For the second time in a week, a St. Louis-area soccer player has been named Gatorade Missouri player of the year. Westminster graduate Kirsten Davis was awarded the girls statewide honor Monday. Summit’s Billy Hency, a junior last season, received the boys honor for Missouri last week. “I’m definitely super excited about it,” Davis said. “It’s such a great feeling to be recognized. I’m super happy.”
The University of Mississippi commit helped the Wildcats to a third-place finish in Class 4. Graham sported a .396 batting average and drove in 41 runs. He also led the Wildcats in runs scored with 51 and was tied for the team lead in home runs.
Westminster coach Rich Van Gilst knew the answer. But he wanted to be certain. So Van Gilst slowly walked out to the hill to visit mound ace DJ Stewart in an early-season showdown against defending Class 5 state champion Francis Howell.
Westminster senior DJ Stewart was the first high school athlete from the state of Missouri to be picked in the Major League Baseball free-agent draft, when he became the Philadelphia Phillies’ 39th-round pick in the 40-round draft that wrapped up Wednesday.
Westminster senior DJ Stewart was the first high school athlete from the state of Missouri to be picked in the Major League Baseball free-agent draft, when he became the Philadelphia Phillies’ 39th-round pick in the 40-round draft that wrapped up Wednesday. “It feels great,” Stewart said.
Josh Pottebaum watched from the stands as the Westminster baseball team captured the Class 4 state championship in 2014. A member of the junior varsity team as a freshman, he remembers the on-field celebration like it was yesterday. “Everyone going crazy, jumping up and down,” Pottebaum said. “Even though I wasn’t part of it, it was a great feeling just to see it.” Pottebaum could be a big part of the revelry this time around.
The Westminster Christian Academy Wildcats will take a 20-game winning streak on the road Tuesday – with hopes to give retiring coach Rick Van Gilst a send-off to remember in a Class 4 sectional game. Westminster (31-1) will travel to play Clayton (11-15) at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday (May 24). The Wildcats advanced after they scored a 12-2 win over St. Charles to win the Class 4 District 6 championship played at Orchard Farm. It was the first district title after in three years for Westminster.
Westminster Christian Academy senior Connor Dolan was recently selected as a recipient for the Hobey Baker High School Character Award. Candidates are selected by their high school coach based on their demonstration of a number of exemplary character qualities including, positive attitude, outstanding sportsmanship, excellent work ethic, and coachability.
The Westminster Christian baseball team is back in the state playoffs and Wes Schad couldn’t be happier. During Schad’s freshman year, in which he was not on the varsity, the Wildcats won their fourth successive state title in 2014. But, even though he blossomed into a standout the last two years by hitting a combined .408 with six home runs and 33 RBI, Westminster failed to make it out of district play.
Westminster Christian Academy takes a nifty 27-1 record into postseason play. Postseason baseball begins Friday (May 12) and is scheduled (weather permitting) to wrap up by Wednesday. The Wildcats’ lone loss came April 1 to Vianney when Westminster was shut out 3-0. This marks the final postseason for Westminster coach Rich Van Gilst. The veteran coach is retiring after the season.
A senior forward and team captain, Davis continues to dominate the area soccer scene and sits alone atop the area scoring leaders with 50 goals and 10 assists. In the month of May, she has 12 goals and two assists in three games. On May Day, she had a hand in all four Wildcats’ goals with two goals and two assists in a 4-1 win over Rosati-Kain and kicked off this week by scoring four times in a 6-1 win over Clayton.
Westminster Christian Academy instituted a new award for senior athletes this year to honor the importance of the athletic program’s guiding principles, the Ten Pillars. Each year, the Senior Ten Pillars Award will be given to one senior female athlete and one senior male athlete to recognize each awardee for his or her embodiment of the Ten Pillars of Westminster athletics.
The GSLAU, Greater St. Louis Association of Umpires presented the 2016 Hal Whiteaker Memorial Award for High School Baseball Coach of the Year this past Tuesday, May 2, to Westminster varsity baseball head coach Rich Van Gilst.
Skippy Kiefer nominee; 10 Pillars Award; Softball Wildcat Award; four-year varsity athlete recognition; varsity softball captain; JV lacrosse captain
Westminster Christian Academy’s Steve Webb and Cliff DeGroot achieved a basketball rarity this year. The two seniors both topped the 1,000-point plateau late in the 2016-17 season. The 6-foot-3, 196-pound DeGroot was the Wildcats’ shooting guard while the 6-1, 184-pound Webb was the point guard. The two are close friends.
Westminster Christian Academy lefthander Matt Ottsen is a pitching headache for opposing teams and he has been dealing lots of problems in his first five starts for opposing hitters. On Wednesday, it was Priory’s turn to be on the wrong end of Ottsen’s mound artistry.
The ultimate swan song for Westminster baseball coach Rich Van Gilst would be walking off CarShield Field on June 2 with the Class 4 state baseball championship. Almost two months of baseball still is left to determine that, but the Wildcats’ players are doing their best to send out their coach on top. Van Gilst announced in December his 33rd season with Westminster would be his last as a coach, and his final team is off to a 18-1 start.
Westminster Christian Academy coach Rich Van Gilst heads the list of 20 inductees going into the St. Louis Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame. Van Gilst is retiring after 48 years of coaching high school baseball. He topped the 500-win plateau last spring. Van Gilst directed the Wildcats to four consecutive state championships from 2011 to 2014.
But the results are much the same for Westminster senior Kirsten Davis. The multi-talented Davis was moved from her normal forward spot to midfield for the Wildcats’ season opener Thursday against Marquette. The change didn’t seem to bother the speedy Texas Tech recruit, who scored twice and added an assist to help Westminster roll to a 4-2 win in the non-conference battle of area toughies.
Van Gilst recorded his 500th career win at the helm of the Wildcats last spring. In 1984, Van Gilst moved to St. Louis to teach math at Westminster Christian Academy. At the time, Westminster was a new Class 1 school and needed a baseball coach, so he took the job. He has never looked back. His teams won four consecutive state championships from 2011-2014. The first two were in Class 3 and the final two were in Class 4. The last one saw the Wildcats beat Pembroke Hill 5-0 in 2014.