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High school wrestler pursues Olympic dreams

CBC senior Joshua Saunders finished eighth in the recent Olympic Trials Qualifier in Fort Worth, Texas.

Saunders wrestled at 143 pounds. He lost to Evan Henderson, of the Titan Mercury Wrestling Club. In the consolation round, Saunders won by fall over Joey Lazor, of the Panther Wrestling Club. Saunders went 3-3 in the meet.

CBC coach Cornell Robinson said he was proud of what Saunders accomplished.

CBC’s Josh Saunders has his sights set on the Olympics. [Photo provided by CBC]

“He had a chance to place in the top 5 but a top 8 finish against college kids is pretty impressive,” Robinson said. “He was the only high school kid in the country to place in the qualifier. He’s a competitor. He thinks he can finish higher. He’s wrestling against grown men. He wears down. The competition at that level is so intense.”

Saunders, who is back competing with the Cadets for the rest of the season, will try to compete in the Last Chance Olympic Qualifier in March in Pennsylvania. Robinson said Saunders also will try to make the Junior World team again. That competition will be held in April in Las Vegas. Saunders was on the cadet and Junior World team at the same time two years ago.

“That’s unheard of,” Robinson said. “It’s a goal for him. He didn’t make this last year and that’s his inspiration to do so much this year.”

Saunders will attempt to win his fourth state championship at CBC next month.

“Hopefully, this will give him a lot of confidence,” Robinson said. “He believes in himself. He understands his destiny and that’s to be special. He tries to fit in and be a normal high school kid on the team. I always tell him, when you have a gift, you have to use it.

“I’m glad to have him back and have him in the room with us. It’s been great. I’ve known him since he was 9. From the sixth grade on, I saw something in him. His IQ on understanding stuff is so high. He’s very precise in everything he does.”

Eureka junior Kate Hillyer and senior Annika Herbert with their 1,000-point balls.
[Photo courtesy of Eureka High]

High school girls basketball

In a recent 67-50 home win over Parkway West, two Eureka athletes reached big milestones.

Senior Annika Herbert and junior Kate Hillyer each topped 1,000 points in the game. Seven girls have eclipsed 1,000 points in their careers as Wildcats.

Herbert needed 17 points in the game. She scored 19 points in the win over the Longhorns, who are coached by former Eureka standout Allie Boedeker. Hillyer entered the game needing 30 points to reach 1,000. She did so by nailing two free throws.

“It was very special for Annika and Kate to do it at home, plus for everyone in attendance,” Eureka coach James Alsup said. “It was our Feeder Program Night and all of the boys and girls high school teams played at home that evening in front of our future players. The varsity girls played before the varsity boys so when Annika and Kate reached their milestones the gym was packed.

“Everyone that I have talked to has said that they have never seen two players get to 1,000 in the same game, let alone two from the same team.”

High school girls swimming

Westminster Christian Academy junior Margo O’Meara

Westminster Christian Academy junior Margo O’Meara committed to Duke University recently. The two-time state champion performed well in the prestigious COMO Invitational that was held in Columbia on the University of Missouri campus.

O’Meara won the diving competition. She set a school-record point total of 606.55. The second-place diver had just 419.70 points.

O’Meara also swam on three relays in the meet. She was on the Wildcats’ 200-freestyle relay. She also swam on the team’s 200-medley relay and 400-free relay. All three relays recorded state-qualifying times.

High school boys wrestling

The Westminster Christian Academy wrestling Wildcats won the recent Metro League Tournament with 143 points. Priory’s second-place total was 126.

Six Wildcats won their weight class while two others came in second at the meet on their campus. Last year, Westminster had no individual champions.

Westminster coach Jacob Wadley likes how his team is performing.

“We are in a position of progression. Our expectations are to not have any excuses,” Wadley said. “We walked out of last year’s Metro League Tournament knowing that the talent we had returning this year was more than enough to win this year. Our opportunity to grow is right in front of us every day.

“We performed as expected for the tournament. It’s always our goal to be free of anxiety and flow in the moment.”

It’s the first Metro League Tournament championship for the program since 2014, Wadley said.

College men’s soccer

Kipp Keller

Saint Louis University freshman defender Kipp Keller enjoyed a solid first season with the Billikens.

Keller, a Principia graduate, recently was named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com Freshman Best XI first team. The 11-man team includes the top freshmen in NCAA men’s soccer from this past season.

Keller was impressive in his rookie season with the Billikens. He was a big part of a defense that yielded just 19 goals, including only four in league play. Keller also scored the golden goal in the Billikens’ thrilling 2-1 double overtime win against SIUE, which secured the Bronze Boot.

Previously, Keller was tabbed second-team All-Conference by the Atlantic 10 and was named to the league’s All-Rookie team. In addition, he was voted second-team All-Region by the United Soccer Coaches.

“Kipp is a tremendous competitor and leader,” SLU coach Kevin Kalish said. “He is the type of player who makes everyone around him better. Kipp is a versatile player who can compete in a number of different positions in the midfield or as a central defender. His range of passing, ball-striking ability and composure on the ball make him an ideal fit for our identity as a team.”

Keller was a first-team all-state selection at Principia. He helped lead the Panthers to a state championship in his freshman year.

Calling all golfers

Area golfers can get a jump-start on the 2020 golf season when SSM Health welcomes the 11th annual St. Louis Golf Expo.

The event will be held Feb. 7-9 at the St. Charles Convention Center.

The St. Louis Golf Expo is the can’t-miss event of the year for golfers in the St. Louis metropolitan area, giving golfers their first chance to see and swing clubs that will be the talk of the golf world in 2020.

Additional attractions include a free indoor driving range, skills contests, free lessons from top pros, a fully stocked 19th hole lounge, and a special area and activities for kids.

For a complete list of hours, ticket prices, exhibitors and activities, visit stlgolfexpo.com.

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