The Collins-Maxwell/Baxter brand played its final game after a 5-0 loss to Van Meter in playoff baseball action Tuesday.
I knew whenever the time came, it would an emotional time. And it proved to be that way. There were lots of hugs. Lots of tears. And lots of goodbyes.
Collins-Maxwell and Baxter will soon become rivals in the Iowa Star Conference. That will feel really weird for me. I have been covering the Raiders for more than five years.
CMB was one of my primary schools when I worked at the Newton Daily News the first time around.
I remember covering Danny Samson’s run to a shot put title. Unfortunately, I left the newspaper before his younger brother Zach won a pair of shot put titles.
Danny Samson also was part of a really good football team that went 8-2 in 2008. I still wonder what that team would have done had Samson not gotten hurt in the playoffs. That roster was loaded with really good football players, including Josh Benton, Parker Murphy, David Kolpin, Zach Leonard, Ben Garrison and Dylan Hansen.
There are a lot of athletic events I have forgotten about. It doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy coving the Raiders.
Most recently, I was able to be around for the tail end of CMB’s perfect regular football season, the Raiders’ fifth-place finish in the girls state cross country meet this past season and CMB’s Class 3A fifth-place finish in state softball last year.
I had the privilege to cover two of CMB’s best athletes of all-time — Bryce Kemp and Brady Stover.
If you play a collegiate sport at the Division I level, you are elite and you are one of the school’s best.
Kemp and Stover were both all-state football players and both were a part of successful track teams at CMB. Kemp was a state champion hurdler, and he combined with Stover and two others to take second in the shuttle hurdle relay at state.
Kemp will be a bit part of Eastern Michigan’s plans on the football field this fall.
Stover made a big impact on South Dakota State’s baseball team this past spring. And I predict, barring injury, he will one day get drafted by an MLB team.
I tried to do my best to not focus on where each athlete was from. You pick up on stuff like as you go but our publications didn’t care if you attended Collins-Maxwell or Baxter. To me, they were the same.
Unfortunately, the split of CMB means I will no longer be covering athletics at Collins-Maxwell. The schools are not located in Jasper County.
That means I will no longer get to directly work with coaches like Jerry Meinerts, Troy Houge and Gary Cummings. All three coaches were around when I was covering the team during my first stint. All three were a joy to talk to. I will miss those conversations.
The Baxter Bolts will now be one of my main focuses. The best part about the Bolts being in the Iowa Star Conference is that I will occasionally be able to see Meinerts, Houge and Cummings covering the Bolts.
I will be sure to say hello.
I better stop now before I get emotional.
Contact Troy Hyde