Today’s Local Sports


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Meet The Panthers Night This Friday

Posted: Sunday, August 17th, 2014 at 5:59 am

Knoxville Panther fans are invited to meet the Panthers this Friday at the high school and Ken Locke Stadium.Athletic Director Ryan Rump tells KNIA/KRLS the entire community is invited to attend. Fans can meet the volleyball, cross country, and football squads. The volleyball squad will have an intersquad scrimmage at 5:45 at the high school gym. The action then moves to Ken Locke Stadium with the introduction of all of the fall sports, followed by a scrimmage by the football squad with Pella Christian at 7:00. Rump is asking all who attend the volleyball or football scrimmage to bring an eight-pack sports drink of their choice per family.

With 2 Coaches For 3 Teams Knoxville Volleyball Is Learning Good Management Skills

Posted: Saturday, August 16th, 2014 at 6:00 am

The challenge of the Knoxville Volleyball coaching staff this season is simply managing the team.There are just two coaches for the freshmen, JV, and varsity squads. Head Coach Chantell Downing tells KNIA/KRLS along with her varsity responsibilities she will also help coach the JV, and Assistant Coach Jackie Moats will coach the freshmen. Downing says it is a challenge but it is something they will face together. Downing adds it will take a lot of patience and planning, especially on Saturdays when the JV is playing at a different site than the varsity.

Eagles’ Runners have High Spirits this Season

Posted: Saturday, August 16th, 2014 at 5:59 am

An advantage for any team at any level is cooperation and being able to get along with one another in and out of competition. This is especially true for the Pella Christian cross country team for 2014. Head coach, Jocelyn Meinders says her Eagles so far during practice have been keeping their spirits up and have all been very positive. The Central College meet is the first one on Pella Christian’s schedule in early September.

Roorda Focused on Improvement, not Repeat

Posted: Saturday, August 16th, 2014 at 5:57 am

Opening several eyes as just a freshman, Pella High cross country sophomore, Tess Roorda is back and ready to be a catalyst for her Lady Dutch runners this year. Roorda placed first in the state in Class 3A in 2013 and will be one of the athletes to watch when the season draws closer to an end. Head coach, Doug Cutler says the biggest thing Roorda has working for her right now is the fact that she’s not concentrating on winning the whole thing again. The Pella Dutch will race first at Cedar Rapids Prairie on August 30.

PCM Runners ‘Dread’ Appropriately Named Hill

Posted: Saturday, August 16th, 2014 at 5:52 am

There is a legend in our area for local runners, mainly at the high school level, and it’s not a pretty one, either. PCM’s cross country teams are very familiar with it, though they dread running it when they have to. What we’re talking about is “Ralph Hill,” a difficult incline as you head into Monroe heading north. Mustangs’ coach, Eric Karr says the hill earned its nickname from its location and its brutality on runners. PCM will run on the Iowa State cross country course to begin their 2014 season on August 28 against several Heart of Iowa Conference schools.

Hard Work Pays Off for Central Soccer Coaches

Posted: Saturday, August 16th, 2014 at 5:49 am

In the middle of almost “final” preparations for their 2014 season that’s just a few weeks away from getting going, the Central men’s and women’s soccer teams are excited for match number one. For the coaches, they put a lot of hard work getting things ready for the season, which Coach Garry Laidlaw says is a reward in and of itself when the opening kickoff happens. The Dutch men kick their season off in less than two weeks at home against Wisconsin – Oshkosh on August 29 while the women play the next day on the 30th against Minnesota – Morris.

Knoxville Raceway Takes Tonight Off; Season Championships Next Week

Posted: Saturday, August 16th, 2014 at 5:48 am

The Knoxville Raceway will be silent tonight as the half-mile takes the week off after the Knoxville Nationals.Sprint car racing will return next Saturday for season championships when all three classes will be decided. Currently Ian Madsen holds an 88 point lead over Justin Henderson in the 410s, Joe Beaver is leading Jon Agan by 116 in the 360s, while J. Kinder clings to a 41 point lead over Steve Breazeale in the 305 division.

