It's a Record Season for UCHS Sports: Junior Jalen Corn Leads the Way In Boys Soccer
UCHS junior Jalen Corn did something this season no other boys’ soccer player in the history of the high school has ever managed to do.
He not only demolished the record for the most goals by one player in a season – by 16 goals. He also scored 12 winning goals – another first for UCHS.
It was all part of a spectacular season in which the University City Boys Soccer Team culminated their season with a 14-game winning streak. That streak ended earlier this month against John Burroughs School when the boys went down 5-1 in the dstrict championship game.
Even in defeat, the team shined, Jalen said.
“We held Burroughs to no goals in the second half and scored,” he said of the team’s resilience.
Coming into the season, Jalen said he was confident it was going to be a strong season for the team. He’d been playing soccer since he was five, and he felt he was primed for a really good year.
“We played well last year, and we work hard. We really were bonded as a team.
Jalen, a captain, scored 46 goals this season. He finished the season as the top scoring soccer player both in goals and winning goals in the St. Louis region. Jaden also had tremendous help from sophomore Patrick Fuller who also set a school record with 26 assists.
Coach Thomas Henson said the team excelled with additional great play from the team’s defense.
Earlier this season the St. Louis Post-Dispatch identified Jalen as a player to watch out for, citing “His superb creative skills” that produce numerous scoring opportunities for his teammates.
Henson said Jalen worked hard for the results.
“He’s one of the fastest players to dribble with the ball,” Henson said.
Fellow teammates for the season were: freshmen Jeramie Blount, Elias Klein, Eli Minor, Larryn Porter and Taveiyon Ward; sophomores Lucas Dean, Inigo Larizoitia, Daniel Looby, Christie Mapengo, Peter Murphy, Chance Pinkston, Aidan Shostak and Marion Wright; juniors Lawson Barnard, Ivan Coble, Timothy Gibson, Adam Holahan, Kenwyn Jones, Nate Martin and Cameron Smith; seniors Jacob Cherry, Marco Pluma and Gunnar Wurst; and team manager Zauria Billingsly.
In other exciting sports news:
The Girls Softball Team went undefeated in their conference and won their conference championship before falling in the first round of the District playoffs. It was their first post-season win since 2009 and their first Conference championship in 20 years. The team finished 8-0 in the conference, 11-2 for the regular season and 12-3 post-season. Team members were Victoria Cushshon, Jada Glass, Calese Hampton, Tarren Harris, Keani Jacobs, Traonna Martin, Annalise Overlin, Kelis Petty, Mary Ann Rhoades, Jaiden Smith, Staci Stevenson, Angel Wells, Bre Westbrook and Ayanna Williams. Congratulations to the team and Head Coach Craig Morris and Assistant Coach John Bass.
The coaches also had a secret weapon this year. University City resident Rachel Hanson, former head sotftball coach at Stanford University, served as a mentor to the team through her organization GameChanger Athletics. Hanson worked with the team on failure and resilience and will continue to work with the players to prepare them for college. Melanie Steen of STL TV's Inside Sports recently interviewed the coaches and players for a broadcast on the team. See the video above.
UCHS junior Merrick Hoel placed 17th in the Class 3 State Cross Country Meet at Gans Creek on Nov. 9, 2019. This is Merrick’s third consecutive year to qualify for State competition. She placed 3rd overall in District competition with a time of 19:36, her fastest time prior to state run.
The Varsity Football Team had their first playoff win in five years. They drove further into playoff territory and reached the District semi-finals where they were taken down by Trinity Catholic.
It was a fantastic season turnaround for a program that went 0-10 the season before Coach Jason Wells took over in 2017 with just 18 kids in the program (nine of them seniors). Wells said he’s been building relationships ever since to raise confidence and teamwork and to get players to take chances outside of their comfort zones both on and off the field.
Under Wells the team went 2-8 in 2017. In 2018 they went 1-9. But this year everything finally clicked. The Lions finished 6-5 overall, won the distinction of hosting a playoff game at the high school stadium, and gained back a real sense of pride.
“They worked hard and they worked harder and then they got to enjoy the fruits of their labor,” Wells said.
Wells has grown the football program to more than 40 students – enough to restart a solid J.V. team this year. More importantly, he said his players are acting like school leaders. Teammates like DeAngelo Davis and Dariaun Pointer stepped up as inspirational leaders who set examples on how to work, behave and play like champions both on and off the field. The team took it to heart, Wells said.
“You can see it in the hallways in the school,” Wells said. “ The whole culture is really just changing before our eyes.”