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|12/29/2012 ||Email this article Print this article |
The end is here, but only for a strong 2012 sports season
|Members of the Central football team carry the 3A state quarterfinalist trophy given to them after the Sabers’ 21-14 loss to Decorah. The game proved to be the closest of the season for the Vikings, who went on to win a state title.|
|In just their second trip to state, the Northeast girls cross country team was able to bring home some hardware as the Rebels finished second in class 2A, and they did it with just one senior on their roster. Photos by Ross Eberhart|
By Ross Eberhart
Well... we're still here.
Despite what some believed, the world did not come to an end on December 21 - the so-called "Mayan Apocalypse" was a dud.
And thank goodness for that.
Because if any year deserved to stretch out to its full length, it was 2012.
The year featured trips to state in six different sports, five conference champions and countless memories from start to finish.
So before flipping the calendar over to 2013, let's take a look back at the year that was.
January - The first month of the year was dominated by the three winter sports - basketball, wrestling and bowling.
On the hard wood, the team of the month was the Northeast boys basketball squad, which won seven games, including a 48-46 triumph over Preston that saw the Rebels come back from 15 down in the second half.
The Rebel girls won six games during January, including big conference victories against Marquette (Northeast held the Mohawks to just seven points in the first half), Preston and Camanche.
The Central boys basketball team won three-straight games in the month, including one against the Rebels, while the Saber girls provided a preview of things to come by knocking off Solon and then followed it up by holding off rival Maquoketa 44-41.
The Cal-Wheat boys basketball team won four games during the month with two of the victories - against Camanche and Durant - coming in a two-day span. The Warrior girls, meanwhile, played their closest game of the year with a 39-37 loss to Lisbon.
The big thing that the Northeast wrestling team did in January was win and by the end of the month, the Rebels had the last of a program-best 19 dual wins.
The Central wrestling team found its own success during the opening month of the year as the Sabers knocked off a pair of 3A teams at the North Scott Duals and then later hosted the WaMaC Super Meet (they finished seventh with Creighton Fox earning a runner-up finish at 285 pounds).
The big news on the bowling lanes was the record-breaking performance of the Central girls bowling team, which produced an all-time best score of 2,474 in a victory over Western Dubuque.
February - The second month of the year meant the end of the winter sports season as the postseason began for all 10 area teams.
February began with a strong performance from the Rebel and Saber wrestling teams at the 2A sectional meet hosted by Central. The two teams combined to send 12 wrestlers to the district meet (there were three champs - Tyler Schoon, Cameron Donovan and Fox), and the Rebels finished second as a team to advance to its first-ever regional dual meet (Northeast ended up falling to Mediapolis).
The ranks thinned considerably at the district meet, but the area was still represented at the state meet by a trio of grapplers (Schoon and Connor Soenksen for Northeast, Fox for Central).
All three wrestlers dropped their opening match, but stayed alive on day one with victories. Both Rebel wrestlers ended up falling short on day two, but Fox ensured a spot on the medal stand and then finished off his senior season with a fall in his final match to finish fifth.
The area basketball teams also produced some highlights.
The Northeast boys team won a share of the Big East title in dramatic fashion with a comeback victory over Midland, while the Central boys won their own nail-biter on a last second shot by Joe Carber.
The Cal-Wheat girls, meanwhile, won their first game of the season in convincing fashion, jumping out to a 40-3 lead in an eventual 54-19 rout of Rivermont Collegiate.
The Warriors were one of three teams to win their postseason opener (the Central girls beat Solon again, while the Cal-Wheat boys topped Midland). All three teams, though, fell in the next round.
The winter season finished up with one final trip to Des Moines as junior Allen Mumm became the first Saber boys bowler to compete in the state meet. The Saber, who earned an at-large spot, ended up taking 37th overall at the 1A state meet.
March - Situated right between the end of the winter season and the beginning of the spring season, March was quiet on the area sports scene, but picked up at the end.
The Central boys and girls track teams opened their outdoor seasons with strong team finishes against larger competition (the Saber girls were second at Clinton, the Saber boys fourth at Pleasant Valley).
