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It's back to normal for fall high school sports

There’s still some summer left, but as area high school sports teams gather for weight training sessions and conditioning exercises before the first official fall sports practice date on Aug. 16, thoughts turn to football, volleyball, soccer, tennis and cross country.

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Worthington Trojans Head coach Geno Lais (center) gives parting instructions to the team at the conclusion of early morning Practice Wednesday 07 21 21. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- There’s still some summer left, but as area high school sports teams gather for weight training sessions and conditioning exercises before the first official fall sports practice date on Aug. 16, thoughts turn to football, volleyball, soccer, tennis and cross country.

Two years ago, fall sports were canceled due to COVID-19. Last year’s fall seasons were a little weird, with coronavirus protections still in place. The 2021 sports season appears likely to be a return to the routine.

“As of now, we’re planning on a normal start to the season. Unless I hear something different. That’s what I’m counting on, and that’s what the conference is counting on,” said Worthington High School athletic director Josh Dale.

“It’ll be nice for the kids just to be playing the season and forgetting about the other stuff,” he said.

In 2020, Minnesota high school football teams were prevented from starting on their traditional starting dates. A shortened regular season eventually occurred, but under precautions.

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In 2021, WHS can expect the season to proceed as scheduled. The Trojan gridders, under the direction of Geno Lais, host their first regular season game Friday, Sept. 3 against Jordan. They’re at Pipestone Area on Sept. 10, at St. Peter on Sept. 17, at home against Marshall on Sept. 24, at home against Luverne on Oct. 1, at Fairmont on Oct. 8, at home against Waseca on Oct. 15 and at New Ulm on Oct. 20.

Some Big South Conference teams begin playing on Thursday, Sept. 2, with Jackson County Central hosting Maple River, Luverne hosting Redwood Valley, Pipestone Area hosting LeSueur-Henderson and Windom Area hosting Blue Earth Area. Other Sept. 3 games involving Big South schools have Marshall at Fairmont, Martin County West at St. James Area, New Ulm at Tri-City United and St. Peter at Waseca.

The Worthington High School girls tennis team opens Aug. 20 at home against Lac qui Parle Valley. Three Trojan openers are scheduled for Aug. 26, as the volleyball team hosts Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda, the boys soccer team hosts Mankato Loyola and the girls soccer team travels to play Mankato Loyola.

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Thursday night high school sports roundup: