Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.
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How tough is Minnesota prep football's Section 5A? Two-time defending state champion Minneota is 8-0 and the Associated Press' No. 1-ranked team. And the No. 2 seed in 5A. Wabasso is 7-1 and can't crack the top two. Dawson-Boyd is 6-2 with the two losses coming against teams that are a combined 15-1. And the Blackjacks are the No. 4 seed. With prep playoffs beginning Tuesday, it wouldn't be a stretch to believe any of those four could be state-tournament teams were the geography configured any other way
The Willmar Cardinals volleyball team will ride a 13-game winning streak into the Section 8AAA playoffs next week. The section seeds will be announced Sunday but the 19-4 Cardinals are the No. 2 seed behind top-seed Moorhead based on Minnesota-scores.com's QRF ranking. Moorhead is ranked No. 18 among the state's Class AAA teams and Willmar holds the No. 30 state-wide ranking. Other area teams have their pairings set already:
The Willmar boys soccer team avenged a loss to defending state champion Orono in last season's section championship game with a victory over the Spartans on Tuesday in the Section 6A title game
BRAINERD — The Willmar WarHawks won their fourth-straight North American 3 Hockey League game 5-4 over Breezy Point on Saturday when Riley Dixon and Leonardo Ewald teamed up for the winning goal in the third period just eight seconds after the North Stars tied the game. The WarHawks successfully followed up on a 7-0 win over the Rochester Ice Hawks on Friday night in Rochester.
What a party it will be in Litchfield on Friday night if the Dragons football team can snatch a victory from perennial state powerhouse Hutchinson. Unlike previous encounters, such a win wouldn't be celebrated as an upset. The Dragons and Tigers both enter their 7 p.m. tangle with 5-0 records. How big is the game for Litchfield? Consider: * The Dragons have not won five games in a season since a 7-4 mark in 2008, the last year they had a winning record.
Rocket offense scores 10 consecutive runs to advance to state semifinals
Minnesota cornerback Marcus Sherels returned an interception 53 yards for the winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter, lifting the Vikings past the Seahawks 18-11 Thursday at Seattle in a rematch of last season's dramatic NFC wild-card game.
The United States and Spain finally lived up to expectations, posting blowout wins on Wednesday to reach the semifinals of the Olympic men's basketball tournament.
WILLMAR—As happened in 2014, the Northwood League's Willmar Stingers will lose several home dates at Bill Taunton Stadium because of excessive rainfall and flooding. Eight to 10 inches of rain fell on Willmar on Wednesday night, flooding many areas in town, including Taunton Stadium on 22nd Street Southwest. The Stingers were set to end their 2016 regular season with four home dates against Waterloo and Madison on Thursday through Sunday.
Sometimes even a baseball team that knows it has plenty of talent doesn't realize it can be good. That appears to have been the case for the Willmar VFW I team, which opens the 2016 VFW State Tournament against Hibbing at 11:30 a.m. Thursday in Fergus Falls. Post 1639 had some players who saw varsity action with Willmar's prep team in the spring and others had proven themselves during last year's successful VFW season.