Quarter Two Year in Review: Presented by Two Rivers Bank and Trust

Written by Nathan Bloechl on December 29, 2020

By: Nathan Bloechl — sports@kilj.com

April: Iowa Wesleyan Brings on Shawn Contos

After a national search, the Iowa Wesleyan Athletics Department has announced that former Iowa State and Penn State coach Shawn Contos has been given the title of head coach of the Tiger men’s wrestling program.

Contos brings with him over 20 years of experience as a wrestling coach, coaching alongside many notable wrestlers throughout his years.

Contos coached at Iowa State with Cael Sanderson and at Penn State with both Cody Sanderson and Casey Cunningham. While at PSU, Contos helped lead the team to four NCAA National Championship Titles.

With Iowa State, he helped lead the Cyclones to a BIG 12 Conference Championship. That season the Clones were third in the NCAA, as well as producing NCAA National Champion.

April: Spring Sports Shut Down:

In an unprecedented — albeit warranted — decision, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced in April that all Iowa schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2020 school year amidst COVID-19 concerns.

In prior press availabilities, Reynolds remained optimistic that Iowa schools could re-open in mid-May, but that tune changed significantly at the end of April when Reynolds confirmed that Iowa has yet to hit it’s “peak.”

Furthermore, Reynolds also confirmed that all spring sports competition has been cancelled.

Track and Field, soccer, and golf did not participate this year.

May: Former Mount Pleasant Standout Honored at Cornell:

Former Mount Pleasant High School standout Jordan Magnani was named the recipient of the Coaches’ Appreciation Award at Cornell College in May of this year.

Magnani started all 26 games for the Rams, averaging 14.0 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.

He was also the Team Newcomer of the Year in his freshman season, along with being named to the All-Academic Midwest Conference team.

Cornell finished the 2019-20 season with a record of 14-12.

May: Zander Named VP of Advancement and Athletics:

Derek Zander, who has served as the athletic director at Iowa Wesleyan University since 2017, will take on a new role as vice president for advancement and athletics in May, which took effect in June 2020.

In this capacity, Zander oversees athletics for the University while taking on the leadership of the advancement team.

While serving as the Athletics Director, Zander has made significant improvements to the Tiger Athletics Department over the last three years.

There have been enhancements made to the men’s and women’s soccer facilities, scoreboard and sound system upgrades to the Ruble Arena, aesthetic improvements to the Howe Student Athletic Center, and improvements to several technology pieces within the athletic department.

The 2019 Carol J. Nemitz Staff Member of the Year Award winner, Zander has shown strong dedication and commitment to enhancing the student-athlete experience, while assisting in executing the mission and vision of the university.

May: Play Ball! Reynolds Green Lights Baseball, Softball Return to Play Plan:

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced in May that summer athletic seasons would be conducted for high school baseball and softball following a two-month activities suspension due to COVID-19.

The announcement approved the reopening of school facilities and the start of practices for Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union and Iowa High School Athletic Association sanctioned summer sports which started on Monday, June 1.

First contests occurred as early as Monday, June 15 and fans were permitted at games.

The IGHSAU Board of Directors and IHSAA Board of Control met after the announcement and both groups voted to approve resuming the 2020 summer seasons under Iowa Department of Education guidelines.

June: Mount Pleasant’s Lowery Signs with Grand View:

Mount Pleasant senior third-baseman Clayton Lowery signed his National Letter of Intent in June taking his talents to Des Moines, signing to play baseball at Grandview University.

Lowery was a lynchpin in Mount Pleasant’s success last year, hitting .333 with a team-best 26 runs batted in.

Lowery also considered Cornell College, Mount Mercy and Central College.

Mount Pleasant finished the 2019 season with a record of 21-11 and were in the mix again in 2020.

June: We are Back:

It is June 15th.

For the first time in 98 days KILJ will have a live sports event on our airwaves.

That is all I have for you.

We enjoyed this small slice of relief together.

Mount Pleasant versus Fort Madison took on opening night. What a night it was.