Ten years ago, Tyler Crews helped the Granite City Warriors hockey team accomplish something it had never done — win North Division championships in two leagues in the same year.
“We had the magical year in ‘04 where we had a handful of losses in both leagues and won everything,” Crews said. “Then we almost won it again in ‘05. Unfortunately, we got beat by our nemesis (Alton) Redbirds. But we had some great hockey years in high school and we always had a lot of people there and it was a lot of fun.”
Now, Crews is enjoying a career in dentistry.
“I’m a dentist over in St. Louis,” said Crews, who graduated from Saint Louis University in 2009 and from dental school in 2013. “I’m there three days a week. I just finished my implant fellowship for dental implants two weeks ago. I’ll be working out of Granite coming up real soon on Fridays and I’ll be teaching dental school starting next term for them. So I’ll be all over the place.”
Crews was also one of the coordinators of the Granite City High Class of 2005 Reunion Saturday at the Granite City Elks Lodge. He was one of several athletes who attended the reunion.
“(Classmates) Emily Gavilsky, Ryan Meszaros and I pulled all of this together,” Crews said. “I think they did a fantastic job and it turned out real nice.”
Sarah Demaree, who helped the Granite City girls’ soccer team reach the state tournament in 2005, couldn’t believe she graduated from high school 10 years ago.
“It seems like it went in a blink of an eye,” said Demaree, who works as senior customer support specialist at Chase Bank in Columbus, Ohio. “It seems like it was yesterday because I can remember getting ready to get on the bus and I remember the escort that we had out of town going to state. It was really exciting.”
There were 76 Granite City athletes who graduated in 2005, the year George W. Bush was president, YouTube made its debut and “Crash” won Oscar for Best Picture.
“We had a lot of very dedicated athletes in our class,” said Crews, who also played golf. “We were dedicated not only to our sport, but also to making good grades and being good students and model athletes. To see what everybody accomplished when we were all there, we had such a great class and we had a lot of fun doing it. It’s been amazing to look back on.”
Jerry McKechan was the principal and Jim Greenwald was the athletics director at GCHS.
The Warriors captured North Division titles in the Mississippi Valley Club Hockey Association and the Mid-States league. They finished 28-14-3 and had 14 wins in both leagues.
Granite City’s hopes for a second consecutive MVCHA title ended in the North Division playoffs, when it was swept by Alton in two games. The Warriors lost to Marquette in three games in the first round of the Mid-States Challenge Cup.
Granite City had 10 seniors, seven of them played in all-star competition. Crews, Bo Ficker, Kevin Faulkner, Mike Basarich and Chad Steinmeyer played in the MVCHA all-star game. Olivia Antognoli — who went on to play hockey at Ohio State — and Mike Costillo represented the Warriors at the Mid-States all-star contest.
Faulkner died three months ago at age 28.
“We all miss him and we’re going to try to pull together a benefit hockey game in his memory in the next few months,” Crews said. “That will be the next big endeavor to see if we can do that for him and for his family in a nice remembrance thing.”
The Warriors turned in another outstanding season on the mats, going 32-4 and capturing Southwestern Conference, regional and sectional championships.
Granite City had eight wrestlers qualify for the state tournament — four of them were seniors (Jeff Carney, Greg Lofink, Brad Peach and Dean Roseman).
The Warriors won the Missouri Duals and the Springfield Tournament and competed in the dual team state tournament for the fourth year in a row.
The Warriors’ girls’ soccer team qualified for the state tournament for the first time in eight years after beating Edwardsville 2-1 in double overtime in the Class AA Quincy Sectional championship match.
Alex Hartwick, then a sophomore, scored the game-winning goal just 20 seconds into the second overtime period. Seven seniors — Demaree, Ashley Finch, Amy Million, Jamie Davis, Megan Gavlick, Lindsay Boyer and Jaleah Arico — were on the squad.
Demaree said going to state in her senior year was pretty special.
“It meant a lot,” Demaree said. “Not only it meant a lot for us as seniors, but it meant a lot for the incoming freshmen, sophomores and juniors. I feel like it kind of lit a fire underneath them and they kept on trucking. Ever since then, we’ve been amazing.”
The Warriors finished 20-6-1. They won 12 matches in a row before losing to New Trier in the first round of the state tournament.
The boys’ soccer team finished 12-8-1 after losing to Althoff in the regional championship game. The Warriors won seven of their last 10 matches.
The Warriors turned in one of their best seasons in school history, going 12-2, capturing their first Southwestern Conference championship in school history and qualifying for state for the first time.
Alex Biver, who died in a car accident in October 2010, was the only senior on the team. He finished with a career-best 198 average and came one pin shy of a 300 game in the first game of the Alton Sectional.
The girls’ team finished 4-10 after winning one match the year before. Stephanie Huff, then a junior, led the Warriors with a 162 average.
The Warriors’ boys’ track team qualified for the state meet in four events — shot put, discus, 1,600-meter run and 3,200-meter relay.
Jake Harris, who also graduated in 2005, competed at state in the shot put and discus and won a conference championship in the shot put. Two other seniors — Steve Werths and Mark Ryan — helped the 3,200-meter relay team qualify for state. Junior Jeremy Whitaker and sophomore Sean Halbrook also were members on that relay team. Whitaker also competed in the 1,600 at state.
The girls’ track team had two state qualifiers in sophomore Alexis Arnette in the 100 and junior Jacquisha Johnson in the discus.
Marley Coghlan became the first Granite City state qualifier in three years after finishing second in singles in the Belleville West Sectional. Coghlan, who graduated in 2006, was the only senior on the Granite City girls’ tennis team, which finished 5-10.
Al Lobdell retired after the season after 19 seasons as head boys’ tennis coach. The Warriors finished with four victories and didn’t get a state qualifier for the first time in five years.
The boys’ cross country team qualified for sectionals for the third year in a row; sophomore Leanna Accardi was the lone sectional qualifier for the girls’ cross country team.
The girls’ basketball team finished 10-16 after winning regional titles the last two years.
The football team finished 2-7 after pulling off a 35-28 win over Belleville West in overtime in its regular season finale.
The boys’ basketball and volleyball teams also finished with two-win seasons; the baseball team finished 11-25 despite beating Edwardsville for the first time in 11 years and the softball team finished 7-21, making it the third year in a row it lost 20 games or more.
The boys’ golf team went 5-12 after going 16-5 the year before and the girls’ golf team fielded a full squad for the first time.