Thursday, January 23, 2020
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Golf and volleyball move to the forefront

This weekend marks the annual Class 4A State Golf Meet, to be held this year at Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City. The meet starts Friday and ends Saturday.

I don't usually give props to the Iowa High School Athletic Association, but moving the 4A golf season from the spring to the fall several years ago was a brilliant stroke.

Weather has always been a problem for the golf season, but it seems much less of an issue during the fall.

As a former high school golfer myself, I remember many days during the early spring where the temperature was in the 40s with the wind-chill somewhere in the 20s and no feeling in your hands trying to shoot a score to qualify for a meet that you weren't sure would even be played because the weather the next day was forecast to be even worse!


Kennedy ranked No. 7 in volleyball poll

Cedar Rapids Kennedy stayed at No. 7 in the Class 4A volleyball poll released Wednesday by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union.

The Cougars were beaten Tuesday night by No. 2 Iowa City High, but remained at No. 7.

Iowa City West is No. 1 in 4A. Kennedy is the only Metro team ranked in any of the polls.

Top-ranked teams from three classes - Iowa City West (4A), Dubuque Wahlert (3A) and Tripoli (1A) - will be playing Saturday in the Westside Invitational at Jefferson. The tournament has nine ranked teams in its 24-team field.


McKnight named Kennedy girls soccer coach

Kennedy has named Andrew McKnight as its new girls soccer coach, Activities Director Aaron Stecker announced Wednesday.

McKnight replaces Homer Screws, who resigned last month to focus more on the men's and women's soccer programs at Coe, where he is head coach of both programs. Screws had also coached Kennedy the past three years.

McKnight is delving into the high school ranks after a successful career as a club coach. He worked with the Iowa City Alliance Soccer Organization from 1995-2010, serving as a staff coach, associate director of coaching, and director of coaching. He also worked for two years with the Iowa Soccer Association as tha associate state director of coaching.

McKnight coached a boys U-17 team to a national title in March 2010. That team included several Metro athletes.

McKnight earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Iowa in Health and Sport Studies, and Cultural Studies. He served in the British Royal Air Force from 1989-94.


Former Saint Kramer earns academic award

University of Northern sophomore Derek Kramer was one of two Panthers to be named to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Division I All-Academic Team for the 2011 season. Kramer is a former Cedar Rapids Xavier prep.

Kramer holds a 3.26 cumulative GPA with an exercise science major and also qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships on the Panthers' 4x100m relay team. He won state prep championships in 2008 in the 100 meters, 4x100 meter relay and 4x200 meter relay.

UNI senior Jarred Herring, from Burlington, also was named to the all-academic team.



Bell keeps his cool, wins district title

CEDAR FALLS - Cody Bell is unflappable.

Some golfers might lose their cool after missing two short putts at the start of an important round, but not Bell. He shrugged it off and surged to the top.

Bell claimed medalist honors with a 1-over-par 73 Tuesday to help Kennedy win the Class 4A district golf title at Pheasant Ridge Golf Course in Cedar Falls.

Bell missed a 3-foot birdie putt on the 570-yard second hole and had to settle for par. Then he missed another short putt on the 420-yard fourth hole and took a bogey.

He never tossed a club or uttered an unhappy word. His only visible sign of annoyance was a small grimace.

"It was just a matter of settling in," he said. "You have those nerves going in, but I was able to settle in and I was able to salvage the round."

Bell collected four birdies after his slow start and beat Linn-Mar senior Tyler McCann by one stroke.

"Cody is just an unusual individual. He doesn't let things bother him," Kennedy Coach Mark Wilden said. "He has a great temperament."

Bell played the first nine holes at 2-over par, then played the back nine at 1-under for his tight victory.

"I'm proud of it," he said. "I felt like I came out here and competed with everyone else. I hit the ball really well. That was the key to my success."

Kennedy, Cedar Falls and Linn-Mar qualified for the Class 4A state meet at Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City this Friday and Saturday. They will be part of an elite field that will feature 12 of the top-15 teams in Iowa.

Xavier finished fourth in the team standings and failed to qualify for state by eight shots, but Xavier senior J.P. King tied for fourth in the individual race with a 76 and advanced.


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