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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When the NCAA men's basketball tournament bracket was going to be announced Sunday afternoon, the plane carrying the UND men's basketball team was supposed to be in the air as the group traveled back to Grand Forks from the Big Sky Conference tournament in Reno, Nev. But snowy weather at a connection flight in Minneapolis caused a delay. Just as UND's name was about to be called on CBS' Selection Show, the plane was cleared for takeoff and the mostly UND passengers—wanting to hear the team's bracket placement—booed the captain.
UND has invited basketball fans to the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center today to welcome home the men's and women's teams from the Big Sky Conference tournament in Reno, Nev. The Fighting Hawks are expected to arrive at the Betty between 5:30 and 6 p.m. Both teams are postseason bound. On Saturday night, the men's team defeated Weber State in overtime to win the Big Sky championship and earn the program's first-ever appearance in the NCAA tournament. UND's NCAA opponent will be determined when CBS begins to reveal the 68-team field at 4:30 p.m.
East Grand Forks Senior High defenseman Casey Kallock has some Minnesota state Class A boys hockey tournament experience. He was on the ice as a freshman for a couple of minutes of mop-up duty when the Green Wave beat New Prague in the quarterfinals in 2015. Kallock enters the 2017 state tournament, however, with a much larger role. The junior is the steady force on the top defensive pairing for the Green Wave, who are the No. 4 seed today in a quarterfinal matchup with St. Cloud Cathedral at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The puck is expected to drop at 8 p.m.
THIEF RIVER FALLS—The Trek to the X is becoming a familiar path for the East Grand Forks Senior High boys hockey program. For the fourth time in five years, the Green Wave are headed to the Minnesota state tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Coby Stauss scored two goals as Senior High beat Warroad 5-1 in the Minnesota Section 8A championship game on Thursday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Quinton Hooker, in perhaps his Grand Forks swan song, grabbed the UND Fighting Hawks flag Saturday and waved it around the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center court after he led his team to an 82-73 win over Portland State to seal a Big Sky Conference regular season championship. School officials set up a ladder for UND players to cut down the nets. "We are the Champions," blared from the speakers. At this moment, you'd never a guess a dark cloud hung over the athletic department.
As Jake Disterhaupt prepares for his senior season, the UND football player continues to make the positional rounds. He's been a wide receiver, a safety, an outside linebacker and now an inside linebacker. Disterhaupt is one of a handful of defensive players the defending Big Sky Conference co-champion Fighting Hawks are shuffling as spring ball began Friday morning at the High Performance Center. "I think you're always trying to find the right combination where you can get the most out of your roster," UND defensive coordinator Eric Schmidt said.
East Grand Forks Senior High kicked off postseason play with a 69-65 victory over visiting Hawley in the first round of the Minnesota Section 8AA girls basketball tournament on Thursday. Going into Thursday's contest, the Green Wave had beaten the Nuggets in both regular-season contests, winning 48-32 and 61-45. "Hawley is one of the most improved teams in the state," said Senior High coach Jay Frydenlund. "The two Thompson sisters are so long; you have to pay attention to them, and we did, but that left us weak in some spots and their other players capitalized."
UND President Mark Kennedy has extended the deadline for the athletic department's announcement of plans for a $1.3 million budget cut, the school announced in a blog post Thursday. The athletic department was originally given a March 6 deadline to give Kennedy its recommendation for its budget target. The school now says athletic director Brian Faison has an April deadline.
FARGO—Grand Forks has an undefeated state champion for the second year in a row. Grand Forks Central used a three-goal first period and two goals from Cam Olstad to finish off a perfect season with a 7-2 win over Bismarck High on Saturday night in the North Dakota state boys hockey championship game in front of 4,988 at Scheels Arena. "To have that final buzzer sound is the greatest feeling ever," said Central forward Grant Johnson, who was named the state's senior athlete of the year and tournament most valuable player. "It was a great season. It was just pure bliss."
Grand Forks Central will host a pep rally at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Central gym to honor the 2017 North Dakota state boys hockey champions. All fans, students, parents and alumni are welcome. The Knights became the third team in state history to finish a season unbeaten when they defeated Bismarck High 7-2 on Saturday night in the state championship game at Scheels Arena in Fargo.