Written by John Kuhens on April 7, 2015

The Duke Blue Devils are the national champions in men’s NCAA basketball, they came from 9 points down in the 2nd half to defeated Wisconsin 68-63. This is the 5th national championship for Mike Krzyzewski and the 2nd time this season that Duke beat the Badgers, they won an earlier meeting in Madison 80-70. Tonight the women’s NCAA division I championship will be decided in Tampa, Florida when UConn and Notre Dame clash.

Burlington High School has hired a new head football coach. Zach Shay will head the Burlington High School football program after spending a number of years at the college level. The 39 year old defensive guru is coming to Burlington from Augustana Illinois College. After playing in the defensive secondary for Hayden Fry at Iowa he coached at the college level at Western Illinois, Central Michigan, Georgia and Northern Colorado. In 2007 he led Galesburg High School to the playoffs and in 2002 he coached Marion, Indiana into the post season. Shay will take over for former coach John Flaherty who led the program for 9 seasons. Shay will also serve as Activities Director at BHS.

On our local sports schedule for today: The MPHS boy’s tennis team hosts Centerville at 4:30 at the East Lake courts. The Mt. Pleasant Middle School Relays will be run at Maple Leaf track at 4:30. Panther boys varsity track team runs at the Mediapolis Relays at 4:30. The JV boys track team runs in Ft. Madison. MPHS girls and boys soccer plays in Centerville, 5 p.m. for the girls and 6:30 for the boys. Thursday the MPHS girls golf team plays in the Keokuk Invitational at 10:30 a.m. MPHS boys golf at Washington 4 p.m. The Mt. Pleasant varsity girls and boys track teams run at Centerville, field events at 4 p.m. running events at 4:30 p.m. MPHS girls soccer hosts Ottumwa at East Lake Park varsity at 4:30 followed by the JV. M.P. will host Fairfield in tennis at East Lake 4:30. M.P. boy’s tennis at Fairfield 4:30. Friday the Mt. Pleasant Middle School boys track meet will be held at Maple Leaf Track at 4:30 p.m. Saturday the MPHS JV boys soccer team plays in a tournament in Ft. Madison at 8 a.m. The MPHS varsity tennis team is in a tournament at Ft. Madison at 9 a.m.  

This week is Division III Week for the NCAA. DIII week is a chance for colleges and universities to promote the Division III athletics and student-athletes on their campuses and around their communities. Tomorrow April 8th, the Tiger baseball team will host Cornell College for a home game starting at 5:30 pm. The athletic department will be hosting a cookout to honor the student-athletes at the baseball game, and they will also be honoring the accomplishments of the student-athletes during the game. Iowa Wesleyan will also be hosting the Southeast Iowa Special Olympic Spring Game! s on April 11th. Special Olympics is the official community service partner for the NCAA Division III. This is the first year Iowa Wesleyan has hosted an event with Southeast Iowa Special Olympics.                                        

The green flag flew for the 50th year of 34 Raceway Saturday night with the Sprint Invaders and IMCA Modified Frost Buster. Jerrod Hull, Sikeston, Missouri picked up the win in the Sprint Invader series’ first race of the year. Scott Hogan, Vinton, took the win in the IMCA Modifieds. Mike Morrill, Pleasant Hill, won the Mod Lite feature and Austen Becerra, Carthage, Il., got the win in the 4 cylinder feature.

Coming up this week is a big event with the inaugural National Sprint League event bringing the 410 sprints to 34 Raceway. Big names like Steve Kinser, Sammy Swindell, Danny Lasoski and many more will be taking on the 3/8 mile. Also, competing will be the IMCA Sport Mods, IMRA Midgets and 4 Cylinders. For more information go to


Iowa Wesleyan College is hosting the Southeast Area Special Olympics Spring Games on Saturday April 11th on the Maple Leaf Complex Track. Nicole Briell is helping to organize the event that moves to Mt. Pleasant after being held at William Penn College in Oskaloosa for a number of years. Wesleyan is converting from being a NAIA school to NCAA Division III. The NCAA is a major supporter of Special Olympics nationally and IWC wanted to get involved locally. They contacted Special Olympics about how they could help and found out the area games was looking for a new home after William Penn decided to not host the event any longer. B.J. Wagy of IWC also helping organize the event invites local people to attend the event that will open with a ceremony at 10 a.m. and run until about 4 p.m. with not only the athletic events but also a number of activities for the athletes and their families to enjoy. If you would like to volunteer to help at the April 11th event contact Nicole Briell at 385-6383 or


The Rec Center of Mt. Pleasant is getting ready to celebrate their 20th anniversary. The observance will take place thru April the 9th with many special events for members and general public. Tonight there is a dodgeball tournament, tomorrow Zumba fitness at 6 p.m. Thursday April 9th youth fitness bootcamps will be held with former Iowa Hawkeye and NFL football standout Tim Dwight. K thru 5 class 3:45 to 4:15 and the 6th thru 12th grade 4:30-5 p.m. Stop in at the Rec Center or go to for more details about these events. Thursday night April 9th is Dwight Night from 5:30-9 p.m. at the Mt. Pleasant Golf and Country Club. This will be the Rec Center’s Annual Support Campaign event. Admission is $10 per person or $20 for a family. Stop out and meet Tim Dwight who had a very successful football career at all levels and now has the Tim Dwight Foundation that provides youth summer football camps with proceeds aiding the Children’s Hospital of Iowa and a scholarship fund. There will be refreshments a live auction and lots more fun during the Dwight Night.

   As part of its officials recruiting and education program, the Iowa High School Athletic Association will be hosting FREE baseball umpire clinics around the state in April. The clinic for S.E Iowa will be held at

Iowa City, West High School Wednesday, April 29, 2015 .

Equipment needed for the clinics is: an umpire mask and umpire cap. Other items for new officials as well as veterans will be available for purchase at each site. The Clinic will cover positioning for calling balls and strikes, base coverage, new rules and overall baseball umpiring mechanics.

Anyone interested in getting involved in umpiring at any level is welcome free of charge. Those desiring to umpire at the high school level, must register with the Iowa High School Athletic Association. Information can be obtained at click on officials at the top of the page, click on online registration, fill out the paper work and use a debit or credit card to pay your dues. You will receive a password for your account.

From April 27-May 5 umpires will be able to take the online open book exam, which must be passed and view the online rules meeting. Those having questions can call Roger Barr, Director of Officials at 515-432-2011.