Jeff Kolpack covers North Dakota State athletics, the Fargo Marathon and golf for The Forum. His blog can be accessed at www.bisonmedia.areavoices.com. On the radio, Kolpack & Izzo sports talk show runs from 9-11 a.m. every Saturday morning. April through August, the WDAY Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack runs from 8-9 a.m.
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FARGO—The Roger Maris Celebrity Golf Tournament turns 35 years old this weekend. It's a birthday nobody expected when the event originated in 1984 with the New York Yankees slugger from Fargo on the first tee box at Oxbow Country Club. That was some star-studded couple of days. It included Maris, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Bill "Moose" Skowron and Ken Hunt. The celebrities have come and gone over the years with the focus mainly on the fundraising golf tourney to benefit Shanley High School, Hospice of the Red River Valley and the Sanford Roger Maris Cancer Center.
FARGO—It was a trusted inner circle when Carson Wentz was the starting quarterback at North Dakota State and Cole Davis was his backup. That hasn't changed after college, either. Davis is one month on the job and living in the Philadelphia area after assuming the new title of director of operations for the AO1 Foundation, the non-profit organization founded last year by Wentz, who begins his third year at the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback.
FARGO—On Father's Day, Andrew Israelson and his dad had a pretty cool laugh. After Andrew won the BlackRidgeBANK Amateur golf tournament at the Moorhead Country Club, he joined Bill Israelson as a champion in a tourney that first began in the early 1960s. Bill won it three times. "Jokingly, he said call me back when you have three of them," Andrew said.
FARGO—The life of a true freshman football player at North Dakota State changed on Wednesday. A new stipulation passed by the NCAA this week will allow those players to play up to four games in a season without losing a year of eligibility. The motion was approved by the Division I Council, a move that NDSU athletic director Matt Larsen expected to go through. But just not this quick. It applies to both the FBS and NDSU's FCS.
MOORHEAD—The interview process that ended with Rachel Bergeson being named the athletic director at Concordia on Wednesday afternoon has been going on for a while. Like almost 35 years.
FARGO—One long-standing local golf tournament is going away, at least for this year, and another staple tournament is being rescued. That's the state of tourney golf in Fargo-Moorhead this month. The Fargo-Moorhead All-City Men's Golf Tournament was canceled this summer, the result of not finding anybody to organize it. Meanwhile, the BlackRidgeBANK Amateur that is set for this weekend at the Moorhead Country Club is taking the place of the KX Amateur as one of the top local amateur events in the area.
FARGO—The women's golf season had its share of great moments for University of Nebraska sophomore Kate Smith—like the school-record 64 she shot at a tournament in Arizona or the 4-under 68 at the Big Ten Championships. Her game continued to grow at a national level. And that wasn't the only growth, either. She learned a lot about life, too, watching a teammate and best friend endure the realities of racism.
FARGO -- The North Dakota State football program got its first verbal commitment for the 2019 recruiting class. It appears to be a leadoff home run. Middle linebacker Luke Weerts from Batavia, Ill., held scholarship offers from the likes of Division I FBS schools Kansas State, Rice, Cincinnati, Northern Illinois, Air Force and Ball State, but on Wednesday announced he was going with the FCS Bison.
FARGO—The weather is rather mild this week in Eugene, Ore., with high temperatures in the low-70s. It's expected to remain that way the rest of the week, with the exception of the shot put circle. Junior Payton Otterdahl is hoping to heat up to the point of historical proportions for the North Dakota State men's track and field team. He has the top shot put throw in the country heading into the NCAA Outdoor Championships at Hayward Field.
FARGO—It had been awhile since Jason Ray had been in front of multiple media cameras and microphones. That changed when he was named an assistant football coach at North Dakota State on Tuesday. The hire by head coach Chris Klieman puts NDSU back at full strength after Atif Austin took a position with the New England Patriots. Ray, who will coach the receivers, was at Missouri State the past two years and Northern Iowa in 2015. So he's familiar with the Missouri Valley Football Conference.