For a high school athlete, the opportunity to compete for a State title over the course of their four years is something rare and special. Althoff Catholic’s Abby Lanter and Mary Wessel share the unique experience of being the only two Crusaders to go to State in both volleyball and soccer their sophomore year, helping their teams to first and third place finishes respectively. Both girls agree the family-like, faith-filled atmosphere fostered by both teams, along with a lot of talent and great coaching proved to the recipe for success.
Faith, Family and Virtue
The women’s soccer and volleyball teams are among the most engaged teams in the school’s SportsLeader program. Based upon the pillars of virtue, mentoring, ceremony and Catholic identity, the Catholic virtue-based formation program was added to the Althoff Catholic athletic program two years ago. “With both teams we do a pre-season ceremony with our dad’s where they give us our jerseys and read a letter to us. Toward the middle of the season we have a ceremony where we read a letter to our moms and give her a rose,” said Abby. “I think the ceremonies show the love we have for each other as a team and help us stay close and bonded together.” The soccer team also ends each practice going over the virtue of the week and sitting together in a circle, holding hands and asking for prayer intentions. “If someone has a family member or a friend that needs prayers, we sit there and pray for them,” said Abby. “I think it shows what’s really at the center of our hearts and minds as we play.” As a transfer student, Mary has found the SportsLeader program to be a great opportunity for her and her parents to feel connected at Althoff Catholic: “SportsLeader deepened my connection with God and also with my parents. After the father’s jersey ceremony and mother’s letter reading, I became closer with them and they also became a closer part of the Althoff Catholic family. It was a very emotional and sentimental part of my life. The words that were exchanged are some I will keep in my heart forever, and I am eternally thankful.”
What Grade School did you attend?
Abby: St. Teresa
Mary: Immaculate Conception School in Columbia
Why did you choose Althoff Catholic?
Abby: “I chose Althoff Catholic because I loved the idea of having a family environment and atmosphere. Any member of the faculty and staff is always willing to help you anytime you need it. Also, there are quite a few Althoff graduates in my family.”
Mary: “I chose Althoff Catholic because I wanted the spiritual, academic, and extracurricular options they offered. Althoff is a second family and you’ll always feel loved and appreciated.”
Other than sports, what is your favorite thing about being a Crusader?
Abby: “One of my favorite things about being a Crusader is walking down the hallway and seeing so many of my friends I have made throughout my time here.”
Mary: “My favorite thing about Althoff is how welcoming everyone is. I transferred here my sophomore year and things could not have gone smoother. Due to all of the love that surrounds me every day, I feel like I’ve been here all my high school years.”
Are you involved in any other sports or clubs at Althoff Catholic?
Abby: “I am in Rotary, Student Ambassadors, Student Council, Crusader CRU, and FCA.”
Mary: “I am involved in FCA, ACE and Crusader Cru.”
What would you say to a current 8th grader considering Althoff Catholic?
Abby: “Althoff Catholic is such a welcoming environment. Anyone here will be willing to help you at any time in their day. If you need help studying for a test or doing homework, you can go to a teacher before or after school or meet with an upperclassman who will tutor you. If you are having a bad day, you can go to any of the teachers or counselors, and they will be happy to talk with you. If you are having trouble finding a class, you can ask anyone in the building, and they will be more than happy to send you in the right direction. You will not be alone, because someone will always be there for you when you need it.”
Mary: “I would say you should definitely come. There is something here for everyone so you will never feel left out. I promise you’ll love it!”
Both girls are interested in pursuing engineering in college. We are delighted that the girls and their families chose Althoff Catholic High School and look forward to more exciting accomplishments in the second half of their high school careers and beyond. To learn more about our extracurricular activities, academic offerings, and faith formation program visit althoffcatholic.org. To schedule a Crusader for a Day visit for your student or to register for Open House contact Lauren Haukapp in our Office of Admissions at 618.235.1100 ext. 116 or firstname.lastname@example.org.