Last 2 years have 'flown by' for JHS Class of 2020 athletes
A slew of Jamestown High School grads have gone on to play athletics at the collegiate level.
JAMESTOWN — Three years ago, those in the Class of 2020 at Jamestown High School were poised to enter into their senior year as Blue Jay athletes.
Now they are scattered across the state of North Dakota but the hometown Blue Jay grit is still pumping in their veins.
"The titles may have changed but the goals have not," former Blue Jay and current Minnesota State University at Moorhead quarterback Tommy Falk said. "It’s always been to be playing in the post season and to continually keep getting better."
Falk along with fellow JHS Class of 2020 grads Boden Skunberg and Kameron Selvig are entering their third year of collegiate-level athletics.
Falk is starting for the Dragons' football team. Skunberg is over in Fargo with the Bison basketball team, and Selvig traveled west, taking her talents to Bismarck for the University of Mary volleyball team.
"My time as a Blue Jay taught me the importance of leadership and gave me a foundation to grow as a football player," Falk said. "I am extremely grateful for my time as a Blue Jay and it is cool to see others have success at the next level as well."
In his final season with the Jays, Falk threw for 1,762 yards and completed 12 touchdowns through the air. He had 151 carries for 96 yards and tallied five rushing touchdowns — numbers he only looked to improve upon once he got to Moorhead.
"Obviously everyone is much better at this level and I knew going in that I was going to have to improve before I even got here but I was extremely fortunate to have come here when I did," Falk said.
"Because we lost my freshman year because of COVID I think it allowed me to learn our offense and adjust to the play a lot easier than most (people)," he said.
Falk said what was supposed to be his freshman year was challenging because it was the first time he hadn’t competed in a game since he could remember. The time off wound up being a build up to the 2021 season — a season the former Blue Jay starter coined as "a rollercoaster."
"We had a season with a lot of ups and downs," Falk said. "I think I learned a lot last year about myself as a quarterback and having a full year of starting was huge for me. Going into my second season as the starter, I am excited with the team that we have and the work we have put in."
Falk went 252-for-411. He threw for 2,874 yards across his 11 games played for an average of 261 yards per matchup. He threw for 20 touchdowns and only dropped 10 interceptions.
Those numbers didn't come easily as Falk quickly figured out that being good at athletics doesn't just mean a lot of working out.
When he was in high school, Falk said he would have worked on his mobility with more stretching and eating better. Falk said learning how to cook "decent meals" for himself and having more of a focus on stretching and mobility training have made a big difference for him over the course of the last two years.
Falk said it definitely doesn’t feel like he's already in his third year at MSUM but he's not even halfway done with his career as he has three years left as a Dragon. This year, Falk said the overarching goal for him is to help the team garner some wins.
Falk and the Dragons are set to kick off the 2022 season on Sept. 1 against Sioux Falls in Moorhead. The game is set to begin at 6 p.m.
"If I can play well enough for my team to be playing in the post season and being successful I am happy," Falk said. "Whether I throw for 50 yards or 350 yards, I just want to do what is necessary for us to win."
Skunberg finding his groove for Bison in Fargo
If you travel 3.7 miles down the road from Nemzek Stadium, you will stumble upon Boden Skunberg, who is preparing for a third go-round with the North Dakota State University men's basketball team.
"As an incoming freshman, no one really tells you how much work and commitment you will need," Skunberg said. "You have to be fully committed. There was a big jump from high school to college. No matter how ready you think you are for the next level there is always more you can do."
Skunberg said the last couple of years have been the busiest of his life as he has been working to balance his year-round athletic training, school and social life. While at times it has been difficult to balance everything, Skunberg said the challenges have enabled him to grow as a person.
Prior to joining the Bison squad, Skunberg put together a 455-point, 25-steal, 178-rebound and 105-free-throw senior season at JHS.
"It’s crazy thinking that this is about to be my third year in college," Skunberg said. "I feel like me being so devoured in what I do and just enjoying every day makes it go by fast."
Skunberg said due to COVID wiping out his freshman season, he will be a sophomore based on athletic eligibility which means he is planning to compete for the Bison for three more seasons.
"Fulfilling my dream of playing D1 basketball has been a blessing seeing all the hours of work paying off," Skunberg said. "NDSU was the perfect fit for me because I fell in love with the culture. (Also) family is very important to me and seeing them at every game was a big part of my decision."
Skunberg was responsible for tallying 188 points this season, averaging 5.9 in each of his 32 games played. The former JHS standout was 40% from the 2-point range and 31% from beyond the arc.
He was 27-37 to go .730 at the stripe. Skunberg nabbed 108 boards for an average of 3.4 per game — listing him fourth on the team in terms of his rebounding average.
Skunberg said getting to play for NDSU was aided greatly by the start he got in the Buffalo City.
"Blue Jay athletics played a huge role in allowing me to take the next step in my sports career," Skunberg said. "They truly care about helping everyone getting better, whether that’s coaches staying after practice to get extra shots or just the support that they give.
"I hope kids don’t feel counted out because they are from North Dakota. If they have a goal or dream I hope they know they can achieve it."
Out in the Wild West ...
It's clear that Kameron Selvig hasn't been counted out since she made the move to the capital city.
"It’s crazy to think I’m entering my third year of college," Selvig said. "It feels like I just started but high school also feels like another life, so it’s an interesting thing. All the experiences and challenges along the way have made it go by faster than I ever thought."
Selvig is currently the starting setter for the Marauders, accounting for 604 of the team's 920 assists last fall. Selvig's natural leadership and talent at the net helped to lead the Marauders to a 6-23 overall record.
While the program numbers could be better, Selvig said she didn't choose the Marauders' program because of the win streak.
"What I was looking for was a community where I could grow individually, spiritually and where I could be my best self," Selvig said. "That’s what I found at UMary. It’s an awesome program and school and I have really found my place here."
The 2019 Volleyball Senior Athlete of the Year was credited with 32 kills, 29 service aces and 159 digs. She recorded the best hitting percentage on the team with a .204 across 102 sets and 29 matches played.
Looking ahead to her third season as a Marauder, Selvig said her goals have become more long term as she has grown up. She said she has been thinking about the future of the team and herself as a player and person.
"This season my goals are to step into more of a leadership role on our team and be someone my teammates can lean and rely on in any situation," Selvig said.
Selvig said the culture of Blue Jay volleyball is what set her up well and prepared her for college sports. From the very beginning Blue Jay head coach Sara Hegerle and company taught Selvig that the relationships and trust built on the team are the most important things. The soon-to-be junior said having that foundation is what aided her greatly during the last two years.
"(College sports are) about so much more than just your sport,'' Selvig said. "You grow personally and alongside your teammates in more ways than you can imagine. The relationships formed are what make the biggest impact."
Those relationships were perhaps what made the transition to the collegiate level easier for Selvig, especially when considering the cancellations and unprecedented schedule changes COVID brought Selvig's first year on campus.
"The bonds we’ve formed as a team have helped us push each other to be the best versions of ourselves every day," Selvig said of how her teammates made the jump easier.
"The last two years have flown by so quick. Between class, in season and off season training, traveling and competing it’s been such a fun and challenging experience. I’m excited for the coming years."