Experienced Panthers look to qualify for State tourney

After last year’s strong season that culminated with an appearance in the State Finals, the Panthers will look to replicate their success.

Seniors Nick Fleming and Michael Sullivan return as team captains.

“Both are state finals qualifiers, and will lead the team with their excellent work ethic, character and leadership,” Coach Ray Cordon said.

Senior Shane Watson and junior Jonathan Mielke have returned to the varsity squad, while senior Austin Riba, juniors Jordan Holmes and John McKeown and freshman Nick Mullen fight to fill the  remaining positions.

The junior varsity started its season on March 16 at a double-dual match at Triad.

The varsity team hosted Alton on March 30 for their season opener.

Ms. Erin Thoman is the new assistant coach.

Also, Mr. Dennis Sullivan, the engineer for the City of O’Fallon, has signed on as a volunteer coach.

Together, Coach Thoman and Coach Sullivan will guide the junior varsity through their season while Coach Cordon handles the varsity duties.

“We go by the motto ‘you play like you practice,’ and the practices have been quite encouraging,” Coach Cordon said. “Overall, the competition in both the dual matches and tournaments looks quite  strong for the varsity squad.”

As long as the team practices hard and plays like they practice, O’Fallon’s chances this season are promising.

“The Southwestern Conference is loaded with talent this year and the tournament competition is always super tough. Everyone will have to be at the top of their game,” Cordon said.

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