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What's new in the eastern Iowa sports scene

It's been a while, so lets catch up a bit on the happenings in sports in our area.

First off, congratulations are in order for the Linn Mar boys basketball team. Undefeated State Class 4-A champion after pounding on Des Moines Hoover in the finals 56-42. Word is, this could be the best Linn Mar team ever. Possibly, but it would be too hard to tell. They have had some great teams and great players over the years. It is also no coincidence that Linn Mar has perhaps the best youth feeder program in the city. Great players keep feeding into the system. The varsity coaches embrace it. That isn't a hollow statement. Many coaches don't care about the youth programs in their elementary and middle schools. Linn Mar's coaches do, and it has paid dividends in all sports there.

Really it was a great year in the metro for boys high school hoops. Four Cedar Rapids area teams made the tournament field, Washington, Jefferson, Linn Mar and Marion. It will be a long time before we see this kind of year again. Then again, maybe not as the youth sports programs are exploding in this area. The talent will keep rising to the top, and there is great talent in this area.

The high schools have a short break, as track season is starting to get underway. We will talk more on that as we go along.

In other sports news..

The Cedar Rapids Roughriders are in the playoffs again. They are in currently in second place with 71 points in the USHL Eastern Conference, six points behind division leader Green Bay. The Riders have won seven in a row, and continue on their eastern swing this week. Their next home game is March 25 against Youngstown. You can bet the Stable will be rocking that night. If you are planning to attend, get there early. http://

Hey we need to talk about the happenings in Cedar Falls. The UNI womens and mens basketball teams are both in tournament play. The Panther women have been steamrolling everyone, winning the Missouri Valley Conference and 19 straight games. Even with that resume, the NCAA tournament selection committee, didn't do them any favors, placing them against a good Michigan State Sunday night in Wichita. The Panthers are a 13 seed? Come on man, this is good, fun exciting team. The deseved better than a 13. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

The men are in something called the Tournament. Last night UNI obliterated Rider 84-50. They will host someone on Monday, not sure quite yet who, but the game will be at McLeod. We can say anything we want to about the tournament, but at least they are in postseason play, which is something that can't be said in Iowa City or Ames. Plus, it is like playing a bad bowl game in football. The extra practice and games are great for the program. Plus the Panthers winning 20 games the past three years is nothing to be sneezed at. I like the way the team is looking at it. If we are going to play in this thing, we may as well win it.

A big tip of the hat to coach Randi Petersen and the Coe Womens basketball team. Winning the Iowa Conference and advancing the the DIII tourney for the first time in school's history was a great achievement for the school. Ex-Hawkeye Petersen is a rising star in the coaching ranks, keep an eye on her.

Spring football gets underway next Wednesday in Iowa City, and the season ticket applications are out. I am still shaking from writing the check today. But what can you do? By the way, I can tell you what Ferentz will say in his next presser. Remember, his lines are all the same. He has great respect for the next opponent, but there is no question about it, the team needs to work hard if they are to be successful.

Quick updates on some of our local guys. Zach Johnson currently is sitting in 70th place on the PGA Fed Ex point standing. The number we really want to talk about, he has put a little over 240 grand in his pocket thus far this young season. If anyone gets any ideas, let me add that Twin Pines Golf course in CR is opening this week. Go practice away.

Ryan Sweeney is back with the Oakland A's after having knee surgery. Over the offseason, the A's have made some changes in their lineup. They have acquired some more depth in the outfield, which means that Sweeney may start the year as a reserve. At this point, it is spring, and doesn't mean much. We shall

Hawkeye wrestling gets underway this week at nationals in Philadelphia. It will be fun, and I'll keep you posted.


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