During a boys basketball practice, the team watches film in the Main Gym. All winter teams are required to wear masks while practicing and playing due to new St. Louis County regulations for youth sports. (Sophia Scheller)
During a boys basketball practice, the team watches film in the Main Gym. All winter teams are required to wear masks while practicing and playing due to new St. Louis County regulations for youth sports.

Sophia Scheller

Six winter sports begin season competitions with virus precautions in place

December 2, 2020

As the weather turns colder, that also means high school sports move indoors for the winter season. In the fall, most of the sports were practiced and had games outside. That situation made it easier to social distance and take masks off to play. But, with all athletes inside and in closer quarters, and caseloads spiking in the area, COVID-19 guidelines become more important than ever,

The St. Louis County Public Health Department has strengthened the regulations for winter sports now that the players are indoors and the sports are increasing in contact frequency. High-frequency contact sports include five of the six winter sports: boys basketball, boys wrestling, girls basketball, girls wrestling and hockey. The only low-frequency contact sport is girls swimming and diving; however, the team is still required to wear masks unless they are in the pool for practice or competition.

According to the new youth sports guidelines that the St. Louis County’s Public Health Department released on Nov. 18, players are now required to wear masks during practice, and during games. They also have to social distance if a player is sitting on the bench or if they are in another confined area.

For the spectators, the statement is a bit more vague. It is up to the discretion of the schools in the St. Louis area to decide if they want spectators or not. However, anyone who is not essential to the game, like coaches, players and officials, are advised not to attend. At most, only two spectators per athlete are allowed to attend, and they must be masked and be socially distanted at the games.

 

Team looks to rebound from early exit last season

Boys basketball team holds teammates accountable, encourages safety

The 2019-2020 boys basketball season ended with a 10-16 record and getting knocked out of postseason play by Marquette High School. This season, the Lancers are ready to give it their all on the court in order to get a winning record. 

As far as COVID-19 precautions go, Head Coach Matt Landwehr has done what he believes he can do in his capacities as a coach in order to have the season run as smoothly as possible. 

“We have exhausted tons of hours going through procedures and paperwork and all those things to keep everyone safe and put our kids in the right spots and scheduling,” Landwher said. “We’ve added more morning practices to try to spread out guys in space and not have any crossing of groups.”

As far as team leaders, coaches expect returning varsity players like seniors Michael Henneberry and Aiden Rosen-McGinnis to step up and lead the team, both on and off of the court. 

They are planning to have 20 total dates of competition for the season, but with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, those dates have the possibility of changing.

Wrestlers battle for place on mat

The boys wrestling team prepares for season, challenging each other

During+practice%2C+senior+Na%E2%80%99zir+Dent+takes+down+junior+Max+Doehring.+Dent+took+down+Doehring+in+a+challenge+match+for+a+spot+on+the+varsity+lineup.+Dent+will+compete+in+the+152+pound+weight+class+in+the+first+duel+of+the+season+at+Timberland+on+Dec.+1.

Sophia Scheller

During practice, senior Na’zir Dent takes down junior Max Doehring. Dent took down Doehring in a challenge match for a spot on the varsity lineup. Dent will compete in the 152 pound weight class in the first duel of the season at Timberland on Dec. 1.

Last season, the boys wrestling team placed fifth in the Class Four State Championship. This season, four State qualifiers will return and they have even gained a transfer from Illinois who won a State Championship over the river. 

But this season has not been a typical year for these wrestlers. With COVID-19, Head Coach Joe Wier said the responsibility for the wrestlers to continue their season lies in their own hands. 

“[If] they go to parties they’re putting the team on their backs. Basically anywhere they go, the rest of the team goes,” Wier said. “We’ve already had a situation that came up because of someone going to a party. They have to realize that they’re not only ruining their season, but they’re also going to ruin everybody else’s season.” 

2019-2020 Illinois State Champion senior Joel Mylin defeated returning State qualifier junior Drew Doehring in a challenge match on Nov. 23 in the team’s Black and Gold Night for the 132-pound weight class, pushing Doehring to the 138-pound spot for the first dual. Other wrestlers to watch  include junior Tommy Hagan and senior Evan Boren, who earned third place and second place at State last year respectively. 

Their first official match will be on Dec. 2 against Timberland. In their match against Timberland last year, the Lancers won, 47-21, and they hope to do the same this year to set the tone for the season.

New leaders create confidence for girls basketball

Team brings new faces to court, inspires energy

On+Nov.+23%2C+senior+Brynn+Jefferies+takes+the+ball+down+the+court+against+Rockwood+Summit.+Jefferies+lead+the+team+in+scoring%2C+having+14+points+to+propel+the+team+to+victory.+The+Lancers+won+the+game+55-31+and+began+the+season+with+a+win.

