Friday, July 29, 2016
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Kirkwood Community College - Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Kirkwood spending $750,000 on ballfields

Kirkwood Community College is spending approximately $750,000 to improve its baseball and softball fields on campus.

The project began this spring and both fields will get new padded fences, improved drainage systems, new netting behind home plate and possibly new scoreboards.

"When those two fields are done, I'll be surprised if there's any junior college - and I haven't seen them all - but I'll be surprised if any junior college rivals it in the state," said Doug Wagemester, the athletic director at Kirkwood.

The softball project is expected to be finished by late August, in time for the players returning to school and the start of fall drills.

The baseball project will take a little longer but will be ready for next season. All of the sod has been stripped off the field and the entire surface will be re-seeded, forcing the Eagles to practice at other on-campus sites and Prairie High School this fall.

Wagemester said it was time to address several issues at both fields, which sit next to each other on campus. He said "safety and playability" for the driving forces behind the combined project.

"It was just time," he said. "For 25 years, it's been band-aids. It's always been a little bit of this, a little bit of that. One thing kind of stacked on the next thing and on the next thing."



Nearad picks Cyclones, Carter joins Indiana St.

New Iowa State softball coach Jamie Trachsel has landed one of the top prospects in the nation after just three weeks on the job.

Taylor Nearad, who was named the National Junior College Player of the Year this season at Kirkwood, committed to Trachsel and the Cyclones Wednesday morning after a quick recruiting process.

Gabi Carter, an All-American shortstop for Kirkwood this season as a freshman, has signed with Indiana State and plans to join the Sycamores for the coming school year.

Nearad plans to return to Kirkwood for her sophomore campaign in 2017 before enrolling at Iowa State for the 2017-18 school year.

"I'm very excited," Nearad said. "They contacted me probably two weeks ago. Jamie actually came and saw me at Kirkwood and we visited for about an hour.

"I went on a visit there and I just felt like I was supposed to be there."

Nearad, from Solon, hit .602 with 30 home runs and 129 RBIs this season. She was a consensus first team All-American and was named the National Player of the Year for all divisions of junior college softball.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 June 2016 13:00



Nearad named JUCO national player of year

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Taylor Nearad of Kirkwood Community College has been named the inaugural Schutt Sports/NFCA Junior College National Player of the Year for all divisions, the Association announced on Wednesday afternoon.

The award was voted on by members of the NFCA’s Junior College All-American and Coaching Staff committees, which are comprised of NJCAA I, II & III, Cal JC and NWAC.

Near the top of every offensive category in NJCAA Division II this season, Nearad was named a first-team NFCA All-American and led the nation with 145 hits, 129 RBIs, 30 home runs and 114 runs scored.

She hit at a .602 clip, which was third-highest in the country, while her .622 on-base percentage ranked fourth. In addition to her long balls, she stroked 31 doubles and 11 triples, which contributed to the third-highest slugging percentage in NJCAA II (1.195). The speedy outfielder also displayed her talents on the base paths, swiping 34 bags.



Nearad, Eagles garner more softball honors

Five members of the Kirkwood softball team have been named All-Americans by the National Fast-Pitch Coaches Association and Taylor Nearad has been named the NJCAA Division II Player of the Year.

Nearad, a center fielder, hit .602 with 30 home runs and 129 RBIs this season as the Eagles finished fifth at the national tournament.

Nearad, catcher Maddie Hansen and shortstop Gabi Carter were named first team All-Americans. Pitcher Nicky Simpson and left fielder Morgan Frost were named second team All-Americans.



Nearad named national Player of Year

Taylor Nearad of Kirkwood was honored by the NJCAA Division II Softball Committee Tuesday as the 2016 Dudley NJCAA DII Softball Player of the Year.

Saturating the national leaderboard with her numbers, Nearad cemented her name at or near the top of every offensive statistical category this season. The freshman's 145 hits, 129 RBIs, 30 home runs and 114 runs scored all led the nation. Nearad's .602 batting average was the third-highest in the country, while her .622 on-base percentage ranked fourth.

Showcasing her knack for turning in extra-base hits, Nearad ranked third in the land with a 1.195 slugging percentage. Her home runs were complemented by 31 doubles and 11 triples, which ranked second and third, respectively. The center fielder displayed her speed as well, tallying 34 stolen bases to crack the top 15 at the DII level.

Although the Eagles' push for a national title was cut short at the NJCAA DII Softball Championship, Nearad made vaulable contributions in Kirkwood's four games. The Solon native was named to the all-tournament

team after posting a .400 batting average with three home runs, two doubles and eight RBIs. One of her best performances of the year came in an 8-7 first-round win over Illinois Valley when she went 4-for-4, recording five RBIs on two home runs and two doubles.

