Iowa's summer high school state baseball tournament begins at Principal Park in Des Moines with Class 2-A quarterfinals on Friday, July 20. In the Class 2-A first round, top ranked Cherokee plays Bondurant-Farrar in the first game at noon, followed by North Fayette against Gladbrook-Reinbeck. Saturday morning, Wellman-Mid-Prairie meets Hawarden-West Sioux followed by Davenport Assumption against Mount Ayr.
State tournament action takes a break until Monday, when Class 1-A quarterfinals begin. Top-ranked Lansing-Kee High meets Lisbon, Remsen St. Mary's takes on A-H-S-T-Avoca, North Sentral Kossuth tangles with Coon Rapids-Bayard, and Iowa Mennonite meets Lenox.
On Tuesday, it'll be Class 3-A's turn. Number-one Cedar Rapids Xavier hooks up with Creston in the first round, followed by Mount Pleasant against Sioux City Heelan. Manchester-West Delaware plays Saydel and Knoxville faces Webster City in the other 3-A quarterfinals.
The big schools come in on Wednesday for their first round games. Top-ranked Urbandale meets West Waterloo in a first-round encounter, followed by Clinton against Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Ankeny against Fort Dodge, and Davenport Central against Indianola.
Finals in all four classes will be played on Saturday, July 28th. Rainouts earlier in the week kept the Class 3-A and 4-A brackets from being filled out until just hours before the Class 2-A quarterfinals were to be played.
State Baseball Tournament Staying in Des Moines
The Iowa High School Athletic Association apparently enjoys its new digs for the state baseball tournament. The IHSAA and the Iowa Cubs AAA franchise of the Pacific Coast League have announced an agreement to keep the state tournament at the I-Cubs' home of Principal Park in Des Moines through the year 2013, extending an agreement that was to end after this year's tournament.
"Having the entire four-class state tournament at one site gives our baseball players, coaches and fans an added degree of prestige enjoyed by our other team championships," IHSAA Executive Director Rick Wulkow said. "The ownership and management of the I-Cubs has been exemplary in all aspects of hosting the 32 teams and their fans in the finest facility in Iowa."
The first two years of the tournament at Principal Park drew 33,699 and 28,035 fans, respectively, representing an increase of 35 percent over previous years.
Before the move to Des Moines, the state tournament had been held in two locations, as two classes played in Marshalltown and the other two classes competed in Carroll.
West Des Moines Gymnast Earns Gold at Pan-Am Games
A gymnast from West Des Moines paced an American medal sweep in the women's all around event at the Pan American Games. Considered a rising star in the world of American gymnastics, 15-year-old Shawn Johnson won the gold medal among 24 gymnasts from 10 countries competing in Rio De Janiero, Brazil.
Johnson totaled a score of 61.725 in four events, including floor exercise, balance beam, the vault and uneven bars. She earned a 15.175 score in the vault, 15.275 on the uneven bars, 16.175 on the uneven bars, and 14.100 in floor exercise.
Martha Karolyi, women's national team coordinator for USA Gymastics, was quoted as saying, "Finishing 1-2-3 proves the level of preparation of this young and talented group. This represents a good test for the upcoming World Championships."
The Iowa gymnast could be a factor when national teams are determined for the world championships, and then the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
After the all-around competition, Johnson added more medals, with two golds and a silver medal in individual apparatus competition, plus the USA claimed the team gold medal.
Ironically, gymnastics is not a sanctioned sport for Iowa high schools.
Iowa Shrine Bowl This Weekend in Ames
The top high school football players from last season will play for the last time this weekend, when the 35th annual Iowa Shrine Bowl is played on the home turf of the Iowa State Cyclones, Jack Trice Field, in Ames.
A total of 92 players have been selected, 46 representing schools in northern Iowa and 46 from southern Iowa. High School coaches around the state nominated players to participate in the game. Head coaches are Jim Carver of Alburnett for the North and Mike Cooper of Iowa City West for the South.
In addition to the game, players and coaches go to the Shriners' Hospital in Minnesota to meet with patients and their families to see where the money raised from the event will go.
The Iowa Shrine Bowl has raised nearly two-million dollars for the Shiners' Childrens Hospitals over its 35 year time frame.
Volleyball Coach Named at East Waterloo
With the start of the volleyball season only a couple of months away, it may seem late to be getting a new coach, but East Waterloo has done that, hiring cross-town rival West Waterloo's Ali Rahnavardi as its new leader.
Rahnavardi has been coach at West for eight years, and prior to that was an assistant at LaPorte City-Union and a student assistant at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. He's also had experience coaching volleyball club teams.
East's former coach, Brian Girsch, resigned in May after five campaigns, including last season's 15-15 record. Five starters are back from last year's East High team.