2022-23 has been a year like no other for Megan, Josh Moser
This last year has been one of firsts for the Moser family.
MEDINA, N.D. — For as many sporting events as the Moser family watches, you wouldn't think there would be too many "first-time ever" events left.
But then a year like this happens.
In December, the family watched as University of Jamestown junior Megan Moser and the UJ women's volleyball team win the university's first-ever NAIA National Championship.
Then in March, Megan's younger brothers Josh and Jared helped to lead the Medina/Pingree-Buchanan boys' basketball team to its first-ever state tournament. The Thunder topped Ellendale 57-56 in the Regional 3 finals to earn their first regional championship in program history.
"The Mosers have always been involved in sports," Megan said. "When I was younger, I remember watching my cousins playing basketball, my dad and uncles playing softball, and my grandpa playing softball at the age of 80. Sports were a 'big deal' in our household because what else do you do in a small town?"
Prior to UJ, Megan was a standout for MPB's volleyball and basketball squads. A five-year starter for the Thunder's volleyball program, Megan earned the 2019 District 6 Senior Athlete of the Year honors tallying more than 1,500 career kills and 1,200 digs.
"I knew I wanted to play sports in college," Megan said. "I went to Jimmie camps when I was younger and I loved watching the Jimmies play. I loved the environment and culture that the Jimmie volleyball program had. In high school I loved being a part of a team and being the 'positive Nelly' so UJ’s culture was the right fit for me."
Megan was on the Jimmies' JV squad her first two years with the Jimmies. She made the jump to the varsity level this last year.
The Jimmies had one of their best seasons on record this last fall, going 37-2 overall and 15-1 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC).
"Throughout the summer and coming into the season, we knew that we wanted to compete at a high level like years prior," Megan said. "Making it to the NAIA Tournament was just one step closer to what we were working for. It was so much fun to go to nationals and be a part of this team."
Megan was primarily a defensive threat for the Jimmies this last year, serving up 22 aces, popping up 79 digs and dishing out seven assists.
"This has just been a crazy year for everyone and we have been very blessed to achieve these accomplishments," Josh said. "I am very proud of (Megan) for working hard all the time and being the positive person she is. I know she puts countless hours into developing her skills and bringing something to the team."
From the looks of it, Megan isn't the only Moser who brought something to her team.
"I am proud of Josh for never giving up over the years," Megan said. "I am proud that he has matured and become a leader for the younger players on his team. He truly leads by example. It’s been fun coming back to his games and watching him do what he loves. I know that Josh has dreamed of going to State for as long as I can remember. I am so proud of him and his team for accomplishing that."
Josh has been a member of the MPB varsity basketball team since his seventh grade season and was named a starter his eighth grade year. He suffered through a couple of tough seasons, but once the squad bought into a common goal, the wins soon followed.
"From the beginning of the season as a team, we had to have the mindset that we are capable of going to State and that is what we did," Josh said. "We took the offseason very seriously having almost five days a week of getting together as a team and working on skills and getting better. We had a winner's attitude and always felt like we had something to prove to ourselves and our communities."
The Thunder ended their regular season at 22-6 overall, 10-2 in Region 3 and 3-2 in District 6. The Thunder beat out South Border for the District 6 crown, earning them the top seed out of District 6 heading into the regional tournament.
MPB breezed past Carrington in the Region 3 quarterfinals, topping the Cardinals 58-41. Josh was responsible for scoring a massive 29 points against the Cards.
"Luckily, I was on spring break during the Regional Tournament and I wanted to watch as many games as I could because it was his senior year," Megan said. "Honestly, I felt like a mother freaking out on the sideline watching their child play an intense game. I was so proud of him and the MPB team. I have watched him grow as a player, coming from losing seasons to finally making it past the first round of regionals."
The win over Carrington sent MPB through to the regional semis against District 6 rival Linton/HMB. The Thunder got a gritty 47-39 win over the Lions, matching them up against Ellendale in the finals.
Down by two with less than 15 seconds left in the Region 3 championship game, Medina's Sawyer Wanzek got ahold of the rock and made the shot of his life to send the Thunder to the 2023 Class B State Tournament. The Thunder topped Ellendale 57-56.
"It felt amazing and all the support from the communities was a great feeling to have," Josh said. "They were very supportive and were always there to cheer me on through the many years of ups and downs. Winning the regional championship — it's hard to put it into words and still feels unreal.
"The feeling I had was all that hard work throughout the years finally paid off," he said. "I can remember at the start of my career I told myself that I am going to the state tournament and that is what we did and the feeling is just unreal. I give God all the glory for these accomplishments."
Over the six-year span, Josh's point per game (ppg) average grew from 4.2 to 16.6 points. As a seventh grader, Josh put up 25 total points, 17 rebounds and four assists. This season, he put up a whopping 466 points, 232 rebounds, 81 assists and 28 steals. In his six-year career, Josh scored 1,496 points for the Thunder.
"It was so special watching Josh play in the regional championship, it brought me back to when my older sister, Lauren, and I made it to state for MPB girls’ team in 2018," Megan said. "It's so special that all my siblings went to state and made history for our schools."
He was named All-District 6 team three times in his career and also collected three All-Stutsman County Tournament awards. He was a two-time team MVP and at the conclusion of the 2023 state tourney, he was named to the Class B All-State Tournament Team.
"There have been many great accomplishments from my family, but I personally would have to rank (this) as one of the best just because of how personal it is to me," Josh said. "Our family support has just been amazing and I have felt very fortunate to have them be there with me supporting me along the way. We have such a big support from our family and it's pretty cool that they are always there to cheer us on."