Friday, July 19, 2019
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Lions capture 1st MVC boys track crown

The Linn-Mar boys track team took a special victory lap at Kingston Stadium Friday night.

The Lions won a Mississippi Valley Conference title for the first time since joining the league in 1986, according to Coach Ken Hopkins, and they did it by beating two other strong MVC teams to the finish line.

"I'm pretty proud of the kids," Hopkins said. "I'm pretty proud of what they've done."

Linn-Mar rolled up 140 points on a comfortable evening to win the Mississippi Division title in a good three-team race with Iowa City High (128) and Washington (118).

Linn-Mar senior Kyle Dunn won three individual events and turned in a blazing 46.9-second split on the 4x400 relay, but he had plenty of help from his teammates.

The Lions clinched the title when Matt Simon won the 800 in 1:59.79 with a strong kick and Nick Gentzler finished third, giving Linn-Mar 16 points in one race.

The Lions also captured the 4x800 relay with Simon running the anchor, got a victory from Josh Evans in the 3200 and scored 14 points in the shot put with a 2-3 finish by Jack Halupnik and Brandon Allen.

The Lions won the meet despite the absence of Nick Lucas, who was third in the 400 hurdles last week at the Drake Relays. Lucas sat out because of a hamstring problem, but assured his coach he will be able to run in the district meet May 12.


Kyle Stocker garners 3 wins at Valley track

Kyle Stocker swept the distance events at the Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division boys track meet at Xavier on Friday, winning the 3200 meter (9:41.49), 1600 meter (4:29.04) and 800 meter (2:01.43) races.

“Of course three gold medals is great, but we were just shooting for team points, me and my brother (Matt) just working together one-two,” Stocker said. “It doesn’t really matter who wins.”

Matt Stocker also ran well, taking second behind his brother in the 3200 meter race and finishing third in the 1600 and 800 meter races.

“For the 2 mile, we just took it out slow and then kicked at the end,” Kyle Stocker said. "That was my brother's and my strategy, so we don’t wear ourselves out. The mile, we went really slow and it was a kick race at the end, which Matt and I thought would be to our advantage. The 800 was just all out, give it your all. Tomorrow is going to be easy running anyway.”

Despite winning three races, Stocker was humble in victory, insisting that he was just trying to score as many points as possible for his team.

“It is kind of good I guess,” he said. “It is always your goal to win a race, that’s why we race. At Prairie you are expected to, nothing less.”

The Stocker brothers' finishes in the distance races helped to lead Prairie to third place with 120 points. Cedar Falls won theteam  race with 145 points and Iowa City West came in second with 127 points. Xavier was fourth with 67 points and Jefferson fifth with 51 points.


Quick courtship puts Henry in charge at Wash

Brent Henry went home Monday night as one of the assistant coaches for the Cedar Rapids Washington baseball team.

When he returned the next day, he was the new head coach.

Henry, 31, has succeded Byron Schlotterback as Washington's interim head coach, but he'll have the job all season and perhaps beyond.

Schlotterback has taken a leave of absence from Cedar Rapids Community Schools for unexplained reasons after three years as Washington's head coach. He also has been the director of vocal music at Jefferson High School.

Washington reacted quickly and promoted Henry, a Cornell College grad who has been an assistant coach at the collegiate and high school levels for five years apiece. Washington High School principal Ralph Plagman, activities director Paul James, assistant principal Mike Johnson and assistant principal Rick Williams met earlier this week and decided Henry was the right man for the job.

"Paul James and Dr. Plagman approached me on Tuesday and asked me," Henry said after practice Thursday. "They said Byron is taking a personal leave of absence, we've got an opening for an interim coach, is that something you'd be interested in?

"They asked and I said, 'Absolutely.' It was instantaneous. I didn't have to think about that one bit."


Xavier tops Kennedy in OT thriller

It took 94 minutes for somebody to score Friday night when Xavier and Kennedy met in a boys soccer match at Kennedy.

That "somebody" was Josh Steffensmier, and he gave Xavier a 1-0 victory in double-overtime.

Neither team scored during 80 minutes of regulation, and neither team scored during 10 minutes of the first overtime. Finally, the Saints got it done with six minutes left in the second OT.

Michael Tessmer got the winning play started, Zach Smith tapped the ball to Steffensmier and Steffensmier delivered.

Nathan Even made seven saves for the Saints, who are top-ranked in Class 2A at 10-1-1 overall and 9-1 in the Mississippi Valley Conference. Kennedy, ranked No. 6 in Class 3A, dropped to 8-4, 5-3.

Xavier 1, Kennedy 0 (2OT)

Goals -- CRX: Josh Steffensmeier. Assists -- CRX: Michael Tessmer.


Hockey, baseball and the bond of time

Last weekend Susie and I attended the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders hockey playoff games with Green Bay. The thought came to mind that the Metro Sports Report is geared toward high school athletes, and the RoughRiders have contributed to that with hockey players who attend Cedar Rapids high schools during the season.

Two of them were noteworthy in goaltender Brady Hjelle, who is the top goalie in the United States Hockey League and will be a freshman this fall at Ohio State, and Sam Warning, who will be a freshman and report to Minnesota next month.

It brought to mind the fact that it is, at times, a small world. Sam's grandfather attended the games last weekend and his name happens to be Don Bruss. He saw his grandson make the winning goal in a 2-1 playoff victory over Green Bay.

Bruss also thrilled yours truly with a phone call and a visit during the hockey game, because Don Bruss played center field for the Cedar Rapids Indians of 1951. At that time, he was a towhead who could really go get them in center field.


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