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have these Bison student-athletes their sights set on greatness.









Year after year, season after season, the faces change at North Dakota State. While rosters and visages change, the mantra has always remained the same: who’s next? Who will be the next name to make an impact as a Bison? Regardless of the sport, North Dakota State continues to showcase that they develop their student-athletes the right way. The evidence is in the tremendous success of each program’s “underclassmen”. While their age may say otherwise, these student-athletes are ready for the limelight. 18 22 28 34 38




A photo recap of NDSU’s lone fall football game, a 39-28 win over Central Arkansas.

8 Editor’s Note 54 Team Makers 56 Interactive



60 Swany Says

In a tumultuous time in collegiate athletics, NDSU athletics director Matt Larsen gives us an update on Bison athletics.

Marie Olson Kobe Johnson Syra Tanchin Maleeck Harden-Hayes 2019 RISE Recap










Business As Usual (kind of) FROM NOLAN P. SCHMIDT


For the better part of seven months, every weekday has looked the same to me. The surroundings around me changed at times (from my office to my apartment and back to my office again), but I would go about every day the same. I would wake up and start (or be at) work by 7 a.m. I’d drink 73 ounces of water as soon as I could (usually finish it by 8:30 a.m.). After that, I’d make my morning coffee with my trusty French Press.

as my eating window is from noon until 8 p.m. I have eaten the same lunch every day for the last two years (spinach salad, cottage cheese or yogurt, a granola bar, a fruit cup, a fresh apple, cheddar cheese sandwich crackers, a protein shake and a multivitamin). I also tack on a cup of protein-packed oatmeal and 73 more ounces of water throughout the afternoon. That will usually guide me through the rest of the day and I’ll head home around 4 p.m.

From there, I’d work my day away (not many readers know I also edit our Fargo Monthly publication) until noon and lunch. I intermittently fast, so lunch is my first meal of the day

As soon as I am done working, I exercise. My girlfriend and I use our spare bedroom as a quasigym, which removes the need to interact at a gym (especially nowadays). I’ve


recently gotten into boxing workouts, which I sprinkle in with traditional lifting. You do what you’d like, but that combination is a challenge if you’re looking for one. After I workout, I have the same post-workout tasks. I have to drink my postworkout BCAA (Branch Chain Amino Acid), eat a protein bar (Robert Irvine’s FITCRUNCH’s are boss) and drink a protein shake. Following a shower, I’ll eat relatively the same dinner of ground turkey, egg whites, chicken sausage and sweet potato fries. I eat more than that, but I sprinkle in a variety of different things, those are just the staples. Once dinner is done, it’s time to unwind. On Mondays,

my lovely lady and I will make margaritas (I make very good ones), but we don’t drink much during the week. Unwinding usually means something on the Food Network (anything with Guy Fieri), TLC (90-Day Fiance), a movie (preferably horror) or professional wrestling (I’ll die on the hill of defending pro wrestling. Come at me.). Then it’s bedtime and I’ll do it all over again tomorrow. I am an introverted person by trade, so monotony is not something that will drive me crazy. Listing my daily routine above may showcase my insanity to some, but it works for me. Routine is customary, but I was missing something in all of that day-to-day

tedium. I was missing the main portion of my job and that is to sit down with studentathletes and tell their stories. I was not able to interview and photograph NDSU studentathletes and churn out great stories that showcase their hard work and success. These past few months, I’ve added that back to my routine and it feels amazing. While we may be wearing masks while talking and taking photos, it feels like all is right in the world. On top of that, I have been able to step behind the camera and dabble in photography along with writing stories. Adding that to my job has been both challenging and rewarding.

I know the work that went into this particular issue and it has helped me feel somewhat normal again. It has truly helped my daily routine get back to business as usual (kind of). Which, for me (as you now know), is comfortable. To all of you reading this, please wear a mask and social distance so we can continue on the road back to normalcy...

NOVEMBER 2020 | VOLUME 15 ISSUE 8 Bison Illustrated is a free publication distributed monthly (8 times a year). Our mission is to help promote North Dakota State University Athletics, provide a quality and fun reading experience and to improve the way of life in our community. The publication is mailed to homes across the US and has newsstand distribution throughout North Dakota and Minnesota.

