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—The hip pain for North Dakota State left tackle Colin Conner was so severe at times last season that just getting through a game was a chore. He had surgery after the season and is out for spring football. Dillon Radunz didn't have the opportunity to play through injuries last season. The left tackle tore the ACL in his knee in the season opener. Surgery has him missing spring ball too. When both Conner and Radunz return to practice when fall camp starts in August, both may find the depth chart crowded.
FARGO—When Alyssa Olin left Mott, N.D., for North Dakota State, expectations were more in the "hope-she-develops" category. She was a Class B state runner-up in the javelin, which is good, but the distances didn't exactly jump off the page. Bison head women's track and field coach Stevie Keller isn't sure if any Bison coach even saw her throw in high school. NDSU offered what Keller said was "a token scholarship" and that was enough for Olin to sign on. These days, she could probably throw a javelin from one end of Mott to the other.
FARGO—North Dakota State isn't alone in its baseball scheduling misery this spring. The poor weather that has hampered a good chunk of the country in the last month has home fields looking empty. The Bison are one of 12 Division I teams that have yet to play a home game, said NDSU head coach Tod Brown. And for the Bison, it's not looking promising anytime soon. Their Newman Outdoor Field still had snow on it Tuesday with forecasted temperatures in the next 10 days not offering much help. Brown thinks NDSU is at a minimum 14 days from playing at Newman.
FARGO—The approach by Amy Olson on No. 18 was nearly perfect, done on the big stage of an LPGA major tournament. She birdied the hole at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Although it wasn't for the victory in the ANA Inspiration, it was a top-10 finish nonetheless in a season that's well on the way to being her best. Meanwhile, a couple of time zones away in Minneapolis, her brother Nathan Anderson was watching it on TV, having seen those laser-like shots from his sister for years.
FARGO—The storyline is getting to be as common as talking about the weather around here. Small-town kid. Walks on to the North Dakota State football team. Works his way into the lineup. Introducing the next candidate to fill that stereotype: Jackson Hankey from Park River, N.D.
FARGO—Holden Hotchkiss and Noah Sanders have become pretty good friends since the true freshmen quarterbacks arrived at North Dakota State. So much that they plan on living together next season. They came from different areas of the country—Hotchkiss is from Lakeland, Fla., and Sanders from Apple Valley, Minn. With winter in the Midwest still lingering, Sanders was asked if he has a standing invite to the Sunshine State. "For sure, I'll go down there with Holden and hit the beach a bit if we ever get an opportunity," he said.
FARGO—It was late in the year last season when North Dakota State University sophomore James Hendricks was on his way to becoming college football's Andrew Romine—the Detroit Tigers baseball player who played all nine positions in one game last September. The Bison strong safety was also the backup quarterback and linebacker and a special teams player. He even earned the light-hearted nickname "Jimmy Football" from teammates.
FARGO—It was almost like Nick DeLuca had payback as his motivation, only this time it wasn't against another football team. It was against the stop watch. The former North Dakota State linebacker got another chance at showing what he could do in front of NFL scouts on Thursday and he came out satisfied with the result. Certainly, DeLuca said, better than what he showed at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis in early March.
FARGO—The temperature was in the low 40s and sunny Tuesday, March 27. For the North Dakota State softball players who have been walking to class lately in their winter coats, it must have seemed like Spring Break. Unfortunately, it was a one-day weather tease. Also unfortunately, the debut of North Dakota State University's new softball stadium has been put on hold indefinitely. The Bison have already canceled the home-opening weekend April 7-8 against Nebraska-Omaha, instead trying to find a neutral site for the three-game Summit League series.
FARGO — The glory of the 2017 Division I FCS national title has somewhat faded over the winter, the result of the North Dakota State football players getting back to work with winter conditioning and the coaches getting back to work recruiting and planning for spring football. It's here already, spring ball, with the first workout set for Wednesday, March 21. The Bison will return 26 players who started at least one game last season, and that doesn't include All-American candidate Greg Menard, who tore the ACL in his knee last August in practice.