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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MOORHEAD, Minn.—Matt Cullen laughed when the question was asked of him Sunday, July 1. It's something the former Moorhead High School standout and three-time Stanley Cup champion hasn't had the answer to since he began playing hockey in his living room at the age of 2 in Virginia, Minn. What's it going to take for you to stop playing?
FARGO—North Dakota State senior quarterback Easton Stick doesn't remember if the area code on the phone call in April was Mississippi or Louisiana. He was about to go to sleep and he likes to get to bed early, so he let the call go to voicemail. He woke up the next morning to a message from former NFL quarterback Archie Manning. After listening to the voicemail, he walked across the hall to show his roommate and NDSU wide receiver Darrius Shepherd. "Shep, you gotta listen to this," Stick said that morning. "I don't know if I'm hearing this right."
DES MOINES, Iowa—It was Laura Roesler's third Olympic Trials. Her best run in the 800 meters that season ranked sixth in the country. The Fargo South graduate and former Oregon Ducks track star was running at Hayward Field, her home track when she ran for Oregon. She had won an NCAA championship in the 800 on that track two years previous. But on July 1, 2016, Roesler finished fourth in her heat, 20th among the 38 runners, and again missed out on the Olympics. It was the first time she did not make the semifinals of the Olympic Trials.
MOORHEAD—Moorhead's Jack Stetz ended his high school athletic career with the Spuds on June 1 in a loss to Brainerd in the Section 8 AAAA baseball tournament. That was Stetz's ninth varsity season, playing three in football, hockey and baseball. "It's hard to think about," Stetz said. "Every coach I've had says once you're a Spud you're always a Spud. I keep that in the back of my mind." He'll put on a new jersey this fall, as he's decided to play football at UND. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Stetz will be a preferred walk-on.
WYNDMERE, N.D.—Milnor-Wyndmere-Lidgerwood track coach Rae Hosford couldn't face junior Evan Braaten. She couldn't stop crying. She could not think of any way to inform Braaten he had been disqualified from the finals in four events of last month's North Dakota Class B state track and field meet.
MAPLETON, N.D.—Kindred sophomore Mark Olson got a par on the 18th hole at Maple River Golf Course, hugged his teammates, his dad and gave a bit of an extra hug to his mom Wednesday. He finished with a two-day score of 149, 5-over par, shooting a 77 on Day 1 and a 72 on Day 2 of the Class B state boys golf meet.
FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — Heidi Fisher cries when she talks about her bowling team at Moorhead, Minn. She's been the coach of the adapted bowling team for the Spuds since the program began two years ago. The tears come from thinking about people like Katie Cragg, who said she had never waved and said good luck to a bus with her son Mitchell on it until he joined the team. Katie estimates she or her husband are with Mitchell 90 percent of the time. Mitchell is a seventh-grader and has a chromosomal condition called trisomy 13. He's nonverbal and has physical impairments.
VALLEY CITY, N.D.—When Sheryl Solberg found out former North Dakota High School Activities Association executive secretary Bob King died, many memories went through her head. The 69-year-old Solberg had worked and fought with King for 20 years together with the NDHSAA from 1979-99. They worked together when Title IX was just getting off the ground, which was new territory for both Solberg and King. They watched as high school girls athletics was built from the ground up.
MINNEAPOLIS—Connie Petermann walked into the post-op room at University of Minnesota Masonic Children's hospital Monday to find her first-born son weeping. Wahpeton (N.D.) High School sophomore Jacob Petermann had warned his mother he wouldn't be able to look at what remained of his left leg after the amputation. For 40 minutes he wept. Connie didn't know what to do. This was his fifth surgery since a cancerous tumor was found in his left leg after he broke it during warmups in a Jan. 12 boys basketball game. He had never come out of surgery like this.
FARGO — On the first day back in the states after winning an Olympic gold medal in South Korea, Grand Forks natives Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson were about to go on the ice at the Staples Center. The U.S. women's hockey team was being honored before a February matchup between the Los Angeles Kings and Vegas Golden Knights.