View of the Past: The 1909-10 O’Fallon High School Basketball team

This week’s view is of the O’Fallon High School Basketball team from the 1909-10 school year.  Back then, O’Fallon belonged to the St. Clair – Madison Basketball League.  With a record of 6 wins and 4 losses, O’Fallon High placed third in the league after Lebanon and Collinsville but ahead of Edwardsville, Belleville and last place East St. Louis.  Pictured are (left to right): Fred Heien, left guard; Berton Sperry, right guard; Clarence Crosby, center; Will Beedle, captain and left forward; and Leslie Smiley, right forward. 
(Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society)

Briana McMinn steps up into leadership role on team

Briana McMinn

By Nick Miller

When your sister is named the 2017-2018 Female Athlete of the Year at O’Fallon Township High School, has won six tournaments, finished fourth place at the IHSA State Tournament, and holds 11 scoring records at O’Fallon, its a big set of shoes to step into. 

According to girls golf Coach Chris Eddy, Briana McMinn is doing just that, following behind her sister Alyssa who heads off to the University of Evansville.

Most recently Briana, a junior at OTHS, took home first place at the Bob Goalby/Jay Haas Invitational held at St. Clair Country Club on Thursday, August 16. She shot a 37 to earn the top spot at the tournament.

“Briana averaged 82 for us last year and was our number five last year. But since we graduated five of our top six, we were looking for her to lead the way this year,” Eddy said.

According to Eddy, Briana finished in the top ten in a number of events last year. She also first team all-conference, first-team area selection, voted on by all of the coaches. 

She’s shown signs of playing very very well this year. While she still struggles a little bit, but I believe she’s going to be the leader of this group this year as we’re creating a whole new group,” Eddy said.

Eddy can’t say enough good things about Briana’s work ethic and believes a competitive nature with her sister may push her forward.

“Briana works extrmemely hard. She has the advantage of having a sister who was just voted Female Athlete of the Year due to her golf for last year, so the younger sister has a lot of interest and competitiveness to want to beat their older sister. I think that heavily influences her work ethic,” Eddy said.

  “She knows she’s expected to lead this team and she’s working hard to lead it both by the actions of her golf game, as well as by trying to teach the other girls the way that we do it around here,” Eddy said. 

Briana led the team at the Illinois Prep Tour Showcase on August 9 posting an 84. Then on the next day, she and her partner, Elizabeth Henken, scored a 71 in OTHS’s first place win at the MetroEast Scramble/Shamble. 

Last weekend at the Belleville West Invitational, she would tie Henken for ninth overall with a score of 90. 

Boys golf takes to the links and begins their season

The boys golf team celebrate their victory at the Goalby/Haas Classic on Thursday.
(Photo by Marci Lowery)

By Marci Lowery and Robyn Patterson

The O’Fallon High School boys golf team stepped up to the tee box and began their season last week.

The O’Fallon boys golf team started their season in the Alton Tee-Off Classic at Spencer T. Olin golf course on Tuesday, August 14. Twenty schools and over 100 golfers played in the Alton Tee-Off Classic.

O’Fallon finished fourth overall with a score of team score of 326. Taylor Patterson, senior, and Logan Lowery, junior, both shot 79 and tied for ninth place overall. Ethan Ourada, senior, Josh Krneta, junior, and Caden Cannon, freshman, all shot 84 to contribute to the team’s top scores.

Later in the week, the O’Fallon boys golf team won first place in the Goalby/Haas Classic at St. Clair Country Club on Thursday, August 16. The team finished with a 9 hole score of 160, six strokes ahead of second place team Althoff (166) and third place team Columbia (167).  Logan Lowery, junior, shot 38 to tie for first place medal honors.  Caden Cannon (40), Ethan Ourada (41), and Josh Krneta (41) also finished in the top 10.

On Saturday, the boys travelled to Quincy to take place in their high school invitational. The varsity boys golf brought home second place with a score of 388, beating Edwardsville. Logan Lowery and Caden Cannon both shot a 72, while Taylor Patterson scored 76, and Ethan Ourada ended the day with a 78. Josh Krneta contributed to the team effort with a 90.

