High school girls swimming
Marquette, Parkway Central and Westminster Christian Academy all won their conference swim meets.
Marquette won the Suburban West Conference meet championship for the fourth consecutive year. The Mustangs piled up 566.5 points. Lafayette was a distant second with 470. Parkway South was third with 347 and Eureka was fourth with 332.5.
“The girls knew this was their opportunity to showcase their depth,” Marquette coach Joe Schoedel said. “It’s one of the more important meets of the season, simply because the talent pool in the Suburban West is the strongest in the state, with strong Parkway South and Eureka squads and, of course, the reigning state champs in Lafayette.”
The Mustangs were proud of the victory, Schoedel said.
“Of course they were excited, not just to extend our winning streak, but to win in convincing fashion in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year for us,” Schoedel said. “It speaks volumes of the girls’ drive and dedication.”
Schoedel took the traditional dip in the pool after the big victory. He said he gladly dove in.
“In that instance, it’s not even cold,” Schoedel said. “It always feels good and never gets old.”
Parkway Central finished first with 557 points to slip past Parkway West’s second-place total of 530 to win the Suburban Central Conference meet title. It was the Colts’ second straight league meet championship.
Parkway Central assistant coach Nichole Duncan, who is leading the team while head coach Jennifer Meyer is on maternity leave, described the experience as “amazing.”
“It is my first year as assistant coach, so to be able to see these girls earn a conference title was huge,” Duncan said. “I was jumping up and down right along with them.”
She credited the girls with realizing their goal.
“It was very important for the girls to defend their league title. They have worked so hard all season to be able to accomplish this goal,” Duncan said. ” They were super excited to win. To win back-to-back is a big deal and they were so proud of themselves and their teammates.”
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Westminster Christian Academy notched its third consecutive Metro League swimming and diving championship.
Freshman diver Margo O’Meara scored 524 points for the 11-dive conference title. Her point total set both a conference record and a Westminster record.
“It really is exciting to see how skilled she is in this sport,” Wildcats coach Kent Kehr said. “Her competitive spirit and humility make her a wonderful team member and athlete.”
Kehr said he was happy for the seniors on the squad.
“The seniors really wanted to go out with a three-peat,” Kehr said. “They were ecstatic. All were thrilled to be a part of the winning team. [It’s a] wonderful testament to their hard work and commitment, especially from our 17 seniors.”
Honoring the 1997-98 history-making Lancers
The Lafayette Lancers honored the Class 4 boys basketball team that finished second in the state 20 years ago. The ceremony was held before the Lancers met the Marquette Mustangs in a recent conference game.
It was a big night to remember the team.
“It was very special,” Lafayette coach Matt Landwehr said. “It was great seeing all the guys who were able to make it back. The reception from everyone in the crowd was awesome. It was a recognition this team deserved.”
The large crowd showered the team with applause, acknowledging its place in Lafayette history.
“I think everyone was on their feet. It was a packed house and the atmosphere was electric all night,” Landwehr said. “It really was what high school hoops is all about. The guys entered through a tunnel of cheerleaders and stood at center court. As some of the accomplishments of the team were read, more and more people started standing up and clapping.
“By the end, I’m not sure there was one person sitting down. Some of the guys and coaches said they got goosebumps. We had our student section wearing some of their old jerseys to commemorate them, too, which was pretty neat.”
That team of Lancers finished with a record of 30-2. They were defeated, 42-41, by Liberty in the state championship game played at the Hearnes Center in Columbia.
“That team was unbelievable,” Landwehr said of the 1997-98 Lancers. “I got to watch them as a fan and as a part of the program. Now, as a coach, I appreciate what they did even more. What people don’t realize was how competitive their practices were and how they just wanted to win by any means necessary. They were very talented both inside and outside but they won because they played as a team and were all working toward the same goal with very little ego.”
About half the team was able to come back to be recognized. All of the coaching staff was in attendance.
“Unfortunately two or three guys had to cancel last minute because of family conflicts and illness,” Landwehr said. “We knew when we started talking about this it would be hard to get everyone back at the same time because of guys living out of town and family commitments. It was great having the guys there that could make it and we made sure to acknowledge every player who was part of the team when we read names.”
