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Editorial: So long, winter

An American robin pauses amid patches of snow as it hunts for worms and other edibles along Crailsheim Drive Wednesday afternoon in Worthington.

We've been through more than enough Minnesota winters to know that even though temperatures were climbing into the mid-60s Monday afternoon, it's still a little early to declare winter officially over.

Winter sports, however, came to a conclusion this weekend. And oh, what a season it was.

In boys' basketball, the Ellsworth Panthers once again did southwest Minnesota proud by taking home a third-place trophy at the Minnesota Class A state tournament. The team carried itself with poise and class, and virtually the entire Ellsworth community -- as always -- gave the squad plenty of support. The Panthers could have thrown in the towel after losing their semifinal game by a heartbreaking one point, but they chose to play hard the following day and become the rare team that ends its season on a winning note.

Also having outstanding seasons and advancing to state tournaments were the Windom Area boys' basketball team; the Pipestone Area and Southwest Christian girls' basketball teams (Worthington's girls, alas, came up one game short); and the state-champion Jackson County Central wrestlers (not to mention others that won individual crowns).

And while we're on the subject of champions, let us acknowledge all the winter sports student-athletes in our area who competed in basketball, wrestling, hockey, gymnastics and dance. Congratulations to all for your efforts, your participation and your willingness to be part of teams that so often help unite the communities in which they compete.

Now, let's get ready for spring's first pitch -- any day now.