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FOR ADVERTISING, CALL 701-478-SPOT (7768) or email info@spotlightmediafargo.com Bison Illustrated is published by Spotlight Media, LLC. Copyright 2020 Bison Illustrated & bisonillustrated.com All rights reserved. No parts of this magazine may be reproduced or distributed without written permission of Bison Illustrated. Bison Illustrated and Spotlight Media, LLC is not responsible for, and expressly disclaims all liability for, damages of any kind arising out of use, reference to, or reliance on such information. Spotlight Media, LLC accepts no liability for the accuracy of statements made by the advertisers. Send change of address information and other correspondence to: Spotlight Media LLC. 15 Broadway N, Suite 500 Fargo, ND 58102 or info@spotlightmediafargo.com



Lizards, turtles and dogs, oh my! Critter companions come in all shapes and sizes, and although in most households you’ll find a dog or a cat, many birds, reptiles and amphibians are just as beloved among pet owners. The annual pets issue strives to share all the essential information you need to care for your furry, or non-furry, friend. Inside you’ll find an extensive guide of pet resources in the Fargo-Moorhead area to ensure your pet is living their best life. Whether your pet has no legs, four legs or too many to count, we’ve got you covered. Also, find Fargo Monthly’s annual Wedding Guide on stands too!

Self-driving vehicles still seem like a thing more fit for the Jetsons than modern-day life. However, the wave of autonomous systems is already here in our little old prairie and the tide is rising. Check out this month’s issue to learn more about where North Dakota is heading in the autonomous space. Coming Soon!

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enior tackle Dillon Radunz approaches head football coach Matt Entz against Central Arkansas on October 3.

Radunz, a Becker, Minnesota, native played his final game for NDSU in the Bison’s 3928 victory over the Bears. At 6-foot-6 and 299 pounds, Radunz has the frame and ability to become an everyday offensive lineman in the NFL. Professional scouts seem to agree with that assessment as Radunz is featured on copious draft boards ahead of the April draft. Rather than participate in the spring football season, Radunz opted to leave NDSU and train for a career in the NFL following the win over Central Arkansas. After the game, Radunz was invited to the Reese’s Senior Bowl.

Hillary Ehlen



Want to contribute? Email your best photos to: nolan@spotlightmediafargo.com


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The Long And Winding Road

Redshirt sophomore Marie Olson has found a home in Fargo.



Marie Olson has seen plenty of things throughout her basketball career. She grew up in the Twin Cities, playing AAU in the illustrious North Tartan program. Her family then relocated to El Dorado Hills, California, just outside of Sacramento. While there, Olson compiled a 51-1 AAU record. From California came Texas as Olson originally committed to play basketball at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. One year with the Mustangs was enough for Olson, though. Despite appearing in 27 games for SMU in 2018-19, Olson was missing something in her basketball career. She had hit a wall and was not seeing herself improve on or off the floor as a true freshman. Making the tough decision to transfer, Olson had North Dakota State in the corner of her eye. Not only was she recruited by NDSU in high school, but her family also has a history with the school. Olson has relatives who are proud Bison alumnus. Yet, things were changing at NDSU when Olson was opting to transfer somewhere else. The school had just hired Jory Collins to be their head coach. It was not even a month into Collins' tenure that Olson took her official visit to Fargo. It was on that visit that Olson decided NDSU would become her new home. After sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules, Olson is excited to play and grow in Fargo. You grew up in the Twin Cities, then moved to California, then played at SMU and you are now in Fargo. What was your decision-making process in coming to NDSU? When I decided to transfer, I was in a spot where I didn’t feel like I could grow much more. It was not really the environment for me and I had kind of hit a stone wall. I came to the conclusion that if I was going to continue to play basketball, it just can’t be here at SMU. That kind of fed into why I transferred. When I took my visits, NDSU was my fourth and last visit. I have always had a history with this school because I was recruited by the last coaching staff. When I was brought here, I met all of the girls the first day that I was here and Jory [Collins] made it a very inviting environment. When I was walking around and getting a tour of the facility, everyone I came in contact with didn’t know who I was, they barely knew Jory at the time,

