Kingsland teams started their winter sports seasons last week with the girls playing in a tournament at Byron.

Girls basketball

First year head coach Jill Thalmann has some experience coming back on this year's team, including seniors Cheyenne Losey, Jessi Kaster, Joclyn Pierce, Sarah O'Connell, Brittany Erding, Martina Hadland and Lizzie Tart. "This year, we also have a very skilled junior class," added Thalman.

"There's a great mixture of perimeter shooting and strength under the basket. Our bench is very strong, which will give us lots of different options this year. With the talent and hard work, we will be a team to contend with this year," Thalmann added.

Members of the junior class include, Haley Colton, Melinda Woods, Brianna Musel, Marissa Bornholdt, Hannah Ramaker, Kailynn Hamersma, Jamie Thompson and Yuliya Kuzmicheva.

The gals have already played two games and have shown pretty good balance. Cheyenne Losey (12.0) and Lizzie Tart (10.5) are averaging double-figures and Losey is averaging 7 rebounds/game. They've also shown that they can find the open player, averaging 11.5 assists/game.

Boys basketball

The only returning letter winner for first year head coach John Fenske is Marshall Oeltjen. Oeltjen and junior Filip Swanson are the only members of this year's squad that have any varsity play "under their belts." Seven seniors graduated from a team that finished 20-9 last year.

This year's varsity candidates, as listed by Fenske, are juniors Filip Swanson, Jordan Meskill and Lenny Moore, and sophomores Jacob Rindels, Marcus Plaehn and Julius Wolf.

"Our quickness will be our biggest strength," said Fenske, "and lack of varsity floor experience will be our biggest weakness. We plan to improve every game and hopefully at the end of the season, be a team that can play with anyone."

Fenske feels the top TRC contenders are Plainview-Elgin-Millville, Caledonia, Lewiston-Altura and Southland, with PEM on top, "until someone knocks them off," said Fenske.

This is Fenske's first year as the head boys coach, after 14 years as the head girls coach (276-86), and a couple of years out of head coaching basketball.

The boys will open their 2012-13 season at Lake City Saturday night (5 p.m.) and then host Fillmore Central (Dec. 4) and Caledonia (Dec. 7) the next week.

GMLOK wrestling

Back at the helm of the Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrander/Kingsland wrestling program is Bill Simpkins. Jim Richardson was the head coach last year while Simpkins was on sabbatical from his coaching duties.

The team will have nine returning letter winners: Steven Kassel (junior, 119/126), Jace Bunne (sophomore, 126-132, last year's ninth grade state champion), Blake Olson (sophomore, 126-132, 2010 all-c), Parker Hale (freshman, 138-145), Sam Roe (sophomore, 145-152), Lucas Roe (senior, 152-160, all-c last year and state entry), Wyatt Richardson (sophomore, HM all-c last year, ninth grade state champion, upper weights) and Perry Stesjkal (senior, upper weights).

Also seeing some action in the lower weights, said Simpkins, will be Bren Olson (eighth grade), Jacob Oehlke (eighth grade) and Blake Benson (eighth grade, 160-70).

"We have some hungry wrestlers in the seventh grade," said Simpkins, "and are looking forward to getting them in the wrestling room for that next level of wrestling.

"GMLOK may not have a real strong dual meet format team, but I feel we will be placing in those higher spots as a team in the individual format tournament and that will make it a fun year," concluded Simpkins.

The Bulldogs open their season with a dual meet against St. Charles this Thursday, at LeRoy-Ostrander, and a tournament in Faribault on Saturday, Dec. 1.