Grove becomes the winningest wrestler in Moorhead Spuds history

MOORHEAD -- Former North Dakota State running back and Moorhead High School graduate Chase Morlock has been Spuds senior wrestler Sam Grove's hero since Grove was in sixth grade."First time I met him I just thought he was so amazing," Grove said....

Sam Grove gestures to previous record holder Chase Morlock after his school-record win during the Gadberry Duals on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, at Moorhead High School.Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

MOORHEAD -- Former North Dakota State running back and Moorhead High School graduate Chase Morlock has been Spuds senior wrestler Sam Grove’s hero since Grove was in sixth grade.

“First time I met him I just thought he was so amazing,” Grove said. “He was a really good wrestler. I thought (former Moorhead wrestler) A.J. Wheeler was an amazing wrestler. I thought all those guys in Chase Morlock’s class were amazing. Chase, out of all of them, stood out to me.”

Grove now stands out over all of them. With three pins and a forfeit at the Gadberry Duals on Saturday, Jan. 14, Grove broke Morlock’s school wins record. The victories pushed Grove’s record to 168-37.

“Coming into this tournament, I kind of got it in my head that I need to win it today,” said Grove, who is the top-ranked wrestler at 195 pounds in Minnesota Class 3A. “It seemed like any other match, but once I got there and I realized I had beaten Chase for the win record, it was just an amazing feeling.”

The similarities between the two are striking. Morlock owned the school pins and wins records before Grove broke both. Grove shattered Morlock’s pins record of 75, picking up his 103rd pin of his career Saturday. Morlock made the state tournament four times with one state title, a second-place finish and a fourth-place finish. In three trips to the state tournament, Grove has finished second and fourth.


There’s still one order of business to end arguments as to who is the best wrestler in Moorhead history.

“I’m not done yet,” Grove said. “It feels amazing that I got to that point, but I got to realize that I have to keep going. I still have to get to a state championship and win it this year.”

Morlock and Wheeler were in the crowd on Saturday. After the match, Grove and Morlock hugged.

“That’s the point of records. I was chasing Jay Thoreson, I got his and you set the new record and it’s for the younger guys to try and improve on that and achieve that,” Morlock said. “It’s super cool to see that guys are going after it and achieving it. I know (Moorhead sophomore wrestler) Riley Schock is coming up and he’s going to have a shot at Sam’s record. This is how programs should be.”

Before Grove was a top-ranked wrestler eyeing a state title, he was a sixth-grader amazed by Morlock. Little did he know, but Morlock saw something in him.

“He couldn’t be more deserving of my record,” Morlock said. “He’s just got that little chip on his shoulder. He’s the kind of guy that wants to do one more rep in the weight room than you’re doing. He’s going to work a little harder, work a little longer. I’ve noticed that over the years that Sam is doing everything he possibly can to be great and elevate himself to the next level.”

In his final high school season, before he heads off to South Dakota State to wrestle, Grove wants to step to the next level of the podium at the state wrestling tournament.

“It’s something that he set out to accomplish when he was a seventh-grader,” Moorhead head coach Skip Toops said. “He had big goals just like Chase. They both wanted to win the most matches in the history of Moorhead. It’s big for him, but that’s not what’s driving him all year long. That’s not what he’s focusing on. What’s been driving him is March at the end of the year and taking care of business then.”


Murphy has covered sports in Chicago, Minnesota and North Dakota since 2009, working for The Forum since 2012. Contact: or 701-241-5548
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