Saturday, December 14, 2019
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

McSweeny made choice to fight for USA

A little more than 15 months ago, Ryan McSweeny was enjoying the comparative innocence of playing high school baseball, patrolling centerfield and batting second in the lineup for the Marion Indians.

It was June 17, 2010, when McSweeny played his last game in a doubleheader at Waterloo Columbus. The Indians swept the twinbill by scores of 3-2 and 19-12 and McSweeny knocked in two runs in the nightcap.

A few days later, he was off to basic training in the Marine Corps, a commitment he had made the previous March.

“My dad’s friend was in World War II and he had told me stories about being in the Marines,’’ McSweeny said. “That’s what I wanted to do.’’

McSweeny was deployed to Afghanistan last spring as an infantryman. In May, his unit was hit by a dust storm and hurriedly tried to complete their day’s mission.

An improvised explosive device (IED) went off and injured many in the company. McSweeny suffered severe injuries to his left side, especially his leg and arm. He has undergone 15 surgeries to repair his leg and remove shrapnel.

Lance Corporal McSweeny is home on a 30-day leave. He attends rehabilitation four days a week for 1 to 2 hours per day.


Thomas sets Mount Mercy volleyball record

Former Marion prep volleyball star Brittney Thomas set the Mount Mercy record for career kills during a match Oct. 1 at Roosevelt University in Illinois.

Thomas had 25 kills in 49 attempts in the match against Roosevelt. She has 1,290 kills, moving her past Mount Mercy Hall of Famer Amy Osenbaugh Brinkmeyer's former record of 1,283 that had stood for 18 years.


Inventing Cork Ball: Memories of a Marion boyhood

(Fifth in a series)

A few years ago, the New York Times reported on a furor that arose in the wealthy suburb of Greenwich, Conn., because a few boys wanted to play Wiffle ball.

The boys created a small field for this purpose on a town-owned vacant lot. Their changes to the property were slight because Wiffle ball does not require much in the way of landscaping. All you really need is a place to bat, a place to pitch and a marker to indicate a home run.

But a commotion began soon after the boys took over the lot. Neighbors complained about the possibility of noise, the threat of damage, the erosion of property values. Since the town owned the lot, various city officials representing various jurisdictions fretted over the matter, raising questions about liability issues, usurpation of green space and
unpermitted special use of town property.

Lawyers were summoned. Meetings were convened. Documents were reviewed.

I never learned what happened, but it seemed almost certain that the little Wiffle ball league of Greenwich, Conn., would not survive.

All that got me thinking about how we worked things out in Marion during the 1940s and 1950s before Wiffle balls came into being and people were more forgiving about the peaceful enterprises of sports-loving boys.


Hogg, Warriors claim top honors at Clinton

CLINTON - Robert Hogg and the Cedar Rapids Washington Warriors were the grand champions at the Clinton Invitational cross country meet Saturday.

Hogg won the individual title in 15 minutes, 54.9 seconds and the Warriors captured the team championship for the second straight year.

Washington placed five runners in the top-15 with Etienne Nzoyisaba third (16:03.1), Laurent Hakizimana 10th (16:39.3), Joe Berry 12th (16:47.8) and Jon Rockwell 14th (16:49.9).

The Warriors won the title with 40 points, beating Indianola by 21 points. Xavier finished 10th out 15 teams with Ben Schueler running 26th in 17:15.5.

The Xavier girls team placed seventh out of 16 teams in their competition with Marinna Schroud finishing in 34th place in 16:28.3.

Washington placed 13th in the varsity girls competition with Colby Bjornsen 37th in 16:31.7. The Warriors used a modified varsity lineup because four of their varsity runners, who are all sophomores, elected to run in the frosh/soph race. They finished 1-2-3-4 in the frosh/soph race and led Washington to the title.

Kate Kasper of Clinton won the girls race in 14:38.6.


Warriors stun No.2 Little Hawks

IOWA CITY - Tony Lombardi played football at Arizona State and coached at two schools in the Big Ten, so he's seen a few remarkable games over the years.

Nothing tops what he saw Friday night in Iowa City, when The Drive stopped The Streak.

Braedon Tovey fired a 5-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Cain with 10 seconds left to cap a brilliant 69-yard drive as the Washington Warriors stunned No. 2 Iowa City High, 27-24, at Bates Field.

The Little Hawks had won 33 straight regular-season games in the Mississippi Valley Conference before running into the Warriors, who spoiled their homecoming.

Washington got the ball at its own 31-yard line with 6:49 left in the game, trailing 24-20, and never gave it back to City High, keeping Little Hawk tailback Ronald Thompson harmlessly on the bench. It was ball control at its best.

The Warriors drove 69 yards in 18 plays, collecting five first downs and methodically moving down the field until they hit paydirt on Tovey's missile to Cain in the end zone.

"Braedon put the ball on the money, the offensive line blocked great," said Cain, who missed the first four games of the season with a broken collarbone. "It was just a great overall sequence."


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