[ {"id":"7c21665c-a541-551b-b4cc-3720822262ad","type":"article","starttime":"1493341200","starttime_iso8601":"2017-04-27T20:00:00-05:00","lastupdated":"1493344143","sections":[{"track-and-field":"sports/high-school/track-and-field"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Lancers' Slowick takes third at Drake","url":"http://qctimes.com/sports/high-school/track-and-field/article_7c21665c-a541-551b-b4cc-3720822262ad.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/sports/high-school/track-and-field/lancers-slowick-takes-third-at-drake/article_7c21665c-a541-551b-b4cc-3720822262ad.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/sports/high-school/track-and-field/lancers-slowick-takes-third-at-drake/article_7c21665c-a541-551b-b4cc-3720822262ad.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Matt Coss\nmcoss@qctimes.com","prologue":"DES MOINES \u2014 Kayla Slowick has collected a slew of medals at invitationals, conference and state-qualifying meets the past three years. The North Scott senior was missing one in a state-level meet. She has one now. Slowick fired the discus 127 feet, 11 inches Thursday afternoon to place third at the Drake Relays, just 16 inches behind champion Leah Dusterhoft of Iowa City West.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["kayla slowick","sport","athletics","meet","state","medal","hillard","qualifying","discus"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"a52ac13d-00b0-5326-9582-3ca477700458","description":"","byline":"","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/png","width":"800","height":"800","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/52/a52ac13d-00b0-5326-9582-3ca477700458/575640e9c6a6f.image.png?resize=800%2C800"},"100": {"type":"image/png","width":"100","height":"100","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/52/a52ac13d-00b0-5326-9582-3ca477700458/565e79e345341.preview-100.png"},"300": {"type":"image/png","width":"300","height":"300","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/52/a52ac13d-00b0-5326-9582-3ca477700458/575640e9c6a6f.image.png?resize=300%2C300"},"1024":{"type":"image/png","width":"1024","height":"1024","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/52/a52ac13d-00b0-5326-9582-3ca477700458/575640e9c6a6f.image.png"}}}],"revision":9,"commentID":"7c21665c-a541-551b-b4cc-3720822262ad","body":"

DES MOINES \u2014 Kayla Slowick has collected a slew of medals at invitationals, conference and state-qualifying meets the past three years. The North Scott senior was missing one in a state-level meet.

She has one now.

Slowick fired the discus 127 feet, 11 inches Thursday afternoon to place third at the Drake Relays, just 16 inches behind champion Leah Dusterhoft of Iowa City West.

\u201cI\u2019m pretty proud of myself compared to how I\u2019ve done the years before,\u201d Slowick said. \u201cI\u2019ve really come a long way.\u201d

It easily topped Slowick\u2019s past performances on the state stage. She was 17th and 10th, respectively, the past two years at the Class 4A state meet, and 22nd last season at Drake.

The placing wasn\u2019t the only vast improvement. She threw the discus 11 feet farther than she has at any point competing in the discus ring outside of Drake Stadium.

Slowick surpassed 120 feet on four of her six attempts. Her best throw, 127-11, came on the final attempt of the preliminaries. The best toss she could muster in the finals was 121-11.

\u201cI haven\u2019t been very consistent up here in the past,\u201d she said. \u201cToday and the past few meets, I\u2019ve been more consistent.\u201d

Urged by one of her teachers to give throwing a whirl as a freshman, it has turned into a love. She will continue to compete next year at the University of Dubuque.

She plans to make a shadow box with all her track medals.

\u201cThis is number one,\u201d she said.

Calamus-Wheatland\u2019s Cole Moeller, a two-time Class 1A state high jump champion, placed fourth after clearing 6-7.

Moeller was uncertain if he would even participate after sustaining a left Achilles injury (his jumping foot) last Thursday.

After some rest late last week, Moeller tweaked it again Tuesday in practice. He visited ORA Orthopedics in Bettendorf on Wednesday.

\u201cIt was in a spot where they said it was safe for me to jump,\u201d Moeller said, \u201cbut I was afraid all day. I could feel it after the long car ride. It was testy.

\u201cUnfortunately, I wasn\u2019t at a 100 percent to win the white flag.\u201d

Moeller cleared 6-1, passed at 6-3 and sailed over 6-5 on his first try. He jumped over the bar at 6-7 on his second attempt but never could get over 6-9, which would have matched his season best. Oskaloosa\u2019s J\u2019Von Harris won with a leap of 6-9.

\u201cIt proves to myself even when I\u2019m not at my best, I can still go out and clear some quality heights,\u201d Moeller said. \u201cI\u2019m pretty bummed I wasn\u2019t 100 percent, but it is better than not competing at all.\u201d

Louisa-Muscatine\u2019s Lani Hillard earned a medal with a sixth-place finish in the long jump. Hillard, who will continue her track and field career at St. Ambrose, jumped 17-2. It was her first Drake Relays medal.

The top five finishers were all from 3A or 4A schools.

\u201cI think it shows me that I can do more than what I think I can do,\u201d Hillard said. \u201cIt gives me more confidence, especially going into the rest of the year.\u201d

Pleasant Valley\u2019s Konnor Sommer, making his Drake Relays debut, was ninth in the 3,200 in 9:21.82. Even though he didn\u2019t medal, it was a personal-best by more than 16.5 seconds.

Sommer was in the top six through the first mile, but he couldn\u2019t sustain the pace. Cedar Falls\u2019 Sam Schillinger took the white flag in 9:06.04.

\u201cThis was definitely a different experience than all the rest of the meets I\u2019ve run so far,\u201d Sommer said. \u201cIt was a really fast race, and it was really fun running with a lot of fast guys.\u201d

Bettendorf\u2019s Erin McQuillen was ninth in the long jump. Northeast\u2019s Braeden Hoyer and West Liberty\u2019s Noah Feldman tied for ninth in the high jump.

"}, {"id":"a21d1465-2648-58d5-b0f0-9b2067f4b607","type":"article","starttime":"1493334000","starttime_iso8601":"2017-04-27T18:00:00-05:00","sections":[{"augustana":"sports/college/augustana"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Twins strive to lead Augie to NCAA tourney","url":"http://qctimes.com/sports/college/augustana/article_a21d1465-2648-58d5-b0f0-9b2067f4b607.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/sports/college/augustana/twins-strive-to-lead-augie-to-ncaa-tourney/article_a21d1465-2648-58d5-b0f0-9b2067f4b607.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/sports/college/augustana/twins-strive-to-lead-augie-to-ncaa-tourney/article_a21d1465-2648-58d5-b0f0-9b2067f4b607.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":2,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Steve Batterson\nsbatterson@qctimes.com","prologue":"Good things seem to come in pairs for the Augustana women\u2019s tennis team. Twins Lauren and Dana Goggin, who became the winningest players in the program\u2019s history on the same day earlier this season, share one more item on their wish list before their senior seasons come to an end. They\u2019d like to help the Vikings secure the program\u2019s second-ever berth in the NCAA Division III tournament, an opportunity Augustana will work to achieve beginning today when it hosts the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin automatic qualifier.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["augustana women's tennis","vikings","jon miedema","lauren goggin","dana goggin","kim sawyer","sport","tennis","doubles","tournament","single","augustana","berth"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"bee0875b-5e97-57d5-b500-d82b15735ba1","description":"Lauren Goggin and her sister Dana are the two winningest women's tennis player in Augustana College history.","byline":"Augustana College","hireswidth":1763,"hiresheight":1175,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/ee/bee0875b-5e97-57d5-b500-d82b15735ba1/5902734947a76.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1763","height":"1175","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/ee/bee0875b-5e97-57d5-b500-d82b15735ba1/5902734946f6e.image.jpg?resize=1763%2C1175"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"67","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/ee/bee0875b-5e97-57d5-b500-d82b15735ba1/5902734946f6e.image.jpg?resize=100%2C67"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"200","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/ee/bee0875b-5e97-57d5-b500-d82b15735ba1/5902734946f6e.image.jpg?resize=300%2C200"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"682","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/ee/bee0875b-5e97-57d5-b500-d82b15735ba1/5902734946f6e.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C682"}}},{"id":"1c8d6dcf-1350-5ff1-808c-5a8d02bb43af","description":"Dana Goggin","byline":"","hireswidth":852,"hiresheight":1291,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/c8/1c8d6dcf-1350-5ff1-808c-5a8d02bb43af/5902734a9a4cc.hires.jpg","presentation":"mugshot","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"852","height":"1291","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/c8/1c8d6dcf-1350-5ff1-808c-5a8d02bb43af/5902734a99bcb.image.jpg?resize=852%2C1291"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"152","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/c8/1c8d6dcf-1350-5ff1-808c-5a8d02bb43af/5902734a99bcb.image.jpg?resize=100%2C152"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"455","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/c8/1c8d6dcf-1350-5ff1-808c-5a8d02bb43af/5902734a99bcb.image.jpg?resize=300%2C455"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1552","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/c8/1c8d6dcf-1350-5ff1-808c-5a8d02bb43af/5902734a99bcb.image.jpg"}}}],"revision":2,"commentID":"a21d1465-2648-58d5-b0f0-9b2067f4b607","body":"

Good things seem to come in pairs for the Augustana women\u2019s tennis team.

