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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FARGO—Fargo Shanley had no answer for Mandan's big men in Thursday's North Dakota Class A boys basketball quarterfinal matchup at North Dakota State's Scheels Center. Behind 6-foot-6 Camren Steckler, his 6-4 twin brother, Trae Steckler, and 6-6 Elijah Klein, Mandan topped Shanley 68-53. Mandan coach Brandon Schafer had a puzzled look on his face when asked what game plan he would come up with if he faced the Steckler twins and Klein. He was happy he didn't have to answer that question.
FARGO—West Fargo Sheyenne boys basketball coach Tom Kirchoffner calls Mustangs big man Kemal Hajric the heart and soul of the team. It was only fitting, with the game already well in hand, the senior captain sprinted for a steal and saved the ball from going out bounds on the final possession for Fargo Davies. For the final 20 seconds, Hajric jumped around with pure joy before letting out one final scream, as the Mustangs handed the No. 1-ranked Eagles their first loss of the season 97-82.
Detroit Lakes, Minn. On the outskirts of Detroit Lakes, the Johnson family made a dirt path through the woods to the nearest home, a quarter of a mile away. Seven-year-old Janaye Johnson and her younger brother, Davis, needed a way to get to the house of the boy who moved in a couple years previous. He was in the same grade as Janaye, which felt like a miracle to her, as she was in the market for someone to play with, and the market was slim in those parts.
MOORHEAD, Minn. — Moorhead senior forward Carter Randklev got a University of North Dakota hockey jersey for his ninth birthday. It was around that time people were telling him he was too small to play hockey. The 5-foot-8, 150-pound Randklev committed to play hockey for UND on Wednesday, Dec. 13. "UND has always been a part of my life," Randklev said. "It was only a dream to go there until it became a reality."
FARGO — When Jamestown saw West Fargo, the top team from the East Region, get upset by West Region's four seed Mandan in the opening match of the North Dakota Class A state volleyball tournament, the Blue Jays weren't heartbroken. "I think we were a lot more excited because the West is our territory," Jamestown senior McKayla Kurtz said. "We've played (the West) all season, so I think we're excited we'll get to see them tomorrow."
FARGO — It was an all too familiar sight for Fargo Shanley's football team on Friday, Nov. 10, at the Fargodome. The Deacons stood on the field watching as another team celebrated a North Dakota Class 2A state championship. For the third time in the last four seasons, the Deacons lost in the state championship game, falling to Bismarck St. Mary's 31-12.
FARGO — On Monday, Nov. 6, Wyndmere-Lidgerwood senior tight end Connor Barton was pulled out of his chemistry class and told to gather his things and go home. He thought he was in trouble, but he didn't know for what.
Fargo Luke Sandy couldn't remember if he had a routine when he stepped to home plate. The batter's box and hitting has become second nature to the Fargo Shanley graduate and soon-to-be North Dakota State baseball player. In order to remember that he taps home plate once and brings the bat up to his shoulder, Sandy had to get out of his car and pretend to walk up to home plate. At this point, it all feels like one fluent motion.
WEST FARGO—Tyler Robertson sat emotionless as his girlfriend of nearly two years, his mother and his mother's cousin broke down in the doctor's office upon hearing the diagnosis. The 19-year-old was doing the math in his head, where a tumor the size of a grapefruit was removed a week earlier. At best, he'd live to be 29 years old, at worst 24. "So how long could I make it?" Tyler asked himself.
FARGO—West Fargo High School graduate and North Dakota State wrestler-to-be Brandon Metz paced frantically on the Fargodome turf on Saturday, July 22. He walked with purpose, but what he was looking for was nowhere to be found. Metz had just lost the USA Wrestling Junior Greco-Roman championship match at 285 pounds 5-3. He lost to Illinois' Anthony Cassioppi, who defeated Metz in the freestyle title match 4-1 on Tuesday. He lost on a correct throw with one second remaining that gave Cassioppi a one-point lead and a Greco-Roman national title.