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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PERHAM, Minn. — Bob Wilkowski took a second to try to remember how old he was when asked last week. The former Perham High School football player, coach and administrator turned to his wife, Carol, and asked if he was 72 or 73. The two met in 1967 when Bob was a punter and wide receiver for the University of Minnesota-Duluth. She was a freshman and he was on campus early for his fifth season of football. They've been together ever since. Carol reminded Bob he was 73.
NEW ORLEANS — Nick Wagner has taken photos of elections where candidates have death threats. He was on the ground taking photos when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas. He's taken photos while flying in old war planes in Fargo. Tuesday, while photographing the Sugar Bowl between the University of Georgia and the University of Texas, Wagner had the most dangerous moment of his career. It came when the horn of Bevo, a Texas longhorn and University of Texas mascot, hit him in the face and back. Bevo is around 1,700 pounds and his horns are 58 inches wide.
PERHAM, Minn. — When University of Minnesota long snapper Payton Jordahl was 3 years old, his daycare would tell his mother, Kim, they were going to have to start charging her extra because he kept bringing his imaginary football team with him.
MOORHEAD, Minn. -- Chris Ellingson has been a high school basketball referee for 15 years and a baseball and softball umpire for 12 years in Minnesota . He’ll never forget coming out of the dressing room, after waving off a basket at the buzzer, to three people holding a video camera yelling at him about the call. He remembers every detail from the experience, but he keeps the school, the teams and the names of the people out of the story.
FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — Heidi Fisher cries when she talks about her bowling team at Moorhead, Minn. She's been the coach of the adapted bowling team for the Spuds since the program began two years ago. The tears come from thinking about people like Katie Cragg, who said she had never waved and said good luck to a bus with her son Mitchell on it until he joined the team. Katie estimates she or her husband are with Mitchell 90 percent of the time. Mitchell is a seventh-grader and has a chromosomal condition called trisomy 13. He's nonverbal and has physical impairments.
MINNEAPOLIS—Connie Petermann walked into the post-op room at University of Minnesota Masonic Children's hospital Monday to find her first-born son weeping. Wahpeton (N.D.) High School sophomore Jacob Petermann had warned his mother he wouldn't be able to look at what remained of his left leg after the amputation. For 40 minutes he wept. Connie didn't know what to do. This was his fifth surgery since a cancerous tumor was found in his left leg after he broke it during warmups in a Jan. 12 boys basketball game. He had never come out of surgery like this.
FARGO — On the first day back in the states after winning an Olympic gold medal in South Korea, Grand Forks natives Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson were about to go on the ice at the Staples Center. The U.S. women's hockey team was being honored before a February matchup between the Los Angeles Kings and Vegas Golden Knights.
MOORHEAD, Minn.—Former Moorhead hockey standout Will Borgen grew up dreaming of playing in the NHL. He used to tell his dad he didn't know what he would do if he couldn't play hockey. He won't have to worry about that for awhile, as he signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday. "Pretty cool. It's always been a dream of mine," Borgen said. "I signed this morning. It's been a lot to do. I've been on the phone all day and packing."
FARGO—For the fifth time in the past seven seasons, Bismarck Century's girls basketball team is headed to the North Dakota Class A championship game. The Patriots topped Bismarck St. Mary's 55-48 Friday, March 9, in the semifinals at North Dakota State's Scheels Center for a spot in the title game at 6 p.m. Saturday. Century has lost in its last two appearances in the championship game. Junior guard and University of North Dakota commit Lilly Keplin has been part of both of those teams.
FARGO—With less than a minute to go in overtime, the ball was in the hands of West Fargo senior Joe Pistorius. The Class A quarterfinal matchup at North Dakota State's Scheels Center was tied. Earlier in the day Pistorius was named North Dakota's Gatorade Player of the Year. And in the final minutes of regulation his technical foul began a Jamestown comeback that had West Fargo eyeing defeat.