Natalie Tomljenovic

On Nov. 23, senior Brynn Jefferies takes the ball down the court against Rockwood Summit. Jefferies lead the team in scoring, having 14 points to propel the team to victory. The Lancers won the game 55-31 and began the season with a win.

On Nov. 23 girls varsity basketball tipped off against Rockwood Summit at home, ahead of all the other winter sports. After finishing last year with a record of 10-16, the Lady Lancers were excited to start off the 2020 season with a win.

After losing key players from last season, the Lady Lancers look for a strong start from three of the returning seniors, Brynn Jeffries, Katie Reed and Brynn Roach.

In the 2019-2020 season, Jeffries led the team in points with 326 on record for the 26 game season. Roach and Reed also helped to lead the team, with 149 and 107 points scored respectively. Each of the three players had over 32% in field goals and over 55% in free throws.

Head Coach Denise Meyer is excited to have them step up in leadership positions, both on and off the court.

“To have that experience on the court and in the locker room with the girls and being great leaders is really an asset to have and I’m looking forward to watching all three of them contribute,” Meyer said.

Although the varsity and junior varsity teams haven’t technically started their seasons, in the preseason they’ve already seen what effect COVID-19 can have should one of them either contract the virus or be quarantined because of it. Over the two week pre-season, 10 players on junior varsity and one player on varsity have self-quarantined in order to keep their teammates safe.

Varsity is scheduled to play 21 games this season.

Against Rockwood Summit, the Lady Lancers beat their District rivals, 55-31. Jefferies led the team with 14 points scored on the night, and Roach followed close behind with 12 points. The two also made over 66% of their free throws for the night.

 

Young team works to improve on last year’s State finish

Girls swim and dive hopes to make name for themselves following the preceding team

In+a+match+against+Eureka+in+January+2020%2C+junior+Lindsey+Lohr+competes+in+a+swim+meet+against+Eureka+High+School.+Girls+swimming+and+diving+is+the+only+low+frequency+contact+winter+sport%2C+and+players+are+required+to+wear+their+mask+unless+they+are+swimming+in+the+pool.

Shannon Worley

In a match against Eureka in January 2020, junior Lindsey Lohr competes in a swim meet against Eureka High School. Girls swimming and diving is the only low frequency contact winter sport, and players are required to wear their mask unless they are swimming in the pool.

Last season, the girls swim and dive team finished 8th in the Missouri Class 2 State Championships.

Junior Dylan Moulton is a swimmer on the team and looks back fondly on the meet, and believes the event to encourage the team to get back to the State competition once again. She has high hopes for the end of the season and is excited to bond with the team even more this year.

“Last season was amazing. Almost the entire state team had their best times and we all got so much closer as a team. We also placed pretty high at State overall,” Moulton said. “I think this season is going to be really good. With COVID it’s going to be a bit different but everyone is working very hard and the coaches are working hard to keep up with training while keeping everyone safe.

This year, they hope to achieve more, with incoming freshman Ellie Kipper, Olivia Clerico joining the team along with returning cross country State Champion sophomore Grace Tyson both expected to be anchors for the team. For the upperclassman, their goal is to help them achieve as much as they can and feel comfortable.

“We have a lot of new incoming freshmen that are going to be on the team. Even a few freshmen who have a chance of making it to State this year,” Moulton said. “I’m really looking forward to becoming close as a team with the new freshmen. As an upperclassman, I want to help them and make the team as close as possible.”

Team bonding is going to be a bit different because there are no more conferences for the team or giant meets where many teams gather and the team is there for hours. Instead, it’s mainly going to be school against school until the State competition.

“It sucks that we won’t be able to have [the meets],” Moulton said. “Motivation is hard right now but we are all just looking forward to the things that we’ll be able to have next year.

The team also is returning with two senior leaders Rachel Brown and Zoe Bishop expected to lead the way for the young Lancer team. For Brown, she looks fondly at the memories that she had as an underclassman and hopes to continue on the traditions for the team while still having a great season herself.

“Last season was great. We had a great team dynamic and I had my best season with a lot of personal records,” Brown said. “We won’t have all the away meets or team bonding events like in year’s past this season, but we are finding ways to adapt our activities to still make them fun.”

The girls kick off the season at home against Wentzville Liberty High School on Dec. 2 at 4:15 p.m. The team is scheduled for another 11 dates of competition before State.

Lady Lancers return several top competitors from last season

Girls wrestling team seeks first place plaque this season

Updated+Missouri+State+High+School+Activities+Association+rules+state+that+wrestlers%2C+like+two+time+State+Champion+junior+Faith+Cole%2C+are+no+longer+permitted+to+wrestle+the+boys+in+duel+meets.+Though+there+is+this+setback%2C+Head+Coach+Bernice+Blanco+still+expects+Cole+to+go+far+in+her+wrestling+career+this+year.

