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UND is a little more than four months away from opening its 2009 football schedule, one that likely will be the most challenging in the program's history. At the top of the schedule is Texas Tech, a pass-first team that was in the mix for a national championship late into the 2008 season. As UND approaches its second Division I season, the Sioux now find themselves on a stage light years beyond the Division II ranks. The Sept. 5 game in Lubbock, Texas, against the Red Raiders already has generated a buzz. "Everybody says, 'What about Texas Tech?
No driver in the country had more feature wins last season than Mark Dobmeier. Dobmeier won 26 features, 25 coming in his No. 13 sprint car -- one that found Victory Lane with regularity at River Cities Speedway, Huset's Speedway and the Knoxville Raceway. The Grand Forks driver still has some lofty goals to pursue during the 2009 racing season, which has yet to take off in the region because of the late spring. Dobmeier will again concentrate on RCS, Huset's and Knoxville. "We'll run the same deal," Dobmeier said.
In UND's 3-4 defensive alignment, linebackers usually make the headline-grabbing tackles -- the stops that change the course of a game and remain topics of conversation until the next contest. Sioux nose guards, meanwhile, toil in anonymity -- mixing it up against opposing offensive linemen for four quarters with little recognition.
To no one's surprise, UND's first Division I women's tennis season was a learning experience. The learning curve was rather steep. And the Sioux have to do a lot of cramming, too, as their second year in Division I will be considerably tougher. "The kids learned that they better stick with tennis during the summer," UND coach Tom Wynne said. "Otherwise, we won't get to the level we want." UND's season wrapped up Sunday with a 5-2 loss against Chicago State.
The conditions at Memorial Stadium on Friday were ideal for spring football practice. A sunny sky, no wind, a snow-free turf and a temperature of 45 degrees greeted Sioux players for their sixth practice of the spring season. The nice weather was an added bonus for sophomore cornerback Delano Saporu. Under any circumstance, Saporu is glad to be back on the field after missing last season with a lacerated kidney. Saporu suffered the injury in practice a few days before UND's season opener against Texas A&M-Kingsville. "It was a freak accident," Saporu said of the lacerated kidney.
UND quarterback Jake Landry is asked from time to time how far he can throw the football. "I don't know," Landry replies. Sixty yards? Seventy? He avoids the question again by saying, "With the adrenaline going in a game, who really knows?" An indication of his arm strength, however, came last week during practice. On a vertical pass play to receiver Chris Anderson, Landry unleashed the ball at the 20-yard line.
Defense comes first. That's the message new UND volleyball coach Ashley Hardee wants to deliver as the Sioux are in the middle of their spring season, which included scrimmages against Bemidji State and the University of Mary over the weekend in the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. "We're working hard on the defensive side of the ball," said Hardee, who came to UND earlier this year from New Mexico State. "We got our first taste of competition and things went well." UND beat Mary in three games, then swept Bemidji State. "We had a much better defense against Bemidji," Hardee said.
Traditionally, the effects of winter last longer in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks than they do elsewhere. One typical casualty of Greater Grand Forks winters is a late start to the high school spring sports season. Spring sports will have another late start in Greater Grand Forks, perhaps a lot later than usual. But conditions are as bad -- if not worse -- in other areas. "We might be in the best shape of any place from what we're hearing," Grand Forks athletic director Todd Olson said. "And that's rare.
Tim Tibesar, who spent two seasons as UND's defensive coordinator, said he still remembers how difficult it was to stop receiver Weston Dressler during Sioux practices. Four seasons later, Tibesar again will have a hand in trying to stop Dressler, the reigning Canadian Football League's rookie of the year. After spending the last three years as an assistant coach at Kansas State, Tibesar was named the linebackers coach of the Montreal Alouettes earlier this week. He'll join Montreal coach Mark Trestman's staff in June. As the Montreal linebackers coach, Tibesar again will have a hand in a
A handful of North Dakota high school teams have played for a state girls fastpitch softball championship in relative obscurity the past few seasons. Those same teams -- in addition to a few more -- will play for another title this season. But there will be a difference. The North Dakota High School Activities Association has sanctioned girls softball this season.