Sunday, May 27, 2018
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Friday Nights Lost

There was once a much simpler time; before the internet and social networking took over and television sports became big business ... and big money. You remember it, don't you? College football was played on a Saturday afternoon -- and at 1 p.m. no less -- unless your team was one of just a hand-full that was chosen for a television game.

And Friday nights were for high school football. Period.

Books have been written about it and television shows have been created about it, the allure of high school football around this great nation. And it certainly is no different in Iowa. Fans from big schools to small towns flock to fields and stadiums to watch the great game played under the lights in their community, cheering on their neighbors, friends and, in some cases, heroes.

Friday night was high school football.

Then television people wanted to increase their bonanza of money coming from televising the sport. They envisioned, if we can make money on Saturday's, why not put games on other nights of the week? Not much was thought about this until the first Friday night games were played. Then we thought, well this will never happen here.


Schlotterback apparently out as Wash baseball coach

There were strong indications Wednesday that Byron Schlotterback is no longer the varsity baseball coach at Cedar Rapids Washington High School.

According to two parents of Washington baseball players, Washington Principal Ralph Plagman informed the team on Tuesday that assistant coach Brent Henry has been named the interim head coach in Schlotterback's absence.

Two other sources told the Metro Sports Report that Schlotterback is no longer the head coach. All four sources said they do not know what led to this situation or whether Schlotterback will return as head coach at some point.

Paul James, the activities director at Washington, declined comment. He referred all questions to a spokesperson for the Cedar Rapids Community School district, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

Schlotterback did not answer his cell phone and did not return a message seeking comment.

On Tuesday, it was learned that Washington pitcher Dakota Freese has been suspended for the first seven games of the season for a violation of school rules.

Schlotterback conducted Washington's first practice of the season on Monday, according to sources, but did not attend practice on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Although Schlotterback coaches at Washington, he teaches at Jefferson High School as the head vocal music director.


Kyle Dunn is contrite - and impressive

Kyle Dunn is sorry. And he's back, as good as ever.

Dunn returned from a three-meet suspension Tuesday and starred at the Linn-Mar Relays with strong performances in his signature events on a chilly night.

He won the 110 hurdles and 400 hurdles with excellent times, then anchored Linn-Mar's 4x400 relay to victory with a 48.5 second split to finish the night in style.

Dunn, a senior at Linn-Mar and one of the top track athletes in the state, was arrested at 1:57 a.m. on Saturday, April 16 and charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated and failure to maintain control.

He was suspended for 20 percent of the season, according to school rules, and was not allowed to compete in the prestigious Drake Relays, where he was the defending champion in both hurdles events. Dunn sat in the stands at Drake last week as a spectator, unable to participate and defend his titles.

"It was pretty tough," he said. "Just hearing the announcer call 'Linn-Mar' and knowing I should be out there, it was was really tough. I don't want to experience that ever again."

Dunn expressed remorse for setting a bad example and disappointing the Linn-Mar community, especially younger kids.


All in the soccer family

They came to Cedar Rapids from different parts of the globe, all with the same intent. Little did they realize how much impact they would have on the local soccer scene in a few short years.

They met at Mount Mercy. John O'Connor and Corey Brinkmeyer were the first on the scene. J.P. Graham and Amir Hadzic soon followed.

Now they are four of the seven men coaching Metro prep soccer teams -- O'Connor at Jefferson, Brinkmeyer at Linn-Mar, Graham at Washington and Hadzic at Xavier.

O’Connor, a native of Ontario, Canada, and Brinkmeyer, from Illinois, were the first to arrive in 1993 as freshman for the Mount Mercy soccer team and quickly became good friends.

Two years later, Graham, also an Illinois native, transferred to Mount Mercy as a high scoring forward from a junior college in St. Louis.

“Corey was the only person that I knew when I came to Cedar Rapids,” Graham said. “I met him in a camp in Illinois so I barely even knew him then, but he was the only person that I knew at all.”

But the Mustangs took him in. Brinkmeyer and Graham were majoring in education together and O’Connor, who was pre-med at the time, had science classes with Graham.



Freese suspended from Wash baseball team

Dakota Freese, the star pitcher for the Cedar Rapids Washington baseball team, has been suspended for the first seven games of the 2011 season for a violation of school rules.

Paul James, the activities director at Washington, confirmed the suspension Tuesday afternoon.

Freese, a senior, is a 6-foot-4 righthander who made third team all-state last season as a utility player. He had a 6-3 pitching record and 2.69 ERA in 2010, with 91 strikeouts in 57 1/3 innings. He also hit .301 with three homers and 17 RBIs.

Freese has been training with the Washington track team and will serve part of his suspension during the current track season. Otherwise, Freese would have faced a 13-game suspension from the baseball team (one-third of the regular season).

James said Freese had been working out with the track team, although not competing in meets, prior to the school violation.

According to the Washington schedule, barring postponements Freese would be eligible to start playing May 31 when the Warriors play Iowa City High.

Freese has committed to play college baseball at LSU-Eunice, a junior college in Louisiana. Perfect Game USA rates Freese as the third-best senior in Iowa for the 2011 major league draft in June. His fastball has been clocked at 92 mph.


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