At this time of year, winter-weary Minnesotans start looking for signs of spring. Today, a little hope from the world of high school sports: The end of the winter sports season is upon us.
Section meets in Nordic and Alpine skiing take place this week, determining qualifiers for the state meet Feb. 15-16 at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.
Girls' hockey has also concluded its regular season and begins section playoffs this week.
Sure, it's just the beginning and the winter sports season has nearly two more months to go, concluding with the boys' basketball tournament in late March.
But, with the recent cold snap still lingering, any hint of spring is sure to be welcomed.
Here's a look at some of the best in prep sports this week:
Tuesday: Park Center (Class 4A, No. 1) at Osseo (4A, No. 4), 7 p.m. One-loss Park Center has won eight games in a row; defending champion Osseo has won nine consecutive.
Thursday: West Lutheran (1A, No. 9) at Maranatha (1A, No. 1), 7 p.m.
Friday: Hopkins (4A, No. 3) at Minneton-ka (4A, No. 5), 7 p.m.
Tuesday: New Prague (3A, No. 5) at Red Wing (3A, No. 8), 7:30 p.m.
Thursday: Annandale (2A, No. 5) at New London-Spicer (2A, No. 8), 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday: Shattuck-St. Mary's vs. Benilde-St. Margaret's (2A, No. 2) at St. Louis Park, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday: Elk River vs. Blaine (2A, No. 8) at Fogerty, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday: Wayzata (2A, No. 6) at Minnetonka (2A, No. 5), 7 p.m.
Wednesday: The first day that high school football seniors can sign national letters of intent to play in college. The biggest day of the year for recruiting wonks.