but they were so polite and said they wanted me to come here. They didn’t even know who I was. To me, that showed that NDSU cares about who is coming here and who they want to be a Bison. That was a wow factor for me. What sold me was that I really wanted to play for Jory. He made me want to play for him and work hard. I hadn’t had that feeling in a while. I saw the vision that Jory had and all the girls do too so I was just sold. Coach Collins was in his first month on that visit. That takes a tremendous amount of commitment and confidence to know that under such a new head coach. Was there any fear or doubt in your mind because coach Collins was so new to the NDSU job? There is always fear, no matter if I made the decision to come here or another school. No matter where I was going to go, I was already nervous. When I decided on NDSU, I was ready to take on that new adventure. When Jory would talk to me and tell me how he sees me on the floor and talking about the other girls, when I watched them all last season, it just felt right. With the leap of faith that I did take, I needed to focus on what I could do, what I could bring to this team and this program. For me, seeing all the other girls workout and how Jory coached, I just felt like even though I was taking a leap, it was the right leap. Obviously, being a transfer last season forced you to the bench for the whole year. What were some of the pros and cons of having that year off in 2019-20? Sitting on the bench is almost like biting your tongue because you want to be out there so badly. Every time Jory would look down the bench, I would think ‘is it me?’ and then you realize you’re not even in a uniform. That was really hard because playing games is where you can show off everything you’ve been working towards. Even though I was practicing and working towards the goal too, I just couldn’t play and show everyone what I was capable of. Getting injured was one more thing on top of having to sit out. That was almost a positive though because I was able to give my body a well-needed break. I have been playing year-round since I was in fifth grade. Another pro would be having Heaven [Hamling] by my side because she had to sit out too. You have to give credit to those athletes that are the lone transfer on their team because that is a tough situation to go through. When you’re not traveling or playing, it’s nice to have someone that understands those hard parts. So Heaven was a huge pro for me. Seeing how the girls worked together and how Jory coached is big too. Now, as a sophomore, I have a better understanding of what he wants as a team and what he wants for me. Just watching everything really helped me develop the mental side of the game. It took a lot of mental strength because all I wanted to do was go out there and play. I know Heaven felt the same. It was hard, but I think it was a good experience.

“Being able to have the ball in my hands, drive and shoot from the outside was new and uncomfortable to me. We worked on that a lot last year and that is probably where I have improved the most.” - Marie Olson

Basketball now has this start date of November 25. Given that you haven’t played a basketball game since your time at SMU, how geared up are you for game number one?

Last year, this program really found its footing again, especially in February and March. Where do you see this program going this season and beyond?

I am so excited. I have a countdown on my phone until the 25th. I look at it every day and say ‘that’s another day closer’. I know everyone is the same way too. Being in such an uncertain situation where we didn’t even know if we would have a season, to have that date, even if it is pushed back, I know everybody is so ready. In practice, we’re practicing against each other every day. There are only so many combinations you can make on our team. Once we get that day where we can play against other people for an official game, I think that is going to be a really special moment. We’ve been working really hard for it and we’re ready. I am so ready, I can’t really express it.

The goal will always be a Summit League championship and NCAA Tournament. Those are always going to be goals that everyone on this team has in the back of their head. No matter what we do, those are going to be the places we want to get to and what we’ll work for. I don’t see why we won’t be a contender for a Summit League championship this season. I am so confident in the turnaround that we have had, even this offseason.

What do you think you bring to the program and where have you seen your biggest improvements in your time at NDSU? I think I will be able to bring a lot to the table as a stretch four. I was a guard for the majority of my time at SMU, but when I came here, Jory capitalized on that and had me working on my perimeter offense and defense. So now I get reps with the guards and with the posts in practice.

I think it’s going to be hard to beat us this year which will make the game that much more fun. We’re going to have a team full of girls that are used to winning. I think winning games last year was an eye-opener for a lot of girls. We didn’t have to lose every game, we were capable of winning every game. That mindset is what we’re adopting this season. The idea that we are going into every game knowing that we are going to win. If we do take a loss here and there, that’s okay, but we are always going to have that mindset of going into any game knowing that we can win.

That is probably the biggest area where I did develop was my confidence in being an outside and inside threat. I’ve always been a post so that was always second nature to me. Being able to have the ball in my hands, drive and shoot from the outside was new and uncomfortable to me. We worked on that a lot last year and that is probably where I have improved the most. Being able to have that confidence in that part of my game will bring another aspect to the team. That’s an interesting point because basketball is kind of becoming positionless. The term “stretch four” probably didn’t exist until the new millennium. How important is it to be adaptable as a player when the game is always changing? The best thing that any basketball player can do is learn how to have a wide skillset. No matter how tall you are, no matter what position you are, you should develop ballhandling or you should always be working on your shot. It’s extremely important because if you can’t adapt or change, it is going to be hard or you’ll have limitations on you.