Twins Lauren and Dana Goggin, who became the winningest players in the program\u2019s history on the same day earlier this season, share one more item on their wish list before their senior seasons come to an end.

They\u2019d like to help the Vikings secure the program\u2019s second-ever berth in the NCAA Division III tournament, an opportunity Augustana will work to achieve beginning today when it hosts the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin automatic qualifier.

\u201cTo get back to the NCAA tourney is something that would mean a lot to all of us,\u2019\u2019 said Lauren Goggin, who plays at No. 1 singles for the Vikings. \u201cWe got there two years ago and it was an incredible experience.\u2019\u2019

Dana, who fills the No. 2 singles spot in coach Jon Miedema\u2019s lineup, believes a challenging spring schedule has prepared the Vikings.

\u201cThis is what we\u2019ve been working toward all year. We\u2019ve seen good competition and we\u2019re ready for the weekend,\u2019\u2019 she said.

Being ready for competition never has been an issue for the twins, who have been playing the sport since they were four years old.

\u201cWe\u2019re pretty competitive by nature,\u2019\u2019 Lauren said. \u201cGrowing up, I think we pushed each other, probably at times without knowing it.\u2019\u2019

They\u2019ve tended to match training routines over the years and next month, both will graduate with degrees in accounting and business management.

The pair grew up in Arlington Heights, Illinois and attended Buffalo Grove High School and considered several Division I and II programs before settling on Augustana.

\u201cOnce we visited, we knew this is where we wanted to be,\u2019\u2019 Dana said. \u201cWe both felt really comfortable with the team, the school, everything, and the competition at the Division III level is good.\u2019\u2019

On March 26, the twins each won four matches \u2014\u00a0two each in singles and doubles in a pair of duals \u2014\u00a0to pass the previous school record of 178 career singles and doubles victories set by Kim Sawyer between 2010-14.

\u201cIt was strange how it worked out, with us both passing the old record on the same day. It\u2019s kind of neat, though, something we\u2019ll always be able to remember,\u2019\u2019 Dana said. \u201cIt\u2019s a good accomplishment, but it wasn\u2019t a priority for either of us. We like competing as much as anything.\u2019\u2019

The pair initially played doubles together, but that arrangement ended midway through their sophomore season.

Lauren, 31-6 in singles play this season, now teams with Madeline Lombardi at No. 2 doubles, while Dana, 24-7 in singles, has combined with Caitlyn Schaffer at No. 1 doubles.

\u201cI think it has worked out better for us to not be on the same doubles team,\u2019\u2019 Lauren said. \u201cI think it\u2019s been good for us to play with different players. Our styles are probably a little too similar for us to be at our best as a doubles team.\u2019\u2019

Miedema said there are differences in the games of both players.

\u201cThey\u2019re very dynamic players and they\u2019ve been good leaders of our program,\u2019\u2019 the Vikings\u2019 sixth-year coach said. \u201cThey\u2019re driven and they are competitive. Dana probably has more powerful strokes, a more powerful forehand, while Lauren creates pace well and thrives off of that.\u2019\u2019

Both like playing to those strengths.

\u201cWe tend to build around what has worked well for us over time,\u2019\u2019 Dana said. \u201cLauren plays the game that best suits her and I\u2019m comfortable with the way I approach it. It\u2019s worked for us.\u2019\u2019

That continues to be the case as Augustana prepares for a CCIW semifinal today on the Lower Campus Courts against Carroll, bringing a 22-6 record into the dual which precedes a 3 p.m. semifinal between Wheaton and Carthage.

The winners return at 11 a.m. on Saturday to compete for the CCIW\u2019s automatic NCAA tourney berth.

\u201cLauren is playing the best tennis she has played since she\u2019s been here and Dana has been playing great, too,\u2019\u2019 Miedema said. \u201cWe\u2019ve played a tough spring schedule and I feel like that has prepared our team. Lauren and Dana, they\u2019ve been a big part of what we\u2019ve done the past few years and I know they want to keep it going as long as possible.\u2019\u2019

They want that together.

\u201cThe more matches we have left for Augustana, the better,\u2019\u2019 Lauren said. \u201cWe\u2019ve had a great season and we don\u2019t want it to end.\u2019\u2019

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Phil Axtell is getting the chance he earned.

The Quad-City Mallards announced Thursday Axtell will be the head coach next season, moving quickly to keep the man they promoted in January to replace Terry Ruskowski.

It wasn't necessarily a no-doubt decision, not with names like Reading's Larry Courville and Alaska's Rob Murray on the coaching market. But by announcing the decision less than a week after the Mallards were eliminated from the playoffs, the Mallards made it clear they feel Axtell is the right man for the job, and eliminated any speculation or uncertainty.

Keeping Axtell was the right move, the latest from a team that is showing the willingness to try and bring a championship back to the Quad-Cities.

Firing Terry Ruskowski in January and putting a rookie Axtell in his place was a make-or-break decision. Ruskowski's resume could have made team owner Jordan Melville and team president Bob McNamara hesitant to make the switch and instead stay with the veteran for the rest of the season.

Giving the job to Axtell was a risk. McNamara said he felt the roster was good enough to contend, and if instead the team missed the playoffs, the organization would be forced to try and find another option at coach, perhaps resetting the timeline on when a championship could be realistically possible.

Instead, Axtell thrived. The team went 21-12-2 and went on an eight-game winning streak under his guidance. The Mallards scored over half-a-goal per game more than under Ruskowski, and played tight with the Fort Wayne Komets in the first round of the playoffs. Players responded to his coaching style and attitude, and the difference on the ice was obvious.

When the Mallards announced the decision to promote Axtell in January, McNamara mentioned how the team was no longer content with making the playoffs and losing in the first round, something that happened three of the four seasons under Ruskowski. Though the Mallards again exited early, they were competitive in the series with the Komets, taking two of the five games to overtime and keeping all but one of the games to a one-goal spread.

Now, there's a positive feeling entering the offseason. There's a feeling that this year's team \u2014\u00a0while good \u2014\u00a0may have been one year early from truly competing for a championship. There's a feeling that if Axtell gets the core of this team to return, while shoring up a few areas, that the Mallards might be the ones moving on next year instead of Fort Wayne.

There is still plenty of growth that needs to come from Axtell, and that's not unexpected. He was placed in a very tough situation, and he made the most of it, but he still is essentially a rookie head coach, with lots to learn and improve on. Every coach has to start somewhere, and what he accomplished in a half-season with the Mallards was a very good start to his head coaching career.

Now, he has to deal with things like trying to get players to return, something that Ruskowski struggled with, as well as recruiting players in the offseason to join the team. Ruskowski had a very good base of scouts and agents to draw on, but Axtell was also pivotal in landing several players from this year's team. He has a good eye for talent, and also has several connections, especially at the junior level. This includes Cedar Rapids coach Mark Carlson, whose RoughRiders team has been something of a pipeline for the Mallards recently.

He'll also have McNamara, who will retain his role as general manager and Jon Piche, director of hockey operations, there to help with this aspect, and those two will be valuable as Axtell settles into the role.

Axtell will have to deal with the stresses of the offseason and of coaching the entire season, not just half of it. And he'll also have to deal with the extra things like community involvement and media relations that Ruskowski's experience allowed him to treat as if second nature.

But Axtell impressed in just half a season, and the amount of growth from Jan. 20 to today was noticeable. It will be fun to see just how much more he grows next season, and the Mallards could continue to grow with him.

