It's that special time of year for athletes and their fans: March Madness.
Tonight, district champions will be crowned in high school girls basketball.
Thursday night, Escanaba won the pre-regional finals, in high school ice hockey, topping the Marquette Redmen.
The Munising Mustang, Manistique Emerald and Iron Mountain Mountaineer competitive cheerleading squads will be going for a state title in Grand Rapids Saturday in Division 4 in the Michigan High School Athletic Association finals, competing against each other and five downstate schools.
This weekend, Ishpeming-Negaunee will send at least a dozen bowlers while Westwood has one female bowler going to the MHSAA state bowling finals to be held downstate. These bowlers advanced after qualifying at the regional tournaments in the Lower Peninsula sites over the past weekend.
Also on Saturday, the girls gymnastics teams from Marquette and Negaunee will be participating in regionals, with hopes of making the state finals, which are March 8-9.
In wrestling, Westwood's David Lancour, Ishpeming's Johnathan Willey and Marquette's Curt Calovecchi will compete for individual state titles this weekend at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Then, starting Monday, high school boys will take to the basketball court to crown district champions by the end of next week.
And don't forget, the Marquette Senior High School boys ski team won the state Division 1 title this past Monday, while the MSHS girls took third.
Meanwhile, at Northern Michigan University, there are strong hopes for the women's basketball team to make the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament. The hockey team will be in the Central Collegiate Athletic Association Hockey Tournament, but heading into the weekend, it is not certain if they will be hosting or hitting the road.
Also, NMU has six skiers competing in the NCAA championship starting Wednesday in Vermont.
As you can see, this is an exciting time of year for young athletes. We hope as many fans as possible get out to support these students as the winter sports season reaches its conclusion over the next few weeks.
March Madness is a great time to beat the winter blues with a dose of sports at its best.