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Sports Briefs: Dec. 19

Elysa Duffie and Erin Slutzky

Erin Slutzky [left] and Elyse Duffie at the World Junior Racquetball Championships.

Dynamic Duo

Parkway West junior Erin Slutzky and Parkway South graduate Elyse Duffie played on Team USA in the recent World Junior Championships for racquetball in San Luis Potosí, Mexico.

The U.S. girls team placed second out of 14 countries and the U.S. team took third overall when the boys’ results were added.

Slutzky won two of her three U16 singles matches in pool play. She beat girls from Guatemala and Costa Rica. Her brother, Ethan, came to the tournament as her private coach.

“She ended up with a bad draw in the singles elimination round having to play her teammate Annie Roberts, who also was her doubles partner,” said her father, Steve Slutzky. “She lost that match.”

Slutzky and Roberts, of Gresham, Oregon, went 1-1 in 16U doubles pool play. They lost to a pair from Mexico and beat a duo from Chile.

Slutzky qualified to play for Team USA after she finished second this past June at the National Junior Olympic Racquetball Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.

Duffie, who is attending Purdue, went 1-2 in 18U singles play, Steve Slutzky said.

“She won a great tiebreaker match against Argentina in pool play,” Steve Slutzky said. “She faced the same girl in her first round of the elimination bracket and won easily. She then played a girl from Mexico, Mejia de la Torre, de Monserrat, and lost. Monserrat ended up winning the tournament.

“It was an amazing experience for them.”

The Lafayette Lancers won the recent Francis Howell North wrestling tournament.

The Lafayette Lancers won the recent Francis Howell North wrestling tournament.

High school wrestling

The Lafayette Lancers won the recent Francis Howell North wrestling tournament.

The Lancers won the round-robin tournament with 274 points and improved 7-0 in dual meets this season. Jackson High was second with 257 points.

“One of our team goals this year is to win at least four team tournaments so going in we know we had a chance to pull off the title if we wrestled to our abilities,” Lafayette coach Joe Wier said. “Jackson and Howell [High] are perennial powers in wrestling, so we knew we had to bring our A-game to finish on top.”

The Lancers had four champions. Junior state qualifier Jalin Reese, senior state medalist Jayden Carson, senior Jaylen Carson and senior Austin Wegener all captured first place in their weight classes.

“Our team was excited to get the plaque and checked it off as one of our goals of the season accomplished,” Wier said. “We have a long way to go and we will keep following our theme for the year, which is simply ‘Step Up’ for each practice, each meet, each tournament and every day.

“This type of success on a team basis will validate all of the long hours, morning practices and offseason training we do. This also shows that we are competing well with some of the best teams in the area.”

The underclassmen also did well at the tournament, Wier said. “The JV Team won with the freshman and sophomore classes going 4-0-1 to place first.

Napheesa Collier talks to the crowd during her jersey retirement ceremony.

Napheesa Collier talks to the crowd during her jersey retirement ceremony.

Collier’s number retired at Incarnate Word Academy

In a basketball career at Incarnate Word Academy filled with many firsts and records, Napheesa Collier recorded one more.

Collier, a University of Connecticut basketball star, returned home to play in her first game – against the Saint Louis University Lady Billikens – since graduating from Incarnate Word Academy. It proved to be an exceptional trip down memory lane culminating in being honored by her former high school.

Collier, who is from O’Fallon, was an all-state performer and Gatorade Player of the Year during her high school basketball days at Incarnate Word Academy. 

While in town, her No. 24 jersey was retired in a special ceremony held at Incarnate Word.

“She’s the first and only athlete at Incarnate Word to have had a jersey retired,” Red Knights coach Dan Rolfes said. “It was fantastic. It was great a great night for everyone.”

Collier finished her career with the Red Knights with 2,749 points and 1,310 rebounds. She helped Incarnate Word to three Missouri Class 4 state championships. She played for Jefferson City in her freshman year before moving to O’Fallon and attending Incarnate Word.

“Napheesa spoke briefly after having her jersey retired,” Rolfes said. “She did a really good job. She did a couple of Q&As with the younger kids. Then, she talked a little bit more. She was great. I think she just appreciated the honor of the jersey retirement. She talked about how much she enjoyed not only the basketball here, but the students and the faculty and the school in general.”