The boys continued their season on Tuesday at the St. Clair County Invitational at Tamarack after this issue went to press.

Schloer Ready to Shoot Panthers into 2019

Ashley Schloer

By Sam Scinta

Last season, a pair of seniors led the way for the O’Fallon Township High School Lady Panther Basketball team as the program marched towards one of the best seasons in school history.

Sydney Thurwalker and Jayla Stubblefield played well enough for All-Southwestern Conference recognition, but for the early portion of the year, Ashley Schloer was playing on an entirely different level.

The incoming senior spent the early portion of her junior year averaging nearly 15 points per game while providing a lethal 3-point presence behind the arc. Despite her scoring taking a step back in the second half of the season, Schloer still provided a dangerous scoring option at the guard position for Head Coach Nick Knolhoff and his staff.

A two-sport star, Schloer impressed on the hardwood as well as the diamond, as she was one of the top contributors for the Lady Panther Softball program during another winning season for the Blue and Gold. 

Schloer will be one of the most sought-after softball recruits in the St. Louis Metro East in 2019, with tremendous contact ability at the plate supplemented with steady defense. 

But before she breaks out the bats and the mitts in 2019, Schloer will look to try and follow up her tremendous 2018-19 season with one final push for the SWC crown with Lady Panther Basketball.

She certainly set the bar high for success in her senior season, with impressive career-best performances her junior year, like a 27-point outburst in a 70-41 win over Collinsville and 19 points, four assists, and three steals in a 60-59 road win over Belleville East, both key victories for the Lady Panthers as the Blue and Gold marched towards a 2nd place finish in the Southwestern Conference.

Schloer was named MaxPreps player of the game three times during her junior season, on November 22nd, 30th, and December 7th. 

This coming season, Schloer will need to shoulder much of the scoring load for the Lady Panthers, as Thurwalker graduated in May as the team’s leading scorer in 2017-18. Schloer’s lethal ability to shoot from deep should serve as an important tool for O’Fallon as they compete in what should be another deep Southwestern Conference.

2017-18 will be tough to top for the Lady Panthers, but Ashley Schloer and her teammates will look to her elite shooting to lead the way as O’Fallon looks to start their prowl towards competing for a SWC Championship.

STYX Girls Lacrosse Routs Route 66 Tournament

The team celebrates their first place win in the annual Route 66 Lacrosse Tournament. (Submitted Photo)

By Sam Scinta

CHESTERFIELD – With over eight months until the start of the 2019 O’Fallon Township High School Girls Lacrosse season, the O’Fallon Styx program is hard at work using the offseason to show the rest of the St. Louis area just how dominant the teams from this town can be. 

The girls went 5-0 over the weekend across the river in Missouri in the Route 66 Lacrosse Classic, setting a great mark for the Styx program ahead of the 2018-19 school season by claiming the tournament championship.  

O’Fallon held a perfect 3-0 record at the end of pool play, setting the stage for a two-game run into the championship at the Chesterfield Valley Athletic Complex, the site of last year’s classic as well.

Route 66 had been hosted at the O’Fallon Sports Park in previous seasons, but had been moved due to scheduled renovations at the park for last year. It is still unclear whether the event will return to the Metro East once construction is completed. 

Girls Styx won one of four medals awarded in the Classic, joining 410 West Lacrosse (14U Gold), Texas Heat (14U Silver), and Marquette Mustangs (HS Silver). 

O’Fallon cruised through the early portion of their schedule, beating StL Rush Lacrosse Blue team 19-1 before racing past St. Joseph’s Academy with an 8-3 win. Styx then defeated Brave Blue team 10-3 to close out pool play.

Styx then faced their two toughest challenges of the tournament in bracket play, needing to lock their defense in to advance past StL Rush Lacrosse Red 10-5 to advance to a championship round bout against the Marquette Mustangs. 

In the title game, #1 seeded O’Fallon used their trademark staunch defense to keep the Mustangs off balance in their end. Styx kept opposing shots on goal at a minimum, and those that got through were often saved by the keeper. 

