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.
Perennial Class 4 power Westminster Christian Academy set the tone early against Parkway North by using the long ball to score. Senior first baseman Weston Schad blasted a two-run homer in the first inning, and sophomore catcher Jimmy Obertop added a solo homer in the second inning as the Wildcats jumped out to a three-run lead en route to an 11-3 victory in a Parkway Tournament game Tuesday at Parkway North.
“Hollywood” came through for the Westminster hockey team when the lights were at their brightest. Jason Kelly, who was given the nickname by Westminster coach Mike Richards, had a goal and an assist to lead the Wildcats to a 3-2 victory over Ladue in the Wickenheiser Cup championship game at Scottrade Center on Wednesday. Kelly was named the game’s MVP but gave the credit to his teammates.
Westminster Christian Academy hockey coach Mike Richards knows his Wildcats are aware of how big the last game of the season is. The Wildcats (15-9-5) will meet the Ladue Rams (24-3-1) in the Mid-States Club Hockey Association’s Wickenheiser Cup final at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday (March 8) at Scottrade Center. “WCA hockey has never played in a championship game of this magnitude,” Richards said. “Our goal at the start of the season was to win a championship either in the Challenge (Cup) or the Wickenheiser (Cup).”
Keith Herring waited for the job he wanted and now he has it. He is Westminster Christian Academy’s new football coach. Westminster has announced Herring will be the next varsity head coach of the football program. Herring, who had been the coach at Brentwood, is excited about the job. “I tell you what, it feels really good,” Herring said. “Everyone is very welcoming. Man, what a place Westminster is.”
Westminster Christian Academy senior forward Zach Nall had good vibes going into his club’s matchup on Saturday afternoon. Two hours later, Nall’s vibes were even better. The Wildcats broke loose for four goals in the second period and added two more third period goals in a 47-second span as Westminster claimed an 8-2 win over Summit in Game two of the Mid-States Wickenheiser Cup semifinal series.
The Westminster Christian Academy Wildcats will square off against the Summit Falcons in the Wickenheiser Cup semifinals. The top-seeded Wildcats (11-8-5) begin the two-game Mid-States Club Hockey Association series against the No. 6 Falcons (11-9-3) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 23) at Queeny Park. The second game will be at 3:15 p.m. Saturday at the Hardee’s Ice Plex. The other two teams remaining are No. 2-seeded Ladue and No. 10 Fort Zumwalt South.
Ten Westminster Christian Academy varsity field hockey players were recently named to the 2017 Keith Waldman-Optimal Performance Associates/The National Field Hockey Coaches Association High School Academic Squad. Selection for this honor requires that high school seniors and juniors who play on varsity teams must achieve a minimum, cumulative, unweighted GPA of 3.5 through the first quarter of the 2016-17 academic year.
Westminster Christian Academy’s varsity dance team recently competed at the 20th Annual St. Charles Classic Dance Competition and placed fourth in hip hop and fifth in the precision jazz category. The contest features junior and senior high dance and pom pon teams, in addition to community teams. Competition is fierce – with many of the top teams in the metro area competing for placement.
Westminster Christian Academy coach Tim Muehleisen has a youth squad but he is eager to see how they compete in the Class 3, District 2 tournament. The two-day event begins Friday (Feb. 10) will be held at Warrenton. Teams competing are Clayton, Fort Zumwalt East, Fort Zumwalt South, Hannibal, Hazelwood East, Ladue, Liberty, McCluer, MICDS, Parkway Central, Parkway North, Parkway West, St. Charles, University City, Warrenton, and Westminster Christian Academy.
Kent Kehr knew what was coming. The Westminster girls swimming and diving coach calmly walked to the edge of the pool — and dove into the water head first. His overjoyed girls quickly followed. The Wildcats earned the round of revelry by rolling to their second successive Metro League championship Wednesday in the seven-team meet.
Kirsten Davis and Sydney Walker couldn’t be much closer — even though their college destinations are more than 800 miles apart. The Westminster senior girls soccer players signed their national letters of intent Wednesday, with Davis finalizing a commitment of more than two years to play for Texas Tech and Walker staying home at St. Louis University.
Staying ahead throughout the second half, the Westminster basketball Wildcats (9-4) were able to hold off Washington (7-6) in the championship game of the Blue Jays’ own tournament Monday and won, 71-63.
Seven players from five teams, including four area players, were selected to the all-tournament team at the Washington Tournament Monday. The champion Westminster Wildcats had the MVP, senior Steve Webb, along with senior Cliff DeGroot. Washington, who fell to the Wildcats in the title game, 71-63, had juniors Conlan Jarvis and Cason Suggs make the team.
One of the most dynamic receivers in the area, the 5-foot-8 and 150-pound Conway caught 41 passes for 973 yards and scored eight total touchdowns. A first-team all-state selection by the Missouri media and the MFCA.
Westminster defeated St. Charles 62-52.
Junior forward Haley Schmer was recently named to the All-Metro Third Team for field hockey. She joins 11 other student-athletes from the area who were also named to the team. Schmer is the first field hockey player in Westminster history to receive this honor.