It’s a rarity in college athletics for a true freshman to make a big impact on the field. Truthfully, that’s a tough ask for an 18-year-old kid. However, every season there is a grouping of fabulous freshmen that dazzle and make a difference right away. Kobe Johnson was one of those freshmen that dazzled in year one. It’s been overstated at this point, but Johnson was a late recruit to NDSU. Despite being underrecruited out of Lawrenceville, Georgia, Johnson used that as motivation to succeed at NDSU. The results were staggering for the 5-foot-9 speedster. Johnson finished 2019 with 660 rushing yards on 86 attempts. His 7.7 yards per carry is a staggering number that should wow anyone with knowledge on the game of football. He scored four touchdowns on the ground and was able to eclipse the 100yard mark twice in 2019. Johnson’s most memorable moment would likely be his 94-yard kick return touchdown against Youngstown State. The running back has already made eye-popping plays as he heads into year two and an unorthodox football season. True freshmen don’t always get the opportunities that you did last season. How did you find success so quickly in year one? When I came in that summer, it was on my mind that I could play, but I was just there to work. I was putting my head down and going in and working every day at practice and in the weight room. When it came up that I was breaking the fourgame rule and playing that fifth game, I was just taking extra steps and learning the offense or asking the older guys ahead of me and getting insight from anybody that I could. That helped me and gave me the confidence to go out there and play. My teammates having the confidence and belief in me helped me a lot as well. Are there any lessons you learned as a freshman that you can take into this season at all? Studying film and having good film habits will be back. One thing that I want to improve on myself is being a leader. Having that true freshman experience, there might be guys that look up to me because I did play last year. They might have questions for me so being that guy for them is big so leadership is huge for me as well. 22


Leading The Pack

Sophomore running back Kobe Johnson looks to build on his successful freshman campaign. 23

Where do you think you have seen your biggest improvements on the field so far? Understanding the game of football. Coming in, I understood some things like what an A gap is and things like that. Seeing the bigger picture like what the defensive linemen are doing or what is the safety doing. The coaching staff and older guys have really helped me understand the game of football a lot more. That is one thing I would also like to continue to understand more. The running back room is relatively young heading into the spring. Do you guys kind of have a chip on your shoulder because you do have so many young guys? We have had talks about that, but as a group, we have to lean on one another. We want to continue to hold each other accountable. That is all we really can do at this point. With us being young we have to continue to coach each other and lean on each other. We have to be that rock for each other. Going into the spring, I would say there is a chip on our shoulder being that we are a younger group. A lot of people outside of NDSU might not think much of us because we are young. I promise you, we’re ready to play. For you, how important was it to play the one fall football game against Central Arkansas? Was it nice to return to some sort of normalcy? Personally, I just wanted to see where I was physically in a game. The last game I played in was the championship game. Having all that 25

“It was on my mind that I could play, but I was just there to work. I was putting my head down and going in and working every day at practice and in the weight room. “ - Kobe Johnson

time off and playing a game in October against a team that had played three, four games was good for us. It was also good for us to face a little adversity at the beginning of the game. To see that we were able to pull through, score 39 points, the defense did a great job, it was a lot of fun. That was some of the most fun I’ve had on the field in a long time. I wish we had another one, I wish we had a full season, but it is what it is. How have you adjusted the way you practice and such since the football season will be happening in the spring rather than the fall? We’re basically just flipping the calendar. Right now is our spring session basically where we have eight weeks of lifting and conditioning. When we come back in January after Christmas break, that will be fall camp. We’re flipping the calendar so we have to flip our mindset. Right now, we should be playing a season, but unfortunately, we’re not. We just have to keep our heads down and just work. Coach Kramer and all the other coaches are holding us accountable to make sure that we’re doing the things we should. They are helping us keep that football mindset so we’re ready to go when the season does come.

Sophomore Syra Tanchin’s mental growth has led her to success early in her Bison career.




Oftentimes, we get so caught up in championing what happens within the field of competition. The physical aspect of sport is the thing that makes us say "wow" and it is the reason we are so glued to our favorite teams and sports. As outsiders looking in, we only see the physical feats, but we rarely see the mental ones. The mental gymnastics a college athlete goes through in a given year may stagger some. Student-athletes may be concerned about playing time or maybe they are going through a rough patch in their personal life. All of this while continuing to practice and focus on academics. Those tasks alone are enough to wear a normal person out, but somehow, not college athletes. Syra Tanchin learned firsthand about the mental fortitude it takes to be a student-athlete last season. The college game was entirely new to her and all the things that come with being a college athlete. Despite going through a steep learning curve, Tanchin placed herself at the forefront of Bison volleyball. She played in 23 matches, finishing with 252 total points including 230 kills. That kill mark was second-best on the roster and Tanchin did it as a true freshman. Yet, Tanchin does not consider those numbers her greatest feat in year one. To her, the greatest accomplishment is tackling the mental side of the game. In reality, that may be the hardest aspect of sport. 29

