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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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.
ORLANDO, Fla.—Former Detroit Lakes (Minn.) High School football coach Flint Motschenbacher was sitting on a beach in Fort Myers, Fla., Monday when he got a text from a player he used to coach. "Hey, coach," the text read, "You want to go to the Pro Bowl?" It was from Minnesota Vikings wide receiver and 2008 Detroit Lakes graduate Adam Thielen.
Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton High School counselor Sarah Kjos walked up to D-G-F athletic director Joe O'Keefe on Tuesday to tell him she was going to Barnesville to help out because of a tragedy. O'Keefe asked what happend. Kjos told him a former student and volunteer coach had died in a car accident. "Please don't let it be Jaynie," O'Keefe thought to himself. It was Jaynie.