Friday, February 28, 2020
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Iowa prep baseball needs changes

The signs are there. A brilliant Sunday of sunshine. The first sighting of robins chirping in the trees. Snow evaporating. One week remaining in the “winter’’ high school sports season.

As the calendar flips to March each year, the anticipation of spring and summer begins. Certain events bring the favored seasons closer – Daylight Savings Time, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter and so on. Weather in the next couple months can be unpredictable but is largely tolerable. Knowing what’s around the corner this time of year is a good thing.

Soon after the boys state basketball tournament concludes this week, the focus of Metro area athletes will turn in earnest to the spring sports seasons of track and field, soccer, tennis and golf. Athletes are finally back outside ... running, throwing, and competing.

For all that is good about that, the step-child of Iowa high school sports still is two months away from surfacing. Iowa high school baseball doesn’t begin competition until late May and is gone seemingly before it gets rolling. Iowa is unique in that regard, which isn’t a good thing in my mind.

Whereas football and basketball have continued to be strong in involvement and fan participation over the years, baseball in many places has taken a back seat. Most of the baseball season takes place when school is not in session, which lessens student body support. Many baseball players also find themselves torn between being on the diamond or training for another sport or finding a job.

I would like to see a couple changes in Iowa high school baseball, but I’m not about to hold my breath waiting for them to happen.


Stokes named to D.M. Register all-state team

Linn-Mar senior Kiah Stokes was named to the Des Moines Register Class 4A all-state basketball team Sunday.

Stokes, a 6-foot-3 center, helped the Lions reach the semifinals of the 4A state tournament this season. She averaged 25 points, 14.5 rebounds and 5.6 blocked shots.

Stokes scored 1,704 points, grabbed 1,239 rebounds and blocked a state-record 515 shots during her four-year career and set school records in all three categories.

Stokes was joined on the Class 4A first team by Virginia Johnson of Iowa City High, Markisha Wright of Des Moines East, Brittni Donaldson of Sioux City North and Shronda Butts of Des Moines East. Wright and Butts led Des Moines East to the 4A state title Saturday night with a victory over Iowa City West.

The second-team Class 4A selections were Maddie Manning of Ankeny, Jayden Spencer of Waterloo West, Megan Hayes of Bettendorf, Caitlin Ingle of Southeast Polk and Ally Disterhoft of Iowa City West.

The third-team Class 4A picks were Stacy Clark of Pleasant Valley, Jordan Gillenwater of Council Bluffs Lincoln, Emily Parker of Johnston, Jadda Buckley of Mason City and Laura Brewer of Waukee.

The Iowa Newspaper Association (INA) all-state teams and Miss Basketball will be announced Tuesday.

Stokes was named to the Class 4A all-tournament team Saturday night at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.


Precocius frosh raises Hawks' hopes

While the girls state basketball tournament officially closed the books on the prep careers of several outstanding Mississippi Valley Conference seniors, the Metro’s top young player eyed the tourney from a distance, dreaming of writing her own chapters in future contests.

Prairie’s Madison Dellamuth, a starting point guard who was the only freshman selected to the MVC first team, attended the Cedar Rapids Washington-Pleasant Valley substate game just to get a feel for the competitive environment.

“Even watching the Washington game, I know we can be there,” she says of her team, which finished 4-18 overall and 3-13 in the MVC this season. “It was kind of hard because I think as a team we could be out there and we could compete with those teams.”


Sports Medicine: Changing seasons

A teenage athlete just completed their competitive winter sports season. They aren’t as much fun to be around at home. Their appetite seems to be waning. They are crankier and more tired than usual, and it seems they’ve lost their motivation.

The athlete complains they feel like they are in a tough spot. The spring sports coach wants them to join in the tail-end of the “off-season” conditioning program with their spring sport teammates to build camaraderie; official practice starts in two weeks. How can they possibly get ready for the upcoming competitive spring sports season?

Here are some healthy tips for parents, athletes and coaches to help answer that question:

PARENTS: Facilitate Recovery

1. Don’t panic. The “crash” at the end of a long and competitive season is very common.

The physical and psychological stresses of participating in a competitive sport can take their toll on your teenager. They need some time away from the day-to-day pressures of training and competition. Give your kids some personal space and time to themselves.

2. Get your kids to talk. Encourage open discussions about how they feel about the season ending and the upcoming season starting.

3. Encourage non-sport activities. Provide them with opportunities to relax!

4. Provide healthy food options and encourage them to get some restorative sleep.

5. If your teenager has unresolved aches/pains, or you believe they are injured, seek advice from your sports medicine professional as soon as possible.


Xavier faces decision if IGHSAU adds 5th class

DES MOINES -- Xavier High School could have an interesting decision to make this spring for its girls basketball program if the IGHSAU expands to five classes.

Should the Saints continue to compete against the biggest schools in the state for a spot in the state tournament, or should they compete in the second-biggest class and make life a little easier for themselves? They could have a choice.

The Board of Directors for the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) delayed a vote on a possible new fifth class Friday at its meeting in Des Moines, but it appears likely a new Class 5A will be formed soon. A decision could be made at the next IGHSAU board meeting in late May.

Class 5A would include the 40 largest schools in the state and Class 4A would include the next 40 or 48 largest, depending on which proposal the board likes best. Xavier is currently the 47th largest school in the state and would fall into Class 4A, but the Saints could petition the IGHSAU for a spot in 5A.


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