“I did a lot of lesson learning in year one. It wasn’t easy at times, but gaining all of that knowledge made me feel kind of wise in some ways. Having that first-year experience kind of rounds you out as a leader and not a lot of true freshmen get that.” - Syra Tanchin

It's not easy coming in and being successful as a true freshman. How did you adapt to the college game because it is so different from the prep game? For me, my high school and club did a really good job of preparing me for the amount of play and type of play you see in college. When I got here, it was super comforting and everyone was hyping you up. As a freshman, everyone wants you to step up and play well. At a lot of schools, they get wary of their freshman, but here they get excited for you to play right away. That was a big confidence boost for me.

What lessons did you learn last season that you want to carry over into your sophomore season? I did a lot of lesson learning in year one. It wasn't easy at times, but gaining all of that knowledge made me feel kind of wise in some ways. Having that first-year experience kind of rounds you out as a leader and not a lot of true freshmen get that. Now, I can kind of relate to anybody whether they are worried about playing time or anything, I've been through it all. It's nice to have that wisdom. Where have you seen your biggest improvements so far?

This team seems to have had the same core group for years now. Was your transition to NDSU easier because you were coming into a very stable situation already? It was kind of intimidating at first because as a true freshman, everyone is already really close. You kind of have to force yourself into a lot of things, but my teammates were all super accepting. Any time they wanted to go do something, I would invite myself but they were happy that I came along. I know all of us are very welcoming and I'm ready to do that for our freshmen next year and the year after that. Then when I'm a senior, I won't be this scary person everyone is afraid of. I want to be the leader that welcomes everyone in. 30


My biggest improvement probably is nothing physical. It's probably the mental part of the game. Not only the game either, being a college athlete you have to be doing homework, studying, practicing and going to lift. All of that was so new to me, it almost made me grow up immediately.

And where would you like to see yourself improve now that volleyball has a little bit of an extended offseason? The COVID part brings in a whole new aspect and mental challenge. You can't really see anybody, you can't do some of the things you're used to doing. It gives you more time to work on the physical stuff and small details. Even getting in the weight room and trying to hit your max weight because you do have all this time to prepare for the spring. Times are tough for a lot of people and it's so easy to get into a negative headspace. How have you handled this whole pandemic from a mental perspective? It's really hard. It might be a small thing, but just going outside and feeling the world change. The world is going to keep moving regardless of what happens, it's not going to stop for anything. Knowing that the world is going to continue to move forward and time will pass. When time passes, things will get better.


Reaching Higher Maleeck Harden-Hayes has big n. aspirations in his sophomore seaso




People in this area know the name Maleeck Harden-Hayes. Not only was he a standout prep player for Moorhead High School, but he also helped usher in a trend of local flavor for Dave Richman and Bison men's basketball. Not only that, he proved that he was capable of taking on quality minutes as a true freshman when many believed Harden-Hayes required a "developmental" season. Harden-Hayes even admits that he thought he would take a redshirt year in 2019-20. He would use that season to get in the weight room and help tack on some needed mass to his lanky 6-foot7 frame. However, a redshirt year fell by the wayside as Dave Richman signaled for HardenHayes on November 5. It just so happened that his first minutes as a college athlete would come against the Big 12's Kansas State. The Moorhead native was still able to do some of the things a redshirt year would offer. He tacked on close to 25 pounds and he consistently enhanced his game. Most notably in his jumpshot as Harden-Hayes shot 36 percent from the field and an impressive 43 percent from long range. Not known for being a shooter in high school, Harden-Hayes connected on six three-pointers last season. That mark is a sign of things to come for the athletic Maleeck Harden-Hayes. 35

“Being in year two, I know where the freshmen’s minds are at. Knowing that they need someone to lead them and that is what I want to try to do even as a sophomore. Even if it is telling them little things that I wish I knew as a freshman.� - Maleeck Harden-Hayes

You came here as a freshman with the impression that you might redshirt. In reality, you ended up playing substantial time, what was your mindset during the whole process last season? Coming in, we decided with coach that I would most likely redshirt. As the season went on, he just told me to keep practicing, keep going hard and that is something I bring to the table each practice. As I started to develop my game, I was able to get an opportunity to play. The toughest thing to do is carve out a role on a team. With a team that had so many veterans, how did you go about doing that? It's really tough as a freshman to come into such a deep roster. As the season went on, my role was to keep learning from upperclassmen and always paying attention to what Tyson [Ward] was doing in practice and learn from him. As the season went on, my role was just to bring a spark off the bench. That is what I tried to do too. Compared to previous years, there are a lot of new faces in this program. Do you think you will take the lessons you learned last year and apply them to the new guys on the team this year? Being in year two, I know where the freshmen's minds are at. Knowing that they need someone to lead them and that is what I want to try to do even as a sophomore. Even if it is telling them little things that I wish I knew as a freshman. Because who knows when we might need those younger guys to play this year. I tell them to embrace their role and work hard and set that example for them.



