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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BARNESVILLE, MINN.—Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton High School counselor Sarah Kjos walked up to D-G-F athletic director Joe O'Keefe on Tuesday to tell him she was going to Barnesville to help out because of a tragedy. O'Keefe asked what happened. Kjos told him a former student and volunteer coach had died in a car accident. "Please don't let it be Jaynie," O'Keefe thought to himself. It was Jaynie.
MOORHEAD -- St. Cloud State junior defenseman and former Moorhead hockey standout Will Borgen was driving home from practicing with the Spuds hockey team a couple weeks ago when he got a call from Huskies coach Bob Motzko. Borgen was home for winter break and Motzko was at the World Junior Championships in Buffalo, N.Y.
Detroit Lakes, Minn. On the outskirts of Detroit Lakes, the Johnson family made a dirt path through the woods to the nearest home, a quarter of a mile away. Seven-year-old Janaye Johnson and her younger brother, Davis, needed a way to get to the house of the boy who moved in a couple years previous. He was in the same grade as Janaye, which felt like a miracle to her, as she was in the market for someone to play with, and the market was slim in those parts.
FARGO—Marquise Bridges was recruited out of DeLaSalle High School of Minneapolis in 2014 to be a wide receiver for North Dakota State. And for good reason. He had 66 catches for 1,317 yards and 21 touchdowns in his senior season with the Islanders. On Tuesday, in NDSU's 55-13 semifinal win over Sam Houston State, Bridges got the first and second interceptions of his collegiate career. Giving up the wide receiver role last season and moving to cornerback as a freshman was tough for Bridges, but he did it for a shot to play.
LAMOURE, N.D.—There were 20 days separating the birth of LaMoure-Litchville-Marion senior Anna Holen and Jackie Meiklejohn. The two have been inseparable since, on and off the volleyball court. "We've basically been friends since birth," Holen said.
FARGO—Before Ada-Borup-Norman County West took on Ottertail Central in the Minnesota Class 1A, Section 6 championship football game on Friday, Randy Peterson gave the Cougars his son's helmet. Randy's son, Carter, was killed last October when a drunk driver crashed into the car Carter was driving. He would've been starting on both lines for the Cougars on Friday, but he died at the scene at the age of 17. Randy was one of the first responders.
BARNESVILLE, Minn.—Barnesville head football coach Bryan Strand's favorite coach is his father. Richard Strand coached football at Southland High School in Adams, Minn., for 30 years beginning in 1973, winning a state title in 1983. Bryan will always remember Dec. 6, 2014. It was the day of his father's funeral. Part of the memory of that day is standing in the doorway and seeing Hawley head coach Peder Naatz and Hawley assistant coach Lee Eklund walking in. Eklund was walking in after recently being diagnosed with colon cancer.
Underwood, Minn. For the first two nights after being told his mom was dead, Underwood (Minn.) senior offensive and defensive lineman Kade Laney didn't sleep at his house. It wasn't until the 6-foot-3, 265-pound Laney climbed into his own bed that reality set in. His mom was not coming up the stairs to pray with him and say goodnight like she had done every night he slept in his home. "That's probably the one thing I miss the most," Laney said. "It was just coming upstairs, going to bed and realizing she wasn't coming that it hit me."
MOORHEAD, Minn. — It was a ridiculous question to ask, after former Moorhead Spuds hockey standout and current Minnesota Wild center Matt Cullen said he was bringing the Stanley Cup to the downtown Moorhead Dairy Queen on Aug. 31. Are you going to fill it with ice cream? "I mean, you have to, don't you?" Cullen said. "Yeah, we'll plan on doing that for sure."
Fargo Luke Sandy couldn't remember if he had a routine when he stepped to home plate. The batter's box and hitting has become second nature to the Fargo Shanley graduate and soon-to-be North Dakota State baseball player. In order to remember that he taps home plate once and brings the bat up to his shoulder, Sandy had to get out of his car and pretend to walk up to home plate. At this point, it all feels like one fluent motion.