Sports Columns

ROAD LESS TRAVELED

Pop quiz: name the six wrestlers who finished their Iowa high school careers without a loss. I’m sure some of the sport’s die-hard fans know the answer. Brody Teske could probably rattle them off. Alex Thomsen, too. It’s a rare, historic achievement, without question. But that ...

A newborn wish revisited

Nearly 13 years and what amounts to a virtual lifetime of memories and moments ago, I wrote a column as an expectant first-time father. I remember being filled with an abundance of anxious energy at the time, trying to prepare myself both physically and mentally for this unknown world of ...

EQUALLY IMPRESSIVE

It may not sound spectacular or even newsworthy to each other’s fanbases, but impartial observers will note that 2017 now stands as a season of historical significance in our state. For the first time in the 120-plus year history of college football in Iowa, both the Hawkeyes and Cyclones ...

COME TOGETHER

It becomes easy — in fact, almost routine — to take the good for granted in sports. When that good turns into great, and the great becomes elite, and the elite redefines the standard, and that standard is sustained over time, we tend to lose all logic and perspective. Suddenly, the one ...

The legacy of a Triton

Throughout the course of his career and above all else, Kevin Twait preached the value of commitment, loyalty and perseverance to his players. Not just because that's what football coaches do. This wasn't lip service; the future Hall of Famer knew if he held his young men to a different ...

A DAY TO REMEMBER

IOWA CITY — At one point during Iowa’s out-of-body 55-24 dismantling of third-ranked Ohio State on Saturday, my wife turned to me with an incredulous look and said, ‘‘I’ve never seen them do that before.’’ She needed to be more specific. It happened live and in living color ...

Face of the program

Matt Campbell deservedly gets the lion’s share of credit for Iowa State’s extraordinary turnaround. The progression of the Cyclones’ defense — especially since coordinator John Heacock went to a 3-2-6 alignment — has been nothing short of remarkable. Bruising tailback David ...

ISU hopes this is just the beginning

When a 31-point underdog upsets the nation’s third-ranked team on the road — a landmark win boasting both historical significance and series rarity — the natural reaction is to celebrate. Not just in the postgame locker room, but well into the night. Or the next day. Or the rest of the ...

CIML: Changes Impacting Modern Landscape

When the Fort Dodge football team won at West Des Moines Valley in 2010 to clinch the CIML Iowa Conference championship, nearly 2,000 Dodger fans in attendance celebrated an undoubtedly-momentous occasion. It took all of the Dodgers’ heart and soul — and their best teams in 15 years — to ...

Glass half full

IOWA CITY — Crestfallen Hawkeyes spent all night Saturday and most of the day Sunday grumbling ‘‘what if’’ scenarios to themselves over and over again. A walk-off loss to the fourth-ranked team in the nation in what amounted to a picture-perfect home environment will do that to a ...

A HIGHER STANDARD

Slowly but surely, the Fort Dodge football program has established an impressive level of consistency under the direction of head coach Matt Miller. Since the 2009 season kicked off, the Dodgers have an overall record of 44-38. While that may not mistake FDSH for West Des Moines Valley or ...

Opposites on track

Given I have no vested interest in the annual Iowa-Iowa State football game – I keep close tabs on both teams as the season progresses for professional purposes, but faithfully maintain my neutrality – it's typically not difficult for me to spot the true favorite in a given year. That ...

Style vs. substance

Last Saturday, two of the toughest men on the planet took center stage and, with the pressure on, delivered the performances of a lifetime. No, this isn’t about Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor. Some eight hours before the self-proclaimed ‘‘Fight of the Century’’ transpired in Las ...

60 years of significance

I was first introduced to the inner workings of The Messenger’s annual football preview as a know-nothing 17-year-old kid in the summer of 1995. As the low man on the totem pole in the sports department at the time, I figured it would be a perfect opportunity to get my byline in print and ...

The concussion discussion

Earlier this week, a study with plenty of shock value hit the general public like a defensive end blindsiding a quarterback: the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that the degenerative brain disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy — commonly known as CTE — had been ...

Keep the plate full

I was a run-of-the-mill high school baseball player some 20 years ago, trying my best to hone my craft and find a competitive edge. Somewhere along the line — I guess specifically during the fall months of my junior year — I got the bright idea that if I just stopped playing basketball and ...

Personal touch

St. Edmond has spent the better part of the last 20 years perfecting the art of winning. The Gaels have been nothing short of an aggregate juggernaut since the turn of the century. Their athletic department has captured five state championships, earned two dozen North Central Conference ...

The right direction

When I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in the spring of 2000, I returned to Fort Dodge and accepted a position at The Messenger — my home away from home for nearly six years prior. I had enjoyed working in the sports department on a part-time basis while attending both Fort ...

Hawkeyes’ Heller thrives as a ‘players’ coach’

Long before the University of Iowa realized it made a home-run hire by bringing baseball coach Rick Heller on board four years ago, Tim Flattery and Terry Reiners both knew. Flattery, a former St. Edmond all-stater, and Reiners, an ex-Fort Dodge Senior High standout, played for Heller at the ...

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 ...