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 — For the last eight years, Ben and Amanda Woodside have virtually traveled the world in the name of Ben's professional basketball career, with more stops than both could have ever imagined. That is about to change. Next year, he is following her career. "The roles have changed," Ben said. That means the playing career of the greatest player in the history of North Dakota State men's basketball is over. Woodside is retiring at age 31 with the only basketball ahead of him a summer camp venture with former teammate Lucas Moormann.
FARGO—The home opener was Wednesday, April 5. The real home opener for the North Dakota State baseball team is this weekend when South Dakota State comes to Newman Outdoor Field for a three-game Summit League series. It means the Bison will put out their best three starting pitchers and the first two, Luke Lind and Reed Pfannenstein, are seniors from near the Twin Cities area. The Sunday starter has a home address of Hitterdal, Minn., population 201.
FARGO — The first practice was on St. Mary's Lake near the Notre Dame campus and the players trying out for the newly-formed Fighting Irish club hockey team spent the first half hour shoveling snow off the ice. That's when coach Ralph Cardillo blew his whistle and told the players to gather around. At that point, it was becoming obvious there was too much weight in one area and the ice started cracking.
FARGO — The scrape wound near the elbow of Bennett Rindy had the severity of leaving a mark for a while. It also was one of those that looked like it hurt, although even if it did, there was zero chance he would tell you. It was around 9:30 in the morning, more than four-and-a-half hours since Bennett and his brother and roommate, Devan Rindy, woke up for North Dakota State spring football practice. It was another day in paradise for the two, who consider it paradise to be grinding it out in practice with the other players.
FARGO — Jake Henriksen walked into Fargo's Barbot Boxing & Fitness in February of 2015 at 233 pounds and with very little boxing experience. He could sense the odd looks, laughs and snickers from other fighters. Those type of reactions didn't stop much, either, when he started his amateur career losing his first five bouts. "It was looking pretty bleak," he said.
FARGO—It's their field away from Carson Wentz's field, where the only cameras are those in the hands of Carson or his brother, Zach Wentz. And for the fans of the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, "Wentz Bros Outdoors" provides a glimpse into his life away from football. It's just a hobby for the North Dakotans, who grew up hunting in the state. For now anyway. It's possible it could mushroom into something bigger.
FARGO — Last year was more about the splash of Carson Wentz's right arm and the national notoriety that went along with the star quarterback. With the NFL Network and ESPN at North Dakota State's annual Pro Day, the Wentz wagon started rolling. This year was more about the two-ton Chevy pickup. The big guys.
FARGO — Most of the North Dakota State football players had left the Dacotah Field Bubble after practice had ended earlier this week. Sean Engel remained, doing some drills under the watchful eye of receivers coach Atif Austin that looked more like something from an armed forces boot camp. All Engel cared to say about it is "coach Austin is helping me get better." "He expects a lot of out of me and I expect a lot out of myself," Engel said.
FARGO—James Hendricks asked a pointed question in his post-season meeting with North Dakota State head coach Chris Klieman: What is the best way to get on the field on Saturdays? It probably wasn't going to be at quarterback, where as a redshirt freshman last year, Hendricks was No. 3 on the depth chart behind sophomore Easton Stick and junior Cole Davis. So the coach and player came to a mutual decision: Move to defense.
FARGO — North Dakota State went into the 2013 Division I FCS national title game with a team of 26 seniors. When it comes to a mature team, that was almost semi-pro in nature with so many guys in their early 20s. The Bison played like it too, easily handling Towson (Md.) University 35-7 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. "I remember looking at that 2013 team and absolutely loving it," said senior defensive tackle Nate Tanguay. "They were so close and that's how I see us."