Sports express: The Herald coverage you need to know this week

UND's Ashley Brueggeman (second from left) celebrates a Fighting Hawks point with teammates (from left) Darian Chwialkowski, Taylor Riedl, Julia Vetter, Brynn Nieukirk and Lexi Ahrens in the second set of Tuesday's home match against NDSU. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

As this newsletter (or digest or roundup?) reaches a second week of content, we've got a new name but the same goal. The Herald wants to make it easier for sports fans to find exactly what they need to know to stay informed. So, each Monday, Herald sports reporter Tom Miller will give you a quick roundup of the latest Grand Forks Herald sports coverage in one easy-to-consume spot.

The hope is that a reader can find a sports story they like, one that managed to slip through the cracks of their news feed last week, and dive into it via this roundup.

As we look from a general news perspective at the last week, whether locally or nationally, the pandemic and protests of racial injustice dominated readers' story consumption.

That's no different for sports, either. Those two themes can be seen in nearly ever major Herald sports story over the last week.

Here's what we've been working on:


1. UND finds itself in racial controversy

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Fighting Hawks outside hitter Brynn Nieukirk (2) goes vertical to block Western Illinois' Mariah Mitchell's shot during a 2019 home volleyball match. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

Early last week, Herald reporter Brad Schlossman reported how UND admitted an error in using a volleyball player on a promotional poster , even after the athletic department had been aware of the volleyball player's participation in a video that included a racial slur. The school apologized only after UND linebacker Jaxson Turner tweeted his displeasure at school leaders.

By the end of the week, I wrote how UND said it mutually parted ways with two volleyball players over the incident.

2. Racing crowd allowed to climb

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WISSOTA street stocks drivers file past the main grandstand at River Cities Speedway prior to Friday's feature race. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

The Grand Forks County Commission bumped River Cities Speedway's allowed attendance from 500 to 1,000 from Friday to Friday.

That meant RCS put on a full show of all four usual classes for the first time since September on Friday night.


Herald sports editor Wayne Nelson, a member of the River Cities Speedway Hall of Fame, covered the show .

3. College hockey rules see a tweak

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UND players celebrate their overtime win against Wisconsin Saturday at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Schlossman, our UND hockey beat writer, tells us of some rules change to college hockey including those involving overtime setups, handshake lines and faceoff changes.

These rules still need a stamp of approval come July 22.

4. UND's 2021 recruiting class picks up

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West Central Area-Ashby junior Jaden Norby runs the ball during a game against Wadena-Deer Creek on Sept. 6, 2019. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)

The UND football program's 2021 recruiting class continues to grow, despite an NCAA ruling that hasn't allowed on-campus visits during a coronavirus lockdown.


In the last week, UND picked up a pair of Top 25 Minnesota recruits in West Central United-Ashby's Jaden Norby and Gaven Ziebarth of Cambridge-Isanti .

5. Minnesota baseball teams make moves

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Detroit Lakes runner Andrew Kulik slides into second base as East Grand Forks' Alex Mushitz (5) and Logan Spencer (2) chase the ball Wednesday night at Stauss Park. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

Two weeks ago, we found out about some of North Dakota's plans to piece together a summer baseball league without the national oversight of the American Legion.

Last week, Herald reporter Greg DeVillers told us about some of Minnesota's plans to play ball this summer, including those in East Grand Forks.

Fastpitch softball is also starting to gain momentum as sports inch back into our lives.

6. Starting to speak out

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UND football coach Bubba Schweigert chats with Midco Sports Network's Alex Heinert during the Fighting Hawks' 2018 signing day on Wednesday. Photo by Nick Nelson, Grand Forks Herald.


At the start of last week, Schlossman and I put together some of the UND responses to the death of George Floyd .

Fighting Hawks football coach Bubba Schweigert told me he had started to join position meetings with his team in order to hear athletes talk about their individual experiences.

7. Middle of the pack

Luke Skokna is hoisted up by his Fighting Hawk teammates after scoring one of his two touchdowns against Southern Utah at the Alerus Center. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

One of the first conference polls is out for the Missouri Valley Football Conference.

Hero Sports is picking UND to finish sixth in the program's first year in the 11-team league.

8. JBD's brother picks his spot

Jacob Bernard-Docker


The brother of UND's standout defenseman, Jacob Bernard-Docker, has made his college choice.

It's still in the NCHC, but it's not Grand Forks.

Seth Bernard-Docker has committed to Denver, where he'll head starting in the 2021-22 season.

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019 and 2022.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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