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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Xavier High School - Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Saints cap 'unbelievable' season with 2nd straight title

DES MOINES - The Xavier boys soccer team set out to "shock the world" at the beginning of the season and on Saturday the Saints completed their mission.

Xavier knocked off Norwalk, 1-0, in the state championship game at the Cownie Soccer Complex.It was the Saints' second straight title.

After last year’s state championship season, the Saints lost three first team all-state players and there were doubters that they could repeat.

But the team never lost faith.

“Shock the world baby,” senior defender Tim Bouchard exclaimed. “A lot of people said we couldn’t do it after loosing (Aaron) Lacey, Chuck (Charlie Bales) and Clayton (Lynch), three all-staters last year. A lot of people said there is no way to do it, we don’t have the star power.

"But we came together all winter, came together all season. Since March 15, at the beginning of this year, we have had one dream and that was this and we did it. It is unbelievable.”

The championship gave the Xavier boys soccer program five state championships overall. The Saints won three in a row from 2004-2006. The Saints had a three-year title drought after that before winning again last year. This year’s team wanted to make sure that everyone knew that Xavier boys soccer is back.

“Before last year we kind of had a drought and we just wanted to keep that Xavier history going and get the streak started up again,” said senior Michael Tessmer.

Xavier looked good in the championship game, dominating the possession and winning balls all throughout the midfield. Meanwhile, Tessmer and junior Chad Gilmer gave the Norwalk defense problems all day, but the Saints had trouble guiding the ball into the net.

“We had possession most of the time and we were just hoping to poke one in,” Bouchard said. “We had a couple chances early, Tessmer was exploiting that left side. The keeper was huge so we had to keep our crosses down, which we had trouble with, but we knew we would get our break sooner or later.”

That break came early in the second half when the Norwalk keeper, Zach Schroeder beat a charging Gilmer to the ball. But as Gilmer peeled off to avoid a collision, Schroeder’s right leg came up and caught Gilmer in the midsection, dropping him to the turf.

“I just saw the ball get knocked over and thought I could get to it. I ended up not getting to it and had a little collision,” Gilmer said. “It was a good call by the ref, its how the game is, you can’t control that stuff.”

Schroeder was given a yellow card on the play and, according to high school rules, he had to leave the field for 10 minutes. That left backup keeper Spencer Hoyt to defend against the resulting penalty kick. Logan Bouchette hammered it into the net, giving the Saints a 1-0 lead.



Furnish wins the round, Askelson the title

There are two names to remember when it comes to girls golf in the Metro area this year.

They are Kimmy Askelson and Megan Furnish, and they both distinguished themselves Monday at the Mississippi Valley Conference division meet at Twin Pines Golf Course.

Askelson won the Valley Division title with a 36-hole score of 77-78-155 to claim medalist honors, while Furnish tied for the day's low round at Twin Pines with a 3-over-par 76.

Askelson won the MVC Valley title on the strength of her 77 at Brown Deer Golf Course in Coralville at the MVC Super Meet last Monday and her 78 at Twin Pines in Cedar Rapids on Monday. Furnish shot an 82 at Brown Deer for a 36-hole total of 82-76-158, good for third place overall.

Askelson was named the MVC Super Meet champion last week and the MVC Valley Division champion on Monday. She also was named the Valley Division Athlete of the Year.

"I like it. Yeah, it feels good," she said after winning the first MVC titles of her career.

Last Updated on Monday, 09 May 2011 18:03



Saxen headed to Missouri Western

Alex Saxen's real first name is Alexandria, but most people just call her Alex.

"Pretty much," she said, "except when I'm trouble."

Saxen probably doesn't have much time for trouble, considering her busy schedule at Xavier High School. She's a three-sport athlete, belongs to numerous clubs at school and has maintained a healthy 3.5 grade point average.

Her next stop will be Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Mo., where she plans to play basketball for the NCAA Division II school and possibly study pre-medicine.

"I'm real excited, but I'm kind of nervous, because I'm not going to know very many people there," she said. "I'm nervous, but I'm excited."

Last Updated on Monday, 09 May 2011 18:04



Linn-Mar ousts Saints boys from tourney

The Linn-Mar Lions showed why they are the No. 1 ranked boys basketball team in the state Friday, scoring from all over the court and employing suffocating full-court pressure defense to beat Xavier, 69-45, at Linn-Mar in a Class 4A substate semifinal.

Senior guard Shane Benton led the way for Linn-Mar (22-0) with 21 points and North Carolina-bound junior Marcus Paige added 20 points for the Lions. Senior center Ryan Mains paced Xavier (7-16) with 10 points.

Linn-Mar started the game slow. Xavier's final lead came at 8-7 with 3:18 left in the opening quarter.

"We got off to a slow start and a lot of that has to do with having a week off and having a bye," said Linn-Mar Coach Chris Robertson. "It's hard to stay sharp when you're used to playing and then you just practice for five days."

The Lions employed their full-court pressure and picked up the pace. Linn-Mar scored 10 straight points in the final 3 minutes of the first quarter. The Lions continued to sprint away from the Saints in the second period and put the game out of reach with a 28-point halftime lead.

Last Updated on Monday, 09 May 2011 19:12



Tara Trcka wins bowling state title

DES MOINES -- Xavier sophomore Tara Trcka rolled a 248 in her third game and won the Class 1A state bowling individual title Thursday at Plaza Lanes.

Trcka, who had battled a hand injury the last two weeks of the season, beat Dubuque Wahlert's Kristina Hochrein by three pins.  Wahlert won the 1A girls team title.

Western Dubuque won the boys team title and Red Oak's Taylor Mellott was the individual winner, rolling a 750 series.

Less than a week ago, Trcka's hand was so sore that she barely was able to qualify for the girls state bowling tournament.  She was one of the last players to make the field as an at-large entry after rolling a 388 in Saturday's regional tournament at May City Bowl.

But she had the line Thursday.

Trcka rolled a 236 game in the first round to take a four-pin lead over Hochrein and Creston's Taylor Hance.

Hance held a 23-pin lead over Hochrein after the second round, when Trcka slid to third place with a 190 that put her 31 pins back.

Trcka dueled Hance in the final game, beating her Mississippi Valley Conference foe by 11 pins, 248-237.  Hance, meanwhile, rolled a 197 and finished in third place, 20 pins behind Trcka.



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