Lady Dutch Set Individual Goals During Off-season Work

Posted: Friday, August 15th, 2014 at 6:00 am

Pella High’s volleyball team is enjoying the non-mugginess of mid-August weather inside of their gym getting ready for the 2014 season to begin here in a few weeks. Summer vacation is dedicated to relaxing, going on trips with the family, mission trips, working, and for our local athletes, getting ready for the fall season. Lady Dutch head coach, Catie Brand says that with the time they have been able to get in the gym together with the girls, they have used it wisely. Pella’s first game of the year is against Ballard on the 28th, and they’ll follow that up with their first tournament of the year that weekend on the 30th at Bondurant-Farrar.

Knoxville Volleyball Looking Forward To Season Opener

Posted: Friday, August 15th, 2014 at 5:59 am

The Knoxville Volleyball Squad will bring back several key positions that will have experience.Two seniors that will get a lot of playing time are Cheyenne Jones and setter Meredith Cunningham. New Coach Chantell Downing tells KNIA/KRLS that along with those two, Ashley Hawkshead is also working on learning a new position this season. Downing adds freshman Cassidy Pearson has shown improvement along with sophomores Maggie Leavitt and Lauren Miller…who have put a lot of work in during the summer. Knoxville gets its season underway August 26th at the Newton Invitational.

Eagles Volleyball will be Another ‘Smart Bunch’

Posted: Friday, August 15th, 2014 at 5:57 am

A team that compiled an impressive grade point average last season, the 2014 Pella Christian volleyball team brings back a good chunk of the brains this year. Early on in practices, Eagles’ head coach, Cindy Nikkel says that the girls have had to use their smarts on the court while learning several new sets. The Eagles lost just two seniors from their team a year ago, and could be a force to be reckoned with in the Little Hawkeye Conference this season.

Starcevich More Experienced for Second Season

Posted: Friday, August 15th, 2014 at 5:51 am

Her “rookie season” completed, Melcher-Dallas head volleyball coach, Tatum Starcevich is back at the helm of the Saints and ready for a bigger and better season this year. Starcevich was able to coach many of the same girls on the track team this past spring, and she feels better prepared for her second go around as a head volleyball coach in 2014. The Saints begin their season with a game against Mormon Trail on August 28.

Mind Still on Softball for Wares in Off-Season

Posted: Friday, August 15th, 2014 at 5:50 am

Central’s softball program just wrapped up their camps for 2014 a few weeks ago. For Coach George Wares, it has been a busy last six months, with no real light at the end of the tunnel anytime soon. The state of Iowa is unique in that the softball and baseball seasons are played during the summer, which Coach Wares says is both a good and bad thing, as it makes recruiting a little easier, but also makes for tiring days and summer is pretty much taken up. It’s a long way from now, but Central will begin their 2015 season on March 6 up in Rochester, Minnesota.

Conditioning Program Helping Knoxville Cross Country Runners

Posted: Thursday, August 14th, 2014 at 6:00 am

One thing that many Knoxville High School athletes are taking advantage of is the new strength and conditioning program that Football Coach Eric Kellar has installed.Cross Country Coach Michael Splavec has already noticed the benefits of that program with his runners and hopes it will carry through to the most important part of the season. Splavec tells KNIA/KRLS Sports he favors a lot of circuit training and endurance with low weight lifting.

Cutler Happy with Early Progress, Turnout

Posted: Thursday, August 14th, 2014 at 5:59 am

Still having kids trickle in, the Pella High cross country teams still have big numbers out for them again in 2014. Athletes are finishing up their summer plans with vacations, camps, mission trips and the like, but so far, says Dutch head coach, Doug Cutler, the team looks strong. The boys graduated another talented group but have some equally-as-talented runners waiting in the wings, while the girls bring back nearly their entire team, including the individual champion from Class 3A, Tess Roorda. Pella High opens their cross country season on August 30 at Cedar Rapids Prairie.

Positivity Abound for Eagles’ Cross Country

Posted: Thursday, August 14th, 2014 at 5:57 am

As a coach and as an athlete, it’s always nice to see a familiar face or two on a team as you begin practice and preparation for a season. For Coach Jocelyn Meinders and her Pella Christian cross country team, she will be seeing several of the same runners and even some new ones for the 2014 campaign. Practices began this week for cross country, and Coach Meinders says the entire team has had a good attitude about them. Pella Christian will begin their season with the Central College meet, hosted by Pella High, on September 6.

