Youngsters with emotional and behavioral issues at Edgewood Children’s Center. Kids with hearing impairments at Central Institute for the Deaf. Families looking for a place to stay at St. Louis Transitional Hope House. These are just a few of the 250 nonprofits that benefit every year from funding provided by Old Newsboys Day.
More than 80 kids put on new complimentary school uniforms each year through the help of Manasseh Ministries. “It helps their self-esteem and motivates them--and lets them know someone cares,” notes Rev. Richard Jackson.
C.J. Jones is the top youth 800-meter runner in the nation. And he has the medals to prove it. Jones, a soon-to-be junior at Cardinal Ritter, spent his summer collecting national championships. He brought home four—count ‘em, four—national titles between the last week of July and the first week of August. He even set a new national record.
Lex Kaplan is spending his summer vacation like most Americans. He’s taking in some sights, getting plenty of sun and riding on the open road. Except he’s doing it with eye black on his face, a bat in his hand and his traveling buddies aren’t his family, they’re his teammates.
As the little girl pulled item after item out of the backpack, each question was the same: Are these socks mine? Is this T-shirt mine? Is this toothbrush mine? The volunteer for Project Backpack, an organization that provides basic necessities to children removed from hostile residential environments, reassured her that the items were indeed hers. The little girl then asked, I don’t have to share the toothbrush with anyone?
If Jenn Miller was any tougher, she’d open bottles with her teeth. Miller, a midfielder, was the best all-around player for the Cor Jesu soccer team this spring, and everyone knew it. When the whistle blew, Miller had to be, more often than not, ready to rumble. Soccer is notoriously physical, and the midfield is where bodies collide, legs get intertwined and the occasional elbow introduces itself to a rib cage. In the midfield, you can turn around into someone’s chest one minute and the next be admiring those pretty, puffy clouds high in the sky.
Jordan McClendon looked out into the crowd at Dwight T. Reed Stadium in Jefferson City and was overjoyed. There, in front of thousands of people, the freshman from John Burroughs was announced as the state champion in the Class 3 shot put.
Sam Erlinger is on another level. Whether it’s in the pool, the classroom or the lab, the St. Louis University High senior water polo standout excels. He was one of four students in his class to score a perfect 36 on his ACT. “I took it twice. I got a perfect score the second time,” the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Erlinger says. “There was a little moment of disbelief.”
Leeanne Hurster is waiting. Waiting for reality to set in. Waiting for this dream to end. Waiting for her next practice to start because there’s no way it’s over. But it is. Hurster and her fellow John Burroughs girls’ lacrosse teammates steamrolled their way to their second consecutive Missouri Scholastic Lacrosse championship Saturday at Lindenwood University.
Alex Groesch has fleet feet and nimble fingers. A sprinter for the St. Louis University High track and field team, Groesch is an accomplished cellist. He somehow finds the time to balance his athletic, musical and academic endeavors while performing at a high level in each (he’s carrying a 4.1 grade point average). “I stay up super late,” Groesch, 17, says. “I stay up as late as it takes.”
Jehu Chesson has tasted the track. He’s face-planted on the track. He’s bled on the track. He’s clipped his toes, ankles and everything in between on the hurdles. He’s gone head over heels. And every time Chesson, 18, has picked himself up, dusted himself off and gone back to work. “Every young hurdler learns. You have to overcome your fear of the hurdle. You’re going to hit it. You’re going to fall,” says Chesson, Ladue’s standout track athlete. “The willingness to get back up, that’s the hardest part.”
Dick Westbrook keeps looking over his shoulder, hoping he’ll be there. The longtime Visitation girls’ soccer coach still wonders. Will he pop in? Will he come back? Will we really go the whole season without him?
Terry Cochran buys in bulk. Food is bought by the shopping cart, clothes by the pound. When you have five boys running around your house, there’s never a dull moment, enough space in the car or enough time in your day to spread yourself around.
Dave Robben doesn’t talk about his age. You can bend his ear as long as you like—just don’t ask how old he is. Besides, he’s not going to tell you anyway. Just know that age brings wisdom, and in a soccer landscape dotted with deities, Robben is among the wisest.
RICK GRAEFE / JOURNAL The star of the girls' 100 meter dash at Friday's Suburban West Track Festival.
Matt Brown has hands that could crush granite. They’re so big, instead of gloves, he has to wear oven mitts. They’re so big, he has a hard time reaching into his pockets to fish out change. But those hands do serve a purpose. Brown uses them to crush baseballs—lots and lots of baseballs. A junior third baseman for the Vianney baseball team, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Brown enters his third season of varsity action as one of the area’s (pardon the pun) heavy hitters.
Steven Emde is a marvel to those who watch him and a magnificent machination to those who have to defend him. The Parkway West senior water polo player is among the most lethal things you’ll find in a chlorinated pool. Last year, Emde scored 112 goals and handed out 56 assists. He was named the All-Metro Player of the Year as he helped the Longhorns to a 25-7 record and a third-place finish in the state tournament.
The talk all weekend on the sidelines of Mizzou Arena was centered around one thing—What is wrong with St. Louis basketball? For the first time in a long time, maybe ever, St. Louis had a team playing in each of the girls’ and boys’ Class 4 and 5 state semifinals.
George Suggs collapsed on the bench, draped a towel over his face and hung his head. Tears flowed freely as the finality of it all washed over him. The 6- foot-10 Vianney post had just fouled out of the Golden Griffins Class 5 quarterfinal against defending champion McCluer North and he knew. He knew there wouldn’t be another game. He knew there wouldn’t be another practice.When he and his fellow seniors walked out of the Mark Twain Center on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus, he knew their high school careers were done. And that thought burned Suggs and the others like a thousand paper cuts.
Sadie Stipanovich doesn’t have butterflies in her belly before big games. She has pterodactyls flapping around in there. The junior center for the Westminster girls’ basketball team, Stipanovich gets so nervous her friends can see it on her face. “They’ll say, Look at Sadie—she looks like she’s going to throw up,” Stipanovich says with a laugh.
Kelsey Luna came home last week. The one-time standout point guard for the St. Joseph’s Academy basketball team was in town doing something unimaginable. She was here to help beat the Angels.
Jon Connelly was blessed with many gifts. He’s quick, and he’s tougher than The New York Times crossword puzzle. He has a competitive streak that knows no bounds. He’s strong, and he’s brighter than the full moon on a cloudless night.
Every time Erin Nelson pulls on her St. Joseph’s Academy jersey, she shakes her head in wonderment at the thought. There was a time when wearing the green and white was just a dream. She remembers vividly being a teeny, tiny elementary school kid watching the Angels play ball and wanting nothing more in the world than to one day do that, too. “In second grade, I went to my first St. Joe game, and I watched Mackenzie Stirmlinger,” Nelson, 17, says. “I just fell in love with St. Joe.”
◆ Crushed Red-Urban Bake & Chop Shop, the latest eatery from restaurateur CHRIS LAROCCA, is slated to open in February at 8007 Maryland Ave. in Clayton, the former home of Dick Blick Art Materials. The new restaurant will offer quick lunch options and breakfast and dinner service, as well. Highlights of the new eatery include wood-fired pizza ovens that can turn out a finished pie in 90 seconds, some 40 salad ingredients that will be chopped to order, as well as organic dressings.
What’s not to love about being a goalie? Your job is throw yourself in front of a rock-hard plastic puck and stop it by any means necessary, which includes using your head or face. Wait a minute, that doesn’t sound fun, it sounds like madness.