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Wednesday, February 22, 2017
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Metro Sports Report

3 All-Americans boost Kirkwood softball

The Kirkwood softball team begins the season Saturday with three All-Americans in its starting lineup, including the 2016 National Player of the Year with Taylor Nearad.

No wonder Coach Joe Yegge is optimistic.

Nearad enjoyed a spectacular year last season when she hit .602 with 30 home runs and 129 RBIs, nearly winning the national Triple Crown.

Maddie Hansen hit .455 with 20 homers and 93 RBIs. Morgan Frost checked in at .498 with 10 homers and 72 RBIs.

The Eagles boast an All-American in center field, an All-American behind the plate and an All-American in left field.

That's a good way to build a lineup.

"We should be able to score as well as anyone in the country," Yegge said this week.

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Mims sets record as Saints roll

Matt Mims is a talented point guard who has the rare ability to score  a lot of points or collect a lot of assists, whichever the Xavier  Saints might need him to do on a particular night.

A lot of times he does both in the same game.

Mims scored 16 points and dished out nine assists as the Saints rolled  by Dubuque Wahlert, 71-52, in a Mississippi Valley Conference game at  Ron Thillen Gymnasium to square their record at 10-10.

Mims, a 5-foot-10 junior, established a new school record with 202  assists in his career, snapping the old mark of 200 assists set by Kevin Andrews from 2003-2006.

Mims still has a full year left in his high school career and could  finish with more than 300 assists at the rate he's going. He's  averaging a healthy 15.4 points and 5.3 assists, a testament to his  ability to score and find his teammates for baskets.

"Matt is, by instinct, a true point guard and a distributor," said  Xavier Coach Ryan Luehrsmann. "We've asked him to score a little bit  more this year.

"I really like where he's at right now. He's in a good spot. He's  making the play that's called upon at a given moment. And when he does  that, he's pretty special."

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Ehresman, Yost join Iowa softball league

Kasiah Ehresman of Coe and Bradi Yost of Ellsworth are the latest college players to join the new Iowa Women's Softball League.

Ehresman and Yost are the 34th and 35th players to join the program, which is intended for all active college players in Iowa and for all Iowans who are competing at out-of-state schools.

Ehresman, a freshman infielder at Coe, was one of the most prolific stolen-bases artists in the country during her high school career at Lynnville-Sully. She stole 218 bases during her four years on the  varsity, a total that puts her No. 2 all-time in Iowa and No. 6 all-time in the country, according to the National Federation of High  Schools (NFHS).

(CLICK HERE TO REGISTER)

Ehresman was rarely caught on the bases and was thrown out only 10 times, finishing 218 of 228 in her career. She was 29 for 31 as a  freshman, 61 of 64 as a sophomore, 61 of 63 as a junior, and 67 of 70 as a senior.

Ehresman twice hit over .500 at Lynnville-Sully, batting .564 in 2014 and .540 in 2015, and scored 196 runs in 154 games.

Yost, a sophomore at Ellsworth Community College, is a versatile  player as a pitcher, first baseman and outfielder. She was named first  team all-region last year as a utility player after hitting .374 with nine homers and 24 RBIs and also serving as the No. 2 pitcher at Ellsworth.

Yost began pitching for the varsity at Aplington-Parkersburg High  School as an eighth grader. She made several all-conference and  all-district teams and received Honorable Mention all-state honors during her career.

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Eagles beat No. 1 Spartans on Meeker's 3

The Kirkwood Eagles delivered a bold statement at Johnson Hall  Saturday afternoon.

Ethan Meeker provided the exclamation point.

Meeker hit a 3-pointer from deep in the corner with two seconds left  to snap a 75-75 tie and give Kirkwood a 78-75 victory over top-ranked  Southwestern before a festive crowd at home.

The 12th-ranked Eagles handed Southwestern its first loss of the  season and moved into a tie with the Spartans for first place in the  ICCAC conference with 6-1 records.

The Eagles announced to the world that they are fully capable of  winning the national title again this year. And Meeker proved that's  fully capable of delivering in the clutch.

"I knew I had to get it off quick," said Meeker, a freshman from  Galesburg, Ill. "I knew I didn't have time for a dribble or anything.

"It looked pretty good, but I was holding my breath until it dropped.  It was pretty nuts."

There was a terrific atmosphere at Johnson Hall for the showdown  between two of the premier junior college teams in the country and the  Eagles celebrated with their fans when it was over.

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Ajak hurt as No. 1 Eagles reach 24-0

The top-ranked Kirkwood Eagles raised their record to 24-0 Saturday  with a 93-71 victory over Southwestern, but there was no big  celebration or high-fives after the game.

The Eagles were too worried about freshman Awal Ajak to relish the  latest triumph in their perfect season.

Ajak, a talented 6-foot freshman from Des Moines, hurt her left knee  in the third quarter and left the gym on crutches. The extent of the  injury will be determined in the next few days, but Coach Kim Muhl  thinks it could be significant.

"I'm not optimistic," he said. "It's not good, I don't think. We'll see."

Ajak got hurt when she hustled back on defense following an errant  pass by the Eagles. She crumpled under the basket and spent several  minutes on the floor while being examined by the Kirkwood trainer  before being helped to the locker room.

"It starts with a bad pass," said Muhl. "You throw it away, you've got  to run it down and bad stuff happens."

Ajak has been a key reserve for Kirkwood, averaging 8.1 points and 3.7  rebounds in 16.3 minutes per game. The Eagles have a deep squad, but  her absence would be significant.

Southwestern (12-10, 3-5) gave Kirkwood a good game in the first half.  The visitors drained nine 3-pointers in the opening 20 minutes and  trailed by only four points at intermission, 46-42.

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