The 1997-98 Lancers left a proud legacy for the school.
“They are the greatest team in Lafayette history,” Landwehr said. “Their legacy is as a team that was ranked 22nd in the nation and top in the state for most of the year, and that ultimately finished second in the state. There also were so many individual player accomplishments from that team that the recognition list in the record book from that year was pages long.
“As a player who watched them at a young age and later played in the program told me, this team set the bar for what Lafayette basketball should strive to be each year. They defined what success is at Lafayette and we strive to get there every year.”
Iowa Wild forward Luke Kunin enjoyed playing in the recent American Hockey League All-Star game.
Kunin, a Chesterfield native, was the Wild’s lone participant in the 2018 AHL All-Star Challenge, earning the All-Star bid in his first full professional season.
“I was very humbled and honored to be selected for it and represent Iowa and the organization,” Kunin said after the game.
Kunin’s All-Star festivities kicked off with the Skills Competition, where he competed in three events: AHL Live Rapid Fire, Turning Stone Resort Casino Pass and Score and Dunkin’ Donuts Breakaway Relay.
In the Rapid Fire event, Kunin went 1-for-5, scoring the only goal against Providence’s Jordan Binnington. Teamed up with Manitoba’s Mason Appleton and Rockford’s Tyler Highmore, the three scored on all three chances in the Pass and Score Competition.
The Skills Competition closed with every player competing in the Breakaway Relay, getting one chance to net a goal. Kunin capped off his night by rifling a wrist shot past Bridgeport Sound Tigers goaltender Christopher Gibson. Ultimately, the Eastern All-Stars won the Skills Competition 18-12.
“The skills competition, that was a lot of fun,” Kunin said. “Doing those kinds of events, the way it’s set up was great. It was a fun first night.”
In the All-Star Challenge, the Central Division headed into the tournament as back-to-back champions. However, the team dropped all three games and failed to make the championship. Despite the earlier than expected departure from the tournament, Kunin enjoyed his time in Utica at his first All-Star appearance.
“Whenever you get to go to an All-Star game, you want to take advantage of it and just enjoy it and I definitely did that,” Kunin said.
The All-Star nomination was a recognition of the work Kunin has put in at both levels of professional hockey. With Iowa, he’s registered 16 points [8 goals, 8 assists] in 28 games, while also chipping in four points [2 goals, 2 assists] in 17 games with Minnesota.
“It has a lot to do not just with the team success but the guys I’ve been playing with,” Kunin said. “A lot of guys could have gone as well and are having really good years on our team. It’s not just me.
“I was just happy to represent the organization.”
In an extremely tight playoff race in the Central Division, Kunin said he is ready to focus on clinching the Wild’s first-ever playoff berth and reaching the 2018 Calder Cup playoffs.
Scott Langley, a Manchester native and former PGA Tour member, picked up his first professional win at the Panama Championship on the Web.com Tour.
The 28-year-old Parkway South and Illinois graduate carded a final-round 5-under 65 at Club de Golf de Panama to come from six strokes back and pick up a trophy for the first time since winning the 2010 NCAA Individual Championship.
Langley’s come-from-behind victory is the largest in tournament history, surpassing Miguel Angel Carballo’s five-stroke record from 2007.
He also became the first player in tournament history to record an over-par score in the opening round and go on to win the tournament. Additionally, Langley’s victory was the first on the tour by a First Tee program graduate.
With his record-breaking victory came $112,500, enough to move Langley to No. 3 on the money list.
“To do this, this early in the year is nice,” Langley said in a news conference after the tournament. “To be in this position going forward, to hopefully get back to where, when I’m feeling well, I can compete on the PGA Tour, to be in that position now is very gratifying. I worked my butt off this winter and put a lot of time and thought into my game, and it’s so nice to see it pay off this early in the season.”
Langley’s last full season on the PGA Tour came in 2015-16. He made 10 cuts in 22 events, carding four top-25 finishes in the process, including a T11 at the Puerto Rico Open at Coco Beach. Then, spent the entirety of 2017 on the Web.com Tour, where he recorded four top-25 finishes in 24 starts.