Qvale wins NDAPSSA’s Dakota AwardBrian Qvale went to the University of Montana hoping he had chosen the right place to continue his basketball career. All Qvale said he wanted was to play four good years and contribute to a winning team. He got that and much more.
By: Dustin Monke, Jeff Kolpack and Eric Peterson, Forum Communications Co.
Brian Qvale went to the University of Montana hoping he had chosen the right place to continue his basketball career. All Qvale said he wanted was to play four good years and contribute to a winning team.
He got that and much more.
The 6-foot-11, 260-pound center from Williston ended his college career as the all-time leading shot blocker at Montana and the Big Sky Conference.
For his excellence on the hardwood, Qvale is the recipient of the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association’s 2011 Dakota Award. The award is given to a North Dakota native who excels in sports outside of the state.
North Dakota State sophomore Amy Anderson was named the North Dakota Non-School Athlete of the Year and the Casselton American Legion baseball team was named non-school team of the year after winning the Class B state championship last summer.
“The award is excellent,” Qvale said. “The list of people on there that have won it in the past is a very prestigious list. I’m honored to be on there. It shows that all the hard work I put in, in Montana and in Williston, have paid off.”
Qvale averaged 14.4 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3 blocks per game for the Grizzlies during his senior season. He finished with 245 career blocks.
Qvale said he can’t put one memory from his college career above another, but added that the 2010 Big Sky championship game is near the top of that list.
The Grizzlies rallied from 20-point halftime deficit to beat Weber State 66-65 and reach the NCAA Division I tournament.
“I will never forget winning that Big Sky championship or the experience I had at the NCAA tournament,” Qvale said. “I will always remember that.”
Qvale’s career isn’t done yet, either.
He’s in Las Vegas for about another month, training for his first season of professional basketball — in Turkey. In August, Qvale will begin playing for Aliaga Petkim of the Turkish Basketball League in Aliaga, Turkey.
He agreed to a “low six-figure” deal from team despite receiving mild interest from NBA teams.
“I just plan to go over there and play well for my team, try to help my team win games,” Qvale said. “When that season is over, if there’s opportunities to stay somewhere overseas or if there’s opportunities to go back and try to make the NBA or summer league team, I’ll have to make the decision then. Right now, I just need to accept this deal I have and play well for the team that wants me to come play.”
Other nominees for the Dakota Award included Dickinson’s Cole Frenzel, a baseball standout for the University of Arizona, University of Nebraska gymnast Lora Evenstad from Grand Forks, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Jeremy Horst of Burlington and Carla Christofferson, a Tolna native who is co-owner of the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks.
The golf season got off to an uncharacteristic start for Anderson, a North Dakota State sophomore. She shot an 80 in the first tournament of the spring at Northern Arizona.
It’s cooking now.
Two days removed from finishing tied for 12th in the NCAA Division I Championships, she qualified for the U.S. Open by winning a sectional qualifier in the Twin Cities. The tournament runs July 7-10 at The Broadmoor golf course in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“What this Open is going to be is a learning experience,” she said. “I’m not going to go in thinking I’m going to win it or make the cut or anything. I want to play the course, see where my game is and see what I need to do to play at that level in the future.”
Anderson will play the Open as an amateur. She is a former Junior Girls Amateur champion and led the stroke play portion after one round at the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 2009.
“Whenever I go practice, it’s at the forefront of my mind,” Anderson said. “I think about the shots I’ll be hitting there. I don’t know what to expect but I do know the rough will be long.”
Multiple injuries to the pitching staff didn’t stop Casselton from winning the Class B American Legion baseball championship a summer ago.
Arm injuries prevented Beau Sinner and Jalen Ham from pitching all season long and staff ace Brandon Rust hurt his arm in the state tournament.
“It was a real resilient bunch and we had other kids step up,” said coach Scott Radloff, who is not coaching the team this summer.
Alex Jacobson helped clinch the championship for Casselton. The right-hander pitched a complete game in his team’s 7-4 against Grafton in the title game. Jacobson struck out nine batters and scattered nine hits.
“It was a very talent loaded team. You coach a bunch of kids like that it can make a coach look good,” Radloff said.
Casselton finished with a 39-9 record and advanced to the Central Plains Division II tournament in LeSueur, Minn. A number of the players on the team also played on the 2008 state championship squad.
“It was a very veteran group,” Radloff said. “These guys were all about baseball.”
Dustin Monke of The Dickinson Press an Jeff Kolpack and Eric Peterson of The Forum and contributed to this story.