SIOUX CITY, IOWA (KCAU) – Despite a frigid spring, 2022 began to thaw out in track and field.
Nebraska heralded over eight total State champions while Dakota Valley’s Sophia Atchinson grabbed gold in pole vault as our lone Siouxland champion in the Rushmore State. But the Blue Oval is where things heated up for Iowa contenders. The Kingsley-Pierson/Woodbury Central quartet brought home its third straight medley win, Sioux City North’s Gabe Nash and Yemane Kifle followed it with a pair of first place finishes, and the Spirit Lake tandem of Jack Latham and Qai Hussey traded state titles and personal bests. Leading the Indians to a 2A team title by a 27 point margin.
“I didn’t know if I would have the energy but my coaches trained me for this moment and to have the endurance that I had,” Spirit Lake senior Jack Latham said.
“I’ve lost a few times to Jack he’s beaten me like two times, I’ve beaten him this is my second time but it was a great accomplishment and a huge personal record for me,” Spirit Lake senior Qai Hussey said.
And there’s no leaving out Sioux City West’s Holly Duax. The current Hawkeye won three state titles in the weekend to defend her 4A 100-meter dash crown, showing the Drake crowd she can do it all.
“Last year I ended with two, so to add on that third one and not only get that but get the number two all-time and then break 24, it just feels great,” Sioux City West senior Holly Duax said.
On the pitch, the Bishop Heelan girls punched their State ticket while both the Spencer boys and girls advanced to Des Moines. But it was the Western Christian boys who were nearly the last standing in 2A, finishing as State runners up in back-to-back years.
In arena football, the Sioux City Bandits had quite the turnaround year. Taking a 5-5 finish in 2021 to a 10-2 mark last spring for the one seed into the CIF playoffs, before falling in the conference semifinals to Omaha. But the future looks bright for the Bandits, ushering in a new chapter with Sioux City mayor Bob Scott appointed the new commissioner of the league, while Don Belson took over as franchise owner.
“I think the coolest thing is that Don has been involved almost as long as me,” Bandits head coach Erv Strohbeen said. “His family has been involved with this, his daughter, and since his grandson was born. They started out as game day operations and now to see him grow to an ownership role, it’s pretty cool to see.”
Turning calendars to the Summer. Iowa saw Remsen St. Mary’s, Newell-Fonda, and Sioux Center State bound for softball, all three ending their seasons in the quarterfinals in Fort Dodge. State baseball sent four with Remsen St. Mary’s running the table up to a thrilling 1A State title game resulting in a runner up finish, while Estherville-Lincoln Central appeared in its first ever 3A State Championship before falling to 3-time defending champ Van Meter.
The GPAC baseball season saw a lot of competitiveness for Siouxland. But none as thrilling as when Briar Cliff baseball emerged out of the corn for the first ever collegiate baseball game on the Field of Dream Movie Site diamond. A moving introduction to preface the Chargers sending balls into the stalks in a 15-1 rout over Luther.
Rounding out the Summer in pro ball were the Sioux City Explorers, who fell one game short of the playoffs despite a red hot June surge. But perhaps its brightest spot of the season came from the dugout, with manager Steve Montgomery smashing a 15-year record for career win No. 427 to become the all-time winningest coach in franchise history.
“The players do all the hard work, they serve the community, and I couldn’t be more proud of all the hard work these players have done over the last nine years to serve this community and win a few ball games,” Sioux City Explorers manager Steve Montgomery said.