Diamonds and Ice

Linn-Mar’s Hutcheson wins Dickinson high jump




By Jeff Johnson

The Gazette

CEDAR FALLS — It’s not supposed to work this way.

A kid decides to go out for his high-school track and field team for the first time his senior season, practices all of twice, then has his first meet. He wins the darned thing.

Welcome to the high jump, Nate Hutcheson. You’re apparently a natural.

“I’ve never done it before, so there’s no pressure on me or anything,” the Linn-Mar senior said after winning Monday’s all-classes A.D. Dickinson indoor meet at the UNI-Dome. “It’s just a really fun thing to do.”

Yeah, things are fun when you’ve got a knack for them, and Hutcheson’s obviously got a knack for this. He said he high jumped “a little bit” when he was in middle school, but never pursued the activity until being persuaded by coaches to go out this spring.

Despite a form you’d expect from a novice, he managed to clear 6-feet, 6 inches Monday, just missing at 6-7. For a little comparison, the Mississippi Valley Conference held its indoor meet at the UNI-Dome last week and the winner went 6-feet.

The winning jumper at last year’s outdoor state meet in Class 4A cleared 6-10. Hutcheson’s jump would have placed him fourth.

And the dude has little idea about what he’s doing, yet.

“My goal was 6-7, and I didn’t quite get that,” Hutcheson said. “That’s my height, and I think you’re supposed to be able to jump your height.

“I think I can get it, though. I was looking at the tape, and my shoulders were over (the bar) pretty good. I just need to get my form down. I don’t have very good form.”

Hutcheson said after the competition had been completed, one of the judges (a UNI high jumper) stopped him and gave him some tips on his form and approach. He said he competed with sprinter’s spikes, as he’s waiting for a pair of high jumper’s shoes that are on order.

“When you play as much basketball as I do, I guess you’ll develop some ups, you know?” Hutcheson said. “My form is terrible. I’ve got to get my hips up and stuff, get my back arched. Right now, I’m just going on (pure leaping ability), I guess.”

As Hutcheson mentioned, he is a basketball player, a 6-7 all-state forward who is headed to Western Michigan University this fall. He’s also the guy everyone remembers for getting suspended for the state basketball tournament two weeks ago.

Marion police cited him for a disorderly house after a party at his family residence got out of hand. Drinking was involved, though Hutcheson tested negative for alcohol.

“It’s been pretty difficult,” he said. “I really wanted to play in the state tournament and everything. But I’ve learned a ton from what’s happened. Letting all of my teammates down has really pushed me to try and be a better person.

“Most of all, I learned who I should be associating myself with. Because in the end, that’s what got me in trouble — the guys I associated myself with. It’s a learning process, a really tough, hard learning process. But it’s going to help me. I’ve got to turn it into a positive, you know?”

Linn-Mar ended up finishing second in Class 4A, losing by 10 points to unbeaten Ames in the championship game. Hutcheson was asked if he thought the outcome would have been different had he played.

“That’s hard to say,” he said. “I’m not trying to say anything about my teammates, but I think I would have been a better matchup on (prep all-American) Harrison Barnes. Just because I’m his size and athletic. But I can’t say yes or no.”




Now THIS is ballpark food
March 23, 2009, 7:13 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Thanks to my cohort Mike Hlas for sending me this link. It’s pure minor league baseball.

The West Michigan Whitecaps of the Midwest League have concocted a new item for their food menu at Fifth Third Field this season. It’s called the Fifth Third Burger.

The Fifth Third Burger is 1.66 pounds of beef (five-thirds of a pound) and includes lettuce, tomato, salsa, sour cream, chili and Fritos.

It’ll sell for $20, feeding one to four people. If one person manages to eat the entire Fifth Third Burger, he’ll be given a T-shirt to commemorate the event (and sure bellyache).

The Fifth Third Burger conains a whopping 4,889 calories. Yes, that 4,489 calories!!!!