"}, {"id":"b5af8f52-1bd0-5b79-bfe7-6a1fd4a9d121","type":"article","starttime":"1493319780","starttime_iso8601":"2017-04-27T14:03:00-05:00","lastupdated":"1493333343","sections":[{"minor":"sports/hockey/professional/minor"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Axtell to be Mallards coach next season","url":"http://qctimes.com/sports/hockey/professional/minor/article_b5af8f52-1bd0-5b79-bfe7-6a1fd4a9d121.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/sports/hockey/professional/minor/axtell-to-be-mallards-coach-next-season/article_b5af8f52-1bd0-5b79-bfe7-6a1fd4a9d121.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/sports/hockey/professional/minor/axtell-to-be-mallards-coach-next-season/article_b5af8f52-1bd0-5b79-bfe7-6a1fd4a9d121.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":2,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Bobby Metcalf\nbmetcalf@qctimes.com","prologue":"Phil Axtell's hard work has paid off. He joined the Quad-City Mallards as a volunteer assistant two seasons ago, was promoted to interim head coach on Jan. 20, and guided the team to its most wins since 2006 and its fifth straight playoff appearance, losing the interim tag in the process. Thursday, he was rewarded for his efforts as the Mallards announced Axtell will be the head coach through next season.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["quad-city mallards","phil axtell","sport","game","average","winning streak","team","coaching"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"d3f9aca7-6d4f-55ad-b544-e955d32423b2","description":"The Quad-City Mallards announced they'll keep Phil Axtell as head coach next season. Axtell took over from Terry Ruskowski in January and was 21-12-2 with the team.","byline":"John Schultz, Quad-City Times","hireswidth":1712,"hiresheight":1209,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/3f/d3f9aca7-6d4f-55ad-b544-e955d32423b2/58a121f057b10.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1712","height":"1209","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/3f/d3f9aca7-6d4f-55ad-b544-e955d32423b2/58a10bc4dc7d0.image.jpg?resize=1712%2C1209"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"71","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/3f/d3f9aca7-6d4f-55ad-b544-e955d32423b2/58a10bc4dc7d0.image.jpg?resize=100%2C71"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"212","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/3f/d3f9aca7-6d4f-55ad-b544-e955d32423b2/58a10bc4dc7d0.image.jpg?resize=300%2C212"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"723","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/3f/d3f9aca7-6d4f-55ad-b544-e955d32423b2/58a10bc4dc7d0.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C723"}}}],"revision":5,"commentID":"b5af8f52-1bd0-5b79-bfe7-6a1fd4a9d121","body":"

Phil Axtell's hard work has paid off.

He joined the Quad-City Mallards as a volunteer assistant two seasons ago, was promoted to interim head coach on Jan. 20, and guided the team to its most wins since 2006 and its fifth straight playoff appearance, losing the interim tag in the process.

Thursday, he was rewarded for his efforts as the Mallards announced Axtell will be the head coach through next season.

\"It is a proud moment,\" Axtell said. \"Hard work pays off and it's great to see that system works.

\"I'm grateful for the opportunity.\"

Axtell, 30, took over from Terry Ruskowski midseason this year and went 21-12-2 with the Mallards. The Mallards were eliminated in the first round by the Fort Wayne Komets in five games last week but finished the regular season 40-28-4.

\"We\u2019re very happy with the job he did after taking over under difficult circumstances this season,\u201d Mallards owner Jordan Melville said. \u201cHe has more than earned the opportunity to continue after leading the team to 40 wins for the first time in more than a decade and reaching the playoffs. We\u2019re looking forward to a very exciting future for the Mallards with Phil as our coach.\u201d

The Mallards also produced an eight-game winning streak, its longest since 2004 and scored an average of 3.5 goals per game under Axtell, up from an average of 2.9 goals under Ruskowski.

\u201cPhil is an excellent young coach who did great work this season. His team was not only successful but also exciting to watch,\u201d Mallards president and general manager Bob McNamara said. \u201cWith a full offseason to prepare we\u2019re confident next season will be another strong year for Phil and the team.\u201d

Now that Axtell knows his immediate future, he can get to work putting together next year's team. The Mallards had five 20-goal scorers, including rookie Michael Parks, who led the team with 29 goals.

Goaltenders C.J. Motte and Adam Vay also each won 20 games for the Mallards, with Motte earning an all-star selection in his second year as a professional.

\"We talked about the season ending and being over for 2016-17 but in my eyes, 2017-18 started Monday afternoon after exit meetings,\" Axtell said. \"Focus on getting back a good core of this year's team and building on that, building around that. Looking at what we needed more of this past season and evaluating our needs and making sure that we find and sign players like that.\"

Axtell also said he would like to create an hockey video operations internship position to deal mainly with handling video during games and putting together video of future opponents for quick turnarounds.

Earning the job for next season is a big step for Axtell, who admits to having lofty goals. Just like the players he's coaching, he has desires to end up coaching in the NHL. This is a good start down that path, and while he's here, he'll be committed to putting a successful team on the ice.

\"It's another level of coaching, another year of development as a coach and as a human,\" he said. \"We always want to be better tomorrow than we were today, better today than we were yesterday. Never quitting and always striving to be better, raising the bar, every day.

\"I'm going to work hard to reach my goals and to make the best of the opportunity to put an exciting team on the ice for Mallards fans and the Mallard community.\"

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A quick sample of competition at the major-league level during spring training only reinforced the determination of the Quad-Cities River Bandits\u2019 infielder to see that plan through. \u201cTo get that chance was pretty amazing,\u2019\u2019 De Goti said. \u201cI tried to soak it up, learn everything I could. Now, it\u2019s motivation.\u2019\u2019","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["quad-cities river bandits","midwest league","alex de goti","russ steinhorn","barry university baseball","charlie gonzalez","alex gonzalez","sport","baseball","big league","astros","plan","steinhorn","game","quad-cities river"],"internalKeywords":["#free"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"09d9262a-b2a0-5adb-9057-1329e74c856d","description":"River Bandits second baseman Alex De Goti (10) reaches to try and tag out LumberKings right fielder Anthony Jimenez (5) at Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport on Sunday. 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Alex De Goti already had a plan.

A quick sample of competition at the major-league level during spring training only reinforced the determination of the Quad-Cities River Bandits\u2019 infielder to see that plan through.

\u201cTo get that chance was pretty amazing,\u2019\u2019 De Goti said. \u201cI tried to soak it up, learn everything I could. Now, it\u2019s motivation.\u2019\u2019

De Goti was among a handful of Astros\u2019 minor-league players who had a chance to play in major-league exhibition games last month, called up from Houston\u2019s minor-league camp to provide depth and get a feel for the game at the big-league level.

He had that opportunity twice, including playing second base and going 0-for-2 at the plate after taking over for Jose Altuve for Houston in a 7-3 victory over Miami on March 28.

\u201cFor the guys who get the chance to go up for a game or two, it\u2019s always a great experience,\u2019\u2019 Quad-Cities manager Russ Steinhorn said. \u201cJust to go up and watch how the players at that level prepare for a game and go about things during a game is such a valuable opportunity.\u2019\u2019

De Goti, selected by the Astros in the 15th round of the 2016 draft, found that to be reality.

\u201cThe entire spring was a chance for me to learn, to get to know everybody in the system and to have a chance to go up for a couple big league games was great,\u2019\u2019 De Goti said. \u201cTo have a chance to talk with Altuve was good. I asked plenty of questions and tried to soak up as much as I could.\u2019\u2019

Four days later, De Goti left the Astros\u2019 new spring training complex in West Palm Beach, Florida, for the Quad-Cities.

He is off to a solid start for the River Bandits, second on the team with a .328 batting average and currently ranks third in the Midwest League with 13 walks in his first 80 plate appearances.

De Goti gave himself an opportunity to make that happen after reaching a career-changing decision two years.

The Miami native played his first three seasons of baseball at Long Beach State, filling a reserve role but wanting more.

\u201cI knew that if I wanted to have any chance to play pro ball, I had to find a place where I could play every day,\u2019\u2019 De Goti said. \u201cI have to find an opportunity or it wasn\u2019t going to happen for me. It was a decision I had to make for my career.\u2019\u2019

That led him home to Barry, an NCAA Division II program in South Florida which provided De Goti with an opportunity to play in all 49 of the team\u2019s games last year. He hit .404 and earned Division II all-American honors, catching the attention of Astros senior scouting advisor Charlie Gonzalez.

\u201cAll it takes is one set of eyes and I was fortunate that Charlie Gonzalez liked what he saw in me,\u2019\u2019 De Goti said. \u201cThat gave me the chance to play pro ball.\u2019\u2019

De Goti spent 2016 at short-season Tri-City, batting .228 in 63 games, but more importantly adjusting to the pro game.

\u201cI left there understanding what I needed to do,\u2019\u2019 De Goti said. \u201cIt wasn\u2019t 140 games like this level, but it was 76 in 80 days and that experience taught me a lot about my body and how I needed to take care of it, from my diet to rest to strength, all of the things that go into being ready to compete at the highest level.\u2019\u2019

That work continued into the offseason, when he trained under the guidance of Barry pitching coach Alex Gonzalez, whose experience in sports performance training helped De Goti improve his strength, speed and mobility.

\u201cI\u2019ve learned to make moves that I couldn\u2019t make before. It was extremely beneficial and it\u2019s helping me compete now,\u2019\u2019 De Goti said. \u201cI\u2019m coming to the ballpark ready to work and ready to improve every day. That\u2019s the goal.\u2019\u2019

Steinhorn sees that as well.

