Fall Sports Practices Begin At SHS
Fall sports practices began around the state Monday and the seasons begin for most teams in just three weeks.
After years of coming up against powerhouse St. Francis Borgia in the district tournament, the Lady Eagles found themselves in a new field.
They made history Oct. 18, 2016 when they swept St. Clair and Union to win the school's first district championship since 1981.
Four days later, Sullivan advanced all the way to quarterfinals.
The Lady Eagles turned their season around a week before the district tournament. They had fallen to 12-13-2 with a loss to Class 2 state runner-up Hermann, but reeled off six straight victories.
It's not often a team finds itself in the state championship game with only one senior, but that was the story of the 2016 Lady Eagles.
Coming off back-to-back losing seasons where they still captured the district championship, Sullivan came into 2016 with a roster full of freshmen and sophomores and went on to face defending Class 3 champion Warrenton in the title game.
Warrenton won 3-0, but the Lady Eagles are primed to be even better. Sullivan was just 5-6 on Aug. 31. They won 17 of their next 22 games, won three games in the district tournament, defeated Eldon and West Plains in sectionals and quarterfinals, then pulled off a comeback against a senior-laden Cape Notre Dame team in the semifinals.
Sullivan advanced to the state tournament for the first time since 2011, had their highest finish in the state since 2003 and won their ninth straight district title.
Devon Kerckhoff was Sullivan's top runner a year ago. The senior took second in the Four Rivers Conference meet, second at the district meet and set his personal best with a 16th place finish at the Class 3 state meet.
Sullivan jumped out to a 4-1 start in 2016, but the Eagles endured a tough midseason stretch that included several close losses.
Sullivan was 8-14 and had a 1-0 loss to Hancock in the first round of the district tournament. The Eagles lost leading scorer Jacob Rohrer as the season was winding down. Rohrer finished with 12 goals in 15 games. Ethan Kackley had 10 goals as a freshman.
Goalkeeper Chase Starr recorded eight shutouts and allowed just 35 goals in 22 games.
The Eagles football team is practicing from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. this week. Sullivan is led by Jimmy Tucker, who replaces Andy Arnette after four seasons. Tucker guided Bowling Green to the Class 3 state championship game in 2009 and to the Final Four in 2010. He is coming off a two-season stint at North County High School in Bonne Terre where he served as offensive coordinator.
Sullivan will host Jamboree next Friday.
The season kicks off Friday, Aug. 18 against Park Hills Central.
Sullivan went 5-6 in 2016 and won their first playoff game since 2013 when they took down Logan-Rogersville 46-30 on Oct. 21.
The Eagles had 23 seniors on the roster and lost their first four games of the season before rallying to win five of six.
Their final two losses of the season were against Owensville, which won the district championship.