The Saber boys soccer team, meanwhile, opened its season with a familiar finish as Central won its third-straight Clinton Invitational title by steamrolling Northeast and the host River Kings.
April - The Clinton Invite title was just the beginning of a great start for the Saber soccer team, which opened the season 5-1-1 and appeared in the state soccer rankings.
The boys soccer team was not the only Saber squad to start well. The Central boys golf team knocked off 25-straight opponents to start its year with tournament titles at Tipton and the Saber Invite (Central senior Dylan Petersen was the medalist in the latter event).
The Central girls golf team won their own title at Tipton with Allie Anderson earning medalist honors. Another Saber golfer, Ellen Reynolds, added a second-place finish at the Saber Invitational.
The Cal-Wheat girls golf team won twice during April, while the Warrior boys shot a season-low score to knock off Midland.
The month featured some history as well with the Northeast girls soccer team picking up their first-ever victory in a shootout over Monticello (the Rebels would beat the Panthers again during the month and also pick up a win over Dyersville Beckman).
On the track scene, April was home to plenty of success - the Northeast girls track team won the Indians Relays to start the month and then later took home their fifth-straight Rebel Relays title.
The Rebel girls were also represented at the Drake Relays, as were the Central boys, who received a seventh by Carber in the shot put.
The month ended with Northeast senior Brooke Puckett tying for the low score at the Big East girls golf meet. Puckett ended up dropping the tiebreaker, but had another top-five finish at the meet (her fourth).
May - The spring season came to a close in May, while the summer season got off and running.
The Central boys soccer team got the month started with a bang as the Sabers put together their best game of the season in a 2-2 tie with a Dubuque Wahlert team that was ranked number one and ended up winning a state title.
The Central girls soccer team beat rival Maquoketa twice during the month with the second victory coming in the postseason.
The Saber boys track team finished second at the WaMaC meet and then had an even closer runner-up finish at the district track meet.
The Rebel girls track team, meanwhile, won another Big East title and also finished second at its regional track meet.
All six track teams were represented at the state track meet for just the second time in five years and 17 different athletes earned a state medal at the three-day event.
It was one of two trips the Observer-area made to Des Moines during the month as the Central girls golf team made its first trip to state in more than a decade.
The Sabers finished second at the district meet and then finished in the same spot at the regional meet to earn a spot at state where they finished eighth.
The area got off to a quick start in the summer season as well.
In just her second game of the season, Northeast softball pitcher Maddison Daniels tossed a no-hitter against Monticello.
The Central softball team, meanwhile, swept the same team - Mount Vernon - that knocked them out of the postseason the year before.
The final big news of the month came with the announcement of the disbanding of the Big East conference. Northeast would join a new unnamed conference, while Cal-Wheat would join the Tri-Rivers.
June - Most of the summer season took place in the month of the June and it was dominated by the Northeast softball team who won its first Big East softball title in 10 years with a victory over Lisbon, while also winning a pair of tournaments.
The Northeast baseball team had its own chance at a conference crown, but came up a game short against Lisbon. The Rebels, though, were again one of the hardest hitting teams in the area and at one point scored 67 runs in the span of four games.
The Central boys had their own power surge during a championship run at the Denver Invitational as the Sabers piled up 32 run in two games. The Sabers also picked up a nice win against a talented West Delaware team and knocked off Solon for the first time since the Spartans joined the WaMaC East.
The Central girls showed a penchant for winning close games (they were 7-2 in games decided by a run or less) during the month and picked up huge wins over Durant (ranked second in class 2A) and West Delaware.
The Cal-Wheat boys team earned their own big win with a victory over then-fourth-ranked Preston, while the Warrior girls won two out of three games at their own tourney and also beat the Trojans.
June is also time for the annual Paul Skeffington Memorial Race and this year's race featured a pair of historical aspects.
For one, it was the 25th running of the event, and, for the first time in its long history, the race was ran in a cooling rain.
July - The summer season came to a close in July with the area's teams finding different levels of success.
