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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BOYS Fargo Davies Coach: Ian Costello (fourth season) Last season: 7-8-1 Who's gone: Evan Tschider, Brian Rapp, Cy Cyr, Hunter Salmon, Richard Dralu and Melvin Dennis Key returners: Mason Brekke, Sr., D; Jack Olson, Jr., F; Trey Waltz, Sr., M; Ethan Olson, Jr., D; Matthew Nemer, Jr., F; Hunter Maloy, Sr., G; Fabio Miller, Sr., M; Noah Sahr, Jr., G; Andy Thomas, Jr., M; Conner Bosch, Jr., D; Grant Wiemken, Jr., D; Harrison Thom, Jr., D; Casey Haldis, Jr., F; Joshua Anderson, Jr., D
MOORHEAD -- In the summer of 2013, former Moorhead High School hockey standout Matt Cullen was walking around the bar at Usher’s House in Moorhead during a silent auction for his Cully’s Kids charity. It was days after he signed a two-year deal with the Nashville Predators, after having played three seasons with the Minnesota Wild.
Lake Park, Minn. His dreadlocks cover his ears, but 25-year-old Lake Park, Minn., native Dan Binde can still hear people questioning when he's going to grow up, get a real job and stick to the straight and narrow. Behind the scraggly hair spread across his chin, the kind eyes and childish smirk, is a hiker prepared for anything in his path. There's nothing straight and narrow about the nearly 13,000 miles he has hiked. Binde's plan does not involve a 401k, a picket fence or anything down the usual road of life. His life involves no road, for it's off the beaten path.
FARGO—Zack Pierce has been playing fastpitch softball since he was 4 years old in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The 22-year-old first stepped in the pitcher's circle at 14 years old. To him, the circle is more like a spotlight, and that's where he loves to shine. "You're main stage," Pierce said. "You're right in the center, you're always involved in the play. Everything you do is in the game. It's a lot of pressure, but I like pressure."
Fargo Davies Coach: Lisa Schwinden (first season) Last season: 10th at state. Who's gone: Abby Likness, Grace Christensen. Key returners: Anna Davison, Sr.; Payton Asche, So.; Ava Olson, eighth grade; Kate Osowski, So.; Rylee Fitzgerald, So.; Sydney Ulrich, Sr.; Kelli Allard, Sr.
Fertile, Minn. Ryan Strem, 38, glowed as another Tuesday night of baseball at Strem Field was approaching. He was up at 4 a.m. to make sure the sprinkler system was keeping the grass in the outfield a perfect green. The corn stalks behind the grass stood 8-to-10 feet tall, swaying in the summer wind, serving as the outfield fence.
FARGO—For many, Dacotah Field is known as the former home of North Dakota State football. For the Bison women's soccer team, it's their current home, and has been since 2013. It's beginning to look as such. Dacotah Field got a makeover, as a new FieldTurf surface was installed last month. It'll always have its football history, but it's beginning to look more like home for the soccer team.
MOORHEAD—Moorhead was one strike away from winning the Minnesota Division I Substate American Legion baseball tournament on Sunday, July 23. It would be the first time since 2008 the Blues would go to the state tournament. The last three seasons opening up the district tournament losing to the No. 8 seed as the top seed would be wiped away. Then, it fell apart.
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.