Where do you think you've taken the biggest strides in your time at NDSU? Whether that be on the court or off the court. I've definitely gotten a lot stronger since I got here and that was a big thing coming in. I've gained about 21-22 pounds since I have gotten here. I've also gotten better on the defensive end with communicating. Leading the younger guys and communicating because I know my teammates need me this year. When you committed here, most casual fans knew you for your athletic ability. How have you gone about honing your game from a skill perspective? Shooting has also been a big improvement since I got here. I was blessed to have so many great teammates that were getting me good looks. That is something coach and I have been working on to improve my jumper. I'm excited to see how it goes this year because I am very confident in my shot right now. How much pride do you take being a local kid and getting to suit up for North Dakota State? That was a big reason why I ended up coming here. Being able to stay local and have so much support from my friends and family and being able to represent that Bison jersey in front of those supporters, is a great opportunity for me. I'm excited to continue to do that.


Bartholomew Ogbu, Football Hampered by a lower-body injury most of last season, Ogbu only saw action in four games during the 2019 season. The junior defensive end used that extended recovery time and offseason to further hone his craft at the defensive end spot. Still relatively new to football, Ogbu was able to scrounge up three tackles (including one for loss) as a sophomore. Now fully healthy, Ogbu was featured on the Bison defensive line in their October 3 victory over Central Arkansas. The junior is poised for a breakout season come spring.

Akealy Moton, Women's Track & Field Moton continued to dazzle in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States. She was ranked fourth in the NCAA in the indoor shot put last season. The West Fargo native backed up that ranking by qualifying for the NCAA Indoor Championships, which were eventually canceled. Moton was named an All American in the shot put and was the Summit League runner-up in the event. In a stunted 2019-20 campaign, Moton was still able to win the shot put at four indoor meets.




Jared Franek, Wrestling As just a redshirt freshman in 2019-20, Franek showcased his greatness on the mat for Bison wrestling. He concluded the season with an impressive 27-7 record which included three technical falls and seven major decisions. The Harwood scuffler was also a mainstay on numerous top 25 ranking boards at 157 pounds. Perhaps most impressive was Franek's performance at the Big 12 Championships. He went 3-1 at the always competitive 157-pound weight class and was able to capture third place. That solidified his place at last year's NCAA Championships, as just a redshirt freshman. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA Championships were canceled.

Tyree Eady, Men's Basketball Eady continued to show why he is such a valuable asset to Dave Richman and Bison basketball. Playing in 29 of NDSU's 33 games, Eady was able to start 19 of those 29 contests. The versatile Eady averaged nearly seven points and roughly four rebounds per game last season. Those two marks were both fourth-best on the roster. The Middleton, Wisconsin, native also continued to be a beacon of consistency. Eady shot 45 percent from the field and 36 percent from long-range in 2019-20. He will look to be a vital piece to the Bison puzzle this season.


Photos By Hillary Ehlen

NDSU raised it's championship banner pregame, recognizing the 16th national championship in 2019.



While we did not know it at the time, we were witnessing the final game of Trey Lance's NDSU career. The sophomore would account for four total touchdowns in the game. The following week, Lance made the historic decision to declare for the NFL draft, where he is a projected first-round pick.

Seniors were also recognized pregame including tackle Dillon Radunz (pictured here) with head coach Matt Entz.

Tight end Josh Babicz was on the receiving end of one of Lance's two passing touchdowns.


Linebacker James Kaczor led the Bison with 11 tackles in the game.

Linebacker Jasir Cox registered a sack in the win.

Wide receiver Christian Watson handles a carry.



Fullback Hunter Luepke celebrates one of his two touchdowns.

The returning Seth Wilson rushed for a needed 55 yards in the game.

James Kaczor punched in a twopoint conversion in the game.

A final look at Trey Lance as a Bison.


The State oF Athletics A conversation with NDSU athletics director Matt Larsen.