\u201cHe\u2019s learned to take care of himself and he does what he needs to do to be prepared each day,\u2019\u2019 Steinhorn said. \u201cHe\u2019s been consistent on the field for us, but equally important, he\u2019s become a leader in our clubhouse with the way the way he handles himself. On and off the field, he has a very professional approach and that shows in his performance.\u2019\u2019

"}, {"id":"6b4d91da-dab3-5233-92cc-4ad7637da2f1","type":"article","starttime":"1493298000","starttime_iso8601":"2017-04-27T08:00:00-05:00","lastupdated":"1493328784","sections":[{"doxsie":"sports/basketball/college/big-10/iowa/doxsie"}],"flags":{"top_story":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Hawkeyes working hard on class of 2019","url":"http://qctimes.com/sports/basketball/college/big-10/iowa/doxsie/article_6b4d91da-dab3-5233-92cc-4ad7637da2f1.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/sports/basketball/college/big-10/iowa/doxsie/hawkeyes-working-hard-on-class-of/article_6b4d91da-dab3-5233-92cc-4ad7637da2f1.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/sports/basketball/college/big-10/iowa/doxsie/hawkeyes-working-hard-on-class-of/article_6b4d91da-dab3-5233-92cc-4ad7637da2f1.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":2,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"The Iowa basketball program long ago wrapped up its recruiting for the class of 2017 and it may not need to do much more for the class of 2018. Unless someone transfers, the Hawkeyes will have only one scholarship available for that class and they already have a commitment from Muscatine star Joe Wieskamp. Coach Fran McCaffery and his staff continue to stay involved with other players in that class just in case.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["rival","sport","basketball","player","hawkeyes","matthew","jerry francis","fran mccaffery","chol marial"],"internalKeywords":["#tophawks","#free"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"long_form","images":[{"id":"ea5480b5-7852-5b2a-b0c8-b640d03418f4","description":"Center Chol Marial of Cheshire, Connecticut, is among the players in the high school class of 2019 who ae being recruited by Iowa.","byline":"Twitter.com","hireswidth":512,"hiresheight":512,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/a5/ea5480b5-7852-5b2a-b0c8-b640d03418f4/59017442f07d2.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"512","height":"512","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/a5/ea5480b5-7852-5b2a-b0c8-b640d03418f4/59017442f3959.image.jpg?resize=512%2C512"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"100","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/a5/ea5480b5-7852-5b2a-b0c8-b640d03418f4/59017442f3959.image.jpg?resize=100%2C100"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"300","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/a5/ea5480b5-7852-5b2a-b0c8-b640d03418f4/59017442f3959.image.jpg?resize=300%2C300"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1024","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/a5/ea5480b5-7852-5b2a-b0c8-b640d03418f4/59017442f3959.image.jpg"}}},{"id":"f04e72e8-0669-5503-9e9e-5312e88c094f","description":"Sioux City East's Aidan Vanderloo (left) and Bettendorf's D.J. Carton (right) are among the players in the class of 2019 who are being looked at bu the Iowa basketball program.","byline":"Kevin E. Schmidt, Quad-City Times","hireswidth":1467,"hiresheight":1411,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/04/f04e72e8-0669-5503-9e9e-5312e88c094f/58c0d524c8b13.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1467","height":"1411","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/04/f04e72e8-0669-5503-9e9e-5312e88c094f/58c0d4c1e6793.image.jpg?resize=1467%2C1411"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"96","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/04/f04e72e8-0669-5503-9e9e-5312e88c094f/58c0d4c1e6793.image.jpg?resize=100%2C96"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"289","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/04/f04e72e8-0669-5503-9e9e-5312e88c094f/58c0d4c1e6793.image.jpg?resize=300%2C289"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"985","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/04/f04e72e8-0669-5503-9e9e-5312e88c094f/58c0d4c1e6793.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C985"}}}],"revision":4,"commentID":"6b4d91da-dab3-5233-92cc-4ad7637da2f1","body":"

The Iowa basketball program long ago wrapped up its recruiting for the class of 2017 and it may not need to do much more for the class of 2018.

Unless someone transfers, the Hawkeyes will have only one scholarship available for that class and they already have a commitment from Muscatine star Joe Wieskamp. Coach Fran McCaffery and his staff continue to stay involved with other players in that class just in case.

But the next big haul figures to be the class of 2019. The Hawkeyes should have at least four scholarships to offer to players who just completed their sophomore seasons at the high school level.

This is an important time period for players in that class. Their potential is beginning to come into clearer focus and college coaches are allowed to have contact with them in the month of April.

At least three 2019 prospects have mentioned on Twitter in the past week that they recently have received offers from the Hawkeyes. According to various recruiting websites, they now have extended offers to about a dozen players in the class of 2019.

A look at those players:

--Armando Bacot, 6-10, Richmond, Va. (Trinity Episcopal): He is one of those who tweeted this week that he just received an offer from Iowa. He is rated as the 35th best prospect in the Class of 2019 by Rivals.com and is beginning to attract attention from programs such as Duke.

--Tyger Campbell, 6-0, La Porte, Ind. (La Lumiere): Slick point guard originally is from Cedar Rapids, but he moved to Nashville in junior high because Tennessee allows eighth-graders to play for their high school teams and he now attends a prep school in Indiana. Rated 21st in the class by Scout.com, 24th by Rivals.com and 25th by ESPN.

--Jeremiah Francis, 6-2, Pickerington, Ohio (Central): The son of former Ohio State star Jerry Francis is listed No. 66 on Rivals\u2019 list of the top players in the nation. He also received an offer from Iowa within the past week.

--Matthew Hurt, 6-9, Rochester, Minn. (John Marshall): His older brother played as a walk-on at Minnesota but this power forward with 3-point range is fielding offers from college basketball bluebloods like Kentucky, Duke and Kansas. He is ranked No. 6 by Rivals, No. 7 by ESPN and No. 10 by Scout.

--Trayce Jackson-Davis, 6-9, Greenwood, Ind. (Center Grove): He doesn\u2019t show up in any of the national rankings yet but he\u2019s an athletic power forward with great bloodlines. His father, Dale Davis, played 16 years in the NBA.

--Chol Marial, 7-2, Cheshire, Conn.: Like former Iowa player Peter Jok, he originally is from South Sudan. Marial not only has extreme size but is very athletic for someone that big. He reportedly has a 38-inch vertical and solid shooting and ballhandling skills. ESPN lists him as the No. 3 player in this class, Scout No. 7 and Rivals No. 12.

--Patrick McCaffery, 6-8, Iowa City, Iowa (West): The Hawkeyes really should be able to sign this kid since he\u2019s the son of head coach Fran McCaffery and the brother of recruit Connor McCaffery. Rivals recently elevated him from No. 60 to No. 23 in this class. Scout has him rated No, 36.

--Jordan Mitchell, 6-6, Montverde, Fla.: Highly athletic wing man played his first two years of high school in Gahanna, Ohio, but is transferring to a powerhouse prep school in Florida that has produced multiple NBA players. Scout ranks him No. 26 in the class, Rivals No. 41.

--Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, 6-8, Roeland Park, Kan. (Bishop Miege): Rated 17th by Rivals and 25th by Scout. He already has offers from Kansas and several other powerhouse programs.

--Tyrell Terry, 5-11, Minneapolis (De La Salle): Quick point guard is just now starting to collect offers. Iowa and Nebraska became the first to offer him this week.

--Trendon Watford, 6-7, Mountain Brook, Ala.: Not all the recruiting sites list Iowa as a contender, but he has received an offer from the Hawkeyes, according to Scout. ESPN rates him as the No. 5 player in the class, Scout No. 12 and Rivals No. 14.

--James Wiseman, 6-9, Nashville, Tenn. (Ensworth): A lefthander with a 7-foot-4 wingspan from the same high school as former Hawkeye Andrew Fleming. He\u2019s ranked No. 4 in the class by Rivals, No. 8 by Scout and No. 12 by ESPN.

\"Bettendorf_Sioux-City-002\"

Sioux City East's Aidan Vanderloo (left) and Bettendorf's D.J. Carton (right) are among the players in the class of 2019 who are being looked at bu the Iowa basketball program.

There are several other players in the class of 2019 who are being looked at by Iowa, including three instate stars \u2014 6-1 D.J. Carton of Bettendorf, 6-10 Owen Coburn of Spirit Lake and 6-2 Aidan Vanderloo of Sioux City East.

Others on the Hawkeyes\u2019 radar are 6-9 Taylor Currie of Worthington, Ohio; 6-3 Amari Davis of Trotwood, Ohio; 6-9 Nobal Days of Racine, Wis.; 6-4 Zachary Dieterich-Harvey of Topeka, Kan.; 6-7 E.J. Liddell of Belleville, Ill.; 6-6 Quinn Slazinski of Houston; 5-11 Isaiah Thompson of Zionsville, Ind.; and 6-0 Rocket Watts of Detroit.

