June 25, 2022

Sports briefs

New position

MILWAUKEE, Wis. — Creston native Ryan Kucera has been hired as the new University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women’s tennis coach.

Kucera comes to Milwaukee after two years at Minnesota State University-Mankato, earning Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Coach of the Year honors this season following a successful season.

“Ryan is a rising star in college women’s tennis and we are very excited to have him leading our program here at Milwaukee,” said Amanda Braun, Milwaukee director of athletics. “His care for his student-athletes in their growth and development, both on and off the court, comes through in the way he approaches leadership and coaching.”

Kucera was named NSIC Coach of the Year after leading the Mavericks to a 16-10 record, which included an 8-3 ledger in NSIC play. In the process, he guided the program to the largest single-season turnaround in conference history, going from 11th place to third place in just one year year.”

MNSU finished tied for third in the NSIC standings, its highest finish since the 2009 season, helping three different players earn postseason honors.

Prior to taking the Minnesota State position, Kucera served as a tennis professional at the Des Moines Golf and Country Club. He was a three-year tennis captain at Grand View University after qualifying for the state tournament twice for the Creston Panthers.

National tourney

BOONE — The Des Moines Area Community College softball team came away with a fifth-place finish in their eighth consecutive appearance in the NJCAA Division II Softball Championships May 24-28 at Oxford, Alabama.

Sophomore Sara Keeler of Creston is a member of the DMACC team.

The Bears entered the double-elimination tournament as the No. 1 seed and riding a 29-game winning streak after compiling a 50-3 record during the regular season. DMACC opened the tournament with wins over Potomac State College and Kansas City (Kan.).

In the semifinals, Murray State College defeated DMACC 11-3. In that game Keeler was 1-for-1 at the plate with a single.

Iowa Community College Athletic Conference (ICCAC) rival Kirkwood Community College then ended DMACC’s season with a 4-1 win in an elimination game on May 28, ending the Bears’ season record at 52-5.

DMACC players Kendal Clark, Jada Collins, Emma Dighton and Abby Husak were named NJCAA All-Americans. Keeler was among the Bears named first team Academic All-Region. Also named to that honor were Creston natives Heylee Shields of the SWCC softball team and Clayton Stafford of the track and field team; along with Murray’s Emma Decker of the SWCC track and field team.

Sophomore season

FOREST CITY — Sophomore shortstop Kaela Eslinger of Orient-Macksburg had a .302 batting average with eight home runs and 34 RBIs for the Waldorf College softball team. She also scored 31 runs for the Warriors (10-28).

IHSAA changes

BOONE — On Monday the Iowa High School Athletic Association Board of Control approved a three-year agreement with Xtream Arena in Coralville to begin holding the dual state wrestling tournament there on Feb. 4, 2023.

The board also approved elimination of early release of substate and district pods for basketball seeding. Instead, IHSAA staff will compile and release brackets for the lead-up rounds and the state tournament. Brackets for 1A and 2A would be slated for week 32 (Feb. 6, 2023) with Classes 3A and 4A slated for week 33 (Feb. 13, 2023).

Also, a rotated system of classes to be scheduled on Friday and Saturday at the state cross country meet was announced. The 2022 meet will have Class 1A on Friday morning and Class 2A on Friday afternoon. The Class 3A meet will be Saturday morning and the Class 4A meet will be Saturday afternoon.

Larry Peterson

LARRY PETERSON

Former senior feature writer at Creston News Advertiser and columnist. Previous positions include sports editor for many years and assistant editor. Also a middle school basketball coach in Creston.