Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department for the past 10 years. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate.
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Mark Dobmeier was in search of a record-breaking, seventh-straight sprint victory at River Cities Speedway on Friday night. Dobmeier didn't allow any suspense in his search for the record. The Grand Forks driver ran his No. 13 sprint to a dominant win in the 25-lap feature at the Bullring. With a seventh win, Dobmeier passes his own record he had tied from 2006. Dobmeier is now tied with the overall record at RCS for consecutive feature wins. Jerry Messner won seven straight in the super stocks in 2000.
UND football coach Bubba Schweigert said his program went with a combination of traditional and contemporary in a gray jersey option released Friday. UND has traditionally worn green and white jersey tops, with a black alternate option that came into the mix late in Chris Mussman's tenure as head coach. The Fighting Hawks didn't wear the black jersey combination under Schweigert, whose staff now operates under contract with Adidas. Schweigert said the gray option has some UND roots. The football program utilized gray pants and helmet in the 1970's.
Mitch Johnson can recall his first race at River Cities Speedway in about 1982. "I got in an accident," Johnson said. "As far as my memory goes, then I got into a shouting match with someone in the grandstands. By the time it was all over, I was escorted out by police." More than 30 years later, Johnson will be the center of attention again at RCS. But this time, he'll be honored tonight for his racing success and inducted into the RCS Hall of Fame. Johnson, Ron Zutz and Kent Gregoire are the 2016 Hall of Fame class.
Beat the best to be the best. This old sports cliche doesn't apply to the chase for the Big Sky Conference football crown. With 13 teams in the league and eight conference games annually, members of the Big Sky play an unbalanced schedule. Some years will be more challenging than others. Southern Utah took advantage in 2015, winning the Big Sky thanks in part to avoiding playoff contenders UND, Eastern Washington and Montana. The Fighting Hawks could be the Thunderbirds of 2016.
In one of the most wide-open races in years, differing opinions highlighted the Big Sky Conference preseason polls which were released Tuesday at the Big Sky Conference Football Kickoff event in Park City, Utah. UND was picked to finish fourth by the media and fifth by the Big Sky coaches. The Fighting Hawks, who received first-place votes in both polls, are coming off a 7-4 season. UND finished 2015 tied for fourth in the Big Sky with a 5-3 record. It's the highest preseason Big Sky ranking for UND since joining the league in 2012.
A year ago, UND's John Santiago was an unknown true freshman expected to make an impact at wide receiver and on special teams. On Monday, the sophomore was named a unanimous pick for preseason all-Big Sky Conference running back at the league's media event in Park City, Utah. Santiago, an Andover, Minn., native, is coming off a buzzworthy freshman season in which the 5-foot-9, 180-pounder was named a second team Associated Press All-American and co-Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year.
UND coach Bubba Schweigert released a roster and pre-fall depth chart Saturday as he and quarterback Keaton Studsrud head to Park City, Utah, for the annual Big Sky Conference Football Kickoff event. The depth chart lacked surprises with UND returning 16 lettermen on offense and 20 on defense. The closest-watched competition of the fall will be along the offensive line, where UND graduated center Colton Boas, as well as veteran guards Brandon Anderson and Sean Meehan.
A day after the UND football program confirmed the loss of a former FBS transfer defensive back, the Fighting Hawks gained an FBS transfer on the other side of the ball. Former Texas State wide receiver Demun Mercer has been added to the roster, UND coach Bubba Schweigert announced on Friday. UND also announced the addition of punter Austin Dussold, who comes to UND from Division II Missouri S&T.
Jim Cox doesn't have fond memories of college football in Minnesota. In the late 1970s, Cox played for Division III Buena Vista (Iowa) against St. John's in Collegeville, Minn. "We lost in maybe the coldest game ever played," Cox said. "It had to be 60 degrees below zero. That was before Under Armour and blowers on the sideline." Those bad memories didn't shy Cox away from returning to Minnesota to coach junior college football. Northland Community & Technical College, based in Thief River Falls, announced Thursday that Cox has been hired as head football coach.
The UND football program's depth at cornerback took a hit this offseason. Backup corner Jahmere Irvin-Sills, a transfer from Mississippi State, has left the program, he confirmed on Thursday. As a sophomore in 2015, Irvin-Sills appeared in all 11 games as a reserve cornerback. He finished the season with 25 tackles and an interception in a win over No. 19 Montana State on Oct. 31. It's unclear where Irvin-Sills, a Rivals three-star recruit out of high school in Maryland, plans to transfer.