By Bob Bakken
Three Iowa Coaches Earn National Honors
A trio of coaches from Iowa high schools have won national honors in their sport from the National High School Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). The honors are based on career record and other factors, including community service and professional involvement at all levels, from local to national.
The Iowa winners are Decorah boys golf coach Richard Gaard, Marshalltown girls swimming and diving coach Linda Bloom, and Nodaway Valley girls cross country coach Darrell Burmeister.
Gaard has been coaching for 36 years. His Vikings’ golf teams have won nine conference titles, 13 district championships and nine regional crowns. Gaard’s career record is 333-123-11. He has been active as a football and basketball official and oversees the school’s DECA program.
Bloom has coached at Marshalltown for 22 years and has a career mark of 172-36, including six conference and 12 regional team championships. Two of her teams finished as runners-up at the state swimming meet. She has been on the Iowa Girls’ High School Athletic Union’s board of directors since 2004. Bloom has been named a regional coach of the year 13 times and was state swimming coach of the year in 1993. She has also been a golf coach and was state golf coach of the year in 2005. Bloom was also a finalist for a national award sponsored by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association.
Burmeister has been coaching boys and girls cross country for 30 years. His teams have won over 80 championships in the past 12 years at Nodaway Valley, where he’s also been a successful boys basketball coach. Burmeister’s teams have won 17 conference titles, including nine for his girls' program in the past 10 years. His teams have qualified for nine state meets in boys and girls cross country. He is a member of the Joint Advisory Track and field Advisory Committee and member of the Iowa Association of Track Coaches Association. A five-time girls cross country regional coach of the year, Burmeister was also named the 2005 Class 1-A State Coach of the Year.
Southeast Polk Seeking New Activities Director
Southeast Polk High School, just outside of Des Moines, will not be hiring interim activities director Kent Horstmann on a permanent basis. The school board last week chose to continue seeking a new head of its athletics department. Instead, the district will continue interviewing for a new activities director.
Horstmann was recommended by the district’s superintendent, but the school board expressed concern about Horstmann’s lack of administrative experience and the possibility of other available candidates.
Southeast Polk is looking for a new AD after former head Bill Henkenius was placed on paid leave. That followed an altercation and incident with a student last October. Henkenius will resign before June 30 and Horstmann is filling the opening until that time.
Horstmann is a former Southeast Polk football coach and currently is the football coach at Pleasantville.
Girls Soccer: Preseason Rankings Out
The Iowa Girls’ High School Athletic Union has released its preseason soccer rankings and the state title teams from last year will start this season with targets on their backs.
West Des Moines Valley and Cedar Rapids Xavier have the preseason No. 1 rankings in Class 2-A and 1-A, respectively.
The Valley Tigers won a third-straight state championship last season and bring back several returning players, including last year’s co-player of the year Whitney Sharpe.
Xavier will be looking for its third-straight Class 1-A state championship this season and are 41-1 in their last two campaigns.
The rest of the top five in the Class 2-A rankings, in order, are: Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Johnston, Sioux City North, and North Scott.
The rest of the Class 1-A top-five features, in order: Norwalk, Sioux City Heelan, Waverly-Shell Rock, and Dubuque Wahlert.
Bowling: McCalley Set for Nationals
West Waterloo senior Nicole McCalley is rolling her way toward a national tournament in New Jersey this weekend.
The 10-year bowling veteran is competing against 15 other female bowlers in the Denny’s All-American High School Championships at North Brunswick. It’s held in conjunction with the PBA Tour’s U.S. Open.
To compete, bowlers had to have a 3.6 grade point average and have significant bowling experience to be considered. Bowlers were chosen from each of the varsity level states that provided student nominations.
McCalley has bowled for West the past four years and has a 170 average.
She and the other girls in the field will bowl eight games to bring the field down to eight. That group will go into a round robin format to determine the four finalists in both boys’ and girls’ divisions.
The finalists will go then on the same lanes used by the U.S. Open finalists and before national television cameras to determine two finalists, who will win $3,000 and $2,000 scholarships.