Here’s a link to a story on the burger:*blog*&par=RSS



The Fifth Third Burger

The Fifth Third Burger



Kirkwood women’s hoops win 3rd straight national title

EAST PEORIA, Ill. – Kim Muhl wants nothing to do with NJCAA Division I.

The Kirkwood women’s basketball coach is concerned about the extra travel that would be involved and the extra money it would require to give room and board to every player.

Then there’s this reason.

“Why ruin something that’s working?” Muhl said.

Yeah, there’s no need for a change when you’re dominating where you’re at. It’s no stretch to say Muhl has crafted NJCAA Division II’s best program.

Kirkwood became the first school to win three national championships in a row when it blasted Schoolcraft College of suburban Detroit, 62-38, in last night’s title game at Illinois Central Community College.

“I don’t want to say that,” Muhl said, when asked if Kirkwood has the preeminent women’s D-II JUCO program in the country. “We’re pretty damn good. But there’s a lot of good programs out there.”

Forgive the coach’s modesty. Let’s hear what his players think.

“Are you kidding? Yeah,” said sophomore center El Sara Greer, a former Waterloo East prep and the tournament MVP. “Everything (here) is great.”

“I believe we do,” said sophomore forward MyKenya Johnson, who led her team with 16 points. “We’ve got a great coach. The best coach ‘ve ever had.”

Kirkwood has won five championships in Muhl’s unbelievable 20-year tenure. The coach has a career record of 587-111, including 101-8 the past three seasons.

This year’s team finished 36-1, winning its final 30 games. Its only loss was to Division I Rend Lake (Ill.) by a single point.

The common bond between all of Muhl’s good teams is an unselfish offense, deep bench and stifling defense. This team obviously had those.

Eleven players scored last night, though Johnson was the only double-figure player. Only sophomore point guard McKensey Long (10.6) and sophomore forward Alicia Wright (10.1) averaged double figures during the season.
Yet 11 players averaged at least 4.6 points per game. And then there’s that defense.

The long-armed, 6-foot-2 Greer was an absolute beast on the interior defensively, pulling down 15 rebounds and blocking five shots. She also added eight points. She’s going to help out some NCAA Division I team next season.

“She’s unbelievable,” Muhl said.

Kirkwood limited opponents to 43 points per game coming into the tournament and held them to 41 points in three games here. Schoolcraft (32-3), an athletic team with only nine players, was stumped by Kirkwood’s 2-3 zone, shooting just 30 percent from the field, 25 percent in the second half.

“The game is 40 minutes and we hoped fatigue would set in on them,” Muhl said. “And I think it did.”

“Defense is the main part of what we do,” Johnson said. “It’s defense first, offense second.”

Kirkwood went on runs of 10-0 and 21-3 in the first half and took a 31-20 halftime lead. Schoolcraft went without a point for seven and a half minutes had only a 3-pointer from super-quick 5-foot point guard Brittany Collins in a span of nearly 13 minutes in the half.

Long hit a 3-pointer to start the second half, as did Wright. The Eagles lead continued to stretch from there.

“This team bought into what we wanted to do,” Muhl said. “This is an unbelievable feeling. They stuck together through a lot of injuries and did a hell of a job.”

Long and Johnson joined Greer on the all-tournament team. Muhl was named the coach of the year.


Former RoughRider Peltier called up to NHL
March 18, 2009, 12:39 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Former Cedar Rapids RoughRiders defenseman Derek Peltier has been recalled by the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche from Lake Erie of the American Hockey League, the Avalanche announced today. Peltier was in uniform for Colorado’s game at Minnesota on Tuesday night. What a homecoming, considering Peltier is from Plymouth, Minn., and played college hockey at the University of Minnesota. He was the Gophers’ team captain last year as a senior.

Peltier, 24, had two goals and 17 assists this season for Lake Erie, leading the club’s rearguards in scoring. A sixth-round draft choice of Colorado in 2004, he made his pro debut last season for Lake Erie upon the completion of Minnesota’s season.

