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

Metro Sports Report

Cougars hold off J-Hawks in boys soccer

The third-ranked Kennedy boys soccer team continued to roll Thursday, beating Jefferson 3-2 at Kingston Stadium.

The Cougars (4-0, 3-0 Mississippi Valley Conference) jumped on top of the J-Hawks (2-4, 1-2) in the 24th minute on a free kick from junior midfielder Gabe Christianson from about 35 yards out.

“I just saw it, I had a good angle on it, so I just laced it up and hit it and bent it into the side netting. It was exciting,” he said.

Gabe Christianson struck again when his brother, senior forward Garet Christianson, found him deep in the penalty box. He struck it across the goal, hitting the far side post and bouncing it in. It came just 1:34 before halftime, giving the Cougars a 2-0 halftime lead.

“That second goal we lost a mark,” said Jefferson Coach John O’Connor. “That is kind of our trademark, we lose marks every once in a while.”


J-Hawks' goalie keeps Cougars scoreless

Senior Bethany Chambers wasn’t expecting to be in goal this season for the Jefferson soccer team. In fact, she wasn’t even expecting to make the varsity squad.

The J-Hawks are certainly glad she ended up between the pipes for them on Thursday against the Kennedy Cougars. She made a slew of saves to keep Jefferson in the lead.

Jefferson got its first win of the season when it shocked previously undefeated Kennedy, 1-0, at Kingston Stadium.


Burhite to play 3 sports at Mount Mercy

They'll participate in basketball, volleyball, baseball, softball, cross country and track in college, but none of the Metro athletes who finalized their college plans Wednesday will be as busy in college as Marion High School senior Zach Burhite.

Burhite plans to sign a national letter-of-intent with Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids to participate on the cross country, track and bowling teams. He'll be a rare three-sport athlete in college as he takes the next steps in his athletic career.

There were ceremonies all over town Wednesday as Metro athletes announced their plans and/or signed letters-of-intent. Washington High School was the busiest place of all with five Warriors honored at the school Wednesday morning.

Wes Washpun signed his letter-of-intent to play basketball at Tennessee and was accompanied by four female athletes at the head table in the Washington cafeteria. Basketball players Tia Dawson (Dartmouth), Alissa Oney (Maryville) and Janay Pritchett (William Penn) were joined by cross country and track runner Kristin Rogers (Nebraska-Omaha).

Three athletes from Xavier High School were in the news with Alex Saxen going to Missouri Western State (basketball), Tyler Sampson headed to Western Illinois (track) and Bailey Kaloupek also going to Western Illinois (volleyball).

Linn-Mar honored three athletes at an afternoon ceremony. Josh Montague is going to Maryville (basketball), Ben Larison to Kirkwood (baseball) and Jordan Stroschein to Ellsworth Community College (baseball).

Ashley Madsen of Jefferson signed to play softball at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) and Tanner Unkel signed to play baseball at North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC).


One last look at the boys basketball season

Yes, I know the calendar reads April and that we just concluded the Masters and that baseball is under way around the major leagues.

But let's revisit the just completed high school basketball season before we put it in the history books for the year, because that's where this season rightfully belongs, in the annals of time and history.
I say that we are putting a cap on the year since Washington guard Wes Washpun and Marion guard Kasey Semler both made their college choices known this past weekend.

Washpun will play for Tennessee and Coach Cuonzo Martin. Semler will stay closer to home, playing for Coach Doug Wagemester and Kirkwood before, hopefully, taking his game to the Division I level.

These two were the final pieces of what was a great year for senior boys basketball players in the Metro. It's not very often you have an All-Metro squad that reads like a recruiting service report! Especially, in a city of less than a million people. Four different Division I conferences are represented, three teams that went to the postseason and four former Coaches of the Year in their respective conferences all benefitted from our bevy of talent this past season. And don't worry, I haven't forgotten about junior standout Marcus Paige who may be the best in the lot!


Sweeney adjusting to new role with A's

CHICAGO -- Ryan Sweeney is married to a nursing student from northern California, he's getting paid $1.4 million to play the game he loves and his surgically repaired knee is fine.

Life is good for the Major League outfielder from Cedar Rapids, except for one thing. He's not getting to play on a regular basis for the Oakland A's this season, so for the first time in his life he's been a spare part who mostly sits on the bench.

"I've never really been in a backup role, so it's new to me," Sweeney said Tuesday before the A's played the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. "I'm just trying to take extra swings and do whatever I can to try and stay sharp at the plate, because it's not easy."

Sweeney, 26, cracked the starting lineup Tuesday, only his second start in 11 games. He walked in his first two at-bats, then got yanked for a pinch-hitter in the top of the fifth when Chicago Manager Ozzie Guillen brought in a left-handed pitcher to face the left-swinging Sweeney with runners at first and second with two outs. The pinch-hitter (Conor Jackson) grounded out to end the inning.


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