Chris Murphy is a sports reporter for the Forum. He's covered high school and college sports in Chicago, North Dakota and Minnesota since 2009 and, for some reason, has been given awards for doing so.
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MOORHEAD, Minn.—Normally, Thursdays would be spent taking medication at Sanford Children's hospital in Fargo for 4-year-old Knox Olafson. He was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, on April 28.
WEST FARGO, N.D.—Tyler Robertson sat emotionless as his girlfriend of nearly two years, his mother and his mother's cousin broke down in the doctor's office upon hearing the diagnosis. The 19-year-old was doing the math in his head, where a tumor the size of a grapefruit was removed a week earlier. At best, he'd live to be 29 years old, at worst 24. "So how long could I make it?" Tyler asked himself.
FARGO—West Fargo High School graduate and North Dakota State wrestler-to-be Brandon Metz paced frantically on the Fargodome turf on Saturday, July 22. He walked with purpose, but what he was looking for was nowhere to be found. Metz had just lost the USA Wrestling Junior Greco-Roman championship match at 285 pounds 5-3. He lost to Illinois' Anthony Cassioppi, who defeated Metz in the freestyle title match 4-1 on Tuesday. He lost on a correct throw with one second remaining that gave Cassioppi a one-point lead and a Greco-Roman national title.
FARGO—Even surrounded by all-stars Tylee Irwin stood out. The South Dakota State commit led Class A girls to a 67-64 win and a sweep over Class B in the Lions All-Star basketball series at the Fargo Civic Center on Tuesday, July 11. Irwin finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds, showing why she was North Dakota's Miss Basketball. Class A topped Class B 77-74 to make it back-to-back sweeps of Class B. The game plan for Class A was to have the ball in Irwin's hands at crunch time.
FARGO—Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz had a quick response when asked why he brought wide receivers from the Eagles to Fargo to train. "This is home," said Wentz, the former North Dakota State star quarterback. For the second straight day, Wentz and Eagles wide receivers were running drills at the NDSU practice field Tuesday, July 11, for about two hours. On Monday, the receivers were out on jet skis on Pelican Lake near Pelican Rapids, Minn. "Carson is like the president around here," Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith said.
MOORHEAD, Minn.—Former Moorhead hockey standout and Stanley Cup champion Matt Cullen still isn't sure if he'll play another NHL season, but he is sure he's bringing the Stanley Cup to Moorhead when he gets his day with it on Aug. 31. "We're bringing it home," Cullen said. "I will be making it available to the public at some point. I just don't know how I'm going to do it or where or when. I have to follow up with the Cup guys and see exactly what the schedule is, see the exact details of when they're coming in and when they're leaving, so I can make the plans."
MOORHEAD, Minn.—In November, Pittsburgh Penguins center and former Moorhead hockey standout Matt Cullen was standing with teammates Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin looking at a miniature Stanley Cup. The NHL gives one out to each player who wins a title the previous season. Since the age of 2, in the living room of his home, Cullen has been a hockey player. For more than a decade, the 40-year-old has also been a father to 10-year-old Brooks, 8-year-old Wyatt and 6-year-old Joey. In that moment he was both.
FARGO—In the early minutes of the second half of the semifinal girls soccer match Friday, June 2, Fargo Shanley goalkeeper Megan Miranda was staring down one of the best athletes in the state in Bismarck St. Mary's junior Britta Curl. Shanley held a two-goal lead at Sid Cichy Stadium and Curl was eyeing to cut that in half via a penalty kick. Miranda had other plans, diving right and getting two hands on Curl's attempt to help lead Shanley to a 2-1 lead and one win away from a state title.
MOORHEAD, Minn.—The cliché "no tomorrow" is often used when a Game 7 approaches in sports. Regardless of what happens in Game 7 of the NHL Eastern Conference Finals between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, May 25, there will most certainly be a Friday.
FARGO—Byron Pool did not expect to be in Fargo for seven years. He was 34 years old in 2010 and had just coached the Bismarck Bobcats to a National Junior A Tier 2 title in his second season in the North American Hockey League. He figured he'd be with Fargo Force in the United States Hockey League for a couple years.