O’Fallon’s opportunistic offense would prove to be more than enough for Styx to walk away with the win, as they went on to beat Marquette 6-2.

Styx’s win in Chesterfield struck a chord with Route 66 organizers, many of whom worked closely with Tamara Boots to bring lacrosse to the St. Louis area at a higher level. Boots, one of the game’s pioneers in the area, passed away in October of 2014 after a long battle with cancer.

“We know that Tamara was here today, because there wasn’t a cloud in the sky,” tournament director Jennifer Vogel said. “She was here with each of you, because you played the game the right way, and you played the game with passion. She would be very proud of the way you carried yourselves here.”

O’Fallon certainly has Boots to thank for the strength of the lacrosse program in the community, and these girls have done a great job of carrying the torch in her memory. The win in Chesterfield is just the latest example of a growing culture of excellence for the sport in the O’Fallon and Shiloh community. 

HSHS sports medicine program aids athletes with concussions

The HSHS Athletes Advantage program provides certified athletic trainers to high school’s around the area, including O’Fallon Township High School.

“We have 14 athletic trainers and we cover nine high schools, Greenville University, and SWIC,” HSHS program coordinator Jamie Wagner said.

The Athletes Advantage program’s athletic trainers’ provide medical coverage for varsity team practices and games.

“We also do some volunteer things – we have worked with the Belleville Marathon the last couple of years and provide medical coverage there. We host a 5k in November that we work at and we provide summer camp opportunities in Breese with our athletic trainers – they work on strength conditioning and speed agility,” Wagner said.

One sports-related issue that gets a lot of attention these days is identifying and treating concussions. Athletes Advantage offers ImPACT® Concussion Testing, which utilizes a computer-based neuro-cognitive function test, or simply an “impact test.”

According to Wagner, the impact test is “pretty much the gold standard.” It is utilized by colleges, Nascar, and the NFL. Its purpose is to provide baseline testing followed by follow-up testing for concussion patients and athletes and facilitates treatment to help get the individuals back to their sport.

On average, Wagner said, “Every concussion is different. Every person is different. It depends how long their symptoms last but a typical concussion usually lasts around ten days.”

Wagner also points out that people tend to buy the most expensive helmet that they can on the market. “The helmets are fantastic for reducing the impact, but they’re not going to prevent you from getting a concussion,” Wagner said.

She said that the severity of a concussion ranges depending on the person, but it’s not the concussion itself that is severe. “It’s the symptoms and cognitive issues that come along with it,” she said. 

Post-testing for concussed athletes is provided through HSHS Medical Group Multispecialty Care clinic in O’Fallon.

“We have three physicians in O’Fallon that actually do the post-testing for us,” Wagner said.

Wagner said an individual with a concussion would have symptoms of a headache, blurry vision, ringing in their ears, nausea, and confusion but is sometimes hard to tell for an untrained person. 

“You might look at someone and they seem like they’re fine, but mentally they are not right and you should probably have them looked at,” Wagner said. The Athletes Advantage trainers always ask the athletes if they know where they are or if they know the score of the game.

“We also check their vision to see if they have any issues and check their balance,” she said. “Those are some sideline things that we do to determine if someone has a concussion.”

HSHS Athletes Advantage covers all “contact” sports, which take priority because of the obvious increased opportunity for a head injury to occur, noted Wagner. The contact sports with the most at-risk athletes, according to Wagner, are football, soccer, cheerleading, baseball and softball.  O’Fallon also has Lacrosse, so that’s an additional contact sport that is covered. 

“We proudly provide service for all varsity home events and cover everything else in between that we can,” Wagner said.

McMinn’s Huge Summer Shows She’s Still a Force

Alyssa McMinn

By Sam Scinta

These days, it seems as if the only thing hotter than the Southern Illinois heat has been the golfing of 2018 O’Fallon Township High School grad Alyssa McMinn. 

McMinn, headed to NCAA Division I Evansville University in the fall, has been hard at work since coming off a fourth place finish at the IHSA State Finals last year, and that work is coming through in her results. 