Only two local teams - the Northeast softball team and the Cal-Wheat baseball team - won postseason games (the Rebels won theirs on another no-hitter from Daniels).
The Warrior girls ended up falling to eventual state qualifier Marquette in a back-and-forth game that was not decided until the seventh inning.
Both Saber teams fell to Maquoketa, while the Northeast baseball team was upset by Bellevue.
August - With some time until the new year began, the first part of August was quiet on the local sports scene with a few exceptions.
Early in the month, another growing area institution - the First Central State Bank Crossroads Triathlon - celebrated its 10th-running, while crowning the same champions as the year before (Jeff Paul on the men's side, Amy Hanrahan on the women's).
Two weeks later, the Saber Dash kicked off the fall sports season for Central with its fourth running.
The Northeast football team became the first squad to win in the fall season when they knocked off North Cedar in the season opener.
Twenty-four hours later, the Central volleyball team took second in its home tourney.
September - A magical run for the Central football team started in September as the Sabers bounced back from a 0-2 start to take down rival Maquoketa and then add two more victories.
The Rebel cross country teams also had a big month as the Northeast boys and girls swept team titles at Midland, Cal-Wheat and their own meet.
The Cal-Wheat girls cross country team, meanwhile, finished third at Bellevue, while putting a pair of runners (Megan Slattery and Kailey Potter) in the top-10.
The Central volleyball team advanced to the semifinals of the River Queen Invitational and also earned a five-game victory over Western Dubuque.
The Rebel volleyball team picked up its own five-game win in a comeback triumph over Midland and so too did Cal-Wheat, which went to five games with Prince of Peace for the third-straight year.
October - The fall season wound down during October, but a few area teams were able to extend their campaigns to the brink.
One was the Northeast girls cross country team which finished off a big month by finishing second as a team in class 2A at the state cross country meet. It was the fourth top-two finish of the month for the Rebels, who won a title at Marquette and then repeated as Big East and regional champions.
Joining the Rebel girls at state was Northeast junior Eli Kaczinski, who made his third-straight appearance at the meet.
Also competing right until the end of October was the Central football team. The Sabers ended the regular season with four-straight victories (over Clear Creek-Amana, Western Dubuque, Anamosa and Marion), with the last victory giving them a share of the district title.
The Sabers opened the playoff with a revenge victory against West Delaware on a last second field goal and then added a big victory against Marion again to advance to the state quarterfinals.
Central hosted the WaMaC cross country meet and the Saber girls took advantage of their familiar surroundings by taking fifth (their best finish since 2007).
The Northeast volleyball team also picked up a fifth at their conference meet, while also earning a postseason win for the second-straight year (after going the previous 10 years without one).
The fall success extended all the way to the youth scene as three DeWitt football teams finished first, second and third in a youth football league sponsored by the Clinton Parks Department.
November - For the first time in a long time, the fall season spilled into November thanks to the Central football team.
The Sabers had their dream run in the postseason come to an end, but even in defeat they impressed as Central gave eventual state champion Decorah, their closest game of the season.
The winter season kicked off soon after with some of the area's basketball teams seeing action before Thanksgiving.
Another DeWitt fixture also took place before Thanksgiving as the Run for the Red hosted by the Gateway Area Chapter of the American Red Cross celebrated its fifth year.
December -The final month of the year has proven to be a highlight for the Central boys bowling team.
The Sabers won a pair of tournament titles in December (one at Muscatine, one at Cedar Rapids Prairie) and have dominated their time on the lanes.
The Central girls bowling team has also performed well, taking the title at Muscatine, while finishing fifth at Cedar Rapids Prairie.
Northeast leads the way on the hardwood as the Rebel boys and girls are a combined 13-3 heading into 2013.
The Central boys basketball team, meanwhile, had the biggest victory of the month as they knocked off then number-two Solon by 11 points.
On the wrestling mats, Northeast has picked up right where they left from off last season with eight dual victories, while Central's group of grapplers earned a third-straight runner-up finish at their home meet.
All in all, it was a year to remember on the Observer sports scene, and here is hoping for a 2013 that is equally unforgettable.