Monday, July 22, 2019
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Montague to Maryville, in Star game tonight

Josh Montague will be one of the happiest guys in the Linn-Mar gym for the 2011 Eastern Iowa All-Star Games tonight.

He helped Linn-Mar win the Class 4A state title a few weeks ago, his injured right knee feels much better and now he knows where he'll play college basketball next season.

Montague, a 6-foot-6 forward, committed to Maryville University of St. Louis on Tuesday, picking Maryville over Truman State (Mo.) and Northern State (S.D.).

"I've been down there twice," he said Thursday night. "I've watched a game down there, and then I took an official visit. I really feel like I fit in with the team."

Montague said he's excited about attending college in St. Louis.

"I think it's really kind of nice, because you're in a big city, but the campus is a smaller school and it's in a little community right there, so you kind of have the best of both," he said.

Linn-Mar graduate Zach Bohannon, now at the Air Force Academy, helped Montague find a spot at Maryville. Kevin Carroll, the head coach at Maryville, was an assistant at Air Force when Bohannon enrolled at the service academy, and Bohannon recommended Carroll return to Linn-Mar and look at Montague.

"Zach got recruited by the same guy," he said. "Zach told him I'd be a guy he'd be looking for himself."

This was Carroll's first season at Maryville, an NCAA Division II school that finished 7-19 overall and 3-15 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

Montague averaged 10.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots for the Lions this season. He missed four games late in the year after tearing the MCL in his right knee, but he returned for the state tournament and helped Linn-Mar win the title.


Xavier ranked No. 1 in preseason boys soccer

Defending state champion Xavier is ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 2A in the preseason boys soccer poll released by the Iowa High School Soccer Coaches Association.

The Metro has three teams ranked in the top 15 in Class 3A. Kennedy is No. 3, Washington No. 6 and Linn-Mar No. 15.  Prairie was among the teams receiving votes.

Defending state champion Iowa City West and intracity rival Iowa City High are ranked 1-2 in Class 3A.  The Trojans beat the Little Hawks in last year's state title game.  Kennedy was third.  Seven of the eight teams that qualified for last year's state tournament are ranked in the top eight.

Despite graduating three first team all-staters, Xavier received all nine first-place votes in the 2A poll.  Mississippi Valley Conference foe Dubuque Wahlert is ranked No. 2. The Saints beat Wahlert in last year's championship game.

Defending champion Iowa City Regina is No. 1 in 1A.


Stokes celebrates 18th birthday in Star game

CHICAGO -- Kiah Stokes received some really nice presents for her 18th birthday in Chicago Wednesday.

She got several new pairs of Reeboks, a jersey with 'Stokes' written on the back and a warmup suit that said 'McDonald's All-American' in bold letters.

Actually, everybody who played in the 10th annual McDonald's All-American Game at the United Center got the same presents. It just happened to be her birthday.

"We got a lot," Stokes said after the contest. "We got three pairs of shoes, three new sweatsuits, four T-shirts, a couple of Polos, a hat, shorts. We got a lot of stuff."

Stokes rubbed elbows with 23 of the best high school players in the country Wednesday night. She made the starting lineup for the West team and grabbed five rebounds, but the 6-foot-3 senior from Linn-Mar was not happy with her performance.


Whether or not it's nice, spring coaches pay the price

The annual rite of spring.
Feb. 2 is Groundhog Day, the unofficial "most important" weather date of late winter.
Supposedly we are to learn on that date, based on a furry creature, if we are going to have an early spring or six more weeks of winter.
Perhaps an even more in-tune prognasticator of the weather would be a coach of a spring sports team in Iowa.

No one, save for the average farmer, is more up on, in tune with, or has more knowledge of the weather fluxuations during these crazy months than the spring sport coach. It doesn't matter if it is track and field, soccer, tennis or golf, they start their day off and end it by peeking at the long term and short term forecasts.
Maybe the schools should give these guys and gals double pay, since they are doing double duty!
Not only do they have to plan their schedules for outdoor activity, they also have to plan on what they can get accomplished indoors if Mother Nature forces them inside. 


Sweeney starts season with A's

Ryan Sweeney has recovered well enough from knee surgery to make the Oakland Athletics roster.

Sweeney played ony 13 games during the exhibition season, but showed he was healthy by posting a .395 batting average. He played all three outfield spots and was designated hitter.

Sweeney has been a regular outfielder for the A's for the past three seasons, playing mostly right and center field.  He batted .286 in 2008, .293 in 2009 and was hitting a team best .294 last season when he was sidelined in July by patellar tendinitis. He had surgery July 30 and was idled for six months, necessitating the careful approach in spring training.

Oakland Manager Bob Geren told that he was counting on Sweeney to be able to play all three outfield spots this season. The A's acquired David DeJesus and Josh Willingham in the offseason and both are experienced major league outfielders. Willingham is slated to start in left, Coco Crisp in center and DeJesus in right to start the season.

"He's going to be an outfielder who's going to have to play all three (spots) to utilize him," Geren said of Sweeney, who has a lifetime .286 batting average in 364 major league games.

Sweeney, 26, is a 2002 Cedar Rapids Xavier grad. He was a second-round pick of the Chicago White Sox in the June 2002 free agent draft. He was traded to Oakland before the 2008 season.



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