Tuesday, October 23, 2018
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Kennedy girls top Linn-Mar, 1-0

The Kennedy girls soccer team narrowly edged out Linn-Mar 1-0 after a late goal at Linn-Mar Stadium on Thursday.

Kennedy, ranked No. 6 in Class 3A, ran its record 7-1 overall and 6-1 in the Mississippi Valley Conference. No. 10 Linn-Mar fell to 4-4, 4-4.

The game was the third annual Breast Cancer Awareness game between the schools with both teams wearing pink and the proceeds from ticket sales went to breast cancer awareness.

“It’s a good way for the girls to identify and start the volunteering that they need to learn to support the local community,” said Linn-Mar Coach Steve Dickinson. “They get up for it and they really enjoy it. It is good because the two groups play club together, they see each other every day.”

The fact that the two teams know each other so well added to the atmosphere and hyped both teams up.

“It’s a rivalry with Linn-Mar,” Kennedy's Katherine Helmlinger said. "We lost to them last year and we didn’t want to lose again. A lot of the girls on the team we play with for club, so we didn’t want to lose.”

The hype and excitement of the game seemed to get the best of the Cougars in the first half, as the Lions dominated possession and put heavy pressure on the Kennedy goal.



Former Prairie aide Hanzlik dead at 75

Craig Jelinek wasn't so sure that bringing Kenny Hanzlik into the Prairie football fold was going to be such a good idea when one of his former assistant coaches suggested hiring him in 1998.

"Kenny had just retired from the Parks Department -- he was at the Jones Park golf course for a long time -- and Ken Cooperman, who had been an assistant for us, said that Kenny really wanted to get into weight training and helping our program," Jelinek recalled. Cooperman also happened to be Hanzlik's son.

"I thought, 'Yeah, a parent. I'm not so sure this is going to work out,' " Jelinek said. "But Kenny was gold."

Hanzlik died Wednesday at age 75 after a battle with cancer. He had been the weight training and conditioning coach for the Hawks for the past 13 years.


Ron Altenberg: Marion's 'Natural'

As a junior high school kid, he prowled his Marion south side neighborhood, begging the bigger boys to let him into their vacant-lot football games. He was so small they were afraid they might hurt him. But he persisted, and when they finally let him play he was so fast they couldn’t catch him.

Ron Altenberg was never afraid of the bigger guys, said his sister, Audrey Thompson.

When he was a sophomore in high school, he stood only about 5 foot, 3 inches, and his mother was concerned he wouldn’t be big enough to play on the varsity teams. She knew it would break his heart. Assistant coach Lynn Brown told her the kid could play no matter how tall he was.

But Altenberg sprouted eight inches over the next two years and grew into one of Marion’s greatest all-around athletes. And one of Iowa’s. And one the nation’s.

Ron Altenberg was blessed because he was good at all sports and he loved them all. It was also his curse in a way, because his love of basketball almost surely prevented him from achieving his potential in track. And if he had never run track, he could have been an even greater basketball player.

This is track season, so let’s go back 55 years to the spring of 1956 and the Wamac Conference meet, held on Marion’s crushed-cinder track. Altenberg, standing 5-11 and weighing 155 pounds, is entered in four events, the most allowed any competitor.

Altenberg wins them all: the 100-yard dash, the 220-yard dash, the 180-yard low hurdles and the long jump (called the broad jump then).



Warriors clip Cougars in boys tennis

Washington won two of three doubles matches and pulled out a 5-4 win over Kennedy Wednesday in a boys tennis meet at Washington.

The score was tied, 3-3, after singles. Kennedy's Riley Galbraith beat Charlie Hammond, 6-3, 7-6(7-5), at No. 1 singles. The Cougars also got wins from Ethan Gascho and Robert Sweet.

Mitch Blades, Mitch Anderson and Alex Intlekofer won singles matches for Washington.

Hammond and Blades beat Sweet and Bryce Blomberg at No. 1 doubles, and Anderson and Clayton Hoyt teamed at No. 2 doubles to beat Galbraith and Arjun Venkateh at No. 2 doubles to seal the win for the Warriors.


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.


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