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Prep Notebook: The color pink goes a long way in Silver Bay

When Ward Wallin was hired to coach the Silver Bay baseball team this spring, the first thing he wanted to do was change the culture.

At a preseason players meeting, he unveiled a new policy aimed at infusing the program with some discipline. First things first, Wallin wanted the Mariners to look good.

“I’ve seen these kids in the past and it’s kind of been a rag-tag team, shirts untucked and hats backwards,” Wallin said Friday. “I said, our motto for this year is we’re going to dress for success, on the field and off the field.”

That means uniformity, including the traditional game-day attire of shirts and ties (for home contests). And it carries over to practice, as well, where Wallin has some basic guidelines. Chief among them is a disdain for shorts. Full-length pants are expected, as are forward-facing hats.

Wallin has an unorthodox way of getting his point across.

“When you come to practice out of dress, I have a pink hat for you to wear and I have a pink shirt that says, ‘Tomorrow I will dress for success,’ ” he explained.

The Mariners are looking better and better these days — though Wallin admits it was slow going in the season’s infancy. The first day of practice, especially, was a nightmare.

“I look out there and, of the 25 kids, honest to God 12 of them are in shorts,” the first-year coach said. “I said, ‘are you guys kidding me? I don’t have enough pink.’ ”

A grace period ensued, allowing the Mariners to get up to (dress) code.

Now, they look good, both on and off the field, just as Wallin hoped. And the results have been promising. Silver Bay, which has struggled mightily in recent years, is off to a 3-4 start after a loss Friday to Two Harbors.

WIAA approves 5K distance for girls CC

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association on Friday gave its support to increasing the distance of girls cross country races to 5 kilometers.

The change stemmed from a complaint the WIAA received regarding the difference in distance for genders — boys run the 5K distance while girls had run 4K. That will change this fall in a move that is being contemplated by a number of states.

That includes Minnesota, where girls run the 4K distance and boys run a 5K.

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