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 high school softball statistics of North Dakota State sophomore Vanessa Anderson look like something out of a video game. She hit .607 her senior year and left Byron High School in the southeastern corner of Minnesota with seven state prep records. She had all of nine at bats as a freshman at NDSU. It was a striking change of pace for a player who was used to dominating opponents. She was also a different type of recruit for NDSU, which routinely attracts players from across the country who have played in high-level summer programs.
FARGO—A running club out of Coon Rapids, Minn., that annually brings a handful of native Kenyan competitors to the Scheels Fargo Marathon, is struggling with overseas travel issues this year. The result will be a slimmed-down representation at this weekend's 13th annual Fargo event. Bill Kosgei, founder of the Duma Runners Club, said he does not know why at least four Kenyans were denied entry into the United States. "They never say why. It's hard to tell," he said. "I know it's something we've not experienced before, but now it's becoming an issue."
FARGO—At this rate, North Dakota State may have to consider expanding its indoor track and field facility. They're running out of room to hang all the banners. The Bison women continued their onslaught on the Summit League winning the outdoor title for the 10th consecutive season Saturday, May 13 at Ellig Sports Complex. NDSU has won all 20 indoor and outdoor titles since joining the conference, a dynasty that is as dominant as it gets in any sport.
FARGO—It was a warm day at the men's Summit League Outdoor Track & Field Championships Saturday afternoon, May 13. The heat was applied by North Dakota State. The Bison capitalized on a dominant performance by their throwers with enough firepower on the track to take their eighth straight conference championship. "I think being at home helps," said head coach Don Larson. "The senior leadership was key for us this year and the way they were mentors to the underclassmen."
FARGO—It was back in eighth grade in Detroit Lakes, Minn., when Rose Jackson left school during the day for an orthodontist appointment. Her mother Linda Jackson, in an oddity, told Rose to also bring some workout clothes. It puzzled the youngster, but she did it anyway. After the appointment, another oddity hit Rose: Her mom dropped her off at the high school and told her to go to track practice. It was part of what she said was a ploy to trick her into joining the team, which was also orchestrated by her brother, Eddie Taylor. "So that's how I got into it," she said.
FARGO—It's a story the North Dakota State football program has tapped into over the years when it comes to finding offensive and defensive linemen. Find some strong, under-recruited prospects from the region and develop them into Division I players. These days, the Bison men's and women's track and field programs are doing the same when it comes to finding national-elite throwers. In the shot put, hammer throw, discus and javelin, NDSU has become "Throwing University." At "Throwing U," they talk about hard work before anything else.
FARGO—A solar eclipse and a tornado in Alaska are among the rarities on earth. This month, you can add North Dakota State not being the prohibitive favorite in the Summit League softball tournament. The three-time defending champions and winners of the automatic berth to the NCAA tournament in six of the last seven years enters this year's six-team bracket as the No. 2 seed behind regular-season champion Indiana Purdue-Indianapolis. After fielding some teams that were virtually untouchable in recent years, the Bison were mortal this season.
FARGO—Defeating Oral Roberts in one game of a weekend series is a pretty good accomplishment. Taking two from the perennial Summit League baseball leaders isn't something many teams have done. Sweeping the Golden Eagles is unheard of, literally. No conference team has ever done it and ORU maintained that streak Sunday afternoon, May 7, with a 4-0 victory over North Dakota State at Newman Outdoor Field.
FARGO — Nick Saban got a raise Tuesday morning, May 2, because, well, it had probably been awhile. The amounts are staggering. He received a $4 million signing bonus, meaning he was $4 million richer at lunch than when he woke up in the morning. His annual salary this season is $6.7 million and he gets another $400,000 simply by staying at the University of Alabama for the entire year. He'll get more just for not moving than most FCS coaches make in a season. ESPN is reporting his total yearly income for 2017 will be $11.2 million. For coaching college football.
FARGO—The North Dakota State men's basketball season ended at about 10:15 p.m. on March 4, the result of a first-round loss in the Summit League tournament. In essence, Cameron Hunter's 2017-18 season started a few minutes later. The redshirt season was officially over. "It's time, it's go time," Hunter said. His time has a chance to come sooner than expected after the unexpected departure of starting point guard Khy Kabellis two weeks ago. That is also Hunter's position and he'll be spending the next few months preparing to give it his best shot, he said.