Saturday, August 24, 2019
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Kennedy too strong for Jeff/Prairie swimmers

Jefferson and Prairie are rivals in numerous varsity sports, but there's a new spirit of friendship in girls swimming this season.

The girls from Jefferson and Prairie are swimming on the same team under the Jefferson banner, and from all accounts it's going well.

"I think it was a really good decision to combine and see how it would work out," said Hailey Sullivan, one of 14 Prairie students on the combined team. "So far it's been going really great."

The Jefferson and Prairie girls swam together against Kennedy Tuesday night at the Jefferson pool, but the visiting Cougars were too strong and posted a 122-64 victory.


Heald made All-Madden Team (no kidding)

Washington receiver Flynn Heald was named to the All-Madden Team this summer, but it wasn't some Xbox competition with his high school buddies.

This was the real deal.

Heald made the prestigious All-Madden Team at the IMG Madden Football Academy in Bradenton, Fla., where 130 of the top high school players in the country gathered in late July to test their skills and learn more about the game.

Twenty-eight players were selected for the All-Madden Team, based on performance, and Heald was one of only three wide receivers named to the squad. The All-Madden Team is named for John Madden, the former NFL head coach and broadcaster.

Chris Weinke, a former Heisman Trophy quarterback at Florida State, is the director of the IMG Madden Football Academy. Former NFL quarterback Vinny Testaverde, former University of Miami quarterback Ken Dorsey and former NFL receiver Mark Carrier were among the instructors.

Heald learned one important lesson in Florida: He has to keep working hard, because at 6-foot and 185 pounds, his size alone is not going to open any doors.

"Out-working someone is the best way to go, because you have to find somebody in front of you and just keep working your way up the ladder," he said Monday after practice. "I think that's kind of my motto and kind of what I live by."


What's in a name? A check of Metro stadiums

Big business has its hands all over professional sports stadiums.

In the National Football League, Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum has become ( RFK Stadium in Washington is now FedEx Field.

The same is true in baseball, where Wrigley Field, Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium are among the last to resist the temptation of selling naming rights to dot coms or financial institutions.

Thank goodness high school stadiums, by in large, have remained true to their roots. In the Metro area, stadiums are named after memorable people or areas.

As you go around to prep football games this fall, take a little history with you:

KINGSTON STADIUM – This is where Jefferson, Kennedy and Washington play their home games. In the past, Coe College and semi-pro football teams played there.

The stadium, which opened in 1952, is named after a town that was originally known as Kingston. Annexed to Cedar Rapids in 1870, Kingston was the area immediately west of the Cedar River and extending toward where the stadium now sits.


Bob Brooks honored by C.R. Schools

Bob Brooks broadcast his first high school football games from Kingston Stadium in 1952 and still visits the facility in search of good stories for his radio and TV shows.

Starting Sept. 30, he'll be reporting from the Bob Brooks Press Box at Kingston Stadium.

The Cedar Rapids Community Schools have decided to rename the press box in Brooks' honor and make him the first member of the new Kingston Hall of Fame.

There will be a ceremony at Kingston Stadium on Friday, Sept. 30 during halftime of the Jefferson and Kennedy football game.

"I'm humbled by it, of course," Brooks said Monday morning. "It's nothing I expected or thought about. I certainly appreciate the kindness."

The new Kingston Hall of Fame will recognize significant contributions made to the success of activities performed at Kingston Stadium, according to Dr. Dave Benson, the superintendent of Cedar Rapids Community Schools.



Kibby dispels reports of Niemeyer retirement

Reports of Larry Niemeyer's retirement as coach of the Jefferson girls basketball and softball teams have been greatly exaggerated.

Niemeyer retired his teaching post at Jefferson last spring, but said he would continue his coaching duties. However, in the minutes of the Aug. 22 Cedar Rapids school board meeting it was noted that he had resigned both coaching positions on July 25.

Jefferson Athletics Director Scott Kibby said Monday that submitting his retirement was necessary to get Niemeyer off the rolls of the Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System (IPERS). Kibby said Niemeyer will be rehired at a later date to both positions. He said the same protocol was followed when Ron Tower retired last spring and was rehired to coach boys and girls cross country this fall and boys track next spring.

"It was a formality to get (Niemeyer) out of the IPERS system," Kibby said. "We did the same thing with Ron Tower and the same thing with Bill Calloway several years ago."

Calloway is the Jefferson girls track coach.

Niemeyer is the national leader among high school softball coaches with 2,055 career victories. His 861 career victories in girls basketball rank 13th nationally.



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