Peltier played for Cedar Rapids in the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons. He is the fourth former RoughRider to make it to the NHL: following David Moss of the Calgary Flames, Teddy Purcell of the Los Angeles Kings and Justin Abdelkader of the Detroit Red Wings. 

Purcell, by the way, had another goal last night in a loss to Nashville. He has three goals and seven points in his last eight games for L.A.

Derek Peltier

Derek Peltier

3 more in line for RoughRiders’ purchase
March 14, 2009, 11:37 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Multiple sources have told us there are three groups who have made serious inquiries to purchase the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. This on the heels of news two weeks ago that an agreement to buy the USHL franchise was nixed by the league over financial concerns that potential new owner Gary Gelinas could successfully operate the team.

Word about who these three interested groups are and where they are from has not leaked out. Don’t expect them to for awhile, because the groups are sure to want anonymity.  The lawyer who represents current ownership group Mercantile Capital Partners of Chicago was in town earlier this week to talk with Five Seasons Facilities Commission president Patrick DePalma and Scott Schoenike, whose VenuWorks company runs the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena and U.S. Cellular Center for the city, sources said.

There’s also word that Sodexho, which runs concessions at the Ice Arena, and DePalma are to meet with members of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders Fan Club, presumably about the prices of concessions and their quality – both of which have been questioned.

Three previous attempts by MCP to sell the club have failed, leaving its future in limbo. There is an extension of an expired lease that keeps the team here through next season, but no guarantees after that.

Stayed tuned.

Linn-Mar/Cedar Falls game story

@xReporter default head:
@byline1:<aic:cstyle name =”[No character style]”/>By Jeff Johnson
@byline2:The Gazette
@Body copy justified:DES MOINES [–] Not even the suspension of arguably its best player could stop Linn-Mar[‘]s boys[‘] basketball team from doing what Linn-Mar always does: win its state tournament opener.
The Lions made it 7-for-7 all-time in the quarterfinals with an impressive 64-41 smackdown of Cedar Falls last night at Wells Fargo Arena. That perfect mark includes quarters victories the past six years.
Not only did this blowout come against a team Linn-Mar (22-2) lost to by 11 points at the end of the regular season, it came despite the absence of Nate Hutcheson. The versatile 6-foot-7 senior forward and Western Michigan signee was suspended by the school Tuesday for the rest of the season after it was discovered he hosted a party last weekend that involved alcohol.
[“]Our team really responded well to all the adversity,[“”] said Linn-Mar[‘]s Zach Bohannon, who led the way with 17 points and nine rebounds.
 [“]It[‘]s been tough, but I[‘]m just proud of the guys,[“”] said Linn-Mar Coach Chris Robertson, whose team plays Sioux City East-Bettendorf in the semifinals Friday afternoon at 3:15. [“]Everybody stepped up, everybody contributed, and that was the mindset we had. We knew we had a strong team, and we have a deep team, and we were going to be ready tonight.[“”]
Linn-Mar shot a scorching 57.8 percent from the field, a tribute mostly to great ball movement. The Lions [–] who had 17 assists, five from freshman point guard Marcus Paige and four from Bohannon [–] torched the nets at a 66.7-percent clip in the first half, building a 35-22 halftime lead.
That included 5 of 9 makes from 3-point land, four courtesy of shooting guard Drew Crawford. All 14 of his points came in the first half.
[“]We played in the U.S. Cellular Center a couple of times this year, played up at UNI last year,[“”] Crawford said. [“]So getting to play in the big environments before really helps a lot with your shooting.[“”]
[“]Our team chemistry was really (good) tonight from start to finish,[“”] said Bohannon.
Linn-Mar[‘]s strong defense played a role in the outcome, too. Cedar Falls (16-9) was limited to 37-percent field-goal shooting, 28 in the second half.
Only fine freshman point guard James Harrington got away at all, leading CF with 16 points. Andrew Wirth added 12.
[“]We came out a little slow,[“”] Wirth said. [“]We knew they would come out with a lot of energy considering they were a man down. We didn[‘]t match that.[“”]
[“]I think playing Cedar Falls the last game of the (regular) season, right before substate, was a key thing,[“”] said Bohannon. [“]We knew they were going to be a great team, they were playing great basketball at this time. We knew we had to be focused to get the win.[“”]
Focused they were, despite a difficult last couple of days.
[“]I[‘]m just really proud of our guys,[“”] Robertson said. [“]I thought we were really prepared tonight. I was proud of the way they played and am happy to have two more (games).[“”]