Nearad plans on coming back to Kirkwood for her sophomore campaign in 2017. She has already gained interest from a number of NCAA DI programs, including Iowa, Virginia Tech, Syracuse and Purdue.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 June 2016 09:14

KCC softball coaches win regional honor

Kirkwood softball coach Joe Yegge and his two assistants have been named the Midwest Regional Staff of the Year for Division II junior colleges by the National Fast-Pitch Coaches Association.

Yegge, Jenny Nelson and Kristen Winter led the Eagles to a 58-6 record and a fifth-place showing at the NJCAA national tournament. Kirkwood led the nation in runs, hits and RBIs this season and ranked in the top-10 in 15 other departments.

Lansing Community College won the East Regional honor and Jones County took the South Regional honor. The national winner for Staff of the Year will be announced June 14.


Pint, Eagles rake in top golf honors

Darin Pint of Kirkwood has been honored as the NJCAA Division II national golf coach of the year and three of his players have been named junior college All-Americans.

Pint will receive the Dave Williams Award at the GCAA national convention Dec. 12.

Kirkwood finished second at the national tournament in Indiana last month and enjoyed a strong season from start to finish with seven titles.

Carson Whittington, who placed second at the national tournament, has been named a first team All-American. Charlie Hartwig, who placed 13th, has been selected as a second team All-American. Jordan Even, who tied for 24th, received honorable mention.


4 Eagles named softball All-Americans

Four members of the Kirkwood softball team have been named NJCAA Division II All-Americans.

Taylor Nearad, Maddie Hansen and Gabi Carter were named first team All-Americans by the NJCAA Division II Softball Committee. Nicky Simpson was named a third team All-American.

Nearad, a freshman center-fielder from Solon, hit .602 with 30 home runs and 129 RBIs this season. She led the nation in homers and RBIs and finished third in batting average.

Hansen, a freshman catcher from Cedar Rapids Jefferson, hit .455 with 20 home runs and 93 RBIs. She finished third in the nation in RBIs and seventh in home runs. Hansen will play at Ball State next season.

Carter, a freshman infielder from Cedar Rapids Prairie, hit .442 with 21 home runs and 84 RBIs. She finished fifth in homers and fifth in RBIs.

Simpson, a sophomore from Conrad, compiled a 28-3 record and 2.18 earned run average for the Eagles. She will pitch at Truman State next season.

Kirkwood finished with a 58-6 record and placed fifth at the national tournament.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 June 2016 10:33

Whittington, Eagles take 2nd at NJCAA golf

PLYMOUTH, Ind. - Carson Whittington and the Kirkwood Eagles are coming home from the NJCAA Division II men's golf tournament in Indiana with some impressive awards.

Whittington fired a 6-under-par 66 Friday and captured second place in the individual standings and his exploits helped the Eagles take second place in the team standings at the Swan Lake Resort.

Whittington and Justin Warren of South Mountain (Ariz.) both finished the 72-hole tournament at 6-under 282, but Warren won a two-hole playoff for the individual championship.

Whittington, a sophomore from Creston, shot rounds of 72, 71, 73 and 66 in the four-day event.

Kirkwood and Tyler (Texas) both finished with 1,158 strokes in the team competition, but Kirkwood won a one-hole playoff for second place. South Mountain took the title by 20 strokes at 1,138, giving South Mountain its second straight crown.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 May 2016 22:17



Kirkwood golfers eye 2nd at nationals

PLYMOUTH, Ind. - The Kirkwood men's golf team enjoyed another strong day at the NJCAA D2 national tournament Thursday and moved within two shots of second place entering the final round of the 72-hole meet.

South Mountain Community College leads the tournament with a 54-hole score of 852 at the Swan Lake Resort in Indiana. Tyler Junior College stands in second place at 865, with Kirkwood just two strokes behind Tyler at 867.

Jordan Even fired a 3-under-par 69 Thursday to lead the Eagles. Charlie Hartwig and Eddie Doyle fashioned 2-under rounds of 70, Carson Whittington submitted a 73 and Louis Flynn shot 76.

Whittington is tied for sixth place at even-par 216 on the 6,876-yard course. Hartwig is tied for 10th at 1-over 217, Doyle is tied for 14th at 3-over 219, Even is tied for 20th at 5-over 221 and Flynn is tied for 29th at 9-over 225.

Marco Maldonado of Tyler owns a two-shot lead after 54 holes at 8-under 208.

Kirkwood has a 19-shot lead over Mississippi Gulf Coast for third place.





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