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Sunday, January 20, 2019
SCHEDULING NOTE: Kirkwood's ICCAC basketball doubleheader scheduled for Saturday at 1 and 3 p.m. has been pushed back to 3 and 5 p.m....
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor
jim.ecker@metrosportsreport.com
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Metro Sports Report

Lala living the dream with Hawkeyes

IOWA CITY -- Patrick Lala says he doesn't get nervous when he's playing baseball, but there are exceptions.

One of those exceptions happened Feb. 19 at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla., when Lala pitched his first game for the University of Iowa.

It came in relief against Pittsburgh in the Big East/Big Ten Challenge. And he doesn't mind saying, he had butterflies.

"I couldn't explain the feeling the first time I came into the game against Pittsburgh," he said Friday. "I was nervous, and I never get nervous."

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An interesting season ahead in girls soccer

With practice just starting for girls soccer, many of the teams in the Metro are still trying to get a feel for what they will have this year.

Certainly, there is a lot of talent in the area and whoever puts it all together will be in a good position to get to state by the end of the season.

Linn-Mar may have the clearest picture of what they will be right now because they are returning 10 starters from last year's tournament qualifying team. The Lions will look to use their speed again this season to put pressure on teams and attack.

Jefferson will return every starter but one. They will be led by a strong defensive unit led by standout defender Maggie Bruckman. They believe that their hard work and experience playing together will give them a chance to have a successful year.

Five-time 1A defending state champion Xavier also returns the bulk of last year's team, including every defender from a team that gave up just eight goals in 22 games last season. The Saints feel like they should be able to challenge for a sixth straight state championship even though they have been bumped up to 2A as girls soccer expanded from two to three classes.

Washington, Prairie, Marion and Kennedy all got hit fairly hard by graduation and will have some questions to answer before the start of the season, but they are all optimistic.

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Metro boys soccer looks wide open this season

Seven Metro players who were selected to the all-state boys soccer team in 2010 have graduated, leaving holes to fill.

With such a large talent exodus, the Metro area -- and in a larger sense the Mississippi Valley Conference -- appears as wide open as it has ever been.

Cedar Rapids Washington returns the only all-stater from last season in Brandon Besong, who will be looking to lead his Warriors back to state.

Washington will have to overcome five off-season suspensions, leaving the Warriors with only one experienced defender for the first third of the season before the suspensions are lifted.

The Xavier boys lost a lot of talent from last year's Class 2A state championship team, but the Saints are looking to reload with young players mixed with some returning experience.

The Saints also may look to some football players, who have not played soccer since middle school, to help the team out at certain positions.

Kennedy is in a similar boat to Xavier after last season. The Cougars lost seven starters off last year's third-place team. They are looking to reload with Gabe and Garret Christianson joining the team.

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Metro girls track has 3 new head coaches

There's been a lot of learning going on this spring with Metro girls track programs.

There are three new head coaches in the Metro area with Mark Jensen at Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Russ Camacho at Xavier and Emily Logan at Marion. None of them are new to their schools, however, and all three have a vast background in sports.

You can read all about Jensen, Camacho and Logan today as the Metro Sports Report launches its preseason stories on all seven Metro girls track programs. You also can read about what's happening at Washington, Jefferson, Linn-Mar and Prairie.

For those of you new to the Metro Sports Report, you're currently reading this story as part of our Home Page. The stories on your favorite teams are just a couple of clicks away.

We list all seven Metro high schools across the top of the Home Page, in alphabetical order. Simply click on your favorite school and go to the school home page. Then click on the dropdown box at the top of the school home page, get the list of all the teams and click on the team you want. It's as simple as that.

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Looks like strong year for Metro boys track

It looks like it could be a very interesting year, and a very successful year, for boys track teams in the Metro area.

The Metro Sports Report is launching its package of boys track stories today with a look at all seven Metro teams at Jefferson, Kennedy, Linn-Mar, Marion, Prairie, Washington and Xavier.

You'll find the story for each of those teams on the boys track page for each school. Simply click on your favorite school at the top of this page, go to the dropdown box where it says "select a team" and click on boys track. That will get you exactly where you want to go.

You'll find a series of stories that will get boys track fans ready for the outdoor season this spring. Each team has a story to tell, and more stories will develop as the season moves along.

Kyle Dunn is back for his senior year at Linn-Mar after winning the 400-meter hurdles and 400 dash last year at the state meet. He did not win the 110 high hurdles last season - he was upset in the finals and finished second - so he'd like to bring home the gold in that event, too, and possibly help the Lions capture the Class 4A title.

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