Thursday August 11th Sports

CEDAR FALLS – NIACC’s two-time national champion Christian Minto will take his 29-match collegiate winning streak to the University of Northern Iowa.

Minto, who was a perfect 29-0 in his last two seasons at NIACC at 165 pounds and compiled a record of 51-1, recently signed a national letter of intent to wrestle for Doug Schwab’s NCAA Division I Panthers. Minto was 16-0 in the 2021-22 season and 13-0 in the 2020-21 season.

“We are excited to have him part of the family,” said Schwab, who will begin his 13th season as coach of the Panthers in the 202-23 season.

Northern Iowa placed 20th at last season’s NCAA Division I national meet with 28.5 points. It was the sixth top 20 season for the Panthers since Schwab took over as head coach.

UNI placed fifth at the Big 12 Championships with 100 points with seven medalists, who qualified for the national tournament.

Minto and NIACC’s Jose Valdez (197) are NIACC’s first NCAA Division I wrestlers since Yoanse Mejias signed with Oklahoma after the 2015 season.

Minto, who is from Cape Coral, Fla., claimed his two NJCAA national titles in the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

Minto became NIACC’s fourth two-time national champion and first since Yoanse Mejias (157) and Nosomy Pozo (149) both won back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015.Joe Hatchett also claimed two junior college national titles in 1970-71.

In 2021, Minto topped Iowa Central’s Keaton Geerts 13-6 in the 165-pound national title bout.

In 2022, Minto stopped Clackamas’ Steele Starren by major decision 14-5 in the 165-pound championship match.

Minto’s lone loss at NIACC came in the 2020 championship match when he dropped a 6-4 decision to Iowa Western’s Isaiah Crosby.

Minto’s brother Basil, who is head NIACC women’s wrestling and men’s assistant coach, wrestled for two seasons (2013-2015) at the University of Northern Iowa. Basil, who was a two-time all-American at NIACC, was sixth at the MAC Championships in his senior season for the Panthers and qualified for the NCAA tournament.


First minor league game gets things started tonight at Field of Dreams site

The Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds will play the second major league game at the Field of Dreams site near Dyersville on Thursday night, but tonight, it’s two Iowa teams.

It will be the first-ever Minor League Baseball game on the famed field between the Quad Cities River Bandits and the Cedar Rapids Kernels. Matt Mullenbach  one of the Kernels’ pitchers, tells KCRG-TV that even though he’s from Urbandale and grew up in Iowa, it’ll be his first time to visit the movie site.

Mullenbach says, “Throughout my baseball career, one of the first questions I get is, ‘Have you been to the Field of Dreams,’ so being able to play on it is going to be pretty cool.” Mullenbach was reassigned to the Kernels in early July, which is the closest he’s played to home in a while. Before this, he was in Brooklyn, New York, so it’ll be a big change to see the green cornfield — in the outfield.

“It’s probably going to feel a little surreal, just watching the movie a bunch of times,” he says, “so when I get there, it will probably feel like a little bit of a dream.” Dyersville has a significant spot in the Mullenbach family’s history, as that’s where his parents met and where his dad, Dan, proposed to his mom.

Dan Mullenbach says Dyersville is a special place. “I played baseball at Buena Vista University in the late ’80s, graduated, and had a buddy that was from he Dyersville area and took a job in Chicago,” Matt’s father says. “My future wife was teaching in Iowa, so Dyersville is where we’d meet because I’d come back from Chicago on the weekends to play baseball.”

After more than 30 years of marriage, Dan and Barb Mullenbach will visit the Field of Dreams for the first time to watch their son play baseball. Just for tonight, both teams have changed their names to honor throwbacks in their respective cities — so it’ll actually be the Davenport Blue Sox versus the Cedar Rapids Bunnies. The team that’s now the Kernels was the Bunnies in the 1900s into the 1930s. The story goes that someone mis-heard Cedar Rapids as “See the rabbits,” which eventually morphed into the Bunnies mascot.

Knoxville set to host sprint car racing’s biggest event

Sprint Car Racing’s biggest event begins Wednesday night with the first of two nights of qualifying at the Knoxville Nationals. Saturday night’s championship lineup will be determined by a point system that even includes time trials and heat races.

“And then we come around an run a feature for 200 points to win so a perfect score is 500 points”, said race director John McCoy. “The cream always rises to the top but it does give the middle sized teams a chance of doing well.”

More than 100 cars are entered. Saturday night’s feature winner will pocket 175 thousand dollars and the total purse will top one million dollars.

“That is why we get a hundred cars”, added McCoy. ” Everybody who comes out here to the middle of the country should have a chance to make a decent dollar.”

Half of the field will qualify on Wednesday night while the other half of the field will make a qualifying run on Thursday night. Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson is the defending champion.