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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Lisbon, N.D. Lisbon senior Jordan Urbach didn't want to wrestle. He wanted to play basketball. In eighth grade, his dad and older brother convinced him to try wrestling. They told him if worse came to worse he could always quit, but just try to see if he made the Lisbon team. So Urbach gave it a try. "I tried it when I was real little and didn't like it," Urbach said. "My first year (on varsity) I qualified for state and I was hooked then. I liked how it was all me and more of an individual sport."
MOORHEAD—Moorhead senior right winger Jack Stetz paused for a second and smiled. He knew the question was leading. He knew something he said could end up posted in the locker room of any Minnesota Class 2A, Section 8 opponent. He didn't bite when asked if any team in the section scares the Moorhead boys hockey team. "That's a hard question," Stetz said. "I'd say some teams got to feel intimidated, but there's also some teams that are ready to play against us. We've always had a target on our back, coming off of last year. We're going to get everyone's best effort."
KINDRED, N.D.—Kindred eighth-grader Carter Schmitz learned something last season when he lost in the North Dakota Class B semifinals at 106 pounds at the state tournament. He eventually finished third, despite having a flu for the entire tournament. "I learned that even though when you're little, you might only weigh 100 pounds, you can still fight," Schmitz said. "I just wish I would've got to the finals. (The flu) took away all my wind. It was hard to think in a straight line and couldn't wrap my moves together."
Moorhead There's a baffling calm to Will Borgen. His eyes do not widen when the moment gets bright. In fact, he doesn't blink. Those closest to the former Moorhead Spuds hockey standout and St. Cloud State defenseman don't know how to explain him. At a young age, Borgen would shrug his shoulders when his dad would try to convince him how cool it was that he just got a phone call from NHLer Matt Cullen telling him when to meet at the rink. He does the same now when his dad asks him if he talks to NHL hall of famer Chris Chelios on the phone a lot.
BARNESVILLE, Minn. — The wedding ring had "burned a hole" in the pants pocket of Barnesville assistant boys basketball coach Jon Hodge. He had all these elaborate plans for how he was going to ask four-time Olympic luger Erin Hamlin to marry him, but they went out the window.
FARGO—Minutes into Tuesday's Eastern Dakota Conference boys basketball matchup, No. 4-ranked West Fargo Sheyenne and Fargo Shanley made it known the game was going to be a battle. It took less than three minutes for Shanley's Jake Kava to swat away a shot from Sheyenne's Zach Westphal. Kava made it known to Westphal that nothing was coming easy, as the two went nose-to-nose with some words and a smile. Westphal went right at Kava the very next play after getting blocked and hit a layup, and was sure to let Kava know about it.
Wahpeton, N.D. The Jan. 12 basketball game against Devils Lake was supposed to be the breakout game for Wahpeton's 6-foot-3 sophomore Jacob Petermann. He scored 19 points in a junior varsity game against Breckenridge (Minn.) four days previous, working the post, driving the lane and hitting shots from 15 feet out. He was the best player on both sides of the court.
MOORHEAD—The last time Perham's boys basketball team played on Concordia's Memorial Auditorium floor the Yellowjackets watched as Breckenridge celebrated a Minnesota Class 2A, Section 8 championship. The No. 4-ranked Yellowjackets are eyeing some new Concordia memories this season. "That left a real sour taste in my mouth," Perham senior guard Martin LaFond said. "We had to come back harder, and it made everyone in the younger grades step up and look forward to this year and work harder than ever before. That's what they did."
MOORHEAD—Football was supposed to be something to keep Moorhead Spuds senior Otis Weah out of trouble. It ended up doing more, as Weah verbally committed to play football for the University of North Dakota on Saturday. "They had a couple players I know, some Moorhead guys, that play up there, so that's cool," Weah said. "They showed interest in me since my junior year. They told me I'd fit well in the running game and said I might be able to play special teams. Can't wait to be a part of it and show what I got."
MOORHEAD—Every single person in the Moorhead Park Christian gym knew where Ada-Borup guard Tommy Stewart was going with the ball, as Ada-Borup had it underneath its own basket with 0.3 seconds left in a tie game Friday. Ada-Borup knew where it was going, the Falcons knew where it was going and every person standing in the crowd knew exactly where it was going. But no one could stop it, as 6-foot-8 Mason Miller's tip at the buzzer went in and the Cougars left Park Christian with a 72-70 win in Minnesota boys basketball.