Wednesday, February 22, 2017
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Meeker helps No. 14 Eagles rip Ellsworth

It's rare to see a college basketball team with four point guards in  the starting lineup, but the Kirkwood Eagles come as close as you're  going to get these days.

They've got Chris King, the primary point guard. They've got Byron  Harp, who sparked the Eagles to the national title last year. They've  got Miles Wentzien, a versatile guy from Fort Madison.

And they've also got Ethan Meeker, a slick freshman who put on a show  Wednesday night.

Meeker collected 15 points and five assists as the 14th-ranked Eagles  whipped Ellsworth, 89-53, in an ICCAC conference game at Johnson Hall.

"He played great," said Kirkwood Coach Bryan Petersen. "He's really  come along.

"He works hard every day, so it's great to see him have success in  games. He did a great job of getting in the paint and finding  shooters. And obviously he's a good shooter himself."

The game was tied early, 18-18, but then Meeker and the Eagles went to  work with a 14-0 run to grab command at 32-18. They never looked back from there and won easily by 36.


UNI's Roby, Craig join softball league

The new Iowa Women's Softball League received a nice boost Monday when Brittney Roby and Brooke Craig from the successful University of Northern Iowa softball team joined the program.

A total of 31 college softball players have now joined the league, including eight players from NCAA Division I schools.

Roby has been an outstanding hitter at every rung of her softball  career. She began her prep career by batting .642 as an eighth grader  at Twin Cedars High School in Bussey and then hit .568, .655, .634 and .651 during the next four seasons.

Roby, an outfielder, collected 12 homers and 133 RBIs in high school and was named first team all-state for five straight years from 2010 through 2014.


Roby continued her lusty hitting in college at DMACC, where she hit .582 with 15 homers and 85 RBIs as a freshman in 2015 and followed by hitting .551 with 10 homers and 68 RBIs last season as a sophomore.

Roby was named a first team NJCAA All-American during both of her  campaigns at DMACC. Remarkably, she struck out only one time in 2016 and struck out only two times in 2015.

Roby is currently a junior at UNI with two more years of eligibility.


Johnson sparks No. 10 Saints by City High

Max Johnson checked out of Friday's game against Iowa City High with a  little more than two minutes remaining and got an affectionate head  rub from Xavier Coach Ryan Luehrsmann.

Luehrsmann and the Saints have been looking for a spark off the bench  all season and the 6-foot-3, 230-pound senior delivered with the best  game of his career.

Johnson scored 12 points and snared seven rebounds as the Class 3A  10th-ranked Saints defeated Iowa City High, 57-41, in a Mississippi Valley Conference game at Ron Thillen Gymnasium.

Johnson had scored 12 points all season before matching it in a single  night against the Little Hawks.

"I just want to be someone who can come in and give the team a lot of  energy and make the hustle plays and keep things going, not be a  hindrance," he said.

Johnson was a deep reserve for the Saints when they won the Class 3A  state title last season. He's moved up this year and could be a key guy off the bench as the Saints (3-6) look to get on a roll after a  rough start to the campaign.

"I'm really proud of Max Johnson," said Luehrsmann. "He gave us great  minutes off the bench and great energy.


No. 14 Eagles soar by Marshalltown

If you loved the way the Kirkwood Eagles played last season on their way to the national title, you had to enjoy what you saw at Johnson  Hall Wednesday night.

Kirkwood Coach Bryan Petersen certainly did.

The 14th-ranked Eagles played a terrific first half and rolled by Marshalltown, 100-80, in a non-conference affair.

Kirkwood (12-3) jumped to a quick 14-0 lead in the first four minutes and led 54-31 at halftime with a near-flawless performance. The score  was 30-9 midway through the first half.

"Probably the best basketball we've played all year," said Petersen.

The Eagles trimmed Marshalltown on the road, 78-75, in November, but the rematch was a blowout from start to finish.

Kirkwood opened 27-point leads in both halves and Marshalltown (13-6) never got closer than 20 points in the last 25 minutes of the game.

Marshalltown outscored the Eagles 49-46 in the second half, but most of that came in the latter stages of the game.


Taylor Bell joins MSR softball league

Taylor Bell loves softball so much that she's willing to drive four hours every Sunday this summer to play in a collegiate league in Cedar  Rapids.

Bell, who lives 120 miles away in Madrid, has become the 29th player to join the new Iowa Women's Softball League. She'll have a two-hour drive each way to Cedar Rapids, but she's looking forward to the games.

Bell plans to redshirt this season as a fourth-year senior at Waldorf University in Forest City and then finish her collegiate career at Waldorf in 2018.

She thinks playing in the Iowa Women's Softball League against top-flight competition will help prepare her for her final year in college. Taylor Kurtz, one of her teammates at Waldorf who is from Mid-Prairie, told her about the league and encouraged her to get  involved.


"It sounds like fun and a good way to get ready for my final year at Waldorf," she said.

Bell began her college career at DMACC in 2014, when the Bears finished third at the junior college World Series. She transferred to Waldorf after her freshman year at DMACC and hit .252 last season.

Bell, a middle infielder and center fielder, was a five-year starter at Madrid High School and hit .437 as a senior in 2013. She earned  all-conference and all-district honors in high school.


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