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AMES — After starting 14 games at quarterback the past two years for Iowa State Joel Lanning is the Cyclones starting middle linebacker. ISU linebacker coach Tyson Veidt says Lanning is at the top of the depth chart heading into this weekend’s scrimmage. Lanning passed for more than 25 hundred yards and rushed for nearly 550 yards the past two seasons. He is still working some at quarterback but Veidt says he would not be surprised if Lanning is the starter at linebacker for the September 2 season opener against Northern Iowa. “He is a natural leader so obviously this is a position where he has to continue to be great leader for us”, said Veidt. “He is a really good football player regardless of whether he is on the offensive side or the defensive side so that certainly helps him a lot.” Lanning says he was approached about the move two weeks before spring drills and says he likes the challenge and is feeling more comfortable as he gains experience. “In my career I have had three coordinators and two head coaches so going to the other side of the ball is not going to be any different than learning a new offense”, said Lanning. “I am athletic enough to do it.” Iowa State has their spring game on April 8th, and they’ll open their season at home on September 2nd against Northern Iowa.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) – The Minnesota Vikings have finalized their contract extension with wide receiver Adam Thielen, the former undrafted practice squad player who led the team with 967 yards receiving last season. The three-year deal that keeps Thielen under team control through 2020 is worth as much as $27 million with $11 million guaranteed. Thielen signed it on Tuesday after agreeing to terms last week. He was a restricted free agent who received a qualifying offer for the 2017 season for about $2.75 million. The 26-year-old wide receiver made the team in 2013 out of a rookie minicamp. He played at Minnesota State, the NCAA Division II university in Mankato where the Vikings hold training camp. Thielen had a breakout season in 2016 with 69 catches and five touchdowns.
IOWA CITY — The Iowa baseball team is battling injuries to the pitching staff as the Hawkeyes get ready to open Big Ten play. Junior C.J. Eldred is lost for the season after undergoing elbow surgery last week and junior ace Nick Gallagher missed last week’s start at Kansas State. Iowa coach Rick Heller says it’s been a bit of a challenge to reassign players to different roles. He says Gallagher will hopefully be back during the Big Ten season. Fifth year senior Ryan Erickson of Mason City moves out of the bullpen to become Iowa’s Friday starter and sophomore Cole McDonald takes Eldred’s spot as the Saturday starter. The Hawkeyes close out pre-conference action this afternoon at home against Bradley. The midweek games are not as important as the Big Ten but they do matter if a team can get into the conversation for an NCAA at-large bid. Heller has led the Hawkeyes to three straight seasons of 30 or more wins, including a trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2015. The Hawkeyes open the league race this weekend by hosting Purdue in a three game series.
MASON CITY — The NIACC baseball team is back in the rankings. After falling out of the Division II national poll last week, the Trojans are back in this week’s poll in the #17 spot. NIACC was ranked 12th in the pre-season rankings. The Trojans were 7-4 on their spring break trip last week to improve their record to 13-8 overall. NIACC took two of three games from #12 in Division II Northern Oklahoma College at Enid, beat #18 in Division I Barton Community College, and split a four-game series with Division I Iowa Western. Southeastern is the only other conference team in the Division II poll this week at #14. NIACC will travel to DMACC this weekend to open conference play.
MASON CITY — North Iowa Area Community College announced a pair of national letter of intent signings on Tuesday:
== Rockford senior Sydney Fullerton has signed to play golf at NIACC next fall. Fullterton placed 14th in last year’s Class 1A girls state tournament. In 2015, she helped Rockford make the 1A state tournament as a team and placed 24th individually.
== Osage’s Caleb Ring has signed to wrestle at NIACC next fall. The three-time state qualifier capped off his senior season by finishing fifth in the Class 2A 220-pound weight class.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Martin Hanzal and Charlie Coyle scored 15 seconds apart for Minnesota late in the second period, and the Wild stopped a five-game losing streak by hanging on for a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night. David Schlemko and Patrick Marleau had goals for the Sharks shortly before the second intermission, too, giving each team two scores in a 63-second span to set a record for the fastest four-goal stretch in Wild history. Martin Jones made 24 saves for the Sharks, who lost their season-high fourth straight game. Matt Dumba scored on a power play in the first period to give the Wild a recently rare early lead, and Devan Dubnyk stopped 21 shots for his 37th win – tied for second-most in the NHL. Minnesota improved to 3-8 in March.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Kawhi Leonard scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half and hit the go-ahead jumper with 54 seconds to play to help the San Antonio Spurs to a 100-93 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 points for the Spurs, who remained 2 1/2 games behind Golden State for the top seed in the Western Conference. San Antonio scored 35 points off of 23 turnovers by Minnesota and held off a fourth-quarter rally from the Wolves. Karl-Anthony Towns had 25 points and 14 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who have lost four straight games to fade from playoff contention in the West. Andrew Wiggins scored 22 points and Shabazz Muhammad scored 16 of his 18 points in the second quarter for Minnesota.