Sophia Scheller

Updated Missouri State High School Activities Association rules state that wrestlers, like two time State Champion junior Faith Cole, are no longer permitted to wrestle the boys in duel meets. Though there is this setback, Head Coach Bernice Blanco still expects Cole to go far in her wrestling career this year.

On Dec. 2, the girls wrestling team will face Timberland in their first dual of the season. Two state medalists are returning for the upcoming season in senior Josette Partney and junior Faith Cole. In addition, State qualifier, junior Seraphina Blackmon rejoins the team that took second overall at State last season.

This year, these girls have their eyes on a first-place plaque, and Head Coach Bernice Blanco has high aspirations for the group. She believes this can be the season where if each of the girls could give their all, then the whole team would be able to celebrate the glory of placing first.

“They’re tough and they’re really getting it,” Blanco said. “So if they could stretch it out, everybody in the team could get a state medal. It’s [within reach]. They have the coaches, they have the work ethic, they can do it.”

With new restrictions in St. Louis County, all winter athletes except swimming and diving are required to wear a mask while practicing and competing.

Blackmon’s family was initially hesitant about joining the season. Although she is eager to return to the State competition, it was a difficult decision to rejoin the team after hearing about the new COVID-19 restrictions.

“[Before the season] my parents decided on not letting me wrestle, but then they came together and they thought about it and they said, ‘If you really are safe about it and you really want to wrestle, you are old enough to make your own decision’,” Blackmon said.

As for how this will affect the rest of the team as a whole, Blanco thinks the new hurdle will only make the team stronger.

“You know, I think wearing a face mask is only gonna make us tougher conditioning-wise,” Blanco said. “We learn how to breathe with the face mask on. It’s tough. It’s not easy, but we’ll manage.”

 

Hockey’s strong pre-season play gives hint to what’s in store for opponents

Returning players prove they are threat to other St. Louis area teams

Senior+Ryan+Duggan+races+down+the+side+of+the+rink+with+the+puck+against+a+Marquette+defender+in+a+pre-season+game.+The+Lancers+won+their+first+regular+season+game+against+Kirkwood+High+School%2C+4-2%2C+and+will+play+DeSmet+on+Dec.+4.

Sophia Scheller

Senior Ryan Duggan races down the side of the rink with the puck against a Marquette defender in a pre-season game. The Lancers won their first regular season game against Kirkwood High School, 4-2, and will play DeSmet on Dec. 4.

In the past, Lafayette hockey has been known to take on the ice in an aggressive way, making themselves a known threat for other teams. Whether near the very beginning or the very end of the season, the Lancers can hop on a winning streak so long that it takes them to the very top of the Conference.

In 2018, one of those win streaks helped boost the team to the Wickenheiser Cup Championships at Enterprise Center, where they beat Duchesne 4-2 to claim the title. After that win, the team moved to the Municipal Conference to play more difficult teams.

While they didn’t win the cup, the team ended their season with a 14-11-3 record. This season, however, they are more familiar with their opponents and look forward to winning more games. 

The team kicked off this year off with a pre-season that began in August. They won three out of the four games they played, even though they were supposed to play a total of five games. 

Junior Dane Kemp said, “[Our team is] rolling into their season with high spirits because their pre-season games have been well, we are a top contender in the surrounding area.”

Kemp also believes with the coaching staff and senior leadership on the team, Lancer Hockey is bound to have a great season despite any stresses that COVID-19 may have caused. 

“The captain Jack Thomas fills the role perfectly, [he’s] able to enhance the moral and play-style of his teammates for the better,” Kemp said. 

The pandemic has put the usual restrictions on the team and on their spectators. All players and coaches are required to wear masks in the locker room and on the ice and all spectators are required to wear a mask and social distance as they watch the game.

Kemp said the new restrictions will not stop the team from dominating in the regular season, and hopefully the post-season.

The team played its first regular season game against Kirkwood on Nov. 28. After a difficult battle against the Pioneers, the Lancers came out with a 4-2 win. Sophomore Andrew Knapp led the team in goals scored, having two on the night. Additionally, senior Ryan Duggan and junior Luke Carrico each had one goal.

Their next game will be on Dec. 4 against the DeSmet Spartans at Maryville Ice Center. The puck drops at 9:30 p.m.

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About the Contributors
Photo of Sophia Scheller
Sophia Scheller, Staff Reporter

Sophia is a senior, and this is her third year on the news production staff. If she's not taking photos, she can be found playing lacrosse, collecting vintage typewriters, reading or cuddling with her dog. She can be contacted at [email protected]

Photo of Sophia Wasson
Sophia Wasson, Staff Reporter

Sophia Wasson served on staff for two years.

Photo of Kevin Vera
Kevin Vera, Sports Editor

Kevin is a senior, and this is his second year on the digital media staff and his first year on the news production staff. When he is not reporting, Vera enjoys watching sports, working out and listening to music. After high school, Vera plans to major in journalism and pursue a career in sports broadcasting....

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