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Sports briefs: West baseball team continues to practice

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West baseball season under way

The new edition of the Minnesota West baseball team has been practicing indoors since Jan. 17, and first-year skipper Joe Kinley believes he’s got a very talented squad to work with.

Only 12 players are in camp, four sophomores and eight freshmen. Two players, Kent and Tommy Lais, are Worthington High School graduates. There are three from Puerto Rico, one from Hawaii and a few others from other Minnesota and Iowa locations.

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Kinley, a former WHS athlete, likes what he’s got.

“We definitely have some talent. If we had more pitching, I’d know we can compete with any team in the conference,” he said this week.

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But there is only one pure pitcher on the team. The others play other positions. That could be an issue, Kinley said, at the tail end of lengthy series with opposing clubs.

Last season was a tough one for the Bluejays, who featured just 10 players and were forced to cut the season short when one contracted covid. So far this season, games have already been canceled due to inclement weather, but Kinley is optimistic that this year’s group will be ready to go when it’s time.

Spring practices around the corner

We’ve still got those cold days now and then, and another major winter storm is no doubt looming just in time for the Minnesota state boys basketball tournament. But milder days are coming, and with them comes the spring sports season.

The first practices are just around the corner. In Worthington, track and field, and softball gets going on Monday, with the softball team planning to experience the new JBS Fieldhouse and the track team either practicing at the WHS gymnasium or on the track itself -- depending on the weather.

Baseball and golf teams begin limbering up on March 21, and if the baseball arms can’t toss from deep in centerfield to home plate, they’ll do the best they can indoors. And if the golfers have to begin by popping plastic balls into nets, well that’s OK for now. This is Minnesota.

The boys tennis team begins practicing on March 28. Somewhere, anyway.

First state girls wrestling tournament completed

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The first all-girl Minnesota state wrestling tournament is in the books. In this 50th anniversary year of Title IX, it’s been a long time coming.

For years, it was an oddity to see a girl competing on high school boys wrestling teams, and at the very beginning many people frowned upon it. That, of course, has changed.

Southwest Minnesota should be proud that one of the trailblazers for female wrestling was from this area. That honor belongs to Elissa Reinsma of Murray County Central, who became the first girl to qualify for a state tournament when she was a sophomore in 2009. Fittingly, she was honored with a standing ovation Saturday at the inaugural 2022 girls state tournament, which featured 40-odd competitors.

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ST. CLOUD -- The Minnesota West women’s basketball team eased to victory over host St. Cloud Tech on Saturday, 93-40. But it was St. Cloud Tech getting the better of the West men’s team, 84-64.
WORTHINGTON -- Morris-Benson started well in both games, sweeping the Worthington Trojans girls and boys hockey teams on Saturday.
The Worthington Trojans earned their highest ever place at a Minnesota Class A True Team meet with a score of 174.525. Big Lake won the meet with a score of 176.2.
After an 81-61 loss at Northwestern on Saturday, Minnesota is 1-9 in Big Ten play with 10 games remaining