Jeff Kolpack covers North Dakota State athletics, the Fargo Marathon and golf for The Forum. His blog can be accessed at www.bisonmedia.areavoices.com. On the radio, Kolpack & Izzo sports talk show runs from 9-11 a.m. every Saturday morning. April through August, the WDAY Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack runs from 8-9 a.m.
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FARGO—There are two certainties in the running career of Eric Loeffler these days. One, he's entered in the Sanford Half Marathon Saturday morning that starts at the Fargodome. Two, he's qualified for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials—Marathon in Atlanta. What happens between now and Saturday and now and February of 2020 is sort of a "see how it's going" scenario. At 41 years old, age is not necessarily on his side at the marathon distance, but experience is his best friend.
FARGO—It was a two-hour layover in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Monday morning, Jan. 15, two more hours for Tom Hoge to perhaps contemplate what could have been and what actually happened. That's the thing about the PGA Tour — if you don't win the tournament, there is always something. What the Fargo South High School graduate can take away is his highest career finish, a third-place showing at the Sony Open in Honolulu, Hawaii. It has him on the doorstep of threatening to reach the next level in PGA Tour status.
FRISCO, Texas—It was Friday, Jan. 5, and there were four teams still playing college football. Two of them, Georgia and Alabama, are playing for the FBS national championship next Monday in Atlanta. The other two are in Frisco. North Dakota State and James Madison will kick it off at 11 a.m. Saturday morning to decide the Division I FCS championship. Both head coaches on Friday said the FCS is the right level for their respective programs.
FARGO—This week, RJ Urzendowski will return to the scene of perhaps the greatest one minute in the history of North Dakota State wide receivers. At the least, it was 38 seconds of drama at the highest stage of Division I FCS football. A true freshman in the 2014 title game, Urzendowski caught three passes for 78 yards in a game-winning drive that beat Illinois State 29-27 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
FARGO—North Dakota State has implemented almost its entire game plan in advance of facing James Madison University of Virginia on Saturday for the Division I FCS national championship. That includes pinpointing the best bowler on the team. Before trying to win the football game, redshirt freshman defensive tackle Michael Kelly will try to help the Bison win the bowling competition on Thursday night in the annual Great Texas Barbecue Bowl. "Big 315-pound Mike Kelly," said senior defensive tackle Nate Tanguay.
FARGO—The large headline on The Forum's sports page on Thursday, July 20, was all fine and dandy. The Big Ten Conference is back on the FCS scheduling table, it read in so many words. It hasn't been made official by the league but word is out Big Ten schools will be allowed to schedule FCS programs on the years when they have four home games in a nine-game league schedule. In other words, every Big Ten school in every other year will have room for an FCS game, if it so chooses.
FARGO—It was many years ago when John Manesis would travel to Rockford, Ill., to visit his grandparents. Those were the days when the Rockford Peaches were an anchor team in the old All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which was popularized into the mainstream by the 1992 movie "A League of Their Own." It didn't take Manesis long to figure out the star of the team—Dorothy Kamenshek, better known as "Kammie" to fans of the baseball league. "I remember Dorothy very well," he said. "We used to go watch a lot of her games."
FARGO — It was in a meeting room at the Arrowwood Resort hotel in Alexandria, Minn., in 2002 when the old Division II North Central Conference was dealt the first spear into the midsection. North Dakota State, South Dakota State and Northern Colorado wanted the entire league to move to Division I. The rest, essentially said, hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more no more no more no more. Well, Jack may come back after all.
FARGO—The plan was for utility infielder Andy Young to finish the three-game minor league baseball series with the Peoria (Ill.) Chiefs and then drive to Midland, Mich., for the home run derby in the Midwest League All-Star game. Then he got the call. No home run derby and no All-Star game. He got something better. A promotion. "It was a surprise," Young said.
FARGO—What started as a troublesome-looking weather forecast last Wednesday steadily got better as the Scheels Fargo Marathon week honed in on its 13th annual event on Saturday, May 20. By Friday, marathon executive director Mark Knutson was feeling pretty good about the conditions. He was right. Light winds and cool-but-not-cold temperatures made for ideal running weather and nowhere was that more evident than in the medical tent near the finish line at the Fargodome. There wasn't much going on.