BY ALEX GRUBERMAN WEEKLY REPORTER
O’FALLON – O’Fallon Township High School honored a select group of past athletes at its annual Walk of Fame ceremony during halftime at the boys basketball game against Belleville East on Friday. Mike Bowen, Chris Kellermann, Justin Stewart, and the members of the 2005-06 Panthers baseball team were added to the Walk of Fame, which was created during the 2000-01 school year.
Mike Bowen, from the class of 1999, was a four-year varsity player for the Panthers baseball team. He made the IBCA All State team in 1996, 1997, 1998 as a pitcher/outfielder. Bowen had a career record of 31-9, threw 245.3 innings, had an earned run average of 0.96, and had 401 career strikeouts. Bowen also had a single season record of earned run average of 0.44 in 1997 and 136 strikeouts in 1999. When he wasn’t throwing the heat at opponents, Bowen also recorded some offensive records. He played in 117 games between 1996-1999, had a career batting average of .380, having 124 career hits, 31 of those hits being doubles and 31 of them being triples. Bowen finished his career with 24 home runs and was walked a total of 57 times. Bowen ranks second all-time in single season home runs with 12 in 1997. Bowen also played two years of varsity basketball for the O’Fallon Panthers.
“It’s a tremendous honor. There are a lot of great players before me and even while I was playing that have come through here,” said Bowen when asked what it was like being named to the Walk of Fame.
Chris Kellermann, of the class of 2005, played three years of varsity basketball at OTHS. He was named the captain and MVP his junior and senior year. Kellermann also joined the 1,000 points group during his time on the court. He was named to the Centralia Tournament second All-Tournament Team in 2004, and made it on to the first All-Tournament Team in 2005. In the Belleville East Conference Challenge, Kellermann was named Second Team in 2004 and in 2005 he was named First Team. His senior year (2004-2005), he was a Dick Bond Award recipient. In 2003, he made the SWC Third Team; 2004 SWC First Team; and in 2005 SWC First Team. Kellerman also had the honor of being named First team for the BND in 2004 and 2005. He also had the great honor of being named STL Post-Dispatch First Team All-Metro. With all these great honors, it isn’t shocking Kellermann was also a four time OTHS Athlete of the Week. Kellermann also played one year of varsity baseball, but did not play his senior year due to college basketball. In his junior year, he hit .430 with 43 hits, two home runs, eight doubles, and 35 runs batted in. In 2004 he was named to the First Team BND and the 2004 SWC First Team.
“It’s a great honor. It’s a great community and a great high school,” said Kellermann. Following high school, Kellermann played basketball at Central Michigan and overseas.
The next inductee to the Walk of Fame was Justin L. Stewart. Stewart, from the class of 2006, was a busy high school athlete. He earned a varsity letter in four sports. In football, he earned three varsity letters and in those three years the Panthers had a record of 21-6. In basketball, he earned three varsity letters and in his junior and senior year, the team had a record of 40-18. He received three varsity letters in track and one varsity letter in baseball (the team placed third in state that year). In 2005-2006, Stewart was named the team captain for the football and basketball squad. In 2006 he was awarded the OTHS Athlete of the Year, the BND Athlete of the Year, was a St. Louis Area Suburban Journals Athlete of the Year finalist.
In football Stewart was a free safety/running back/quarterback and put up some monster stats. Stewart had nine interceptions, which is tied for third all time, 231 assisted tackles which ranks fifth all time. He rushed for 1,264 yards his junior year on the undefeated regular season quarter final finishing team, and had 17 touchdowns that season. Stewart was ranked the number nine prospect among St. Louis Post-Dispatch “Super 30” during his senior year. Stewart also holds the school record for Triple Jump at 45” 11.5”. He was also recognized on the First Team All-Conference in the SWC his senior year. When Stewart wasn’t participating in sports, he was elected student body vice president his senior year and made it on the National Honor Society.
“It’s always an honor and a privilege to receive an award for your accomplishments. It’s awesome to reflect on what you’ve done because when you are on the court or field, you really don’t pay attention to those kinds of stats,” Stewart said after receiving his Walk of Fame plaque.
The Walk of Fame also recognized the Panthers Baseball Team from 2005-2006. The team was coached by Jason Portz and he was assisted by Nick Seibert (pitching coordinator), Cory Patton, Scott Seipp, Kit Zimmerman, Joe Bauer, Brian Muniz, Dave Causey, Jason Satterfield, and Rob Stoelzle. The team finished the season with a 35-7 record, winning the Southwestern Conference with a 10-4 record in the SWC. They also had a third-place finish in the IHSA Class AA State Tournament. The team set records in 2006 in wins with 35, hits with 448, runs 368, runs batted in with 333, a team batting average of .392, 296 singles on the season, 106 doubles, 37 home runs, base on balls 199, innings pitched at 263.3 and 236 strikeouts. The Panthers also took home quite a few post seasons honors that season too. They are listed below:
- Louisville Slugger TPX All-American – Brian Gass (LHP)
- IHSBCA All-State – Brian Gass (LHP) & Tyler Harris (C), Jason Portz – District Coach of the Year.
- St. Louis Post Dispatch All-Metro – Brian Gass – St. Louis Metro Pitcher of the Year, Caleb Dziurdzy (OF), Tyler Harris (C)
- Belleville News Democrat All-Area – Brian Gass – Metro East Player of the Year, Jordan Colvin (SS), Tyler Harris (C), LJ Watson (OF), Caleb Dziurdzy (OF), Jesse Schmidt (3B), Jason Portz – Coach of the year
- Southwestern Conference All-Conference – Brian Gass (P), Jordan Colvin (SS), Tyler Harris (C), LJ Watson (OF), Caleb Dziurdzy (OF)
The roster of the 2005-06 baseball team consisted of Brett Barton, Nick Bullard, Tim Cline, Jordan Colvin, Dakota Curlee, Mark Daniels, Caleb Dziurdzy, Brandon Gass, Brian Gass, Matt Goldschmidt, Tyler Harris, Scott Kennedy, Tyler Lauderdale, Zachary McCarter, Caleb Piatt, Jeremy Pope, Gary Schamburg, Jesse Schmidt, Justin Stewart, Andy Thouvenot, LJ Watson, Andrew Whitten, and Keith Wolf. The student assistants were Carl Schwarz and Drew Hursey.