The former Lady Panther started off the summer with a second place finish at the Prep Tour event hosted at Weibring Golf Club on the campus of Illinois State University in Bloomington. McMinn showcased the same consistency and focus that made her a dominant force during her days in the Blue and Gold across the two-day tournament, and the finish proved to be just the start of much more to come. 

McMinn’s highlight of the summer would come right before Independence Day light up the night sky with fireworks when she won the 19th Annual Metropolitan Junior Amateur Championship at Forest Hills Country Club in the Clarkson Valley, Missouri. She finished two strokes ahead of Pattonville’s Momo Kikuchi and three strokes ahead of Marquette’s Sarah Lewis.

It wasn’t an easy ride to the top for McMinn, who had to rally on the second day and finish splitting even par on the final two holes to hold off Kikuchi and claim her most prestigious finish yet against some of the deepest competition in the St. Louis region, and that includes Alyssa’s younger sister Briana.

Briana McMinn finished 12 strokes back of Alyssa across the two day competition, and is bound for plenty of contributions in her upcoming junior season under OTHS Head Coach Chris Eddy, who can certainly appreciate the luxury of having such talented players come up through his program.  

Many around the region certainly hoped that McMinn’s graduation meant they’d be seeing less of her near the top of almost every leaderboard she competed in, but the former Lady Panther has spoiled those hopes, at least so far. 

Golfers in the Missouri Valley Conference and around NCAA Division I play will certainly become acquainted with McMinn’s quiet excellence sooner rather than later as the OTHS product figures to continue to grow and improve her game as she studies to become a physical therapist in Evansville. 

For now, she can sit back and enjoy the accomplishments of a great summer, at the end of a tremendous high school career, and at the start of what will surely be an exciting run in the collegiate ranks. She looks ready for the challenge. 

OTHS celebrates 2018 graduation

Congratulations to over 615 O’Fallon Township High School (OTHS) seniors who graduated on Saturday, May 26, 2018 in the Panther Dome.  All one had to do is look at the colorful stoles that many of the graduates wore with their graduation gowns to understand that this class of young people will go far in life and do wonderful things for their communities and world.  Gold stoles designated National Honor Society members; Green stoles, Summa Cum Laude; White stoles, Magna Cum Laude; and Red stoles, Cum Laude.  

Nicholas Boone, the Class of 2018 Speaker, encouraged graduates to be kind and compassionate as they embark on the next journey in their life.  The OTHS Class of 2018 earned numerous Awards and Honors, which are listed on the OTHS website at www.oths.us.

To read the full article, pick up a copof this week’s paper on newsstands now. Or, click here for the digital edition. Wish to receive the paper weekly? Go to our Subscription Page to find out rates and how you can subscribe to our weekly paper. 

O’Fallon resident eliminated from American Idol

Christina Jones made it to the Top 50 of the American Idol contestant pool. (Photo courtesy of American Idol)

It’s the end of the line on American Idol for O’Fallon contestant Christina Jones. Jones made it to the top 50, and then was eliminated when the judges selected 24 contestants to move forward. 

Despite a success that many who knew Jones believed that she would have, she was in disbelief at making it to the top 50. “I was honestly surprised that I made it that far because of the competition. There were so many phenomenal singers there I was overcome with pride in myself because I knew that I am capable of more than I think I am,” she said.

To read the full article, pick up a copof this week’s paper on newsstands now. Or, click here for the digital edition.

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OWC makes annual apple deliveries to area teachers

BY LEE YOUNGBLOOD
WEEKLY REPORTER

O’Fallon Women’s Club Apple’s for Teachers Organizing Committee posing with club President Beth Lundy in the lobby of OTHS. Front row, from left: Margo Snyder, Shelly Severns, Stephanie White. Back row, from left: Peg Barrow, Vivian Rohleder, Beth Lundy, Joyce Humphries, Kay Brown, Lora Jones, Pat Ratcliff. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Lee Youngblood)

The O’Fallon Women’s Club (OWC), recognized American Education Week Thursday by handing out apples to K-12 educators throughout the city.  Apples for Teachers is a 25 year tradition of the OWC whose primary philanthropy is to support education; the event is appreciated and anticipated by members and teachers a like.

