Saturday, January 19, 2019
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Witte wins a thriller for 145-pound title

DES MOINES -- Zach Witte could write a thriller about his high school wrestling career someday.

Chapter 1: Witte finishes a surprising second at the 2009 state tournament as a starry-eyed freshman.

Chapter 2: Witte fails to qualify for state as a sophomore in 2010 and dedicates himself to winning the 2011 state title, vowing to climb to the top of the podium.

Chapter 3: He does it.

Witte became Cedar Rapids Prairie's first state champion in five years Saturday night when he edged Gabriel Moreno of Urbandale, 6-5, for the Class 3A 145-pound crown at Wells Fargo Arena.

"I've done it. I've finally done it," an exuberant Witte declared. "Wow. Wow is all I've got."

Wow was good enough.

Witte capped his perfect season with a 38-0 record and became Prairie's first state champion since Phil Sexton won the 140-pound crown for the Hawks in 2006.


Streicher on Northrup: 'He's one of our family'

DES MOINES -- Linn-Mar wrestling coach Doug Streicher stands solidly behind Joel Northrup, his 112-pounder who forfeited a match to a girl at the state tournament.

"He's one of our family," Streicher said Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena. "He does everything we ask him to do and he's a good kid. This doesn't change his status on our team one bit."

Northrup declined to wrestle Cassy Herkelman of Cedar Falls in the opening round on Thursday, possibly costing the Lions precious points in the team standings.

"It's a special situation that we're not commenting on and we stand by him," said Streicher.

Northrup, who is home-schooled, cited religious beliefs for not wrestling against Herkelman, who became the first girl to win a match in state tournament history.

Linn-Mar finished the consolation round Saturday afternoon in 15th place in the team standings, well short of its goal of cracking the top-10. The Lions brought eight wrestlers to Des Moines, but six of them lost in the first round.


Stokes, Lions crush J-Hawks again

Kiah Stokes and the Linn-Mar Lions beat up on the Jefferson J-Hawks for a second time this year.  Same song, different verse as Stokes once again outscored the J-Hawks alone to lead the Lions to a 54-22 victory in the Class 4A regional semifinals on Saturday night at Linn-Mar.

Stokes went for 29 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks. She broke the state record of 497 career blocks held by Jessica Nikkel, who played for Lynnville-Sully from 1995 to 1999. Stokes has 500 career blocks.

“It’s pretty amazing to break a state record,” Stokes said. “Hopefully, it will make it harder for the next person to beat it.”

“I am very very proud of her,” Linn-Mar Coach Mike Brandt said. “She deserves it.”

The Lions (20-2) will face Cedar Rapids Xavier (15-7) on Tuesday night in the Jefferson gym with a trip to state on the line. The defending state champion Lions drummed Xavier twice during the regular season.

“It’s going to be who comes to play,” Brandt said. “It’s gonna be a war with them. It always has been. I don’t see it being any different on Tuesday."

Rachel Thrune added six points for the Lions.

Jefferson (8-15) was led by sophomore Taylor Jacobson with eight points. Senior Britteny Steffeny and sophomore Maddie Koolbeck each added six.


Jeff girls, Linn-Mar boys headed to state

It’s clear that if high school girls and boys bowling gets much more popular, the bowling alleys are going to run out of room.

The May City lanes were filled almost to the brim Saturday afternoon, as 22 teams from 11 Eastern Iowa high schools took up all but 10 of the 32 alleys.

But the crowd watching the action took up every bit of space left in the place, standing five and six deep for the Class 1A and Class 2A regional and substate tournaments.

Trying to figure out who’s ahead during the competition is impossible, except for the well-initiated who keep their own score pads.

By late Saturday afternoon, though, the Linn-Mar boys team and the Jefferson girls had pulled off Class 2A upsets and advanced to the state tourney in Des Moines next weekend.

Individually, there were surprises, too. Jefferson’s Jenna Alff took top honors among the Class 2A girls and Dreyson Robe of Linn-Mar claimed the boys title.

The Jefferson boys finished third in the five-team field, and the Linn-Mar girls also took third.

In both divisions, high-powered teams from Muscatine settled for second and squads from Iowa City High and Iowa West brought up the rear.


Cougar girls bowlers headed to state

MARSHALLTOWN -- Kennedy shake and Bakered its way to the state tournament Saturday.

Down by 32 pins to host Marshalltown after the first round, the Cougars shot a 975 Baker round for a 108-pin victory at the girls Class 2A regional tournament at Totem Bowl.  Kennedy qualified for the state tournament Feb. 25 at Des Moines.

Kennedy tallied a 2640 to win. Marshalltown was second with 2532, Cedar Rapids Washington was third with 2499 and Prairie was fourth with 2394.

All four teams were within 60 pins of each other after the first round. Amanda Weidemeier rolled a high game of 195 and 386 to lead the Cougars and Ashley Hoppe shot a 191 and 352.

The Cougars won the meet by rolling games of 161, 194, 191, 192 and 237 for a 975 Baker round total.

Washington was led by Olivia LaGrange who rolled a high game of 201 and 349 series.

Jami Kadolph shot a high game of 177 and Kate Palmer rolled a 350 series to lead Prairie.

Marshalltown's Hannah Dolezal shot high game and qualified for the state tournament.


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