Wednesday August 10th Sports

AM-1300 KGLO — Minnesota Twins vs. LA Dodgers — pre-game 8:30, first pitch 9:10

DeKALB, Ill. – NIACC’s Jose Valdez has signed a national letter of intent to wrestle next season at Northern Illinois University, a NCAA Division I school that competes in the Mid-American Conference.

Valdez, who is from Port Charlotte, Fla., claimed the 2022 NJCAA Division I national title at 197 pounds with a 6-4 sudden victory over Iowa Lakes’ Massoma Endene.

“We are excited to bring Jose on board,” Northern Illinois head coach Ryan Ludwig said. “He is a gritty competitor and his passion for the sport is what we look for in the recruiting process. We are ready to get to work with him.”

Valdez, who was the NJCAA national runner-up at 197 pounds in 2021, was a perfect 17-0 during the 2021-22 season. He compiled a career record at NIACC of 37-6 with six falls, four technical falls and seven major decisions.

Valdez is the first NIACC wrestler to sign with an NCAA Division I program since Yoanse Mejias signed with Oklahoma after the 2015 season.

Northern Illinois qualified three wrestlers for last season’s NCAA Division I national meet. Seniors Mason Kauffman (174) and Brit Wilson (184) and junior Izzak Olejnik (165) all earned national tournament berths by claiming Mid-American Conference titles.

Northern Illinois placed third at the 2022 Mid-American Conference meet.


Northern Iowa’s Farley touts new practice facility

Northern Iowa coach Mark Farley says the Panthers have consistency in practice as they get ready for the new football season. UNI is using a new outdoor facility that has an artificial surface and stadium lights. As a multi-purpose facility the UNI-Dome is often unavailable.

“We practiced at Cedar Valley SportsPlex the covid year and we had to practice at Waterloo West High School because of construction”, said Farley. “For the past two seasons we really have not practiced on a football field at our facility.”

The Panthers are also utilizing a new team meeting room.

“We are excited because we can practice and get prepared like we used to”, added Farley.

The Panthers are coming off a 6-6 season that included a first round loss in the FCS playoffs at Eastern Washington. UNI opens the season September third at Air Force.

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.