Jeff Kolpack covers North Dakota State athletics, the Fargo Marathon and golf for The Forum. His blog can be accessed at www.bisonmedia.areavoices.com. On the radio, Kolpack & Izzo sports talk show runs from 9-11 a.m. every Saturday morning. April through August, the WDAY Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack runs from 8-9 a.m.
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FARGO—It was back in eighth grade in Detroit Lakes, Minn., when Rose Jackson left school during the day for an orthodontist appointment. Her mother Linda Jackson, in an oddity, told Rose to also bring some workout clothes. It puzzled the youngster, but she did it anyway. After the appointment, another oddity hit Rose: Her mom dropped her off at the high school and told her to go to track practice. It was part of what she said was a ploy to trick her into joining the team, which was also orchestrated by her brother, Eddie Taylor. "So that's how I got into it," she said.
FARGO—It's a story the North Dakota State football program has tapped into over the years when it comes to finding offensive and defensive linemen. Find some strong, under-recruited prospects from the region and develop them into Division I players. These days, the Bison men's and women's track and field programs are doing the same when it comes to finding national-elite throwers. In the shot put, hammer throw, discus and javelin, NDSU has become "Throwing University." At "Throwing U," they talk about hard work before anything else.
FARGO—A solar eclipse and a tornado in Alaska are among the rarities on earth. This month, you can add North Dakota State not being the prohibitive favorite in the Summit League softball tournament. The three-time defending champions and winners of the automatic berth to the NCAA tournament in six of the last seven years enters this year's six-team bracket as the No. 2 seed behind regular-season champion Indiana Purdue-Indianapolis. After fielding some teams that were virtually untouchable in recent years, the Bison were mortal this season.
FARGO—The Fargo Marathon is going on its 13th year of being one of the most highly-visible and participated events in the region. As of Monday, May 8, one race was already capped: the one with the dogs. If there was any doubt Fargo-Moorhead is an animal-loving community, this should cement it. The cap of 500 participants in the second annual Furgo Dog Run was reached and the discussion now with the marathon organizers is centering on how big can it go?
FARGO—Defeating Oral Roberts in one game of a weekend series is a pretty good accomplishment. Taking two from the perennial Summit League baseball leaders isn't something many teams have done. Sweeping the Golden Eagles is unheard of, literally. No conference team has ever done it and ORU maintained that streak Sunday afternoon, May 7, with a 4-0 victory over North Dakota State at Newman Outdoor Field.
FARGO — Nick Saban got a raise Tuesday morning, May 2, because, well, it had probably been awhile. The amounts are staggering. He received a $4 million signing bonus, meaning he was $4 million richer at lunch than when he woke up in the morning. His annual salary this season is $6.7 million and he gets another $400,000 simply by staying at the University of Alabama for the entire year. He'll get more just for not moving than most FCS coaches make in a season. ESPN is reporting his total yearly income for 2017 will be $11.2 million. For coaching college football.
FARGO—The North Dakota State men's basketball season ended at about 10:15 p.m. on March 4, the result of a first-round loss in the Summit League tournament. In essence, Cameron Hunter's 2017-18 season started a few minutes later. The redshirt season was officially over. "It's time, it's go time," Hunter said. His time has a chance to come sooner than expected after the unexpected departure of starting point guard Khy Kabellis two weeks ago. That is also Hunter's position and he'll be spending the next few months preparing to give it his best shot, he said.
FARGO—If athletics is the front porch of the university, a phrase echoed since the first shovel went in the ground on North Dakota State's Division I reclassification over a decade ago, then the front door on the north end of campus is getting bigger all the time. It's also moving a little east.
FARGO—North Dakota State was in the forefront of the NFL Draft a year ago thanks to quarterback Carson Wentz. There were more highlights of Bison football games than almost any other school in the country. And then, with the No. 2 overall pick, the Philadelphia Eagles took Wentz.
FARGO — Sue Thompson was 14 years old when she lost her older sister in a cheerleading accident that turned the North Dakota State campus silent. It was more than 30 years ago and as the memory bank goes, she's looking to replenish the riches. If there's a photo of Janis Thompson out there, she would like to see it. "If there's any new fresh image, any story, it brings her back to us," Sue said. "It just makes us feel so good to relive our memory of her."