Area sports teams doing well

Charlie Warner

Argus News Editor

Every once in a while, I get a number of different topics bouncing around in my head and need to do a little house cleaning. This week I’d like to write about some of our area sports teams and their wonderful successes.

First, I’d like to congratulate some of our area teams for their post season successes.

The Plainview-Elgin-Millville boys basketball team made school history by winning their first state basketball championship. The Bulldogs have been a perennial powerhouse in Southeast Minnesota and have battled their way to “The Big Dance” many times. But last weekend was the first time they won it all. And our Caledonia Warriors were one of the few teams that defeated the Class AAA State Champs this year.

A second team from the Three Rivers Conference, the Rushford-Peterson Trojans had another good post-season run and finished third in the Class A State Championships. To have two teams from one conference bringing home trophies from the state tournament speaks volumes to what a very competitive league the TRC really is.

And then we have the Spring Grove Lions girls basketball team. According to what I was told, the SG girls made school history by being the first team (boys or girls) to qualify for the state tournament.

The Lions won their first game and then lost to eventual state champion Maranatha Christian by four points in the semi finals. The Lions gave Maranatha their only real contest of the tournament. Maranatha won their opening round game by 18 points, then beat the girls from Houston County in a real nail-biter by four and cruised through the state championship game winning  by 12 points.

Congrats to coach Russel Larson, his coaching staff, the Lions and the entire community. Spring Grove was pretty much a ghost town when the girls were up in the Twin Cities battling at “State.” The entire area was very excited for the SG girls!

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Speaking of sports, elsewhere in this issue you will see our spring sports previews. Before each high school season we get photos of returning letter winners and have each coach fill out a short questionnaire that helps me write a preview on the up-coming season.

With six varsity spring sports, all of which are a cooperative effort with Spring Grove, it gets to be a challenging effort trying to pull this all together, especially when Warrior and Lion winter sports teams usually play well into the post-season playoffs.

While running around last week trying to get photos of the kids and handing out previews to the coaches, I couldn’t help but notice how many kids are participating in spring sports. Between Caledonia and Spring Grove, the ninth through 12th grade enrollment figure is just under 390 students.

After speaking with the various coaches and seeing all the kids filling up the various practice fields, I guesstimated that there are about 200 kids out for varsity or junior varsity boys and girls track, boys and girls golf, softball and baseball. That’s more than 50 percent participation for spring sports!

Having been very active in junior high and high school sports 40 years ago and covering high school sports for more than 30 years, I learned it is much more difficult for coaches to get kids interested in spring sports than fall or winter sports. Many of these athletes have participated in fall and winter sports. There is a burn out factor at work here and when the weather gets nice, the lure of just hanging out and doing nothing during those warm sunny afternoons gets mighty strong.

Most schools are lucky if they get enough kids out to field a team in the spring. Looking at the numbers that the spring sports teams in the cooperative with Caledonia and Spring Grove have, the challenge for these coaches will be trying to find a place for everyone.

The great participation numbers is just one more indication of how good of a job the athletic departments at our schools are doing.

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