The college athletics landscape has drastically changed over the course of 2020. From business as usual to the canceling of seasons, 2020 has not been easily navigable for athletic departments across the country. North Dakota State is no different with seasons canceled last spring and fall sports being postponed to spring 2021. One may look at that and see only negatives, challenges and obstacles that seem far too overbearing to topple. NDSU athletics director Matt Larsen and his staff enjoy a good challenge. Larsen feels adversity and challenges create only positive outcomes. In the case of NDSU athletics, a truer statement has never been uttered. The last seven months have not been easy for Larsen and the athletics department. He has had to deliver devastating news, alter the way NDSU athletics operates and perhaps most importantly, has not gotten to see the hard work of studentathletes pay off on the field. Through all of this, the mentality within the athletics department has not changed. They continue to move forward and take each new challenge head-on. One could say NDSU has handled this tumultuous era better than most. In Larsen's mind, overcoming adversity comes with the territory at NDSU. It is that commitment to culture and safety that has helped NDSU get through this pandemic in many ways. One cannot underestimate Larsen's leadership during this time as well. We discussed that and a litany of different topics with the NDSU athletics director.

Photos By Hillary Ehlen


With so many things changing on a daily basis, how have you and your staff approached this pandemic era we are in? It's been a very challenging six or seven months now. From somebody who has been in college athletics for 25 years, nothing prepares you for this. I'm sure our coaches and staff would echo the same thing. What I told our staff in our opening staff meeting in September was just how proud I was of their leadership and how they handled the last three or four months. Early on, we challenged our student-athletes and staff. We could have just as easily sat around and said it was unfair or that we lost a season or whatever. I think we saw the exact opposite. That is very much what it means to be a Bison. We face adversity all the time, you can either back down from it or take it head-on and I think that is what our student-athletes, coaches and staff decided to do. We all rose to the challenge and said 'we're not sure when all of this is going to end, but North Dakota State athletics is going to be better for it in the end'. You saw that in little things with how our coaches have had to evolve in recruiting and engaging with their teams. You saw from our student-athletes when you go online in the spring and they get a 3.52 cumulative GPA across the board. They were maintaining their focus and not backing down or making excuses. When you meet with the volleyball or soccer program and tell them their season is going to be moved to the spring, but the very next day they are back practicing again. I think that speaks to our culture. However, these are life lessons. For the rest of their lives, they are going to face adversity, they are going to deal with challenges. You can either back down and give up or continue to move forward and get better. Our student-athletes and staff have chosen to get better. Talking with student-athletes, they all said that you were visibly upset when you had to break the news about fall competition. How did you personally handle breaking that news knowing that it would hurt each individual program? Personally, it's always important to be as transparent as possible. If you ask some of those teams, they would



probably say I ended up meeting with them three or four times in the first couple of weeks of practice. I consistently wanted to meet with them so that they had the most up to date information. I didn't want there to be any surprises and those were really hard conversations. The reason why they were so hard is that I am fortunate enough to see all the behind the scenes work that goes into their training, preparation and all the sacrifices they have to make to be able to play the sport that they love. To have to get up in front of them and say that it has been taken away from you is really hard and there was emotion in the room. The last thing I ever wanted to see happen was to have them not compete. Unfortunately, that is what happened, but again I do think it is important to take those things head-on and be open and honest. Once we deliver that

message, then we can figure out how we move forward, how we continue to get better and how are we going to continue to grow. These are young men and young women and you don't want to sugarcoat it, but you have to understand just how difficult that information was for them. From a morale standpoint, how important was the October 3 football game? That was the first athletics competition since March. How important was that game for Bison Nation? It was huge. For morale and everybody mentally it was something important. One, because it gave us something to look forward to. So much of college athletics is the event because this is an event-driven business. It's about the event and it's about people and to be separated from a lot of things for

from it. There are things that we have learned over the last seven months that we will probably incorporate into how we do business moving forward. There are definitely some positive takeaways as we move forward. This whole time period has been defined by two things. One being the pandemic and the other being this conversation surrounding social justice in our country. Because there is so much divisiveness in our country, how have you approached those social justice conversations knowing that a lot of student-athletes, coaches and staff are hurting based on what is occurring nationwide? What we have tried to do, and this comes from working at an institution of higher education, is that we continue to get better, continuing to increase our knowledge and continuing to listen. Those are the conversations we have had as a staff. From a student-athlete perspective, we have said that it is okay to respect everyone's opinion, it is okay to disagree though too, but let's respect the other person's opinion. Let's be open, let's be willing to listen to different views from our own. That has been the undercurrent of our conversations because that is how change happens. To me, change happens through openmindedness, dialogue, listening to how other people really feel. That's how you make a change and that has been the center of a lot of our conversations.

