Wednesday, May 27, 2020
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Marion squeezes into 3A substate final

Dusty Albaugh and Kasey Semler got a taste of the Class 3A boys state basketball tournament in 2009 when they were sophomores. Now they want a full meal.

They could get it Monday night.

Albaugh scored 17 points Thursday night as Marion slipped by Mount Vernon, 38-37, in the Class 3A district finals on a neutral court at Kennedy High School.

Marion (16-7) will face Benton (16-7) in the substate finals Monday at 8 p.m. at the U.S. Cellular Center for the right to play in the state tournament in Des Moines from March 8-12.

"It's a goal of ours to get back to state," said Albaugh, who made five 3-pointers Thursday. "Kasey and I and Tyler (Fisher), we know what that was like. We want another taste of that."


Northrup: I stuck to my convictions

Joel Northrup said on national television Wednesday (Feb. 23) morning that he decided in the fifth grade that he would never wrestle against a girl again.

Northrup is the Linn-Mar sophomore who forfeited his opening-round match in the Iowa state wrestling tournament last Thursday because he did not want to compete against Cassy Herkelman of Cedar Falls, one of two girls to make the tournament this year.

Northrup has declined interviews with local and state media, but he was scheduled to speak Wednesday morning with national correspondents from CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox from the KGAN studios in Cedar Rapids.

Northrup appeared on "The Early Show" on CBS. He was asked to explain his decision not to wrestle against Herkelman, which the family said last Thursday was based on religious principles.

"Wrestling is a combat sport," Northrup told CBS. "It gets violent at times. You get put in compromising holds and positions. I just don't think it's right that a boy should engage a girl in a manner like this."

Northrup finished third in the 2010 state tournament at 103 pounds and was ranked No.5 in the state at 112 pounds heading into the 2011 tournament. He won a consolation match after defaulting to Herkelman, then lost a match and was eliminated without placing.

The CBS correspondent reminded Northrup that Herkelman accepted the possible consequences of wrestling against a boy. Herkelman competed for the Cedar Falls varsity all season.

"I mean, she deserves to be out there, but I do believe that if she does wrestle, she should wrestle other girls and I should wrestle other boys," said Northrup.

Northrup was asked by CBS if he thinks he "cheated" Herkelman of an opportunity to compete.

"It's kind of a tough situation. I don't believe so," he replied. "I just had to stick with my convictions. It's hard for her, but I just hold on to what I decided in fifth grade, that I wouldn't wrestle a girl."


Stokes heads MVC honor teams

The honors keep coming for Linn-Mar senior Kiah Stokes.

Stokes was named first team all-Mississippi Valley Conference and Mississippi Division Athlete of the Year the league announced Wednesday.  Earlier in the day she was named the Cedar Rapids-Marion Metro Player of the Year.

Stokes, a McDonald's All-American, was one of seven Metro athletes to earn MVC first team honors. The league selects all-conference teams by division. Joining Stokes on the Mississippi Division team are Washington senior Tia Dawson and Kennedy junior Courtney Strait.  First team selections in the Valley Division are Prairie freshman Madison Dellamuth, Jefferson sophomore Taylor Jacobson and Xavier seniors Alex Saxen and Krissi Tow.

Stokes, Dellamuth and Saxen were unanimous selections.

Five Metro athletes are on the second teams. Linn-Mar senior Jenna Eells, Washington senior Alissa Oney and Kennedy senior Olivia Meier are on the Mississippi Division second team. Jefferson sophomore Kaitlyn Davidson and Xavier junior Emily Walvoord are on the Valley Division second team.

Coaches of the Year are Dr. Tony Pappas from Waterloo West in the Mississippi Division and B.J. Mayer of Iowa City West in the Valley Division. The Valley Division Athlete of the Year is Iowa City West sophomore Ally Disterhoft.


Kiah and Tia lead all-Metro teams

The honor may not carry as much swagger as those she has or will collect, but Kiah Stokes added another tidbit to her resume Wednesday (Feb. 23) when she was named the Metro girls basketball Player of the Year.

Stokes already has been named to the McDonald's All-America team and will play in that all-star game at Chicago on March 30 and the WBCA Nike All-Star Game in Indianapolis on April 2.

She likely will be named Iowa's Miss Basketball next month and again be honored as the state's Gatorade girls basketball Athlete of the Year.  She has signed a letter of intent to play basketball at the University of Connecticut, the two-time defending national champions.

Stokes also holds the state record for career blocked shots. She leads the state in scoring with a 25.2 average and is second in rebounds per game average (15.1) and blocked shots per game average (5.81).  She has scored 1,634 points, grabbed 1,199 rebounds and blocked 502 shots in her four-year career at Linn-Mar and led the Lions to four straight state tournament appearances, including a Class 4A state title a year ago.

Stokes and the Lions have a shot at repeating as tournament champs next week.

Stokes was one of four unanimous selections on the All-Metro team. The others are senior Tia Dawson of Washington, who is headed to Dartmouth, Xavier senior Alex Saxen and Kennedy junior Courtney Strait.


Lion matmen rally for win (barely)

If you want to stumble across unusual stories, just spend a few days with the Linn-Mar wrestling team.

The Lions seem to attract them.

Just last week, a Linn-Mar wrestler forfeited his match at the state tournament to a girl, sparking a national debate about gender equity, religion and the American Way.

Just when that simmered down, the Lions competed in an important dual meet Tuesday night at Linn-Mar and when it ended, nobody knew who won. Really. Nobody knew.

As it turned out, Linn-Mar won the meet on an obscure tiebreaker and earned a date in the state dual meet tournament this Saturday against Waverly-Shell Rock, the powerful team that just won its fourth straight title at the traditional state wrestling tournament in Des Moines.

Strange, indeed.

Linn-Mar's meet against North Scott in the regional tournament Tuesday night finished in a 29-29 tie when the Lions rallied from a 29-9 deficit in the last four matches, snatching a dramatic deadlock from the jaws of defeat.

Somebody had to be declared the winner, because somebody had to advance to the state dual meet tournament this Saturday at the U.S. Cellular Center in downtown Cedar Rapids. But which team?

The coaches didn't know. The two mat officials didn't know. The wrestlers didn't know. The fans didn't know.


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