ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Conzemius family's big day awaits

It was known as Agassiz Junior High, and navigating the several building additions, hallways and floors took a GPS. Unfortunately for Justin Conzemius, that technology didn't exist when he transferred to Agassiz from private school Nativity in th...

It was known as Agassiz Junior High, and navigating the several building additions, hallways and floors took a GPS. Unfortunately for Justin Conzemius, that technology didn't exist when he transferred to Agassiz from private school Nativity in the 1980s.

Like a lot of new kids at the school, he was lost. He was constantly late for classes because he couldn't find them. He had no friends, he said. He spent the next several weeks in seventh grade crying on his bike ride home.

The junior high was sixth through eighth grade at the time, so a new school at seventh grade seemed traumatic to him. Eventually, however, athletics bridged the social gap.

Did it ever.

Today, Conzemius will be inducted into the Fargo South Hall of Fame in a day that not many families could ever imagine happen. At 11 a.m., his father, Mike Conzemius, will be inducted into the Bison Athletic Hall of Fame as part of the championship 1969 football team.

ADVERTISEMENT

Several hours later, the family will watch Justin get his honor.

"It's like going to a wedding," Mike said. "Everybody's pumped."

Mike was on the committee in charge of contacting as many former players and coaches as possible. Head coach Ron Erhardt will be there and so will about 43 other players and coaches.

It will be Mike's second go-around - he was on the '68 championship team that was inducted last year. The 1969 team went 10-0 and beat Montana in the Camellia Bowl.

"Deep in the closets of our basement, you'll find the letterman's jacket," Justin said. "Ironically, I lost his '69 ring and I feel bad for that. I was 2 or 3 years old and lost it. But dad never lived in the past; he was very involved in watching us grow up."

He watched Justin play on arguably one of the greatest high school football teams in North Dakota history. Justin went on to play at the University of Minnesota - a long way from that little kid who was overwhelmed at Agassiz.

He was a quarterback in junior high. But as a high school sophomore, with the Bruins leading Wahpeton by many touchdowns, South coach Dale Hertel asked Conzemius if he wanted to try running back.

He rattled off a couple of nice runs, making good of words of wisdom from his parents: stay patient, have confidence and work hard.

ADVERTISEMENT

"It's one of those things that when you look back at the past, you never think about what the future can bring," Mike said. "I just had a ball raising the kids because as I look back at it, you never realized they were the greatest years of my life - watching my own blood on the field."

Inforum searchword: Bison football

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546 or jkolpack@forumcomm.com

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.
What To Read Next
Halftime sharpshooter overshadows Minot Ryan victory over South Prairie in North Dakota Class B basketball
Area recreation scores and schedules.
Regional and local scores and schedules.
The Force scored three first-period goals, then added two late to fend off the Storm on Friday.