Chris Murphy is a sports reporter for the Forum. He's covered high school and college sports in Chicago, North Dakota and Minnesota since 2009 and, for some reason, has been given awards for doing so.
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Fergus Falls, Minn. Heidi Fisher cries when she talks about her bowling team at Moorhead. She's been the coach of the adapted bowling team for the Spuds since the program began two years ago. The tears come from thinking about people like Katie Cragg, who said she had never waved and said good luck to a bus with her son Mitchell on it until he joined the team. Katie estimates she or her husband are with Mitchell 90 percent of the time. Mitchell is a seventh-grader and has a chromosomal condition called trisomy 13. He's nonverbal and has physical impairments.
Former Moorhead hockey standout Will Borgen grew up dreaming of playing in the NHL. He used to tell his dad he doesn't know what he would do if he couldn't play hockey. He won't have to worry about that for awhile, as he signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday. "Pretty cool. It's always been a dream of mine," Borgen said. "I signed this morning. It's been a lot to do. I've been on the phone all day and packing."
On the first day of practice this season, the first as a co-op, Mahnomen-Waubun boys basketball coach John Clark Jr. told his team they were no longer Mahnomen kids and they were no longer Waubun kids. They were not Indians or Bombers. They were Thunderbirds. “We were a team completely from Day 1,” Clark said. “I tried to really stress that team aspect and get them to buy in from there.”
Barnesville High School football coach and principal Bryan Strand, 45, spent the first few moments of Monday's hospital visit from six of his football players explaining what happened to him. He told them he had a stroke. With his 8-year-old son in the hospital bed with him at Essentia Health in Fargo, Strand told his players how his right hand and the right side of his face were numb and he was having trouble remembering names. Then, it was on to business.
When Breckenridge's 6-foot-8 junior Noah Christensen stepped to the free-throw line to help seal the Minnesota Class 2A, Section 8 championship for Breckenridge on Thursday, he did so thinking of his grandpa. Jim Christensen is why Noah played the final 10 minutes with an injured elbow in the section semifinals, scoring 14 of Breckenridge's final 18 points. Jim Christensen was who Noah handed the ball to celebrate his 1,000th career point earlier this year.
Breckenridge's 6-foot-8 junior Noah Christensen came down hard going up for a pass with 10 minutes, 26 seconds to go in the Minnesota Class 2A, Section 8 semifinal matchup against Hawley on Monday. He could barely lift his right arm, grasping his right elbow.
Detroit Lakes (Minn.) has its first state wrestling champion. It’s something the program has been waiting for since its began in the 1960s. After sophomore Isaiah Thompson’s hand was raised as the Minnesota Class 2A champ at 170 pounds Saturday, Lakers coach Rob Ullyot hugged him, as the Laker fans at Xcel Energy Center stood. Ullyot told him he loved him and asked him how it felt to be the first state champion for Detroit Lakes High School. Thompson isn’t a big talker.
ST. PAUL -- Detroit Lakes’ Braydon Ortloff rolled his eyes and smiled when asked if every DL wrestler is aware the Lakers have never had a state champion in it’s over five decades of existence. “Everyone knows DL hasn’t had a state champ,” Ortloff said. “The pressure gets to me, but when I get down here I just want to wrestle and prove myself. If that’s not first then so be it. I’m just going to wrestle my heart out.”
ST. PAUL—It was just a matter of time before Zumbrota-Mazeppa's big boys came out to the wrestling mat. The road for Frazee to win a Minnesota Class 1A state wrestling title was going to require pit stops in succession at Caden Steffen, Jacob Bennett and Jarrett Haglund, all of whom are ranked No. 1 in their respective weight classes. The road was too much for the Hornets, as No. 1 seed Z-M made it back-to-back state titles with a 31-19 win in the championship dual Thursday at Xcel Energy Center. Z-M knocked out the Hornets last season in the state semifinals.
Frazee, Minn. Missy Carlson had just put her sons to bed on a summer day in 2001. Josh was a week away from turning 6 years old and Tanner was 1½ —a few months from putting on his first wrestling singlet. She went out to the garage of their Frazee home to talk with her husband, as she often did at the end of their day.