The OWC members met in the lobby of the O’Fallon Township High School, where organizer Stephanie White and her committee ensured each lady had a map highlighted with the rooms of the teacher’s and enough apples to give each educator one. Most of the members had participated in the Apples for Teachers event in past years and dispersed quickly with enthusiasm and experience.

To read the full article, pick up a copy of this week’s paper on newsstands now. Or, click here for the digital edition. Wish to receive the paper weekly? Go to our Subscription Page to find out rates and how you can subscribe to our weekly paper. 

Jones Hangs ‘em Up

BY SAM SCINTA
WEEKLY REPORTER

(Submitted Photo)

Just months before what would have been his second season in professional basketball, O’Fallon hoops legend Roosevelt Jones announced last Sunday that he is retiring from the sport.

“It’s been difficult for me to make this decision, but with the lingering pain that I have been feeling with my back for years, it has finally come to the point where it is unbearable,” Jones said in a statement. “I play the game 110% all the time and if I’m not able to give that night in and night out, then I am just cheating myself and my teammates.”

Jones announced his decision over social media ahead of another year playing for the Canton Charge, the NBA G-League affiliate for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The guard had most recently played for the Cavalier’s Summer League team earlier in the summer.

To read the full article, pick up a copy of this week’s paper on newsstands now. Or, click here for the digital edition.

O’Fallon High School students compete for championship on local TV quiz show

Program to air July 2 on WSIU-TV

O’Fallon and Carbondale High School scholar bowl students on the WSIU-TV ‘Scholastic Hi-Q’ set during the 2016-17 championship match, taped in November 2016. (Photo by T.J. Price, WSIU)

CARBONDALE – Top students from O’Fallon High School compete against Carbondale in the championship match of the 2016-2017 season of Scholastic Hi-Q, WSIU Public Television’s quiz show showcasing regional high school scholar bowl teams. The half-hour episode will air on WSIU-TV 8 and WUSI-TV 16, the public television stations of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, on Sunday, July 2 at 5 p.m., with a repeat broadcast on Sunday, July 9 at 9:30 a.m.

O’Fallon area residents should be able to pick up WSIU-TV over the air. WSIU-TV is available on Charter Cable in the Belleville area.

The episode also will be available on the WSIU video portal at http://watch.wsiu.org after the initial broadcast. It should go online by July 5 and stay up indefinitely.

To read the full article, pick up a copy of this week’s paper on newsstands now. Or, click here for the digital edition.

OTHS Second Semester Honor Roll: Class of 2018

O’FALLON – O’Fallon Township High School has released the Honor Roll for the second semester of the 2016-17 school year.

The O’Fallon Weekly will list the members of the class of 2017 in the next edition. The classes of 2020 and 2019 were ran in the last two editions.

To read the full article, pick up a copy of this week’s paper on newsstands now. Or, click here for the digital edition.

Athlete Spotlight – New season, new challenges for Bossart

BY SAM SCINTA
WEEKLY REPORTER

Austin Bossart

Last year, we chronicled the journey from collegiate baseball to the Philadelphia Phillies Minor League system for 2011 OTHS Grad Austin Bossart.

At the time, Bossart was a freshly drafted catching prospect in his first full season of professional baseball after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania as one of the Johnny Bench Award semifinalists for the nation’s top collegiate catcher.

This season, Bossart is catching in High A for the Lakewood BlueClaws in the Florida League. In 25 games so far, the former Panther has hit a career-high 2 home runs and has driven in 7 while continuing to pose a staunch presence behind the plate as a fundamentally premier backstop.

The stats, while early, are a promising sign for the young catcher after a brief but difficult stint at the Arizona Fall League, where he appeared in just 4 games but hit .091 across 11 plate appearances.

To read the full article, pick up a copy of this week’s paper on newsstands now. Or, click here for the digital edition