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Sports briefs: Dec. 4

Team USA and Eureka sophomore Faith Cole [bottom row; second from right] at the Pan Am Championship in Panama City.

High school girls wrestling

Lafayette sophomore Faith Cole wrestled well in the recent Pan Am Championships. Cole finished in third place. Cole, who won a state championship as a freshman, competed in the Pan Am event that was held last month in Panama City, Panama. Cole was on Team USA, which collectively, placed first in the championship.

Cole wrestled three matches. In her first match, she wrestled a girl from Mexico but came off slow and lost 12-6.

“In my second match, I was caught with a hard loss of 4-3 against a girl from Panama and wrestled back pinning my third girl from Chile with a 8-0 lead,” Cole said. “Criteria through the bracket placed me at third because of my first loss.”

Cole said the championship was a “great experience.”

“I made so many new friends here, and the team as a whole was great,” Cole said. “Our team took first as a whole, almost doubling the team in second. Our boys team won both styles as well with every boy winning both styles. So proud of our teams.”

Cole also called the championship, including the losses, a learning experience for the future.

“I came back strong but still ended in third place,” Cole said. “It was not the result that I had hoped for, but I was happy that I had my mistakes to learn [from]. All the different wrestlers and how they wrestle were all so different it was fun to watch how everyone wrestles so different in different countries. I have my own issues I deal with personally, but this was very helpful to push me to see where my limits are … I don’t think the [nervousness] or the excitement will ever go away. I have wrestled hundreds of matches, but I still feel the same or even more amount of nerves in different situations.”

Cole’s goal is to return to the state meet and strive to achieve victory in future championships.

“I am going to be honest and say I didn’t wrestle to my best ability at this tournament,” Cole said. “The end results aren’t what I wanted, but I was so happy with the experience a whole … I am excited to be back with my high school team and family and ready to compete again.” 

High school girls cross-country

The Eureka Wildcats girls cross-country team finished third at the Class 4 state championship on Nov. 3. [Photo by Chris Auckley]

The Eureka girls cross-country team recently earned its 10th state trophy in the school’s cross-country history. Eureka finished third with 95 points at the Class 4 cross-country state championship held Nov. 9 at Gans Creek Recreational Area in Columbia, Missouri.

That score put the Wildcats behind Lee’s Summit West’s state winning total of 109 points and Rock Bridge’s 112 points. The last state trophy for Eureka came in 2013 when the Wildcats finished fourth.

“Both Lee’s Summit West and Rock Bridge are very good teams,” Lewis said. “Lee’s Summit West was the defending state champion and the heavy favorite to win again. Rock Bridge beat us once during the season and we beat them once. I knew we could compete with them, but in the end, they had a little bit better day than we did.”

Eureka won its last four meets, including the district and sectional races heading into the state meet. Winning the sectional meant the Wildcats would compete for the 26th time in the 41-year history of the state meet for girls with the full team qualifying.

According to Lewis, finishing third was a good accomplishment for the girls.

“There are 100 schools in Class 4, so being in the top three is definitely an accomplishment to be proud of and to celebrate,” Lewis said.

Sophomore Leah Kleekamp placed fifth with 18:40.7 seconds for Eureka. Lewis was pleased with her performance and said her time was a “personal record.”

“Leah had the best race of her life,” Lewis said. “In our discussions about her strategy coming into the race, we talked about being able to finish in the top 15, but being top five was better than we expected. She always has had a big finishing kick, but we knew she would need to push the pace from further out from the finish for this race.”

Looking back, Lewis said this was a solid season for the Wildcats.

“The thing that I will take away from this season actually has nothing to do with any of the race results,” Lewis said. “The girls set really high goals for this season and everyone, from the fastest on the team to the slowest, bought into those goals. We had 40 or more girls showing up for summer practices before the season ever truly started because they all knew the amount of work that was required to achieve those goals.”

“If every one of my teams [is] dedicated to one goal like this team was, then we will always challenge for a spot at the state meet,” Lewis said.

High school girls volleyball

The Lafayette Lancers girls volleyball team finished second on Class 4 volleyball championships on Nov. 9.

The Lafayette Lancers finished second in Class 4 volleyball for the second consecutive year. Nixa scored a 25-17, 25-22 victory to earn its first state championship at the Missouri state Class 4 Championships on Nov. 9 at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The loss denied the Lancers another state crown.

Lancers coach Zach Young and his girls have been on the other side, winning six state championships. So, getting that close to adding a seventh crown and falling just short hurt.

“Our team was very disappointed,” Young said. “But there are over 100 teams that would have loved to [have] been in [our] shoes to have the opportunity to play in a state championship match and take home a second-place state trophy. It’s a great accomplishment.”

Lafayette finished with a 30-9 record.

“We were very excited to get back to the Final Four, especially with how difficult our road there was,” Young said. “We knew from the start of the season that this team had potential to be very good.”

Lafayette then ran into a very good team in the final match of the season.

“Nixa was a team that came into the match hungry and was not to be denied,” Young said. “I’m proud of our team for all that we accomplished this season, we just came up a little short in the big one.”

Morgan Isenberg led the way at state for Lafayette with 19 kills and 10 blocks. Brooke Borgmeyer added 19 kills. Allison Beaton had 16 kills and eight blocks. Shannon McLain had 75 assists. Maggie Rogan had 46 digs.

The Lafayette program remains an elite one in the state. The Lancers have won six titles in the last nine seasons and finished second in two others.

Young said that’s a run to be remembered.

“It’s crazy to think that our program has been in eight out of the last nine state championship matches, especially when you think about all of the great teams and coaches around the state.” 

“I think it speaks to the work ethic and commitment of our players, parents and coaches to have a goal each year of reaching our maximum potential and seeing where that leads us,” Young added.

Youth golf

The junior boys and girls teams from Kansas City was just too much once again for the St. Louis juniors. Team Kansas City Gold Association [KCGA] retained the Mid-America Cup with a 13-3 match victory over the Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association [MAGA] at the Mid-America Junior Cup event played at the Kansas City Country Club in Mission Hills, Kansas.

The Mid-America Junior Cup is a collaborative event between MAGA and KCGA. Each team consists of eight junior golfers, four boys and four girls, that play several match play formats including Singles, Four-Ball and Foursomes.

MAGA leads the series 9-8-4 over the 21-year history of the juniors event. MAGA last won the Cup outright in 2012.

The event started with the Foursomes format, boy/girl versus boy/girl sides. Team KCGA swept the morning Foursomes to take a 4-0 lead to the afternoon Four-Ball.

In the afternoon Four-Ball, the side of Brooke Biermann, a Lafayette junior, and Momo Kikuchi, a senior at Pattonville, put MAGA’s team on the board with a 4-3 victory. Team KCGA would take a commanding 7-1 lead into final day’s singles play only needing one point to retain the Cup.

Kikuchi and Mia Rallo, a sophomore at St. Joseph’s Academy, put the final two points on the board for MAGA with 1-up and 3-2 wins respectively. Team KCGA took six of the eight Singles matches to wrap the 2019 Mid-America Cup.

Players on the Mid-America Junior Cup team representing St. Louis this year were Braden Hoisington, a junior at Fort Zumwalt West; Ryan Walsh, a sophomore at Chaminade; Jack Guyot, a junior at Chaminade; Kal Kolar, a sophomore at Maplewood; Rylie Andrews, a freshman at St. Joseph’s Academy; and Rallo, Kikuchi, and Biermann.

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