Rolfes took his Red Knights squad to the game against Saint Louis University to see Collier in action.

U Conn scored an easy 98-42 win over Saint Louis. Collier had 22 points and 11 rebounds in the victory.

“It was fun seeing her play,” Rolfes said.

Abigail Nebot at the Marquette Relay [Jeffrey Nebot photo]

Marquette’s Abigail Nebot, at the Marquette Relays   [Jeffrey Nebot photo]

High school girls swimming

The Marquette Mustangs opened the high school girls swim season by winning the annual Marquette Relays.

The 20th annual meet saw Marquette win for the fifth consecutive year. The Mustangs piled up 268 points to win the 13-team event.

“In the 10 years I have been here, it is the most points scored as well as the largest margin of victory,” Marquette coach Joe Schoedel said.

Lafayette was a distant second with 218 points. Cor Jesu came in third with 176. Parkway South was fourth with 152 points.

No school or meet records were broken in the meet; however, Schoedel said the victory was a good one for the squad.

“It sets the tone for the rest of the season. The girls have high expectations, and after seeing some of the other top teams around, they know what they need to work on to improve,” Schoedel said. “Despite the wins, the girls know there are things they can do better. As a coach, I’m happy with many of the times, and it’s a good, positive start to the season.”

High school girls field hockey

The MICDS Rams finished second in the 40th annual Midwest Tournament.

The Rams lost for the second consecutive year in the state field hockey tournament championship game to Villa Duchesne. The Saints scored a 1-0 victory over MICDS at SportPort Athletic Complex. But don’t count the Rams out. Coach Lynn Mittler said her squad will be back.

“We just hate having to wait 365 days to try again,” Mittler said.

The future of the program looks promising. Mittler said she envisions “another strong season” in 2019.

“While you always wish to end your season with a victory, we came as absolutely close to that as possible. I was very proud of how our team performed this season and specifically in the tournament,” she said.

The Rams were the No. 2 seed; Villa Duchesne was the No. 1 seed. But Mittler said several teams could have wound up playing for the title in the final game.

“St. Louis field hockey is so exciting right now as there is so much parity,” she said. 

While the Rams were disappointed in the loss, Mittler pointed out how much they have be proud of this season.

“We focused on our team, how much these girls love each other, how proud we are of our performance and that no one had any regrets,” Mittler said. “I sincerely believe each girl played their absolute best.”

The Rams will lose five players, including three starters, to graduation.

High school boys soccer

The CBC Cadets [25-2-2] scored a 1-0 victory over Metro Catholic Conference rival De Smet Jesuit [22-4-2] to win the recent Class 4 state title at the World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton. It was the 14th time overall that MCC teams have faced each other for the state title.

The Cadets are 2-1 in state finals against the Spartans, winning the 1984 final between the MCC rivals before losing in the 1997 title game.

CBC won its final 13 games. Coach Terry Michler just finished his 50th year in his coaching career overall.

“The challenge is that it never gets old,” said Michler, who just finished his 48th season leading the Cadets. “You still feel nervous going into the championship game. It is still meaningful. My main [source of] fun is to see how kids react.”

It was the 10th state title for the Cadets’ soccer program. Michler has nine of them. His teams won in 1983, 1984, 1988, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2012, 2016 and 2018. Bob Horgan led CBC to its first state title in 1968.

Michler said this championship is as special as the other eight he has guided the Cadets to winning.

“As I look over the nine championships, three were against Rockhurst, two against De Smet, one against McCluer North, one against Vianney, one against SLUH and one against Chaminade,” Michler said. “Every final we played was pretty darn close to being a No. 1 versus No. 2 matchup. There were no cakewalks in there.”

Michler will lose 16 seniors to graduation.

“The cupboard is getting a little bare,” Michler said. “We’ll have two key starters back, so there’s a lot of opportunity for new guys to get their feet wet.”

Michler should reach another milestone next season. His overall coaching record is 990-229-106.

“One game at time,” Michler said. “I hope we can get the 10 wins somewhere.”

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