Sunday, October 20, 2019
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Freshman basketball drums home a lesson

I think I have gone to more high school basketball games this year than ever before, and there is a good reason for that.

When you have a ninth grade grandson playing team basketball, it is likely your attendance will increase. First of all, I have always enjoyed going to high school athletics, whether in a professional manner or as a grandparent.

So Susie and I have attended some of the Metro games that give you a new perspective on the game itself. The thing that has impressed me about the ninth grade level is the sportsmanship of the players involved.

I think they are learning at this early age that being a member of a team, and the court conduct that goes with it, is as important as improvement in their skills.


UNI getting a model player in Carr

On the football field, Alex Carr is as tough as they come.

Small for a tailback, he still carried the ball on nearly every play for the Washington Warriors last fall, usually into the middle of the line and beyond.

In one game, Alex had an almost unheard of 49 carries.

But he’d always pop right back up, never mind the beating.

Then he’d switch sides and play every down as a defensive back.

He was a vocal leader, too, as if his non-stop cheering would make everyone play even harder.

Off the field, on the other hand, he’s soft-spoken, as polite-as-you-please and as serious as any 17-year-old can be.

 “I’m grateful,” he says, “for all the people who have helped me be a better person.”

Imagine his embarrassment, therefore, when his mom, Jenny, mentions that they’re going to California in a couple of weeks for Alex to pose in a nationwide modeling competition.

He’d much rather talk about playing football next fall for the University of Northern Iowa Panthers, which is why he and his mom, his dad Albert, sister Jordan, other family members and classmates were seated at tables eating cake Thursday afternoon in the Washington cafeteria.


Sioux looking for Garman to play early

Jer Garman set 12 school records running the football at Linn-Mar.  He holds the school record for career, single season and single game rushing yards. He also broke two Mississippi Valley Conference records set by Tim Dwight.

Not only that, but Garman three times was named to the MVC all-conference first team and twice was first team all-state.

Garman has a long list of accomplishments on the gridiron, but his short stature – he’s generously listed at 5-foot-9, 170 pounds -- may have scared away some colleges when it came time to recruit him.

“I feel like I do get bagged because of my size,” Garman said Thursday at a ceremony at Linn-Mar that included six other athletes that signed national letters of intent.  “I get criticized a lot more than someone else who is a little bit bigger. But I’m proud of what I’ve done and I’m glad that I got a scholarship.”

Garman was one of three Linn-Mar football players signing letters. Center Mac Mahmens signed with reigning NCAA Division II champion Minnesota-Duluth and tight end/defensive end Brandon Allen with Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs.

Other athletes signing letters of intent were women’s soccer players Madisen Garman and Kali Hubler, who are both going to Northern Iowa, and track and field athletes Kyle Dunn and Amanda Piche. Dunn is a two-time state champ in the 400 hurdles and he signed with national powerhouse Arkansas. Piche was champion in the discus at last year’s Drake Relays. She signed with DePaul.

Garman signed with the University of North Dakota and it sounds like the Sioux are glad to have him.


Ableman, Strother tabbed for swim Hall

Cedar Rapids Washington graduates Randy Abelman and Jon Strother will be inducted into the Iowa Swim Coaches Hall of Fame during the boys state meet in Marshalltown Feb. 12.

Abelman (Class of 1977) was a two-time prep diving champion and a four-time All-American at the University of Iowa, where he enjoyed a record-setting career. He was NCAA champion in the 1-meter springboard in 1981. He was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic diving team that did not compete in Moscow because of a boycott ordered by President Jimmy Carter. He also was on the U.S. National team from 1978-84. Ableman is the diving coach at the University of Miami (Fla.) and has been named the NCAA Diving Coach of the Year nine times.

Strother (Class of 1994) is the only Iowa high school swimmer in the 72-year history of the state meet to win gold medals in two relays for four straight years, helping Washington win four state titles in a row.

Abelman and Strother are the only two inductees into the Iowa Swim Coaches Hall of Fame this year.


Lions win title despite poor outings

The last pair of dual meets for a wrestling team are usually the best and brightest of the season, if not a mini-preview of what’s to come.

Doug Streicher, the Linn-Mar coach, hopes that is definitely not the case for his 2011 team.

Linn-Mar struggled to top Iowa City High, 33-28, then crushed Washington, 61-12, in a double-dual at Washington Thursday night.

"That first dual of ours was not good at all," he said. "We were not intense, not sharp, not focused, they tied us up, they slowed us down, and wrestlers not as good as us were either close to us or beat us."

Despite clinching the Mississippi Valley Conference Mississippi Division title, Striecher cited several of the usual suspects for his team’s subpar performance, including poor pre-match preparation, not being ready to go, and a lackluster intensity level.


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