Linn-Mar/Cedar Falls game thread
March 11, 2009, 11:26 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

First off, it’s a small crowd tonight. Secondly, suspended Linn-Mar forward Nate Hutcheson is sitting on the team bench tonight in a team sweatsuit.

Third, here are tonight’s starting lineups:


Andrew Wirth (11.3 PPG), Kyle Benard (9.8 PPG), Darion Howard (11.9 PPG), Kyle Soldwisch (7.5 PPG), James Harrington (8.5 PPG).


Jody Henton (2.0 PPG), Marcus Paige (6.7 PPG), Drew Crawford (6.1 PPG), Matt Bohannon (6.2 PPG), Zach Bohannon (19.4 PPG). Henton replaces Hutcheson in the lineup.

We’re nearing tipoff.

Cedar Falls runs a minute off the clock then turns it over. Henton scores inside to make it 2-0 L-M.

3:30: It’s a see-saw game with CF on top, 9-8. Freshman Harrington has four points for the Tigers. Henton has four for Linn-Mar.

3:00: Howard scores inside for CF, 11-8. Henton counters with 1 free throw, 11-9. He has five points, three over his season average.

1:50: Linn-Mar has a 6-0 run going to take a 14-11 lead.

Up-tempo first quarter ends with Linn-Mar leading, 16-13. Linn-Mar has made 7 of 11 field goals, CF 6 of 12.

3:40: Lead grows to 20, 56-36.

5:30: It’s Linn-Mar, 21-15. Zach Bohannon has an offensive rebound bucket and nifty assist on a Will Roth hoop this quarter.

4:30: A Crawford 3 has Linn-Mar on top, 24-15. Lions shooting 59 percent.

2:30: Z. Bohannon for 3. Linn-Mar’s up, 27-15.

2:00: Harrington ends an 8-0 Linn-Mar run with a jumper. 27-17.
Crawford hits a pair of 3s and freshman Paige hits a transition layup at the buzzer to give Linn-Mar a 35-22 halftime edge.

Linn-Mar made 14 of 21 shots in the first half (a scalding 66.7 percent). That includes 5 of 9 3-pointers (55.6 percent). That’s why the Lions are up 13. Crawford has made 5 of 6 shots, 4 of 5 3s for 14 points. Impressive looking freshman point Harrington leads CF with 12 points.

6:14: CF has the first five points of the quarter to cut L-M’s lead to 35-27.

6:05: Z. Bohannon stops the run with 2 FTs. 37-27 L-M.

3:28: The Bohannon boys team up. This time it’s Matt with a transition layup. Timeout CF. 39-27 L-M.

1:15: The lead grows to 45-29 L-M. The Lions shooting 60 percent from the field.

:45.1: Zach Bohannon with a post move for 2. 47-29 L-M. This one’s over, barring a total collapse.

It’s 47-31 Linn-Mar after 3. Quite a response from the Lions after a tough couple of days.

5:46: Still Linn-Mar in command, 49-33. And the CF girls constantly screaming directly behind me are getting REALLY annoying.

2:11: Linn-Mar’s up, 60-39. Shooting 57 percent from the field, passing the ball well … and the Lions lost to CF to end the regular season. This isn’t the regular season.

It’s a 64-41 final. Linn-Mar will play either Sioux City East or Bettendorf in the 4A semifinals Friday afternoon at 3:15. Lions end up shooting 57 percent from the field.