Numbers Continue to Rise for PCM Cross Country

Posted: Thursday, August 14th, 2014 at 5:52 am

PCM head cross country coach, Eric Karr, wasn’t kidding when he said he wanted to grow his program. When he started two years ago, he had very few runners; hardly enough to field a chess team. Now, says Karr, he not only has more than enough kids, he has athletes that are constantly striving to get better. Karr adds that he can’t wait to get off the bus at meets and have everybody look and wonder who they are and how they got so many kids to come out. The Mustangs begin their season on August 28 on the Iowa State Cross Country Course.

Three Names Added to Central ‘Hall of Honor’

Posted: Thursday, August 14th, 2014 at 5:50 am

Some big names have been selected as the 2014 inductees into the Central College Athletics Hall of Honor this fall. Linebacker Rick Sanger from the Class of ’96, four-time league men’s tennis champion Jeff Schneekloth from ’86, and three-time NCAA Division III volleyball champion coach Megan Clayberg all were selected to “The Hall” as part of Central’s homecoming festivities October 3 – 5. The banquet and induction ceremony are both open to the public. You may attend the banquet on October 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the Harry & Bernice Vermeer Banquet Hall inside the Graham Conference Center, and the induction ceremony is on October 4 at 10:30 a.m. in the Schipper Fitness Center Lobby. It’s free to attend the ceremony, however the banquet is $20, and pre-registration is required by calling 641-628-5226.

2014 Sabers’ Baseball Team ‘Could Beat Anybody’

Posted: Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 at 6:00 am

Stepping aside from the fall sports realm for a moment, as everyone should know by now, the Twin Cedars’ baseball team in 2014 was a special group of young men. They conquered adversity and they conquered everyone that stepped in their way, including some Class 3A and 4A competition. One big question I had for Coach Matt Miller and his Sabers was if this team could take down the state champions in Class 2A, 3A and 4A from this year.

“I think in a two or three game series, we can beat any of those teams, because we play great defense,” Miller confidently stated. “They got to get a lot of hits to score on us. This is a very confident group, and I know they’re not going to go out and say, ‘Yes, we can beat those teams,’ but yes, we can beat those teams. We talked to several other coaches who certainly agreed with us as well in our abilities. No doubt they’d be close games, no doubt those games could go either way, but this group is a special group and they played a lot of tough competition and certainly they wouldn’t be intimidated by anyone.”

On tonight’s Marion County PM Sports Page on KNIA and KRLS, it is an All-Saber Show. You can hear a full interview with coaches Matt Miller, Steve Mott, and Matt Johnson along with a majority of the athletes that comprised the Class 1A state champion Sabers. Tonight’s show will start at 6:30 p.m. and can be streamed live online at

New Knoxville Cross Country Coach Likes What He Sees So Far

Posted: Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 at 5:59 am

Around 20 runners are out for Knoxville Cross Country this fall.New coach Michael Splavec tells KNIA/KRLS Sports numbers are down a bit for the girls, while around 15 boys are running this season. He says with just a couple of official practice days in, he is already seeing who is starting to run up front. Splavec says Lucy Olsen and Carrie Chambers are the two girls that have looked good so far, and for the boys Kade McNeil and Daniel Mallory have been pushing the pack. The Panthers get their season underway with a home meet August 25th.

Returning Lady Dutch Volleyball Players Worked Hard in Offseason

Posted: Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 at 5:58 am

Knowing they were going to be a young team in 2014 after losing six seniors from a squad that made it all the way to the regional final last year, the Pella High volleyball team put in some serious off-season work over the summer and even during the spring. Coach Catie Brand tells KNIA/KRLS Sports that her team has spent a lot of time working on just about everything, including their attack. Brand adds that the setters have also gotten some work in, and her team should be better this season at blocking due to the increased height they will have at the net. She also says that some of the girls have a goal of just being a better teammate; something Brand mentions is a great goal for the entire team to have.