekend at Carriel Middle School.

The team’s winning streak was cooled by the Heat in game one, where the Junior Panthers fell 12-4.

The team played hard in the second half of game two against the Jordan Bobcats, scoring 11 of their 15 points. However, it wasn’t quite enough, as the Junior Panthers would fall short, 26-15.

The boys would rally back though in game three against the Collinsville Kahoks, winning 18-15. Game three determined if they would continue in the tournament, and since they won, they got a second game.

The Junior Panthers were given an opportunity to take on the Jordan Bobcats again in a rematch Sunday afternoon. While they did better, O’Fallon fell 19-15.

The Jordan Bobcats from Centralia ultimately won the Junior Panthers Tournament.

The team’s next tournment will be held on January 5 and 6 in Effingham.

Lady Panthers rack up the wins prior to winter break

Senior Izzy Akoro rises above a pack of Collinsville defenders in the Lady Panthers’ Thursday, December 6, 57-49 away victory. (Photo by Claudia McNary)

The OTHS Girls Basketball team continued to roll through their season this week, taking on multiple opponents.

On Monday, December 17, the girls downed the Belleville West Maroons 39-19 at the Panther Dome. This comes on the heels of their close 53-46 victory over the Springfield Senators on Saturday, December 15, at the Civic Memorial Shootout.

Last week, the Lady Panthers split their games, defeating Triad at home 57-37 on Tuesday, December 11, while falling on the road to the Belleville East Lancers 60-47 on Thursday, December 13.

The Lady Panthers are now on winter break and will resume play on Thursday, January 4, against Edwardsville at the Panther Dome.