O'Fallon Progress

Panther athletes score big in All-SWC voting

O’Fallon’s Mason Hewitt outruns Normal West defenders to score a touchdown.
O’Fallon’s Mason Hewitt outruns Normal West defenders to score a touchdown. znizami@bnd.com

A total of 49 O’Fallon Township High School athletes were designated as top performers in their respective sports for the recently completed 2016 fall sport season. The Panthers who qualified as top-tier athletes were selected in voting conducted by the coaches of the Southwestern Conference and represent the “best of the best” in league play in football, volleyball, golf, cross country and soccer.

The Panthers football team and the cross country runners headed the All-SWC voting — each program securing 14 roster spots. Six of the 14 football players were named to the first team. Three of them are offensive players: record-breaking running back Mason Hewitt, offensive lineman Malik Giddens and wide receiver Ronnie Anthony. Defensive first-team selections were defensive back Herm Rich, linebacker Richard Cosey and defensive back Deion Norfleet.

O’Fallon’s second-team All-SWC players were tight end Jarvis Smith and offensive lineman Brian Ahle. Eight players secured third team awards: Offensive lineman Ryan Sedlacek, running back Richard Cosey, quarterback Christian Perez, kicker Brooks Hackney, linebacker Zaine Roe and defensive back Herm Rich.

O’Fallon’s two state-qualifying cross country squads dominated the voting with seven female and seven male runners chosen to fill All-SWC roster spots. Among the 14, five runners were named to the league’s first team. Brooke Witzel and Kaitlyn Walker were the girls first-team picks, while seniors Joey Black and Chris Conrad ended impressive four-year varsity careers as two of the conference’s best runners. Sophomore Will VanAlstine, a rising star, secured the third first-team slot.

O’Fallon’s second-team All-SWC girls cross country runners are Emma Jordan, Sophie Wichlac, Katie Mank and Madeline McKittrick. The male second-team selectees are Lucas Capistrant and Matthew Gilster. Third-team runners are Danna Jenkins, Zion Ward and Hayden Ybarra.

O’Fallon’s 2016 girls golf team re-wrote most of the existing school records. Their consistent scoring and major-tournament victory string during the fall were reflected in the league coaches’ All-SWC roster choices. Four of the six first-team golfers played for the Panthers. The quartet of top Southwestern Conference golfers is made up of Emily Marrs, Brooke Boatman, Alyssa McMinn and Natalie Meinkoth. Two additional members of the 2016 OTHS girls squad also made their mark in league play. Briana McMinn filled a second-team slot, and Liz Boehning was named to the third team.

Six Panther soccer players landed spots on the All-SWC roster. Senior scoring leader Jake Koenig and junior Nathan Martin topped the list of OTHS selectees — each earning spots on the first team. Austin Wilkerson collected a second-team honor, along with O’Fallon’s solid goalkeeper — senior Joe Guithes.

The final two Panthers to earn All-SWC soccer slots were seniors Aris Cesa and Preston Porter — both selected to the third team.

Five Lady Panther volleyball players were included among the league’s top athletes. Seniors Mackenzie Koester and Imani Williamson were the top OTHS vote-getters, earning first-team designations. Junior Elise Smith, one of the Panthers’ top front-line players, was tabbed as a second-team selection. Rounding out the list of O’Fallon’s All-SWC volleyball standouts were senior Cassie Reno and sophomore defensive specialist Lauren LePere.

The four OTHS Panther boys golfers on the All-Southwestern Conference team include: first team, Logan Harris, senior; second team, Matt Mannisi, senior; third team, Logan Lowery, freshman; and third team, Taylor Patterson, sophomore.