Because I know there are a few history buffs out there, I like to thumb through the pages of the state programs to see what is in there about our N’West Iowa schools.

Did you know, the 17 N’West Iowa schools have a combined 53 appearances in the summer state baseball tournament? Spalding Catholic has the most with 12 and is 20-8 all-time in the tournament. It’s even more than that if you consider the diocese made it a part of the Gehlen Catholic system. The Jays have made it six times and are 9-4 in state tournament play.

The Spartans won five state championships. Spalding Catholic also won a state tournament title in the fall tournament of 1971.

Next on the list of summer state baseball appearances among N’West Iowa schools is West Lyon. The Wildcats have made seven trips to state and are 4-7 all-time in state baseball play.

The 2000 Spalding Catholic team scored a record 44 runs in its three tournament games that season, including 19 in one game which was a record until Clear Lake scored 20 in a 2015 contest.

Jamie Pick of Gehlen Catholic is tied for the record for most home runs in a championship game, hitting two in the 1995 clash. Alex Budden of Spalding Catholic is one of 11 pitchers to author a one-hitter in a state title game. Five pitchers have thrown no-hitters in title games, but none from our region. Hunter Dekkers of West Sioux became one of only five players to hit an inside-the-park home run in a state game when he did it in a 2019 contest.

Pete Hansen of Orange City ranks second all-time in state tournament appearances by an umpire with 36. Only one N’West Iowa umpire worked this year’s state tournament — Jim Pfeifer of Milford.

New logo

While the official announcement came a few hours too late for us to display it in our Sports Directory, Gehlen Catholic has decided to rebrand its traditional Jaybird logo.

According to Gehlen Catholic development director Amy Jungers, one of the reasons for the change is a celebration of faith. A “C” for Catholic was added to the “G” on the logo and a cross was also added.

The new logo also has a darker, more defined outline and has more color. That allows for easier design and printing.

The Jays nickname was created to reflect St. James and St. Joseph, the original parishes of LeMars.

Rasmussen honored

The National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame has announced that 64 individuals have been selected from a pool of 3,500 scholar-athletes to be a part of its 2021 NFF Team of Distinction.

Criteria to make the team include but are not limited to academic achievement, athletic accolades and community involvement. Each chapter is limited to one honoree, distinguishing them as the top scholar-athlete from all the high schools covered by the chapter.

The winner of the NFF Iowa Chapter award was Luke Rasmussen of Central Lyon High School. Rasmussen graduated with a 4.12 grade-point average. He was Central Lyon’s valedictorian, class president and a National Honor Society member. Rasmussen was a team captain and was an all-district selection as a wide receiver and safety for the Central Lyon/George-Little Rock football team in his senior season.