"}, {"id":"828dc2a8-1421-5f6b-b781-6befbcf051c0","type":"article","starttime":"1493262420","starttime_iso8601":"2017-04-26T22:07:00-05:00","lastupdated":"1493322621","sections":[{"midwest-league":"sports/baseball/professional/minor/midwest-league"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Bandits, LaRue push past Peoria","url":"http://qctimes.com/sports/baseball/professional/minor/midwest-league/article_828dc2a8-1421-5f6b-b781-6befbcf051c0.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/sports/baseball/professional/minor/midwest-league/bandits-larue-push-past-peoria/article_828dc2a8-1421-5f6b-b781-6befbcf051c0.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/sports/baseball/professional/minor/midwest-league/bandits-larue-push-past-peoria/article_828dc2a8-1421-5f6b-b781-6befbcf051c0.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Steve Batterson\nsbatterson@qctimes.com","prologue":"Peoria wasn\u2019t the only thing that tested the Quad-Cities River Bandits on Thursday. Pitcher Carson LaRue coped with a persistent rain to push Quad-Cities past the Chiefs 6-1 at Modern Woodmen Park. LaRue scattered four hits over five shutout innings and the River Bands clubbed three home runs to win the deciding game of the three-game Midwest League series.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["quad-cities river bandits","midwest league","russ steinhorn","carson larus","ronnie dawson","randy cesar","jake rogers","rodrigo ayarza","peoria chiefs","carson larue","baseball","sport","home run","quad-cities river","inning","steinhorn","hitter","extra-base hit"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"74dcb9e4-0804-58e6-a5c7-f0b51c9a1f54","description":"The grounds crew at Modern Woodmen Park spary down the dirt around home plate as the Bandits logo is painted on the grass, Thursday, April 6, 2017, before their opening night game agaisnt the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.","byline":"John Schultz, Quad-City Times","hireswidth":1763,"hiresheight":1175,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/4d/74dcb9e4-0804-58e6-a5c7-f0b51c9a1f54/58e6f93f53f61.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1763","height":"1175","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/4d/74dcb9e4-0804-58e6-a5c7-f0b51c9a1f54/58e6f93f52ea0.image.jpg?resize=1763%2C1175"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"67","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/4d/74dcb9e4-0804-58e6-a5c7-f0b51c9a1f54/58e6f93f52ea0.image.jpg?resize=100%2C67"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"200","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/4d/74dcb9e4-0804-58e6-a5c7-f0b51c9a1f54/58e6f93f52ea0.image.jpg?resize=300%2C200"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"682","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/4d/74dcb9e4-0804-58e6-a5c7-f0b51c9a1f54/58e6f93f52ea0.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C682"}}}],"revision":4,"commentID":"828dc2a8-1421-5f6b-b781-6befbcf051c0","body":"

Peoria wasn\u2019t the only thing that tested the Quad-Cities River Bandits on Thursday.

Pitcher Carson LaRue coped with a persistent rain to push Quad-Cities past the Chiefs 6-1 at Modern Woodmen Park.

LaRue scattered four hits over five shutout innings and the River Bands clubbed three home runs to win the deciding game of the three-game Midwest League series.

\u201cOur mental toughness was tested by the conditions and a good opponent and we handled it well,\u2019\u2019 Quad-Cities manager Russ Steinhorn said. \u201cTo play error-free in those conditions and to get solid pitching, it was a pretty focused team effort.\u2019\u2019

LaRue moved to 2-0 with his fourth five-inning outing of the season, striking out four and walking two batters.

\u201cHe\u2019s been very reliable for us, mixing his pitches well and keeping us in games,\u2019\u2019 Steinhorn said. \u201cHe didn\u2019t have any 1-2-3 innings and that ran up his pitch count a bit, but he gave us a good start in less-than-ideal conditions.\u2019\u2019

Quad-Cities clubbed seven extra-base hits \u2013 three homers and four doubles \u2013 and they led all six of the River Bandits\u2019 runs across home plate.

Ronnie Dawson set the tone, depositing a leadoff homer in the bottom of the first inning over the wall in right.

Randy Cesar extended the River Bandits\u2019 lead to 3-0 with a two-run blast to left in the fourth and Jake Rogers added a solo shot in the bottom of the seventh.

Through 20 games, Quad-Cities has now hit a national minor-league best 31 home runs, more than half of the team total of 61 the River Bandits hit during the entire 2016 season.

\u201cThey started to pitch us backward later in the game, but our hitters were still working hard and making good contact,\u2019\u2019 Steinhorn said. \u201cJake got ahold of one, (Alex) De Goti took a ball to the fence, (Marcos) Almonte made contact. That was good to see.\u2019\u2019

Rogers\u2019 fourth homer of the season answered a Peoria run in the top half of the inning on a Tommy Edmon single, just after Rodrigo Ayarza had extended the Quad-Cities lead to 5-0 with his second double of the game, a two-run drive into right.

"}, {"id":"2f0c522c-b3d6-5b04-86d8-822f162c17b4","type":"article","starttime":"1493248500","starttime_iso8601":"2017-04-26T18:15:00-05:00","lastupdated":"1493267709","sections":[{"track-and-field":"sports/high-school/track-and-field"}],"application":"editorial","title":"North sprint relays look to put themselves 'on the map' at Drake","url":"http://qctimes.com/sports/high-school/track-and-field/article_2f0c522c-b3d6-5b04-86d8-822f162c17b4.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/sports/high-school/track-and-field/north-sprint-relays-look-to-put-themselves-on-the-map/article_2f0c522c-b3d6-5b04-86d8-822f162c17b4.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/sports/high-school/track-and-field/north-sprint-relays-look-to-put-themselves-on-the-map/article_2f0c522c-b3d6-5b04-86d8-822f162c17b4.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":2,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Matt Coss\nmcoss@qctimes.com","prologue":"They don't have a bona fide standout. You won't see any of their 100- or 200-meter open times listed among the top 30 in the state. But when you glance at the boys state track and field leaders in the 400- and 800-meter relays, Davenport North is near the top. \"Being in a relay is a different mentality,\" senior Ezekiel Hayslett said. \"It is more cooperative, and you're part of one working machine.\"","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["relays","sport","athletics","north","sprint","abbey","isaiah gibbs","ezekiel hayslett","collin glazek"],"internalKeywords":["#toppreps","#free","#topsports"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"aa3f428e-71db-5935-a106-0aca8b46c651","description":"Davenport North's 400 and 800 relays are ranked among the state's best. Members are Akendre Abbey (left), Isaiah Gibbs (bottom), Collin Glazek (right) and Zeke Hayslett. The Wildcats will look to win the school's first title in a boys relay at the Drake Relays this weekend.","byline":"John Schultz, Quad-City Times","hireswidth":1665,"hiresheight":1244,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/a3/aa3f428e-71db-5935-a106-0aca8b46c651/590126ee1e860.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1665","height":"1244","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/a3/aa3f428e-71db-5935-a106-0aca8b46c651/590126ee1d995.image.jpg?resize=1665%2C1244"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"75","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/a3/aa3f428e-71db-5935-a106-0aca8b46c651/590126ee1d995.image.jpg?resize=100%2C75"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"224","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/a3/aa3f428e-71db-5935-a106-0aca8b46c651/590126ee1d995.image.jpg?resize=300%2C224"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"765","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/a3/aa3f428e-71db-5935-a106-0aca8b46c651/590126ee1d995.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C765"}}},{"id":"99449b39-83f9-5098-90b1-c658cc8a129c","description":"Davenport North's Collin Glazek, center, battles on the home stretch in last year's 400 relay. The Wildcats took fourth place last season and return two members from that quartet.\u00a0","byline":"MATTHEW PUTNEY, Lee News Network","hireswidth":1354,"hiresheight":1062,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/94/99449b39-83f9-5098-90b1-c658cc8a129c/5725448e21fad.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1354","height":"1062","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/94/99449b39-83f9-5098-90b1-c658cc8a129c/59004717a4adc.image.jpg?resize=1354%2C1062"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"78","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/94/99449b39-83f9-5098-90b1-c658cc8a129c/5725448e5d92e.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"235","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/94/99449b39-83f9-5098-90b1-c658cc8a129c/59004717a4adc.image.jpg?resize=300%2C235"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"803","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/94/99449b39-83f9-5098-90b1-c658cc8a129c/59004717a4adc.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C803"}}}],"revision":8,"commentID":"2f0c522c-b3d6-5b04-86d8-822f162c17b4","body":"

They don't have a bona fide standout. You won't see any of their 100- or 200-meter open times listed among the top 30 in the state.

But when you glance at the boys state track and field leaders in the 400- and 800-meter relays, Davenport North is near the top.

\"Being in a relay is a different mentality,\" senior Ezekiel Hayslett said. \"It is more cooperative, and you're part of one working machine.\"

Hayslett, Akendre Abbey, Isaiah Gibbs and Collin Glazek head into this weekend's Drake Relays with the state's second-fastest time in the 400 relay (42.45 seconds) and third in the 800 relay (1:29.10).

The quartet has an opportunity to be the first boys relay from North to capture a white flag (given to the winner of each event).

\"That would be the goal of a lifetime,\" Gibbs said. \"We're not exactly looked at when it comes to the best (track) schools or ones people think they need to compete with each year. This would put us on the map a little.

