Thursday, October 17, 2019
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Northrup wrestling a girl? No comment

Linn-Mar sophomore Joel Northrup has wrestled a girl before, but that was a long time ago. "When I was real young," he said Monday.

He'll wrestle another girl Thursday morning at the Class 3A state tournament in Des Moines, and this will make history.

Girls have been wrestling against boys for more than 20 years in Iowa on high school teams, but this is the first time a girl has qualified for the state meet.

There are two, in fact.

Cassy Herkelman, a freshman from Cedar Falls High School, qualified this year. So did Megan Black, a sophomore from Ottumwa.

Northrup will face Herkelman in the first round at Wells Fargo Arena on opening day of the 86th IHSAA wrestling tournament.

It will be an historic occasion. Northrup said he'll be happy to talk about it after the match, but not now.

"I don't really have a comment for that," he said Monday before practice at Linn-Mar. "I'll talk to you after the first round."

This is no publicity stunt. Herkelman and Black have wrestled for their varsity teams all season and finished second at their respective district meets this past Saturday.


Perseverance, determination ultimate virtues

The postseason is all about perseverance. Fight through the tough times and press forward during the good.

The high school district wrestling tournaments are poignant illustrations of how perseverance is an ultimate virtue. The top ranked wrestlers will get every opponent’s best effort, so they must be on their game to avoid an upset loss. The lower seeds exude optimism, knowing the regular season means nothing in this one-day qualifier.

Jordan Baskerville of Cedar Rapids Kennedy and Riley Welsh of Cedar Rapids Jefferson were prime examples Saturday of wrestlers who overcame adversity, pressed ahead and took their shot at postseason glory.

Baskerville and Welsh both had been injured during the regular season and their careers were in doubt. Baskerville recovered more quickly than anticipated and was ready for the districts. Welsh was on the sideline late in the season and wasn’t sure he’d be able to return until a doctor gave him the OK.


Lions No. 1; Cougars, J-Hawks fall

Unbeaten Linn-Mar remains the No. 1 team in the Associated Press Class 4A boys basketball rankings released Monday.

Linn-Mar (19-0) is the only unbeaten team in Class 4A and has been ranked No. 1 throughout the season. The Lions have a tough game Tuesday at No. 10 Jefferson (14-4) and close out the season at home Thursday against Class 3A No. 10 Dubuque Wahlert (14-5).

Kennedy (15-4) lost twice last week and dropped four spots to No. 7. The Cougars were beaten by Iowa City West (14-4) and Jefferson, both of whom were tied for ninth in last week's poll. West moved up four spots to No. 5 and Jefferson fell a spot to No. 10.

Despite a 45-41 loss to unranked Cedar Rapids Washington, Sioux City East (15-4) fell only one spot to No. 6.

In Class 3A, Waverly-Shell Rock (20-0) replaced Sioux City Heelan (17-2) at No. 1. PCM Monroe (21-0) is No. 1 in 2A and Danville (21-0) replaced IMS (20-1) atop the 1A poll after beating IMS last Friday.


1. Linn-Mar (19-0), 2. Des Moines Hoover (17-2), 3. Davenport West (17-2), 4. Ankeny (16-3), 5. Iowa City West (14-4), 6. Sioux City East (15-4), 7. Kennedy (15-4), 8. Cedar Falls (14-4), 9. Waukee (15-4), 10. Jefferson (14-4).



Tough draws for Prairie, Jefferson mat teams

Waverly-Shell Rock and Iowa City West could have the two strongest wrestling teams in the state this year, so guess who Prairie and Jefferson drew in the Regional Dual Team Tournamament?

Exactly right.

Prairie will visit Waverly-Shell Rock and Jefferson will visit Iowa City West in the opening round of the Regional Dual Team Tournament on Tuesday, Feb. 22. Both Metro teams will be heavy underdogs in those meets.

Linn-Mar will host North Scott in the opening round Feb. 22 with a shot at making the state tournament Feb. 26 at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids.

Prairie and Jefferson finished second in the team standings at their district tournaments this past Saturday, which is why they were paired with district champions for the dual team tournament. Linn-Mar won its district and drew a district runnerup in North Scott.

Sixteen teams qualified for the regional tournament. The assignments are Burlington at Bettendorf, Jefferson at Iowa City West, Spencer at Lewis Central, North Scott at Linn-Mar, Ankeny at Mason City, Urbandale at Southeast Polk, Indiana at West Des Moines Valley and Prairie at Waverly-Shell Rock.



Saints' Mattke future PG poster material?

For just more than half his life, Cedar Rapids Xavier junior Mack Mattke has looked around at quite an assortment of portraits of many of the best baseball players the state of Iowa has produced over the past decade.

The poster-sized photos are displayed on the walls of Perfect Game USA, a baseball scouting and recruiting service located on Rockford Road SW, just across the street from the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena and just down the street from Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Just inside the door of the batting cage area at PG, there is one long banner that features the photos of Iowa City High’s Jon Gilmore, West Delaware’s B.J. Hermsen, Marshalltown’s Jeff Clement and Des Moines area standouts Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Macri, among others.

All of those players are in the professional ranks at some level right now, and all participated at Perfect Game events.

But please excuse Mattke if he pays special attention to the portrait of Ryan Sweeney, a 2003 Xavier grad who was a second-round MLB Draft pick and is now an outfielder with the Oakland Athletics. There also is a photo of Travis Sweet, a 2004 Xavier grad who was also drafted professionally and played collegiately at the University of Iowa.


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