Doug Wolter: Trojettes dance, Wiens sells, and WHS teams get ready for big Saturday games
Life isn’t always fair. The Worthington Trojettes dance team doesn’t get the attention that other high school teams typically receive during the winter, but respect is now coming due. This year’s team is outstanding, and coach Tasha Raymo says it has a better than even chance of qualifying for the state tournament.
That’s noteworthy. The Trojettes have never qualified for state in the six years that Raymo has led the team.
“This is the best team so far. They’re a lot more dedicated and they’re motivated to improve themselves,” Raymo said on Monday as her girls traveled for a regular season meet with Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa.
The Trojettes were spot-on on Monday as the varsity and junior varsity jazz squads placed first among five competing teams. The kick squad placed third.
On Saturday, Worthington competes in the sectional tournament in Montevideo. To qualify from there for state, the Trojettes will need to finish among the top three kick and jazz teams among 12 teams represented.
“It all depends on whether the girls can nail it,” said Raymo.
Rachel Drietz and Katherine Luke are all-conference performers for Worthington, which competes in the eight-team Camden Conference. Raymo says all the girls have worked very hard in practice to unlock every ounce of their abilities. They know they’re talented, and they are hungry for success.
Now with the sectional meet looming, it’s time for all Worthington sports fans to get on board.
“People don’t know how hard dance really is. They don’t know how hard and intense practice is, really,” said Raymo. “They have to dance for three and a half minutes straight. They have to have 55 to 75 kicks in every dance routine.”
Don’t tell me more. My muscles hurt just thinking about it.
Wiens heating up the world
Windom native Joel Wiens can’t claim to be a big-name athlete, but he’s keeping plenty of big-name athletes warm this winter.
Wiens, who operates a company called WSI Sports out of Eagan, has developed cold-weather clothing that both heats and dries wearers in winter. His gear is a big hit in the sports world and getting bigger all the time.
The NFL’s San Francisco 49ers bought some warming fabric when they recently traveled to play the Green Bay Packers in a playoff game. The Seattle Seahawks got wind of it and called Wiens to get their hands on it before Sunday’s Super Bowl in New Jersey. Wiens has had many personal conversations with Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, a Minnesota native, who uses a special kind of underwear from WSI. Special products have been made for NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and NHL players including Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky. The company sells to about 2,000 stores around the world.
WSI signed a deal about eight months ago to be the official apparel for the United States ski jumping team in the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics. Ski jumpers will be wearing WSI undergear. “Because it gets chilly at the top of that jump,” Wiens told me last weekend.
All the products for WSI, which was officially incorporated in 1990, are created in Minneapolis.
Wiens is understandably excited about his success. He says he worked on warm-weather gear for several years, in the meantime delivering pizzas, driving people to airports and doing other odd jobs while dreaming big.
“We’ve really been blessed. We’re not necessarily trying to be the biggest. We just want to be the best,” he said, adding, “I never look at it as work. Since 1990 I haven’t worked a day in my life.”
Big games ahead
It’s February, which means that area high school sports teams will soon be diving headlong into postseason tournament play. But before then, there are some very interesting regular season contests yet to happen.
Two of them arrive on Saturday and they both involve Worthington Trojans basketball teams. The girls outfit travels to Marshall for a rematch with the Tigers and the boys team stays at home to face a very good Edgerton Southwest Christian squad.
Way back on Dec. 12 in what was billed as a great offense-meets-great defense matchup, the great defensive team, Marshall, defeated the great offensive team, Worthington, 75-55. It is typically said that when offense meets defense, defense usually wins (perhaps we should have thought of that before we put our money on Denver in the Super Bowl), but I think I can confidently say the Trojans are a better defensive team today than they were when they met Marshall the first time.
To be totally honest, of course, we’d have to say that both teams are strong on both sides of the ball. Marshall is 16-1, with its only loss coming to Sioux Falls Washington 70-56 on Jan. 17. The Tigers have won four in a row (they host Windom Area on Thursday) and all by convincing fashion. Worthington is 15-1 and has won 12 straight. The Trojans have allowed 50 or more points only once since losing to Marshall.
The Southwest Christian boys, coming off a state Class A championship in 2013, are 16-2. The Eagles have won 11 straight games heading into their Thursday contest with Southwestern United. They’ve scored 71 points or more in all 11 and allowed less than 50 points in six.
The Trojan boys are 6-10, but they’re a deceptive 6-10. They’ve stepped up their defensive game recently, and with a little more consistency they could be in a good position to pull off an upset. I’m not saying it’s going to happen Saturday, but expect the locals to be mentally ready.