Thursday, March 21, 2019
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Metro baseball tournament starts Monday

The high school baseball season begins Monday evening with the 2011 Bob Vrbicek Metro Tournament at Kennedy and Xavier.

The two games at Kennedy feature Prairie vs. Mount Vernon at 5 p.m. and Kennedy vs. Jefferson at 7 p.m.

The two games at Xavier feature Washington vs. Marion at 5 p.m. and Xavier vs. Linn-Mar at 7 p.m.

The tournament continues with Round 2 on Tuesday at Kennedy and Xavier. Round 3 is Wednesday, with the championship game scheduled for Veterans Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m.


Kyle Dunn ends career with 6th title

DES MOINES -- Kyle Dunn was not excited about track when he entered Linn-Mar High School in 2007. It was just something to do, and the "fragile" freshman kept getting hurt in the long jump.

"I would say I was more excited about baseball and football than I was track my freshman year," he said Saturday.

And the hurdles? Forget about it.

"I wasn't too keen about the idea at first," he said. "I was pretty adamant about sticking with the long jump as a freshman."

He laughs about all that now.

Dunn finished his high school career Saturday as one of the top hurdlers in state history after winning the 110 high hurdles at the Class 4A state meet in Des Moines. That gave him six gold medals during his prep career -- three in the 400 hurdles, two in the 400 meter dash and one in the 110 highs.

"Very impressive," said Linn-Mar Coach Ken Hopkins.

Hopkins and Tim Stamp, Linn-Mar's hurdles coach, turned Dunn into one of the premier track athletes in Iowa and the entire country, and he'll be heading to an elite college program at the University of Arkansas in a few months.

"Looking at me when I was in the eighth grade and freshman year, it's amazing what my coaches have turned me into," he said. "They kind of molded me into the athlete I am today.

"They put me in there and they kind of forced me to get better and really got me interested."


IGHSAU adds Class 5A; Xavier staying put

DES MOINES -- Xavier High School will not have to battle bigger schools like Linn-Mar, Kennedy or Washington for berths in the girls state basketball, volleyball, softball or golf tournaments in the near future based on new rules adopted Saturday.

The 40 biggest schools in Iowa will be moving into a new Class 5A next summer in those four sports, but Xavier officials say the school is not interested in making a special appeal to tag along.

The Board of Directors of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) voted Saturday morning to approve the new Class 5A for the 40 largest schools in the state. Currently, the top class for girls in Iowa contains 48 schools, so eight schools - including Xavier - will drop from the largest class to the second-largest class.

The change will begin with the state softball tournament in 2012.

The Board of Directors made the change to give more teams and more students a chance to participate in state tournaments by adding a fifth class. The move also could generate more revenue for the IGHSAU.

Xavier ranks 47th in student population and falls into the Class 4A, but the Saints have the option of filing a petition with the IGHSAU and requesting a move to 5A so they can continue to compete with the 40 biggest schools and with other members of the Mississippi Valley Conference.

Xavier is not interested in moving up, however.


Lions, Warriors and Hawks took shots at title

DES MOINES -- The Linn-Mar, Washington and Prairie boys track teams all made a run for the Class 4A state title Saturday, but one by one they all fell short.

It wasn't for lack of effort.

The drama began early Saturday when Prairie moved to the top of the team standings at the state track meet when Kyle Stocker finished second in the 800 meter run.

In the very next race, Linn-Mar grabbed the lead in the tight standings when it placed second in the shuttle hurdle relay to score eight big points.

And on the next race after that, Washington tied Linn-Mar for the top when Will Griffin and Alex Carr finished 2-3 in the 100 meter dash to collect 14 points.

That tie was quickly broken when Kyle Dunn won the 110 high hurdles for Linn-Mar and Brandon Ophoff finished fifth, giving the Lions 14 points in one race and 48 overall.

Linn-Mar held the lead for two more races, but Cedar Falls nudged ahead by winning the 4x100 relay in the next-to-last event of the day, leaving the Lions out of bullets and ending the drama.


Schemmel expects another successful season

(Editor's note: This is the seventh and last in a series of preseason articles about Metro baseball teams)

Dave Schemmel keeps churning out winning teams and draft picks at Xavier High School.

The Saints won the Class 3A state title in 2006, finished second in 2005 and 2007, and made a trip to state in 1999 shortly after the school opened its doors.

Schemmel is the only baseball coach the school has ever had, and he's produced a series of pro draft picks in Ryan Sweeney, Nate Woods, Michael Harrington, Brent Warren, Ryan Arp and Jon Keller.

Schemmel knows what it takes to put a winning club on the field and he's confident the 2011 Saints will have a good year. "I think they're very capable," he said, "and I think they're focused on doing a nice job."

Xavier opens the season on Monday against Linn-Mar in the quarterfinals of the Bob Vrbicek Metro Tournament. The game is scheduled for Xavier at 7 p.m.

Schemmel said he does not set specific goals for his team each season.

"Not really," he said. "We've been successful in the past, and the kids know that to be successful they have to play a certain way. We always shoot for making it to state. I think they understand that's not the only success they can have, and they work hard for anything they can get."


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