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I’ve been a sports writer long enough to know how incredibly difficult it is to become a Division-I athlete.

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The tradition of the Anamosa Chinook started in 1996 when Staff Sergeant/Anamosa High School graduate Shad Myers contacted AHS Principal Kirk Ketelsen.

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I talked to quite a few administrators, parents, coaches and even kids before the start of the fall sports season this past August, and just about all of them were skeptical that football and volleyball would be able to complete their 2020 campaigns.

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        After seeing the initial Anamosa football schedule, released by the Iowa High School Athletic Association a few weeks ago, athletic director Bret Jones said he would try and get the Raiders at least one more home game.

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Making my first trip to Tipton (well, to cover the Eastern Iowa men’s golf tournament anyway) Sunday, Aug. 9, my thoughts immediately flashed back to 2013 when the Wapsi Country Club turned in an emotional performance and claimed the championship in what proved to be the final appearance of …

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 I know I’ve been at this sports writing thing for quite a few years now, 25 to be exact, but watching the Anamosa softball teams over the past couple of summers has sure brought back a lot of memories for me of the amazing 1995-96 Raider teams who made back-to-back state tournament appearances.

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At Marshal Yanda’s retirement ceremony, it was announced that he will be introduced into the Baltimore Colts/Ravens Ring of Honor.

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As a sports editor in this time of no sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s no question the last couple of months have surely been the strangest in my 25 years of being involved in this profession.

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There weren’t too many baseball and softball coaches in the AJ-E area who realistically felt there would actually be a high school summer sports season in 2020, but after Governor Kim Reynolds proclaimed Wednesday, May 20, that there would indeed will be baseball and softball games, things b…

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       It was my first season covering football at the Anamosa Journal-Eureka in the fall of 1996, and I don’t mind telling you, I was a little nervous.

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Taking a page from what pretty much all of the major sports television networks have done during this pandemic era, I’ve decided to relive some Anamosa, Olin, Midland and Springville sports history by bringing back some of our area schools’ classic sports moments from the last quarter century.

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Let me start by proclaiming I am a huge Illinois Fighting Illini fan, and have been almost all of my life after spending a good part of my youth (2nd through 6th grades) living right on campus in the married student housing complex a mere couple of blocks from the university’s football and basketball arenas (I used to listen to Illini football games in the fall sitting at the top of the big hill right across the street from our apartment) in Champaign-Urbana.

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The Anamosa community is once again in heartbreak after hearing the news that Raider standout Maggie McQuillen was involved in a serious car accident Thursday, March 19, that has left the senior four-sport star fighting for her life at the University of Iowa Hospital.

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When I started as sports editor here at the Journal-Eureka way back in 1995, Jerry Carstens had been coaching girls basketball at Midland for exactly 30 years.

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It was three years ago when Kolin Schulte graduated from Anamosa High School as one of the most decorated athletes in Raider history.

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If you missed KCRG-TV 9’s Athlete of the Week segment last week, take a peek at it on-line. It will absolutely bring tears of joy to your eyes.

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 It’s funny what can trigger memories when watching sporting events, and the emotions they can evoke when heartbreak happens.

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When Anamosa Athletic Director Bret Jones was considering leaving the WaMaC several years ago, one of the main reasons was for the health and well- being of the Raider volleyball program.

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 It’s something I like to honor when it happens at Anamosa High School each and every year.

      But I will admit, I haven’t been able to write this column as much as I would have liked over much of the last decade.

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 I strolled up to Springville baseball coach Tony Dlouhy at picture day late last May and immediately made the comment that he had lost quite a bit of weight.

      “What’s your secret?” I asked. “I wouldn’t mind shedding a few extra pounds myself.”

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 Music.

      It’s one of the few things in life that has seemed to be able to bridge the generations.

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I mentioned last week in this space that the Anamosa girls golf team was looking to make school history hoping to become the first Raider girls’ team ever to make it to the state golf tournament.

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Despite the fact that the Anamosa girls golf team should still be riding an amazing undefeated streak and a WaMaC Conference championship to this point of the season, the prize the Raiders really want is still right in front of them.

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SPRINGVILLE — It’s a script worthy of Hollywood’s attention and someday should be played out on the big screen for the entire world to see.

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      Winning a WaMaC Conference championship.

      It wasn’t something the Anamosa girls basketball team really talked much about at all before and even during the early portion of this season.

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I love any excuse to dive deep into the Journal-Eureka archives, and after the Anamosa girls’ performance hosting Maquoketa Tuesday, Dec. 5, I had good reason to go digging through plenty of old records.

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I have to admit, when the Tripoli football team scored their second touchdown in a 26-second span at the end of the first half, a little doubt started creeping into my head Friday, Nov. 3.

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During a middle school career that saw both set school records that still stand today, Emma and Claire Duncan ran side by side by about every meet at the seventh and eighth grade levels.

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As gifted as former Anamosa High School first-team All-State wide receiver Josh Schulte was during his playing days with the Raiders, a collegiate football career almost didn’t happen.

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Well, I guess that’s what I get for taking a vacation where there is very little cell phone service and no internet access.

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When former Anamosa coaches Betsy Neverman and Mary Nosbisch got the youth club volleyball program going here in town more than five years ago, they knew it would take some time to see the fruits of their labor at the varsity level.

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I was completely unaware that when former Cedar Rapids Regis and University of Northern Iowa quarterback Kurt Warner earned his berth into the NFL’s Hall of Fame a couple of weeks ago, that he was the first Iowa-born player to be so enshrined.

Wow. Just.....wow.

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It became official last week.

Anamosa High School will no longer be a member of the WaMaC after spending more than a decade with the conference.

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People come and people go in the life, but there are a precious few who stand the test of time and always seem to be there right when you need them the most.

People you’ll always remember.

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      Let us start of this editorial with a simple statement: Building a dog park in Anamosa is a good idea.

      Actually we don’t think many people disagree with this statement. The issues are where it will be built, what it will cost and where the money will come from for construction.

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      If you have not been to an Anamosa City Council meeting recently, you should go.

      The Council Chambers are packed. Often extra chairs are needed to accommodate overflow crowds.

      And the current City Council has opened the meetings to more participation by residents.

      On many of the issues that are discussed, residents will get up and tell the council what they think and their opinion on action that the council should take.

      The best example is the discussion this week on building a dog park in Anamosa. Resident Randy Day introduced the idea earlier this year, and he has been getting up at every meeting to talk about his concept and new information he has researched to make the idea become a reality.