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

Metro Sports Report

Linn-Mar boys No. 1, Kennedy up to 3

Linn-Mar is a unanimous choice as the No. 1 boys basketball team in the Associated Press Class 4A poll released Monday.

Linn-Mar (17-0) is the only unbeaten team in Class 4A. The Lions have been ranked No. 1 all season.

Kennedy (15-2) moved up one spot to No. 3 in this week's poll and Jefferson (12-3) dropped three spots into a tie for No. 9. Kennedy is four points behind No. 2 Ankeny (14-2), which moved up three spots from a week ago.

Jefferson is tied with Iowa City West (12-4). The J-Hawks were beaten by the Trojans, 59-45, Friday.

Sioux City Heelan (16-2), PCM Monroe (18-0) and Iowa Mennonite (18-0) are the top-ranked teams in the other three classes.


1. Linn-Mar (17-0), 2. Ankeny (14-2), 3. Kennedy (15-2), 4. Des Moines Hoover (15-2), 5. Sioux City East (13-3), 6. Davenport West (14-2), 7. Cedar Falls (11-3), 8. Waukee (13-4), 9. (tie) Jefferson (12-3) and Iowa City West (12-4).

Others receiving votes -- West Des Moines Valley 2, North Scott 2, West Des Moines Dowling 1.



Remembering the glory and tragedy of Hugh Leffingwell

When a Marion boys basketball player approaches 1,000 points for his career it's a remarkable achievement. Only six Marion players have achieved that milestone.

And when a new player reaches it, as Kasey Semler did Saturday, Marion old-timers start to think again about a bulky, blond kid who scorched the nets for the Indians more than half a century ago.

His name was Hugh Leffingwell, and he is still remembered by many as Marion's greatest basketball player. He is also remembered as the most tragic. But that part of the story comes later.

Semler, the Indians' point guard, scored 42 points Saturday to join the exclusive 1,000-point club at 1,005. He's averaging 22.9 points a game, one of the top marks in the state.

Amry Shelby notched 1,126 points just two years ago as he led the Indians to the state tourney, where they lost by a single point in the first round. Scott Benest had 1,013 in 1993, and was named to the All-Metro team as both a junior and senior.

In 1983, Todd Twachtmann, who was listed as a varsity player for four years, ended with 1,214 points and was named to the fourth All-State team. Gregg Anderson finished with 1,088 in 1973, when Marion won the Wamac championship and Anderson was named to the third All-State team.

Hugh Leffingwell scored 1,308. Of these, 1,282 came in his junior and senior years. The rest were scored in his sophomore year, when he was brought up late in the season from the freshman-sophomore team.


Dunn chooses Hogs over Hawks

Kyle Dunn had a choice to make.

Dunn, a two-time Iowa state champion in the 400 meter hurdles for Linn-Mar, was being courted by Iowa and national track power Arkansas.

On the one hand you had Iowa and former national champion 400 meter hurdler Joey Woody, a Hawkeye assistant coach.

On the other, you had the irrepressible Chris Bucknam, who built Northern Iowa into a national contender with Iowans such as Woody before being wooed away to Arkansas three years ago.

"I know Joey's a great coach, but to have the coaches that made Joey so great, I knew that could definitely be advantageous for me," Dunn said of his choosing the Razorbacks, who have won 11 outdoor and 19 indoor NCAA team championships since 1984.

"Arkansas is perenially a good track program," Dunn said. "I knew the track coaches were previously at UNI and I heard great things about Coach Bucknam, coach (Doug) Case and coach (Travis) Geopfert."

But Arkansas was a long shot when the recruiting process started. 


Semler vaults to top of Class 3A scoring

Kasey Semler of Marion High School is now the leading scorer in Class 3A after his 42-point outburst against Center Point-Urbana Saturday at Marion.

Semler is averaging 22.9 points for the Indians. He joined the 1,000-point club Saturday and is sitting at 1,005 for his career.

Jarrod Uthoff of Jefferson continues to lead the entire state in scoring at 25.9 points per game. That means the Metro has the leading scorer in 3A (Semler), the leading scorer in 4A (Uthoff) and the leading scorer in Iowa (Uthoff).


Kirkwood baseball picks up pair of Metro stars

Jefferson outfielder Michael Rooney and Linn-Mar middle infielder Ben Larison have signed letters-of-intent to play baseball at Kirkwood Community College in 2012.

Rooney hit .350 with five homers and 30 RBIs for Jefferson last season as their leadoff hitter and center fielder. He's looking forward to joining the Eagles next season.

"It's really exciting," he said. "The past few years I've been wondering whether I'm good enough to play in college. It just feels good to have other people recognize you and think you're good enough to play for them."

Rooney said he also considered Wartburg and Coe.

Larison hit .383 with one homer and 31 RBIs for Linn-Mar last season as their shortstop, although he'll probably move to second base at Kirkwood.

"It just seems like Kirkwood was the best opportunity, both academically and athletically," he said. "I love baseball. It's a great opportunity."

Larison said he considered other junior colleges in Iowa and Minnesota before picking Kirkwood.



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