Thursday, June 21, 2018
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Prairie High School - Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Usher commits to Kirkwood baseball

If Levi Usher plays college baseball, he'll stay in the neighborhood and play for the Kirkwood Eagles.

It could be a big "if," however.

Usher, a senior at Cedar Rapids Prairie, would be tempted to skip college and play pro baseball if he's selected high enough in the major league draft this June and likes the offer.

"I would be very tempted," he told the Metro Sports Report Sunday evening. "It's something my parents and I have talked about. I think I'm ready for it.

"We'll see how the spring goes and how I play."

Usher is a fleet center fielder who hit .468 with seven homers, 34 RBIs and 37 stolen bases for Prairie last season as a junior. He's ranked as the No. 2 high school prospect in Iowa by Perfect Game USA and the 82nd best high school player in the country.

If he goes high enough in the draft and is offered a lucrative signing bonus, he'll head straight to the minor leagues. If the draft does not turn out the way he wants, he'll head to Kirkwood and play for the Eagles in 2019.



Xavier is host site for Metro tourney

Xavier is one of two host sites for the 48th annual Bob Vrbicek Metro Tournament, which kicks off the high school baseball season for the  Saints, the other six schools in the Cedar Rapids Metro and Mount Vernon.

Xavier Coach Bob Cataldo's team, which finished last season at  12-23-1, will host Marion at 7 p.m. on Monday, following the 5 p.m.  contest between Jefferson and Washington at Ken Charipar Field.

Prairie is the other host site. Coach Todd Rima's Hawks, the defending Class 4A state champions, face a tough opener against traditional power Kennedy at 7 p.m. following a 4:30 p.m. contest between Mount Vernon and Linn-Mar.

Semifinal and consolation round games are set for Tuesday. The championship and third-place games will be Wednesday at Veterans Memorial Stadium with the fifth and seventh-place games to be played at Xavier.



Maddie Abu-Nameh leads Xavier netters

Maddie Abu-Nameh of Xavier defeated Maddy Renner of Prairie, 10-2, at  No. 4 singles Thursday in a Mississippi Valley Conference tennis meet  at Xavier.

Prairie won the meet, 7-2.


1. Vale Caro (P) def. Nina Marquardt, 10-1
2. Anna Postnikov (P) def. Emily Jasper, 10-6
3. Karleigh Schilling (P) def. Sarah Schirm, 10-6
4. Maddie Abu-Nameh (X) def. Maddy Renner, 10-2
5. Haley Stecklein (P) def. Sarah Abu-Nameh, 11-10
6. Megan Grimm (P) def. Camryn McPherson, 10-5


1. Caro/Schilling (P) def. Marquardt/Jasper, 10-3
2. Abu-Nameh/Schirm (X) def. Renner/Grimm, 10-8
3. Stecklein/Emily Northrup (P) def. McPherson/Macy Lembeck, 10-4


Xavier boys tennis slams Prairie

Jon Lansing defeated Evan Gaskill, 6-2, 6-0, at No. 1 singles Thursday  as the Xavier boys tennis team downed Prairie, 8-1, in a Mississippi  Valley Conference meet at Prairie.

Alex Hinrichs, Charlie Esker, Blake Magill and Wes Johnson also won  their singles matches for the Saints.


1. Jon Lansing (X) def. Evan Gaskill, 6-2, 6-0
2. Alex Hinrichs (X) def. Joseph Schmitt, 6-2, 6-2
3. Charlie Esker (X) def. Logan Renner, 6-1, 6-0
4. Blake Magill (X) def. Nathan Harder, 7-6, 6-3
5. Zach Rosenberger (P) def. Calvin Ford, 7-6, 2-6, 10-7
6. Wes Johnson (X) def. Ryan Neubauer, 6-1, 6-7, 10-4


1. Lansing/Esker (X) def. Gaskill/Schmitt, 6-0, 3-6, 10-6
2. Hinrichs/Ryan Jasper (X) def. Renner/Nathan Ayers, 6-1, 6-0
3. Magill/Curt Lengemann (X) def. Rosenberger/Nathan Zumsande, 1-6, 6-4, 10-8


Brrr ... Diebold lifts Saints by Hawks

When the wind-chill temperature dips into the mid-40's and there's a frigid gale whipping across the field, the last thing anyone wants is a soccer match that goes into overtime.

Paige Diebold spared all the fans who brought their winter coats, stocking caps and blankets to John Wall Field Thursday night when she scored the only goal as Xavier blanked Prairie, 1-0, in a Mississippi Valley Conference match.

Diebold connected from about 30 yards with 29 minutes, 17 seconds left in the second half when she lofted a shot that eluded the Prairie goal-keeper and nestled softly into the back of the net.

"We connected all the way from the back and then the shot was open," Diebold said about her clutch goal.

And the weather?

"You get warm when you give it your all," claimed Diebold, who wore soccer shorts like all the other players. "It was really windy, but the whole team kept up the pressure the whole game. We were able to  keep attacking."


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