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 — The guy from the local newspaper sitting at press row over the last couple of decades has usually left the subject of effort by the home team up to the respective head coaches. It's a hard thing to judge. You don't know if a player or wrestler is injured and is already giving the 110 percent, whatever that means anyway. You don't know if a player or wrestler has nothing left in the gas tank because there are no gas gauges on the outside of uniforms.
FARGO—There's no debate to this year's men's basketball MVP in the Summit League. South Dakota State forward Mike Daum has that award so wrapped up that he could take a couple weeks off and still be a unanimous selection. It's reached the point where sports information folks have created another word for the junior from Kimball, Neb.: Daumination. He will be the focus when North Dakota State visits Frost Arena in Brookings, S.D., to try and put a dent into the conference leaders Thursday night, Feb. 1.
FARGO—It was more than three years ago when a young freshman from Hutchinson, Minn., went to Shelly Swandal, his academic advisor, and told her he wanted to attend North Dakota State—all while continuing his professional snowmobile racing career. It's not a combination you hear about every day. But Blaine Stephenson was determined to not let racing interrupt his quest for a agriculture economics major and crop and wheat science minor. Not even a severe accident on the track got in the way.
FARGO—You see glimpses of brilliance from Deng Geu from time to time, whether it's a no-doubt dunk from the 6-foot-8 North Dakota State sophomore or a shutdown defensive play. It was there again on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 27, just when the Bison needed it. Geu didn't play many minutes, 12 to be exact, but they were effective. His presence midway through the second half sparked the Bison to an 80-69 men's basketball victory over Western Illinois. It kept NDSU in third place in the Summit League in front of 3,187 fans at Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex.
FARGO—The Summit League is reaching its halfway point of the season this week in both men's and women's basketball. Right now, you can chisel the Rushmore State as the president of the conference. South Dakota became the men's leader Wednesday night, Jan. 24, with an 87-68 home win over South Dakota State while Fort Wayne firmly sits in third place at 3-3. On the women's side, the Coyotes and Jackrabbits are both unbeaten in conference play heading into their showdown on Thursday night, Jan. 25.
FARGO—North Dakota State's first football verbal commitment in the second stage of the recruiting season has a familiar name. The Bison can only hope his play has a familiar look. Jasir Cox, a strong safety from Bishop Miege High School in Shawnee Mission, Kan., said this week he'll join his brother, redshirt freshman linebacker Jabril Cox, at NDSU next year. NDSU already had 23 players officially commit during the early signing period Dec. 20-22.
FARGO — The 1991 NCAA Division II first-round game for North Dakota State was a shock to the system for all involved with Bison football. The 27-7 loss to Minnesota State-Mankato was the first opening-round defeat in program history and the first loss in 14 home playoff games. Not only that, NDSU went into the game as the defending national champion. "I remember every play of that game," said Todd Wash, a linebacker on that team. "It was the same thing with this one."
FARGO—North Dakota State hired a women's head soccer coach with 13 years of experience in the college ranks. Michael Regan is only 33 years old. It's been a quick ascent in the business and on Friday, Jan. 19, NDSU introduced its fifth head coach in program history. Regan was 20 years old when he took the head men's coaching position at North Iowa Area Community College. He was a player at North Iowa for two years before taking over for Colin Murphy, a coach who was also a lawyer in town.
FARGO—The leap from being one of the top wrestlers in Minnesota at Jordan High School to Division I competition at North Dakota State was higher than Andrew Fogarty figured. The first couple of years took some acclimatizing. "It kind of shocked me I guess," he said. The shock is long gone. The redshirt sophomore will take NDSU's winningest record into NDSU's Big 12 Conference dual Saturday, Jan. 20, against No. 22-ranked Wyoming, a matchup that will probably determine once and for all if the Bison deserve to be a Top 25 team in the wrestling polls.
FARGO—It's certainly in the top five of the most-often asked questions of North Dakota State head football coach Chris Klieman every August: Which true freshmen have the best chance of playing right away? The way things are going in the NCAA boardrooms this offseason, the answer may be simple. All of them. At least for four games.