Sunday, May 31, 2020
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Christensen, Freese showcase talents

Dakota Freese struck out five batters in two innings and flashed a 90 mph fastball, then Austin Christensen whiffed five hitters in two frames and displayed an 87 mph heater.

It appeared Sunday that the Metro area's two best high school pitchers are poised to have strong years this season.

Freese and Christensen performed in the Perfect Game showcase at Veterans Memorial Stadium on a chilly day and showed why they're considered two of the top players in the state.

Freese, a 6-foot-4 righthander from Cedar Rapids Washington, is ranked third among all seniors in Iowa by Perfect Game. Christensen, a 6-foot-4 lefthander, is ranked seventh in the state.

Freese can hit a little (.301 last year), but he's mostly a pitcher who went 6-3 with a 2.69 ERA in 2010. Christensen, on the other hand, is a pitcher/outfielder/first baseman who helped Kennedy win the Class 4A state title last season with his arm and his bat. He went 9-4 with a 1.94 ERA and hit a robust .492 with eight home runs and 44 RBIs.


Cuonzo Martin has big plans for Washpun

New Tennessee Coach Cuonzo Martin will give Wes Washpun a chance to crack the starting lineup as a freshman and make an immediate impact with the Volunteers next season.

Washpun, a 6-foot-1 point guard from Cedar Rapids Washington, signed with Tennessee on Wednesday.

"I really think he has an opportunity to play," Martin said in a telephone interview with the Metro Sports Report. "It's not a deal where he comes in and we say we're gong to sit you out for one or two years. Wes has every opportunity to come in and play from Day 1."

Washpun will be competing with Trae Golden and Chris Jones at point guard. Golden, 6-1, averaged 3.0 points and 0.7 assists for Tennessee this season as a freshman with one start. Jones, 5-10, from Memphis, signed with former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl last fall.

"Wes will pretty much get what he earns," Martin said.


Wes Washpun follows in dad's footsteps

A talented point guard named Washpun decided to leave home and play college basketball in another part of the country, believing it was the right thing to do.

That was 30 years ago. His name was Troy Washpun, and he left home in Alton, Ill., and embarked on a college basketball career at the University of Wyoming.

Like father, like son.

Wes Washpun, Troy's son, made a similar decision last weekend when he elected to play for the Tennessee Volunteers instead of accepting an offer from Fran McCaffery and the nearby Iowa Hawkeyes.

It worked out well for Troy Washpun, who enjoyed a solid career at Wyoming, and he and his wife, Angie, encouraged their son to weigh all the options and make his own decision.

"We both told him, it's your choice, your decision, whether you go to Iowa, whether you go to Tennessee, both of them are in great conferences," Troy Washpun said Wednesday after Wes signed his letter-of-intent at Cedar Rapids Washington High School.


Prospect Meadows: A great idea and leader

I knew it wouldn't be long until Jack Roeder surfaced after retiring from his job as General Manager of the Cedar Rapids Kernels. I knew, too, that Jack would get into some form of community service with regard to baseball.

And what an opportunity he has picked.

Prospect Meadows is its name, Highway 13 and County Home Road is the proposed site that would include 17 baseball and softball fields and the supporting facilities for youth play and regional tournaments.

This is a non-profit organizaiton that apparently will be built along the lines of the Tuma Soccer Complex, which incidentally is not far away.

Jack will make his pitch to the County Supervisors for $20,000 to fund a feasibility and financing study of the project that has a price tag of around $9 million, a little more than half of what the Roeder-proposed new minor league ballpark cost.


Christiansons clubbing the ball for Kennedy

This is the first time Garet and Gabe Christianson have donned the green and yellow for the Kennedy High School soccer team, but the Christianson brothers are not strangers to the Cedar Rapids soccer community.

The Christiansons have been two of the top club players in Cedar Rapids for years. Garet is a senior forward and has committed to play for Drake next season. Gabe, a junior midfielder, is a four star recruit and is the 50th ranked prospect in the nation, according to

“Gabe is just a midfield presence that other teams have to deal with defensively,” said Kennedy co-head coach Steven Robertson. “Having a guy like that in the middle of the field with his dynamic ability to deliver passes, beat defenders, see runs that other guys maybe don’t see and then still be able to get the ball there is what makes him so devastating to defenses.”

Robertson also is excited about the skills Garet brings to the Cougars this season.


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