\"It would definitely be the best thing ever.\"

Marques Simmons claimed three straight 100-meter titles for North from 1999-2001 and Aubreon Walton won the 400 hurdles in 1986.

A baton, though, never has been involved in a North boys victory celebration at Drake.

\"It is a bigger scale, a bigger level and there is a little more pressure on us this year, but I don't feel like it is anything we can't handle,\" Hayslett said.

North offsets its lack of star power with a cohesive, experienced group.

Gibbs, Glazek and Hayslett are seniors while Abbey is a junior. They've been teammates in football, often sit together during lunch hour and hang out away from athletics.

\"If you're on a team with people that you don't like, you're not going to want to run,\" said Glazek, who was a discus and shot put thrower in middle school before transitioning to sprints. \"The chemistry is what has helped us.

\"We've been working on this for a long time.\"

It has been a gradual incline to the top.

Gibbs and Glazek were part of last year's fourth-place finish at the Drake Relays in the 400 relay. Those two, along with Hayslett, qualified in the 800 relay but were disqualified after one of the runners pulled a hamstring.

Abbey never has participated at the Drake Relays, but he competed on last year's 800 relay at the state meet held in the same stadium.

\"It is going to help a lot,\" Abbey said. \"We already know the environment. We won't be shaken, scared or real nervous.\"

The Wildcats are determined to be more than just qualifiers.

\"This is our time to peak,\" Hayslett said. \"We've been climbing up this mountain for a while. For three of us, it is our senior year, so we want to show we haven't been coming up here for nothing.

\"We've been progressing to reach the top.\"

The Wildcats broke a 19-year-old school record in the 400 relay earlier this month at the Jesse Day Invitational.

It still is more than 2.4 seconds off the school mark in the 800 relay established with Simmons as the anchor in 2000.

North believes the 400 relay is its best opportunity to claim a victory. It had the state's top time until Western Dubuque ran a 42.36 earlier this week.

The Wildcats have not gone head-to-head with the Bobcats this season. If both teams get through Friday's preliminaries, they would clash in Saturday afternoon's final.

\"The past couple of meets we haven't had the best competition,\" Hayslett said. \"We'll have people like Western Dubuque pushing us there, so that's going to make us go faster and run a better time.\"

And the sum is better than the individual parts.

Hayslett has the top open 100 time this spring at 11.06 seconds. Glazek has gone 11.11 and Gibbs 11.42.

Western Dubuque, meanwhile, has had three members go 11.07 or faster in the open 100.

\"Our handoffs play a big part,\" Glazek said.

That traces back to the relay's continuity.

\"It is not just like we got thrown together this year,\" Gibbs said. \"We're comfortable with each other and that's big for handoffs. That can decide if you're first or last.\"

Abbey, Hayslett, Gibbs and Glazek is North's order in the 400 relay. Glazek runs the second leg and Gibbs anchors in the 800 relay.

Western Dubuque (1:28.31) and Waterloo West (1:29.05) are the two teams ranked above them in the 800 relay. With it being a timed final Friday, North will be in Lane 3 in the final heat.

Regardless of how the weekend unfolds, Hayslett admits its a prelude to the primary goal of a state championship next month.

\"This will help us have a plan going into state,\" Hayslett said. \"At the end of the day, it is still a learning experience for us and what we can improve on.\"

If it comes with a white flag for each individual, they won't complain.

\"That would get hung up,\" Gibbs said. \"It would be a nice little showcase in the house.\"

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Drake Relays breakdown

Boys\u00a0

100 METERS\u00a0

Prelims (32 entries): Friday, 8:46 a.m.\u00a0

Final (top 8): Friday, 1:51 p.m.

Drake record: 10.61, James Harrington, Cedar Falls (2012)

Locals in field: Alphonso Soko, Muscatine, 10.90; Tanner Iske, West Liberty, 10.96; Terry Harris, Central DeWitt, 10.97; Kevin Kurth, Davenport Central, 11.01; Keshaun Baker, Pleasant Valley,\u00a0 11.01

800 METERS

Final (16 entries): Friday, 2:54 p.m.

Drake record: 1:51.76, Ryan Schweizer, Dowling Catholic (2012)

Local in field: Tyler Olson, Muscatine, 1:57.04

1,600 METERS

Final (21 entries): Saturday, 12:52 p.m.

Drake record: 4:10.76, Josh Evans, Linn-Mar (2014)

Locals in field: Konnor Sommer, Pleasant Valley, 4:26.48; Mark Conway, Pleasant Valley, 4:27.64; Anthony Pena, Pleasant Valley, 4:29.42

3,200 METERS

Final (21 entries): Thursday, 6:25 p.m.

Drake record: 8:58.46, Albert Meier, Boone (2014)

Locals in field: Konnor Sommer, Pleasant Valley, 9:38.41; Anthony Pena, Pleasant Valley, 9:48.34

110-METER HURDLES

Prelims (32 entries): Friday, 8:16 a.m.

Final (top 8): Friday, 11:09 a.m.

Drake record: 14.04, Jordan Mullen, Atlantic, 2009

Local in field: Suni Lane, Bettendorf, 15.03

400-METER HURDLES

Final (16 entries): Saturday, 1:36 p.m.

Drake record: 51.94, Dustin Avey, Ames (1995)

Locals in field: Demari Nicholson, Bettendorf, 54.78; Suni Lane, Bettendorf, 55.02

DISCUS

Prelims/finals (24 entries): Friday, 9 a.m.

Drake record: 199-1, Chase Madison, Newton (2004)

Locals in field: Cody Snyder, Pleasant Valley, 170-1; Cole Webster, Bettendorf, 169-1; Ty Oster, Bellevue, 162-8

SHOT PUT

Prelims/finals (24 entries): Thursday, 4:30 p.m.

Drake record: 67-2 1/4, Doug Lane, Cedar Rapids Jefferson (1968)

Locals in field: Cody Snyder, Pleasant Valley, 55-8; Cole Webster, Bettendorf, 55-6

HIGH JUMP

Final (24 entries): Thursday, 4:30 p.m.

Drake record: 7-3 1/2, Brian Tietjens, North Central (1981)

Locals in field: Cole Moeller, Calamus-Wheatland, 6-9; Braden Hoyer, Northeast, 6-8; Axel Dondiego, Northeast, 6-7; Noah Feldman, West Liberty, 6-5; Suni Lane, Bettendorf, 6-4

LONG JUMP

Final (24 entries): Friday, 9:30 a.m.

Drake record: 23-11 3/4, Chris Walker, Davenport Central (1984)

Locals in field: Kevin Kurth, Davenport Central, 23-4 3/4; DJ Mosley, Davenport West, 22-1; Keshaun Baker, Pleasant Valley, 22-0 1/4; Evan Reifert, Wilton, 21-10

400-METER RELAY

Prelims (80 entries): Friday, 6:05 p.m.

Final (top 8): Saturday, 3:40 p.m.

Drake record: 41.33, Iowa City High (1996)

Locals in field: Davenport North, 42.45; Central DeWitt, 43.91; Pleasant Valley, 44.06; Bettendorf, 44.06; Camanche, 44.67; North Cedar, 44.69; Davenport Central, 44.70; Davenport West, 44.75; Clinton, 44.78; West Liberty, 44.78

800-METER RELAY

Final (24 entries): Friday, 12:50 p.m.

Drake record: 1:27.41, Cedar Falls (2011)

Locals in field: Davenport North, 1:29.10; Bettendorf, 1:31.16

1,600-METER RELAY

Prelims (24 entries): Friday, 8:50 p.m.

Final (top 8): Saturday, 4:22 p.m.

Drake record: 3:17.77, West Des Moines Valley (2006)

Local in field: Bettendorf, 3:25.73

3,200-METER RELAY

Final (16 entries): Saturday, 9:16 a.m.

Drake record: 7:45.63, Marshalltown (1985)

Local in field: Pleasant Valley, 8:08.32

DISTANCE MEDLEY RELAY

Final (24 entries): Friday, 10:37 a.m.

Drake record: 3:25.94, Cedar Rapids Prairie (2016)

Locals in field: Pleasant Valley, 3:34.89; Bettendorf, 3:37.35; Central DeWitt, 3:38.11

SHUTTLE HURDLE RELAY

Prelim (16 entries): Saturday, 8:15 a.m.

Final (top 4): Saturday, 12:15 p.m.

Drake record: 55.68, Linn-Mar (2016)

Locals in field: none

Girls

100 METERS

Prelims (32 entries): Friday, 8:31 a.m.\u00a0

Final (top 8): Friday, 1:33 p.m.

Drake record: 12.11, Briyana Carter, DM Roosevelt (2016)

Local in field: Amaria Kirby, Pleasant Valley, 12.64

800 METERS

Final (16 entries): Friday, 2:48 p.m.

