ST. LOUIS - Saint Louis head softball coach Christy Connoyer has announced the signing of five student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to attend the University and play for the Billikens beginning next fall.
The SLU recruiting class is composed of infielder/utility player Taylor Meeks (Topeka, Kan./Hayden H.S.), infielder/utility player Alex Nickel (Steger, Ill./Marian Catholic H.S.), outfielder/utility player Mackenzie Peter (St. Peters, Mo./Fort Zumwalt South H.S.), catcher Hailey Weavers (Freeburg, Mo./Helias Catholic H.S.) and outfielder/utility player Macie Wheeler (Carbondale, Ill./Carbondale H.S.).
"We're very excited to have five quality student-athletes join the Billiken softball program," Connoyer said. "Versatility and overall athletic ability make this a tremendous class.
"All of these student-athletes have a passion for softball and a love of competition," Connoyer said. "They have talent in the classroom as well, and they realize the importance and value of a SLU education."
Meeks will serve as Hayden's team captain for a fourth consecutive season in 2013. She has earned first-team All-City honors three times, first-team All-League plaudits twice and second-team All-League accolades once. Meeks owns a .492 batting average and a .535 on-base percentage in high school competition and has played two seasons of travel ball with the Kansas City Peppers 16U squad.
Meeks also has competed in tennis and cross country. She is a National Honor Society member, a four-year member of Hayden's superior honor roll and a Kansas Honors Program recipient.
"Taylor is a solid athlete who brings great experience from her summer ball travel team," Connoyer said. "She can hit for power and drive gaps, ultimately getting on base to generate offense. Taylor is a versatile athlete who loves the sport and brings a passion to play every day."
Nickel set school records for batting average (.558) and hits (63) last season and was named All-Conference, Illinois Times All-Area and Southtown Star All-Area. She also was Marian Catholic's Most Valuable Player and earned Patch Region Athlete of the Month honors. In addition to setting school marks for batting average and hits, Nickel landed on the school's single-season top-10 lists in home runs, RBIs, triples and runs.
Nickel made the All-Conference and Illinois Times All-Area teams as a sophomore. She hit .468 in travel ball last summer as a member of the Lemont Rockers Gold Oz team. In the classroom, Nickel has been an honor roll student since her freshman year.
"Alex has speed, power and agility," Connoyer said. "Defensively, she has great hands and a strong arm. Alex can ignite an offense with gap-shot consistency or home run power. Her competitiveness and drive to excel, together with her athletic ability, will transition well to the college game."
Peter earned a place on the All-State second team and the All-District, All-Region and All-Conference first teams in each of her first three years. She added Gateway Athletic Conference Central Player of the Year plaudits last season when she hit .474. Peter was a first-team All-Metro selection as a sophomore and collected team Most Valuable Player accolades the past two years.
Peter also is a member of the St. Louis Chaos travel team. She has made the Academic All-Conference team and the Fort Zumwalt South honor roll all four years and is a National Honor Society member.
"Mac is a St. Louis-area athlete who flat out hits the ball," Connoyer said. "She is a competitor and is driven to improve her game each time she steps on the field. She loves to play the game and has an exceptional work ethic.
"Power and speed define Mac's offense and also are crucial to her defense," Connoyer said. "She has the ability to steal a base and track down a ball. She has a smooth, powerful swing and a strong, accurate arm."
Weavers is a three-time All-District player who was recognized as Helias Catholic's 2012 Most Valuable Player after posting a .503 batting average, a .450 on-base percentage and a .600 slugging percentage. She also was selected the team's Defensive Player of the Year in 2010 and 2011.
Weavers hit .327 as a member of the Originals Gold (Bernholtz) travel team and was tabbed MVP of the 2012 Heartland World Series. She is a four-year honor roll student and an Academic All-State honoree.
"Hailey is such a consistent performer," Connoyer said. "She has a confident presence behind the plate that solidifies a defense. She has fantastic catching skills as well as outstanding experience catching top D-I pitchers during the summer.
"Hailey's offense is as stable as her defense," Connoyer said. "She is a constant threat and will help us right away in all facets of our offense."
Wheeler picked up All-South, All-Conference and team MVP laurels, was named a Conference Captain and was selected to play in the Metro All-Star Game last season. She led Carbondale with a .420 batting average and also was the team's RBI leader.
As a member of the Southern Express 95 travel squad, Wheeler hit a team-high .420 and led the team in RBIs. She is a National Honor Society member and a member of Carbondale's high honor roll."Macie is a powerful offensive performer who will bring a ton of energy to our squad," Connoyer said. "She loves to play the game and study the game, and she will continue to develop as an athlete. Macie is a steady performer who loves to compete."