Sports Columns

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla 

A player dives for a ball during a 12U youth softball tournament at Rogers Park last season.

Balancing act

While doing a typical Sunday night social-media scroll through pictures of youth teams winning tournaments and precocious individuals slowly but surely conquering the sports world, one particular post caught my attention because it wasn’t about either. Andy Jepson, a former standout athlete ...

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Iowa's Akrum Wadley runs the ball against Purdue in Lafayette, Ind. last season.

Got your goad

As Iowa football fans fired another round of angry calls, e-mails, texts and tweets in Colin Cowherd’s direction this past week, the Fox Sports personality continued to laugh all the way to the bank. Cowherd has devoted quite a bit of time over the last two years to poking and prodding the ...

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San Antonio forward Kawhi Leonard (2) drives around Memphis player James Ennis III on Monday night.

Virtuous virtuoso

He isn’t LeBron James, the most physically gifted player on the planet until Father Time says otherwise. He isn’t Russell Westbrook, the triple-double maestro. He isn’t James Harden, the scoring machine. He isn’t Steph Curry, the shooting prodigy. He isn’t Isaiah Thomas, the ...

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Chicago head coach Fred Hoiberg meets with his team this past week in Detroit.

Misdirected anger

Fred Hoiberg doesn’t deserve the cold-shoulder treatment. Let me preface this by saying I am not completely convinced Hoiberg’s home should be on the NBA sidelines. I never have been. And I didn’t like his move to Chicago from the start for a multitude of reasons. This isn’t about ...

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Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm, center, stands with seniors (left to right) Merrill Holden, Stuart Nezlek, Matt Thomas, Darrell Bowie, Deonte Burton, Monte Morris and Naz Mitrou-Long on Tuesday night in Ames.

Passing the test of time

Statistically speaking, Iowa State’s senior class has already secured its spot among the very best in program history. For as successful as they’ve proven to be both individually and collectively, though, the four outgoing Cyclone starters — Monte Morris, Naz Mitrou-Long, Matt Thomas and ...

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla

The Fort Dodge wrestling team stands with its state runner-up team trophy on Saturday night in Des Moines.

A LEGACY CEMENTED

DES MOINES — Like most sports, wrestling is all about the bottom line. It’s a no-nonsense world defined by wins and losses. There’s gold, and there’s everything else. There’s a champion, and there’s everyone else. Despite an inspiring run of tournament success over the last three ...

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla

Drew Bennett of Fort Dodge wrestles Waukee's Kyle Biscoglia during Class 3A semifinal action on Friday in Des Moines. For more photos, please visit CU.messengernews.net

Never alone

DES MOINES — In a moment of personal celebration and historic achievement, three Fort Dodge state wrestling finalists immediately shifted the attention away from themselves and toward a brother in need. Previously-unbeaten Drew Bennett suffered another crushing state tournament loss to Kyle ...

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla

St. Edmond players celebrate head coach Adolph Kochendorfer's 500th career victory in the Gael gym on Saturday.

What matters most

It took a milestone victory to remind us that, when all is said and done, winning is neither everything nor the only thing in sports. St. Edmond’s Adolph Kochendorfer secured the 500th triumph of his career on Saturday night, becoming just the ...

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla

Fort Dodge wrestlers (left to right) Drew Bennett, Brody Teske and Cayd Lara greet Dorian Franklin after a match earlier this season.

HOMEGROWN: Teams still about family first at FDSH

It didn’t take long for athletes and fans to create a special environment inside the Fort Dodge Senior High gym last Thursday and Friday. The recent success obviously helps. After all, the powerhouse Dodger wrestling program is ranked third in the state and unbeaten through 11 duals. Fort ...

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Stuck in the middle

In case you missed it, Messenger-area schools Bishop Garrigan and Webster City played in two of the six thrilling state football championship games last week at the UNI-Dome. Iowa City Regina finally lost its grip on a six-year gold stranglehold. West Des Moines Dowling and Pella kept their ...

Tighe gave his heart and bared his soul to the game he loves

What will you be doing when you're 86 years old? Let me preface this by saying most of us would consider ourselves lucky just to see 86. There are less than six million Americans 85 or older as we speak. Only one-third of males in ...

A pennant for the people

Baseball fans wait. Patience just comes with the territory. The sport is played at a methodical - some would say almost hypnotic - pace. No clocks. No time limit. No instant gratification for a society seeking just that in ...

The end of the innocence

Many sports fans are sequential critics these days. It's a very unattractive result of our instant-gratification, social media-driven society. We build our heroes up at a rapid-fire rate, then tear them down the second they fall short of our inane expectations. We want entertainers to be ...

Hard work has turned FDSH into a contender

An impressive new 8-by-21 foot panel listing all of the Fort Dodge swim program's school records now conspicuously sits high above the Dodger pool.Maybe the athletic department should have invested in a dry erase board instead.The current roster is turning 40-plus years of accumulated FDSH ...

A sizeable problem

There are typically a number of variables on the football field that ultimately determine whether this will be a Hawkeye or Cyclone state in any given year.Home-field advantage. Quarterback play. Special teams. Turnovers. Red-zone efficiency.The list goes on.Line play is another top priority ...

Seasoned by the seasons

Let me preface this by saying I am in no way, shape or form marginalizing the efforts and accomplishments of high school students who participate in just one sport. I don't want to turn this into an ''us vs. them'' column. Different strokes for different folks.I would like to take a moment, ...

Home-field advantage

For the 47th consecutive season, state softball champions will be crowned in Fort Dodge at the end of this week.The five days of tournament action at Harlan and Hazel Rogers Sports Complex always seem to go by in a flash. Before the first pitch christens the event Monday morning and the ...

Collective souls

The Fort Dodge softball program often recites the mantra, ''team beats talent when talent isn't a team.''At first blush, that may sound like a swipe at many of the bigger, stronger opponents the Dodgers have to face through their ultra-competitive schedule. When 30 of 41 games are against ...

Glass half full

It wasn't supposed to end like this for Kole Kampen at Fort Dodge Senior High.The Dodgers' senior left-handed ace had big plans for the final month of his prep baseball career. Kampen was striking out nearly two batters per inning, and had a sparkling 1.17 earned run average. He was batting ...

Emotional tribute

Dutch Huseman tried his best to make a late wish come true.His grandson kept a promise for him instead.Andrew Huseman captured the Travis Habhab Lakeside Amateur championship on Sunday, almost two months to the day after his grandfather's death at the age of 92.The Hall of Fame coach and ...