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North Dakota cuts women's hockey, and swimming

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — The University of North Dakota is eliminating three sports to help meet budget cuts ordered by school President Mark Kennedy.

UND athletic director Brian Faison announced Wednesday that his department is cutting women's hockey and men's and women's swimming and diving. Faison called it a sad day he had hoped to avoid.

Kennedy ordered that $1.3 million be cut out of athletics as part of ongoing budget cuts due in large part to the state's bleak financial picture.

The women's hockey program, which began in 2002, reached the NCAA quarterfinals two straight years when twin sisters and U.S. Olympians Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux played for the team. The men's and women's swimming teams moved up to Division I in 2008.

The move leaves UND athletics with 18 programs.

Pirates RF Polanco to skip trip with shoulder issue

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco will not travel with the team when it heads north on Thursday for two exhibition games in Montreal.

Polanco, projected to be the Pirates' starting left fielder, has played in just one spring training game since returning from his run with the Dominican Republic team in the World Baseball Classic, where he hit .579 in five games.

Polanco started experiencing left shoulder discomfort after his spring appearance on March 23 and has not played since. He experienced a similar issue on his throwing shoulder in 2016, and trainer Todd Tomczyk said the team is being especially cautious with his return as a result.

General manager Neal Huntington also said the team has not yet received Polanco's visa to travel to Canada, which made it an easy decision to keep him behind.

No commitment (yet?) from Walsh Jennings for AVP tour

The AVP is preparing for its summer tour and the possibility that five-time Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings won't be there.

The domestic beach volleyball circuit announced an eight-stop tour on Wednesday and left the defending Olympic bronze medalist off a list of "the most respected names in the sport" who are expected to participate.

Walsh Jennings tells The Associated Press in text message that she hasn't yet committed to play because contract negotiations are underway.

Her absence would be a blow to a tour that has struggled to capitalize on the Olympic spotlight in the years between Summer Games.

The 38-year-old Walsh Jennings called the negotiations "a work in progress."


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