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Brudy savors time in Fargo

Tamara Brudy packed her bags for Fargo in the fall of 1997. She left behind her tropical island country of St. Kitts in favor of North Dakota State, a bold move indeed.

Tamara Brudy packed her bags for Fargo in the fall of 1997. She left behind her tropical island country of St. Kitts in favor of North Dakota State, a bold move indeed.

She was scared, naturally. She came here to run track for the Bison,

something that she's done with excellence the last four years.

She'll leave with enough life experiences to fill a 747 jet.

"It seems like I just came over," she said. "It flew by."

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NDSU has been a two-way street for Brudy. She already has her undergraduate degree and will obtain her master's degree in physical education next fall.

In return, Brudy has given her teammates two invaluable lessons: geography of the Caribbean Sea and life.

It's hard to figure out who on the team is going to miss her most. She's a huge hit with the freshmen and sophomores. She's been a gem to teach for head coach Ryun Godfrey. And she's been like family to former Bison coach Jerry Gores, who recruited her out of St. Kitts.

"He's been a father figure to me," Brudy said. "I'll never forget him. He's the main reason I'm here."

Gores left NDSU to enter private business in Fargo after Brudy's

freshman year. They've remained in contact, which is giving Gores

satisfaction of seeing a recruit of his blossom from her freshman year to graduate school.

"The most important thing for her was her degree," Gores said. "Running was secondary. Her priorities were the right priorities."

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A lot has happened since Gores made the trip to St. Kitts to see Tamara Wigley.

She married Barringthon Brudy, her boyfriend from St. Kitts, in a ceremony at the Cass County Courthouse in December of 1998.

Barringthon is a pre-law major and chemistry minor at NDSU.

"I'll always have pictures of Fargo in my mind," Tamara Brudy said.

She was an honor student. She paid her own way to get to NDSU her first year and redshirted for eligibility reasons.

She is a 12-time All-American entering the NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships, which start today in San Angelo, Texas. The Bison are hoping a Division II title in the Indoor Championships in March will carry momentum into the Outdoor. It will be a tougher road, however.

"There are more teams and we don't have as many athletes competing," Godfrey said. "But I still think our chances are good."

If the meet were scored based on qualifying times and distances, St. Augustine's College (N.C.) would have 58 points, NDSU 56 and Abilene Christian (Texas) 49. NDSU is hoping it comes down to the final event -- the 1,600-meter relay team of Kinsey Coles, Brudy, Jill Theeler and Rachel Kraft.

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It would be a fitting ending for seniors Theeler, Kraft and Brudy.

"It's been a good four years," Brudy said. "It's worked out well, except for a few snowy days. You get adjusted to it. Although I'm comfortable here, I'm still longing for home."

The long-term plan for the Brudys is to return to St. Kitts and work for the country's athletic program.

"Doing something with kids," Tamara Brudy said.

The short-term plan this summer may be to run for St. Kitts in the Commonwealth Games. Brudy is still waiting for a decision by an Olympic committee in St. Kitts.

NDSU, meanwhile, will be waiting for another Brudy to come along. It doesn't happen often.

"NDSU is richer because of Tammy," Gores said. "Her teammates are like sisters to her."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546

Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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