Drake record: 2:07.69, Shelby Houlihan, S.C. East (2011)

Locals in field: Joy Ripslinger, Assumption, 2:09.84; Julia Schumacher, 2:18.96; Julia Campbell, Central DeWitt, 2:19.34

1,500 METERS

Final (21 entries): Saturday, 12:45 p.m.

Drake record: 4:28.30, Katie Flood, Dowling Catholic (2010)

Locals in field: Joy Ripslinger, Assumption, 4:35.52; Julia Schumacher, Assumption, 4:56.84

3,000 METERS

Final (21 entries): Thursday, 6:10 p.m.

Drake record: 9:26.87, Stephanie Jenks, Linn-Mar (2014)

Locals in field: Trinity Borland, Bettendorf, 10:41.34; Camryn Reeg, Bellevue, 10:45.61

100-METER HURDLES

Prelims (32 entries): Friday, 8 a.m.

Final (top 8): Friday, 11:01 a.m.

Drake record: 14.30, Mary Young, Urbandale (2014)

Locals in field: Ellie Spelhaug, Pleasant Valley, 15.16; Erica Loussaert, North Scott, 15.36

400-METER HURDLES

Final (16 entries): Saturday, 1:25 p.m.

Drake record: 1:01.01, A.G. Bradford, Davenport North (2008)

Local in field: Addie Swanson, Pleasant Valley, 1:04.76

DISCUS

Prelims/final (24 entries): Thursday, 4 p.m.

Drake record: 162-7, Kiana Phelps, KP-WC (2016)

Locals in field: Kayla Slowick, North Scott, 130-5 1/2; Jamie Kofron, Tipton, 124-2 1/2; Courtney Schnoor, Camanche, 121-9

SHOT PUT

Prelims/final (24 entries): Friday, 8:30 a.m.

Drake record: 50-4 3/4, Paulette Mitchell, CB Abe Lincoln (1992)

Locals in field: Courtney Schnoor, Camanche, 41-8 1/2; Jamie Kofron, Tipton, 41-7 1/2; Libertie Uppena, Midland, 41-0; Lea Grady, Davenport Central, 39-3 1/2; Nicole Sander, North Cedar, 39-3 1/2

HIGH JUMP

Final (24 entries): Friday, 9:45 a.m.

Drake record: 6-1, Hannah Willms, Dike-New Hartford (2010)

Locals in field: Erica Loussaert, North Scott, 5-6; Darby Hawtrey, North Cedar, 5-5

LONG JUMP

Final (24 entries): Thursday, 5 p.m.

Drake record: 19-3 3/4, LaNeisha Waller, Cedar Rapids Washington (2004)

Locals in field: Erin McQuillen, Bettendorf, 17-6; Lani Hillard, Louisa-Muscatine, 17-4

400-METER RELAY

Prelims (80 entries): Friday, 5:10 p.m.

Final (top 8): Saturday, 3:35 p.m.

Drake record: 47.55, Des Moines Roosevelt (2012) and CR Jefferson (2015)

Locals in field: Pleasant Valley, 49.36; Bettendorf, 49.85; Assumption, 50.53; Davenport Central, 51.01; North Cedar, 51.83; Muscatine, 51.94

800-METER RELAY

Final (24 entries): Friday, 12:38 p.m.

Drake record: 1:40.87, Cedar Rapids Jefferson (2016)

Locals in field: Assumption, 1:43.34; Pleasant Valley, 1:44.41; Bettendorf, 1:45.95

1,600-METER RELAY

Prelims (24 entries): Friday, 8:30 p.m.

Final (top 8): Saturday, 4:15 p.m.

Drake record: 3:50.21, Waukee (2009)

Locals in field: Assumption, 3:59.94; Pleasant Valley, 4:01.08; North Cedar, 4:04.04; Bettendorf, 4:04.46

3,200-METER RELAY

Final (16 entries): Saturday, 9:01 a.m.

Drake record: 9:11.01, Dowling Catholic (2010)

Local in field: Assumption, 9:32.17

SPRINT MEDLEY RELAY

Final (24 entries): Friday, 10:24 a.m.

Drake record: 1:44.98, Des Moines Roosevelt (1985)

Locals in field: Assumption, 1:47.75; Pleasant Valley, 1:48.99; Bettendorf, 1:49.13; North Cedar, 1:51.74

SHUTTLE HURDLE RELAY

Prelims (16 entries): Saturday, 8 a.m.

Final (top 4): Saturday, 12:10 p.m.

Drake record: 1:02.39, Pleasant Valley (2016)

Locals in field: Pleasant Valley, 1:06.56

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The first extended home stand of the season for the Quad-Cities River Bandits has led to the first visits of the year by members of Houston\u2019s minor-league staff.

Astros infield coordinator Adam Everett and hitting instructor Ralph Dickenson spent time on the field during early work with the River Bandits during the seven-game home stand which concluded Wednesday.

Both have spent time coaching at the major-league level for Houston during their tenure as staff members with the organization, experience that Quad-Cities manager Russ Steinhorn welcomes.

\u201cWe always welcome the expertise those guys provide when they come in,\u2019\u2019 Steinhorn said. \u201cThey provide a lot of support and guidance. It\u2019s a good experience for our players and for our staff here. We try to put their expertise to work for us.\u2019\u2019

Everett spent 11 seasons in the major leagues with the Astros, Twins, Tigers and Indians and began his coaching career with Houston in 2013. His resume includes working in September, 2014 as the Astros\u2019 interim major-league bench coach.

Dickenson has coached at the minor-league level since 1990, working as both a coach and manager. He worked as Houston\u2019s major-league hitting coach in 2014 and spent last season as the hitting coach at Triple-A Fresno before returning to a role he filled in 2015.

\u201cEvery day in this game is different and I think we all learn from one day to the next,\u2019\u2019 Steinhorn said. \u201cWe draw on the experiences we all have had as we work together. They give us a tremendous amount of support when they come in.\u2019\u2019

THE CYCLE: Lansing\u2019s Edward Olivares became the first Midwest League batter to hit for the cycle since 2014 when he went 4-for-5 during an 11-5 win over South Bend on Monday.

The 21-year-old outfielder from Venezuela doubled in his first at-bat in the second inning and singled an inning later before homering in the fifth inning.

He completed the feat with two outs in the eighth inning when he drove a triple into the gap in right-center.

QC HOMECOMING: The three-game series between Quad-Cities and Peoria which concluded Wednesday was a bit of a homecoming for Chiefs manager Chris Swauger.

His first full-season assignment as a player in the Cardinals organization came in 2009 with the River Bandits. He wasn\u2019t around long, 31 games to be exact before earning a promotion to high-A Palm Beach.

Swauger did hit .298 with four homers, 10 doubles and 22 RBI for Quad-Cities one year after being selected by St. Louis in the 26th round of the draft out of The Citadel.

He is in his third season as a manager in the St. Louis farm system, spending the past two years at Johnson City. He led that team to the Appalachian League title a year ago.

WINKELMAN SHINES: Alex Winkelman, a pitcher who went 5-1 with a 3.72 ERA for Quad-Cities last season, was named Monday as the pitcher of the week in the Carolina League.

He struck out 10 and did not issue any walks during a six-inning start for Buies Creek, the Astros\u2019 high-A affiliate. Winkelman allowed just one hit while shutting out Myrtle Beach in his lone start of the week for manager Omar Lopez\u2019s team.

HOT START: Cedar Rapids\u2019 Jermaine Palacios had a crazy .516 batting average last week, leading the Kernels shortstop to Midwest League player of the week honors.

Palacios leads the league with a .397 batting average, helped by a 16-of-31 week last week that included three doubles, one triple and one home run.

Cubs prospect Dylan Cease of South Bend was recognized as the pitcher of the week. A sixth-round pick of Chicago in 2014, he struck out seven batters and walked three while not allowing a hit during a six-inning start against Great Lakes.

BY THE NUMBERS

.484: League-leading on-base percentage of Lansing shortstop Bo Bichette, the son of former Quad-City Angels outfielder Dante Bichette and a second-round pick of the Blue Jays in 2016

35: Bases stolen by Dayton through 18 games, 13 more than any other team in the league

ALUMNI REPORT

Two weeks after making his major-league debut for the Rangers, Texas returned Rule V draft pick and former River Bandits pitcher Mike Hauschild to the Astros.

Hauschild cleared waivers and was assigned to Houston\u2019s AAA Fresno affiliate after struggling in a relief role with Texas, allowing 10 runs on 14 hits including five homers in eight innings out of the bullpen.

The 27-year old went 6-1 with a 2.92 ERA in 20 appearances with Quad-Cities\u2019 2013 Midwest League championship team.

THIS WEEK

Quad-Cities

TODAY: at Clinton, 6:30 p.m.

FRIDAY: at Clinton, 6:30 p.m.

SATURDAY: at Clinton, 6:30 p.m.

SUNDAY: at Clinton, 2 p.m.

