COLUMN: Annual awards need a name

Avery Martensen won a state championship in the 110-meter high hurdles for Monticello in May. (Express file photo)

Monticello’s Matt Manternach competes for the University of Iowa this past spring. (Photo courtesy of Darren Miller/
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     For the third straight year, I am writing about the big sports achievements and occurrences covered by the Monticello Express in the past year.

     I do this in the form of “awards.” And they need a name.

     For example, ESPN calls its annual awards the “Espys.” So for the Express, maybe the “Ex’s?” Nah, sounds too much like someone from a past relationship. The “Pressies?” Better, but sounds too much like Elvis’ last name.

     I’ll work on it for next year. Your suggestions are welcome.

     We don’t have actual trophies to present for any of these either; I hope getting mentioned in the paper one more time, as 2019 comes to an end, is good enough.

     Here goes:


     Personal Achievement Award – There were a bunch of these. In chronological order:

     Wrestler Chase Luensman achieved his 150th career win and went on to place third at the state tournament at 145 pounds, Lake Stahlberg achieved his 100th career wrestling win and went on to reach the state quarterfinals, and Kain Luensman also reached the state quarterfinals.

     Katie Sauser was grand champion in forms at the Tri-State Tae Kwon Do Championships.

     Matt Manternach, running for the University of Iowa, achieved a ranking as high as second nationally in the 800-meter run.

     Avery Martensen won the state championship in the 110-meter high hurdles at the high school state meet. For the Panther girls, Gabrielle Guilford finished fourth at State in the high jump.

     Dru Kramer qualified for the State Girls Golf Meet.

     Jaelynn Kraus pitched a no-hitter for the Panther softball team last spring at Bellevue.

     Former Panther kicker Peyton Paddock earned the starting kickoff job for Iowa State University.

     Jordan Kuper recorded her 1,000th career kill for the Monticello volleyball team, against Northeast of Goose Lake.

     Caleb Gillmore rolled a 300 game as part of Monticello’s sweep of a home triangular bowling meet Dec. 10 at Legacy Lanes.

     Welcome Back Award – The Panther football team went 6-3 and earned a postseason berth for the first time since 2014, and the first time in a 16-team field since 1991.

     This Just In Award – Pickleball has become a thing in Monticello. The hybrid of tennis and ping pong, played on a smaller court with plastic balls and wooden paddles, was an immediate hit, if you’ll pardon the pun. Indoor play at the Berndes Center began Jan. 8, and two outdoor courts near the Jaycee and Kleinow baseball diamonds should be ready for use this spring.

     Comeback Award – The Panther Prowl 5K race returned, under the direction of Andrea Hall, and was run in August. It was the first Panther Prowl since 2014, raising funds to be donated to community organizations and projects.

     Off-Campus Titles Award – Jones County Special Olympics won the gold medal in basketball at the Mid-Winter Games, as did the Jones County cheerleaders; and eight Monticello swimmers were members of the Metro Area Cedar Rapids MACR Sharks team that won the YMCA state championship.

     The Power of Three Award – Both the Monticello boys and girls cross country teams finished third at the state meet. For the boys, it marked a 23rd consecutive state meet appearance.

     The Power of Two Award – A second day of auto racing was added to the Great Jones County Fair sports lineup, replacing the traditional Sunday demolition derby.

     Stormy Weather Award – Postponements and cancellations were a big part of the winter sports scene in January and February. The Panther boys basketball team lost five games off its schedule simply because it ran out of possible makeup dates, and had to hold its Senior Night after a district tournament game. In one four-day span in January, there were three school cancellations and one early-out, wiping out seven Monticello varsity events.

     Coaches’ Corner Award – For the second time in four years, Monticello boys track coach Greg Williams received a nomination for the National Coach of the Year Award.

     Fantastic Finishes Award – It has long since been torn up due to construction on the new middle school, but the Panther varsity softball field went out in a blaze of glory. Monticello rallied to win a regional playoff game over Center Point-Urbana, 10-9 in nine innings, in the field’s final game.

     Maquoketa Valley Award – The Wildcat girls basketball team came within one game of a state tournament berth, reaching the regional finals before falling to Cascade, and finishing 20-3. Also, the MV boys cross country team reached the state meet for the second year in a row.

     Midland Award – Track and wrestling were big sports for the Eagles in 2019. In track, Luke Lasack finished third at State in the shot put, and the girls’ 4x400 relay team of Emma Dusanek, Ella Rupp, Ari Hacke and Drew Jensen set a school record while finishing ninth at State. In wrestling, freshman Damon Huston finished third at State at 106 pounds, and senior Brett Schoenherr was fourth at 220.



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