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Leading off: UNI's King qualifies for NCAA Track and Field Championships
LEADING OFF

Leading off: UNI's King qualifies for NCAA Track and Field Championships

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Track and field

  • Northern Iowa graduate student Darius King earned a berth in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Wednesday at the NCAA West Preliminary in College Station, Tex.

With a throw of 20.08 meters on his final toss in the men’s shot put, King vaulted himself into fourth place and an automatic qualifying spot for the finals next month.

UNI will have Anna Hoyman and Taylor Raines competing in the women’s hammer throw and 100 meters today, while Thomas Yezek and Cameron Jones will participate in the men’s discus on Friday.

  • Waterloo West seniors Carley Caughron and Laura Hepworth were named to the 2021 Iowa Track Coaches Association Academic All-State team.

To qualify for the prestigious award, the athlete must hold senior status and have a cumulative grade point average of 3.8 or higher.


Football

  • At just 34 years old, Katie Sowers has already enjoyed a groundbreaking career as the first openly gay coach in the NFL and the first woman to coach in a Super Bowl.

It’s only fitting that she return where she started (or at least nearby).

Sowers, a native of Hesston, Kan., announced Wednesday that she will join the Chiefs coaching staff as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship. She spent the past four years with the San Francisco 49ers before her contract expired after the conclusion of last season.

“Retired from coaching in the NFL? Nah. Kansas City... I’m home!” Sowers wrote on her Instagram page Wednesday afternoon. “Huge thanks to the Chiefs organization for believing in me and providing me another opportunity to grow my coaching experience while learning from the best in the game through the Bill Walsh Diversity fellowship. Let’s keep growing the game. See you this summer, Chiefs Kingdom.”

When she joined the 49ers staff, she became the league’s second full-time woman coach and its first who is openly gay.

  • NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says the league expects full stadiums this season and players and staff are being encouraged to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“One of the things we’ve obviously learned over the last year is not to make projections too far out,” Goodell said Wednesday following virtual meetings with team owners.

“Thirty-two teams are going to have to be in compliance with health officials on a local basis, do whatever is necessary to keep all personnel safe. But we do think it will be a much more normal experience. We do expect full stadiums. It is very possible that some non-vaccinated personnel may have masks on.

"But those are things that I think we’ll continue to follow closely, make sure that we’re doing in accordance with all laws and regulations and make sure that we provide our fans the best possible experience.”

So far, 30 of 32 teams have approval to safely open at 100% capacity before the preseason schedule begins. The Colts and Broncos do not but are on a path to get approval before August.

Goodell said 30 of 32 teams also have above 90 percent vaccination among Tier 1 and 2 staff and the other two clubs are over 85 percent. He said positivity rate for COVID-19 is currently at 0.04 percent, down from .08 percent during the regular season. The league updated its COVID-19 protocols and removed many restrictions for fully vaccinated players.

Baseball

  • The Angels announced Wednesday they are “ending Mickey Callaway’s employment” with the club effective immediately after the pitching coach was placed on the ineligible list by Major League Baseball following an investigation into sexual harassment claims against him.

The league said Callaway, who had been suspended since February, will remain on the ineligible list through at least the end of the 2022 season.

In a statement, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said: “My office has completed its investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by Mickey Callaway. Having reviewed all of the available evidence, I have concluded that Mr. Callaway violated MLB’s policies, and that placement on the Ineligible List is warranted.”

The long-expected departure came almost four months after Callaway was first accused in a report by the Athletic of making inappropriate advances toward at least five women in the sports media industry over the course of about five years, when he worked for the Angels, New York Mets and Cleveland.

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King, the Panthers’ all-time leader in the shot put, fired best throw of 19.69 meters (64 feet, 7 ¼) inches to finish seventh overall in his third NCAA championship event.

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