MONDAY: Idle

TUESDAY: vs. Fort Wayne, 6:30 p.m., $2 Busch Light Tuesday, Dew for Tuesday, Military Tuesday $1 tickets

WEDNESDAY: vs. Fort Wayne, 6:30 p.m., Opening May, postgame fireworks, Mega flat screen TV giveaway

Clinton

TODAY: vs. Quad-Cities, 6:30 p.m., Thirsty Thursday beverage discounts

FRIDAY: vs. Quad-Cities, 6:30 p.m., Clinton Community College Night

SATURDAY: vs. Quad-Cities, 6:30 p.m.

SUNDAY: vs. Quad-Cities, 2 p.m., DARE Day

MONDAY: Idle

TUESDAY: at West Michigan, 5:30 p.m.

WEDNESDAY: at West Michigan, 5:30 p.m.

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Blake Boldon has been on the job as the Drake Relays director for only about six months. Even so, the 37-year-old has put together quite a lineup for the 108th running of America's Athletic Classic.

In addition to bringing back fan favorites like Jenny Simpson and Shelby Houlihan, Boldon has invited nearly 75 past Olympians, 32 of those medalists, to compete this weekend at Drake Stadium.\u00a0

He's also made some enhancements to the high school lineup.

A second section of the 400 hurdles has been added, giving 16 individuals an opportunity to compete. Also, to make the 3,000 (girls) and 3,200 (boys) runners feel more involved in the event, those races have been pushed back a couple hours into Thursday night's Distance Carnival.\u00a0

And with the state meet less than a month out, this weekend provides a good gauge of which teams have a leg up going into the championship season.\u00a0

Here is a look at five stories to track this weekend:

Knights look to retain Hy-Vee Cup

Davenport Assumption's girls track and field team won last year's inaugural Hy-Vee Cup, given to the school which registers the most points in four scored events \u2014 400, 1,600, 3,200 and sprint medley relays.\u00a0

Assumption edged Waukee for the title last year, 28-27.

The Knights are in all four events this week. They are seeded first in the 3,200 relay, second in the 1,600 relay and third in the sprint medley. Assumption is outside the top 15 in the 400 relay.

Standout Joy Ripslinger is entered in the 800 and 1,500, meaning she could participate in two relays. The three options are a leg on the 1,600 and/or 3,200 relays or anchoring the sprint medley.

The Knights have an opportunity to become the first school to win four straight 3,200 relay titles in the girls division.

\"The Drake Relays always has meant a lot to our program,\" coach Tim O'Neill said. \"It is our chance to go against the best of the best.\"

Does girls 1,600 relay title stay in Q-C?

It has been seven years since a school outside the Quad-Cities won the girls 1,600 relay at the Drake Relays.

Assumption prevailed in 2011, '12 and '14. Pleasant Valley secured it in 2013, '15 and '16. The Spartans nipped the Knights by seven-hundredths of a second last year after anchor Addie Swanson ran a 55.6 split to chase down Ripslinger.

Both schools are strong contenders again this season. Assumption ran a season-best 3 minutes, 59.94 seconds at its own invitational earlier this month, but that was without sophomore Carly King.

PV posted a 4:01.08 at its home meet with the quartet of Carli and Ellie Spelhaug, Rachel Tebbe and Swanson.

Bettendorf and North Cedar also are among the state's top 10 in the event.

Southeast Polk and Waukee figure to be the biggest challengers to Assumption and PV. The Rams have run a state-best 3:57.98 this spring.

Golden era for boys throws

Mount Vernon's Tristan Wirfs became the first boy since former Hawkeye standout and current Washington Redskins lineman Brandon Scherff in 2010 to throw the shot put 60-plus feet at the Drake Relays last year.

There have been six boys already eclipse 60 feet this season, creating quite a buzz for Thursday afternoon's competition.

Kingsley-Pierson/Woodbury Central's Nick Phelps and Wirfs each have thrown 65-10 1/2. Western Dubuque's William Blaser has gone 64-6, followed by Iowa City Regina's Jared Brinkman (63-6), Cedar Rapids Kennedy's Jackson Coker (63-4) and Marshalltown's Maddux Richardson (60-4).\u00a0

All but Richardson have distances that rank among the top 20 throws in the country this outdoor season.\u00a0

The discus features nine individuals who have thrown at least 170 feet, including Bettendorf's Cole Webster (179-9) and PV's Cody Snyder (170-1). Also on that list are Iowa football recruits Coy Kirkpatrick of Madrid and Wirfs.

\"You have to go back to the '70s to match this depth,\" public address announcer and track expert Mike Jay tweeted earlier this month.\u00a0

Small-school jumping success

Calamus-Wheatland and Northeast have never won an event, boys or girls, at the Drake Relays.\u00a0

That could end for one school in the boys high jump Thursday.\u00a0

Cal-Wheat senior Cole Moeller, a two-time state champion in Class 1A, comes in tied for the second best leap of the spring at 6-9 -- just an inch behind Oskaloosa's J'Von Harris.

Moeller finished tied for second at Drake last year after clearing 6-5, but the Iowa recruit has consistently been over 6-8 this spring.

Meanwhile, Northeast has two boys in the mix with sophomore Braden Hoyer (6-8) and senior Axel Dondiego (6-7).\u00a0

Q-C alums take to blue oval

The Drake Relays stirs up past memories for former Iowa high school track and field athletes who return to Drake Stadium as collegians.

Among the former Quad-City standouts representing the three state public universities this week are Iowa State's Emma Whigham (PV) and Allanah McCorkle (Davenport Central). They will compete in the heptathlon and long jump, respectively.

Muscatine grad Larkin Chapman figures to run a leg on the Cyclones' 3,200 relay.\u00a0

Northern Iowa's Maddie Irmen (Assumption) is expected to run on the 400, 1,600 and sprint medley relays. Irmen was part of UNI's 1,600 relay that won last week's Musco Twilight Invitational in Iowa City in 3:44.95.

UNI's Jon Rus (North Scott) is entered in the 110 high hurdles and a member of its shuttle hurdle relay. Alleman alum Kyler Yodts, also at UNI, will throw the shot put. Durant's Anna Bentley is a participant in the javelin.\u00a0

Iowa's Kelli DeGeorge, a four-time state high jump champion at PV, is in the high jump field. Erika Hammond, a state champion at Clinton, will throw the shot put while Columbus Community's Heaven Chandler is in the 100 hurdles.

There could be others, but relay names are not released until closer to the race.

\u2014 Matt Coss

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Edwin Diaz singled home Miguel Mercedes with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday, letting Beloit finish off a three-game Midwest League sweep of Clinton with a 5-4 walk-off win at Pohlman Field.

After the LumberKings had scored twice in the top half of the inning to tie the game at 4-4, Mercedes led off with a single and advanced to third on a Trace Loehr single before scoring the game winner on a sharp grounder to left.

The run was the first for the Snappers since Clinton starter Nick Wells gave up three doubles and a home run to spot Beloit a 4-0 lead after one inning.

RBI singles by Yojhan Quevedo in the second and Anthony Jimenez in the fifth positioned the LumberKings to tie the game in the ninth, pulling within 4-3 on a Dimas Ojeda single before Nick Zammarelli scored the tying run on a wild pitch.

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Mike Bruner, a linebacker from Mequon, Wisconsin, indicated in an announcement on Twitter that he was re-opening his recruitment. \u201cI feel I committed too early and believe it is in my best interest to take more time to make my decision,\u2019\u2019 Bruner wrote. \u201cWith that said, I am reopening my recruitment.\u2019\u2019","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["iowa football","hawkeyes","mike bruner","jeff jenkins","dillon doyle","henry geil","american 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The first member of Iowa\u2019s 2018 football recruiting class became the first recruit to de-commit from that class.

Mike Bruner, a linebacker from Mequon, Wisconsin, indicated in an announcement on Twitter that he was re-opening his recruitment.

\u201cI feel I committed too early and believe it is in my best interest to take more time to make my decision,\u2019\u2019 Bruner wrote. \u201cWith that said, I am reopening my recruitment.\u2019\u2019

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound junior from Homestead High School initially committed to Iowa in October, one day after attending an Iowa-Wisconsin game at Kinnick Stadium. A two-time all-conference linebacker, he held offers from Iowa and Iowa State at the time he made his initial announcement.

Rated as a three-star linebacker by recruiting services, Bruner indicated in his statement that he reached his decision to back away from his commitment after discussing it with his family, calling it a \u201cvery tough decision\u2019\u2019 that took a lot of thought.

\u201cI would like to say thanks to the entire Hawkeye coaching staff for giving me the opportunity to a part of their program and wish them nothing but the best,\u2019\u2019 Bruner wrote.

His decision leaves Iowa with three verbal commitments in the 2018 recruiting class, offensive lineman Jeff Jenkins of Crystal Lake, Illinois, linebacker Dillon Doyle of Iowa City West and running back Henry Geil of Green Bay, Wisconsin.

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