Saturday, March 24, 2018
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Hamstring injury a Mere nuisance

CEDAR FALLS -- Caleb Mere tweaked his right hamstring muscle in practice last month, so the Cedar Rapids Kennedy senior didn't know what to expect at the Mississippi Valley Conference indoor track meet Monday in the UNI-Dome.

He surprised himself.

Mere sailed 22 feet, 1/2 inch to win the long jump on his only jump of the day and his first attempt of the season.

"Really cool," he said. "The first meet of the year, and I haven't jumped that often (in practice). I'm definitely really happy with it."

Mere placed third at the Class 4A state meet last year in the long jump at 21-8 1/2 and also placed third at the Drake Relays at 21-9 3/4, which until Monday was his personal best.

He credited a rigorous workout schedule during the winter for getting him ready for the track season, with intense weightlifting and power squats, although the hamstring injury set him back a little.

"I pulled it about three to four weeks ago," he said. "It pretty much feels stretched out now."

Mere jumped 22-0 1/2 on his first try Monday. He barely scratched on his second attempt, negating a longer effort, then elected to pass on his third and fourth tries, knowing he'd already won the event and to avoid the possibility of injury.

In between, Mere placed third in the 60-meter dash in 6.95 seconds. Luke Toyosi of Cedar Falls won that race in 6.75 seconds.

Metro athletes won four events at the MVC indoor meet. Washington claimed the 4x800 relay in 8:25.75, Linn-Mar captured the shuttle hurdle relay in 35.19 seconds and Matt Stocker of Prairie won the 800 in 1:58.76.


Robertson enjoys remarkable ride

Chris Robertson gently cradled the Class 4A state championship trophy as he left Linn-Mar High School Sunday afternoon. "Can I keep it on my nightstand for a while?" he wondered.

He was kidding, of course. The trophy will find a permanent home in the Linn-Mar trophy case, assuming there's room. The Lions won their third state basketball title in eight years and the fourth in school history Saturday night, so it's getting crowded in that display case.

It's a nice problem to have.

Linn-Mar has made five trips to the state finals in the past eight years, compiling a 3-2 record in those games, and has won championships with three different groups of players.

"That's just unheard of, especially in Class 4A where you have so many kids that move from school to school," Robertson said after the Lions were honored at the school. "I think that's one of the things we take a lot of pride in, we've done it with Linn-Mar kids, kids that have come to our little-kids camps and moved on to our school. It's been an unbelievable ride."

The ride could continue indefinitely at Linn-Mar, which has one of the top programs in the state. Four starters graduate, including tournament MVP Matt Bohannon, but Marcus Paige will be back along with a talented group of juniors-to-be.

Robertson, 40, intends to coach again next season, but there's no guarantee he'll coach forever. He and his wife, Mandi, have four children, and he'd like to attend as many of their activities as possible, something that's difficult during the basketball season that runs from November to March.



DES MOINES -- Matt Bohannon hugged Linn-Mar Coach Chris Robertson so hard Saturday night it probably hurt, but that's not why Robertson shed a few tears at Wells Fargo Arena.

They were tears of sheer joy.

Bohannon and Marcus Paige netted 24 points apiece as Linn-Mar completed its perfect season with a 56-42 victory over No.3 Des Moines Hoover in the finals of the Class 4A state tournament.

"It's emotional," said Robertson. "I just love these guys. They're just such great kids, great character, great role models in our community. This is fantastic."

Bohannon was named captain of the Class 4A all-tournament team and also was honored as the MVP of the entire tournament, regardless of a school's size or classification.

"It's a complete team honor," Bohannon declared.

The top-ranked Lions (26-0) claimed the school's third state title in eight years and the fourth overall.


Five Metro preps on Register all-state teams

DES MOINES -- Jarrod Uthoff of Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Marcus Paige of Linn-Mar and Josh Oglesby of Cedar Rapids Washington were named first team all-state by the Des Moines Sunday Register on its Class 4A all-star basketball squad.

Matt Bohannon of Linn-Mar was a third-team pick in Class 4A and Kasey Semler of Marion was a second-team selection in Class 3A.

Paige and Bohannon led Linn-Mar to the Class 4A state title Saturday night with a 56-42 victory over Des Moines Hoover. Bohannon was named the tournament MVP and the captain of the Class 4A all-tournament team.

The Register's all-state teams were selected prior to Saturday night's championship game.

Uthoff, a 6-foot-8 senior who has signed with Wisconsin, led the state in scoring at 26 points per game. Oglesby, a 6-6 senior who has signed with Iowa, averaged 21.4 points. Paige, a 6-1 junior who has committed to North Carolina, averaged 17.7 points this season.

Uthoff, Oglesby and Paige were joined on the Class 4A all-state team by Adam Woodbury, a 7-1 junior from Sioux City East, and Judd Welfringer, a 6-5 senior from Waukee.

Bohannon, a 6-4 senior who has signed with Northern Iowa, averaged 16.5 points. Semler, a 6-1 senior, was the second-leading scorer in Class 3A this season at 21 points.

For more information on the Register all-state teams, go to Insider.

Des Moines Sunday Register All-State teams

Class 4A

Josh Oglesby — C.R. Washington, 6-6, Sr., Guard
Marcus Paige — Linn-Mar, 6-1, Jr., Guard
Jarrod Uthoff, C.R. Jefferson, 6-8, Sr., Forward
Judd Welfringer, Waukee, 6-5, Sr., Forward
Adam Woodbury, Sioux City East, 7-1, Jr., Center


Lions took on and beat all foes

DES MOINES -- The Linn-Mar Lions won basketball games this season in Minneapolis and LaCrosse, Iowa City and Waterloo, Cedar Rapids and Marion, Waukee and ultimately Des Moines.

They won them all, and they won most of them convincingly. Twenty-six games and 26 victories, and they won them all by an average of 22 points per game.

Linn-Mar High School is the king of Class 4A basketball again this year. The coronation came Saturday night at Wells Fargo Arena, where the Lions beat Des Moines Hoover, 56-42, for the title.

The entire season belonged to Linn-Mar, which began the season as the No.1 team in the polls and ended the year with a glittery piece of hardware for its blossoming trophy case back home.

This makes four state titles for Linn-Mar and three in the past eight seasons, making the word "dynasty" an apt description for Coach Chris Robertson's program. Robertson was an assistant coach when the Lions captured the state crown in 2004, but he won his own title in 2007 and now has another.


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