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Minnesota sports, as seen elsewhere

And the winner of Minnesota's best high school nickname contest is ...

Last month, we told you about a contest cooked up by John Millea, the publicist for the Minnesota State High School League, in which he seeded what he determined to be the best 64 prep nicknames into an NCAA-style bracket.

It was a cyberspace surrogate for the spring tournament season that would have wrapped up a couple of weeks ago.

And the question we asked at the time was: Can anyone knock off the Awesome Blossoms of Blooming Prairie?

The answer is yes.

The Moorhead Spuds edged the Awesome Blossoms, getting 50.4% of the 6,872 ballots cast in the title match-up. The lobbying on both sides was frenetic as the final minutes of the contest ticked off Wednesday morning on Twitter.

There were also history lessons in addition to the suspense:

Perhaps the best way to capture the ebb-and-flow of the event is to scroll back through Millea's Twitter feed, which included the brackets and results of all of the match-ups from his four 16-team regions. (Moorhead and Blooming Prairie were top seeds in their respective regions, and the other schools who made the Final Four were the Thief River Falls Prowlers and Two Harbors Agates.)

And, yes, there was a request to end Millea's nickname madness in a similar fashion to the NCAA's March Madness.

The request was granted, thanks to the Moorhead Orchestra.

Sports cancellations starting to pile up among small colleges

With colleges stepping up the pace of communicating with students and families about their plans for 2020-21, a growing number of Division III schools have announced that fall sports won't be played because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of Thursday morning, the number of programs around the nation was 11, according to the d3Playbook.com newsletter.

Both of Minnesota's Division III conferences, the MIAC and the UMAC, intend to offer fall sports. The MIAC has scheduled meetings for its athletic directors on Tuesday and school presidents on July 15, after which more detailed information should be available, according to commissioner Dan McKane.

The only impact on Minnesota schools so far is that Grinnell College of Iowa, which suspended its football program early last season, has announced that it will not hold fall sports. Grinnell had planned to bring back football this season, and the decision means that a game scheduled for September against Macalester has been canceled. (Macalester is a football-only member of the Midwest this season and will return to the MIAC in 2021.)

The Midwest Conference, which includes teams in four states, is planning to adjust its schedule into regional divisions to minimize travel and overnight stays.

Most of the colleges that have announced their intentions are in the East. Williams College and Bowdoin College, both of which have Minnesota players on their football teams, have said they won't field teams during the fall semester. Division III conferences in Michigan and California have announced revisions to their planned schedules.

The other Division III schools that have called off fall sports are Mount Holyoke, Pratt Institute of Brooklyn, Renssalaer, Sarah Lawrence, Swarthmore, College of New Jersey, UMass-Boston and Wellesley.