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Eric Sondag's spirited charge in the final three miles helped the Grand Forks runner win last year's Fargo Marathon -- an event that is becoming one of North Dakota's most recognized sporting events. The 2009 Fargo Marathon will take place Saturday, but Sondag won't be able to defend his title. "I've had an issue with my shin," Sondag said. "That's been going on since last July. My training was interrupted. So the marathon was out of the cards this year. It's hard because I definitely wanted to go back and defend the title." Sondag won't be standing on the sideline this weekend.
Before last season's Conference USA swimming and diving meet, Steve Parsons -- an assistant coach at East Carolina -- knew UND would turn in a respectable performance in its first Division I postseason meet. Parsons, who was named the new UND men's and women's swim coach Wednesday, had an idea of what to expect since he served as a Sioux assistant during the 2004-05 season. "As coaches, we look at results," Parsons said. "I knew they wouldn't be afraid of anybody at the meet.
The wind was blowing out at Kraft Field on Saturday, a good sign for the hitters. Eight more baseballs left the park during UND's doubleheader sweep of Concordia College. Home runs have been the trend during UND's short home season. But it was a seventh-inning bunt by UND's No. 9 hitter that turned out to be the biggest play of the day. Jabby Bakhit's safety squeeze scored Ryne Jungling with the winning run in UND's 12-11 victory in the first game. The bunt capped a big rally for the Sioux, who trailed 11-4 entering the bottom of the sixth.
Because of the late spring, no laps have been completed at any area race track. And it may be a week or more before the green flag falls at any area track, including River Cities Speedway. Dustin Hapka, however, has turned more than 600 laps since February as the Grand Forks driver is running full time this season on the World of Outlaws Late Model series, which features the country's top drivers. "We've been doing OK," Hapka said from Shinnston, W.Va., where he was working on his car in preparation of tonight's WoO event -- the Buckeye 100 in Chilicothe, Ohio. "We struggled last week.
The UND women's basketball program has had strong ties to Lake Region State College over the years. That bond became even stronger today when UND announced the signing of 6-foot-5 Lake Region standout Kate Sharkova. Sharkova becomes the latest in a long line of standout players the Sioux have signed out of Lake Region, a perennial junior college power. "Kate will be a great addition to our program," UND coach Gene Roebuck said. "She obviously has the skills to step in and play right away. She runs the floor really well. She's a good rebounder. She can play multiple minutes.
During its weather-plagued spring season, UND didn't have a lot of time to accomplish its goals. But the Sioux made the most of their time outdoors, finishing their spring season 1-1-1 after Saturday's 1-1 tie against Minnesota State-Moorhead. "It was a good season," UND soccer coach Kristin Gay said. "Technique-wise, we got a little better. And we've become stronger and quicker. "We're a small team so we need to play bigger than we are.
Early on, UND football coach Chris Mussman had a few concerns about the Sioux offense. "I didn't know if we'd get a first down," Mussman said.
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.