the better part of seven or so months is really difficult. I really credit our staff because things evolved so much around that one game and our staff rolled with the punches and continued to move forward with the hope of putting together a great event. Even for our fanbase, their fall is usually scheduled around Bison events be it volleyball, soccer, cross country or football. To have that one event where the fanbase could come together, celebrate and have a little bit of a return to normalcy, I think was important for everybody. What is something new you learned about NDSU athletics and its staff during this pandemic? Two things for me jump out. One, and this is something that I didn't necessarily learn, but it was something that we reaffirmed. I know that we have incredible men and women, passionate and talented administrators and coaches and I know they all have great character. However, sometimes you don't always see that unless you are faced with adversity or challenges. I think that cream rises to the top and that is exactly what we saw during this time. It really reaffirmed the quality of people that we have at every level of the athletics department. What I learned and what I was so impressed with is the way we have evolved. Not being able to meet with student-athletes in person, not being able to recruit in-person, not being able to meet with donors and fans in-person, we have had to evolve. A lot of that has to become virtual and we discovered new ways to be able to engage with our student-athletes and fanbase. That is something that has been a challenge, but we have risen to that challenge. In turn, we have accomplished some really good things. I would say anytime you go through a tough time, you hope there are some things you can take away

With sports moving to the spring and basketball season fast approaching, this is looking like a very busy spring in the athletic department. How have you and the staff approached the spring knowing that it will be jam-packed with events? It will definitely be a spring we have never experienced before. It will not be without its challenges, but I know our staff is up for the challenge. We are really excited about it and we've already started to build what that schedule looks like. For Bison fans, what more could you want than an event pretty much every day of the week, maybe even two or three in a given day. It's definitely not going to be without its challenges, but I'm confident that our staff will rise up. We want to put on a great event, make it safe for our student-athletes, staff and spectators, but also give our athletes an opportunity to compete and have success. We're certainly up for the challenge. I have seen a lot of dedication and commitment from the entire athletics department. NDSU is doing things the right way to the point that student-athletes have seen little change in the mentality and attitude in the department. How has this pandemic era affirmed NDSU's culture and amplified it? If anything, this time period has reaffirmed and reinforced why we do some of the things we do. During this time when there is adversity, change and difference, that is when you need your culture to be the strongest. That is when you need your student-athletes, coaches and staff to be dialed into everything that we are doing. We have absolutely seen that at so many levels. Whether it is continuing to be laserfocused in the classroom or doing the right things socially like wearing masks and social distancing, all of those things have been heightened in a lot of different ways. All of this while continuing to practice, lift, prepare and getting ready to compete. We'll be that much better because we are doing all the little things the right way leading up to our seasons.





What interested you about becoming a part of the Team Makers Executive Committee? I had an incredible experience as a student-athlete at NDSU. I want to ensure that all student-athletes, regardless of the sport they are competing in, have an impactful and meaningful experience while representing NDSU.

Meet Jayne Gust

What would you say you enjoy the most about being on the Team Makers Executive Committee? I enjoy thinking about how we take this effort to the next level. NDSU is a powerhouse school and the commitment and support from Bison Nation is overwhelming. It is fun to share “why” Team Makers exists to others who only see it as a “social” club. The work we do supports the overall experience of the student-athlete including their academic and athletic endeavors, ensuring success in both.

How did you first get involved with Team Makers?

In your time on the Executive Committee, how have you seen Team Makers evolve? The level of commitment from others in our community is strong, and even through a diverse time in our world, our NDSU fans and donors continue to step up to support those competing. The leadership of Team Makers structure has realigned with the growth and responded to the need for leadership to align with the goals set.

I was a student-athlete and played basketball for NDSU from 1996-2000. After returning to Fargo in 2006, my husband Mike and I became Team Makers to support NDSU athletics and the student-athletes.

Where would you like to see Team Makers go in the next 5-10 years? We need to continue to grow the number of people who are signed up to be part of Team Makers. We had a goal to reach 5,000 members, and while we attracted

Title: At-Large Board Member, Fundraiser and Marketing Committee Member.



many new members, we must work through the challenges of these times to share the mission of Team Makers. Many people don’t realize the direct impact you can make on the student-athlete experience starting at only $100 a year and going up from there. What are some of the rewards of being a member of the Team Makers Executive Committee? What are some of the challenges? The rewards of being a member of Team Makers is seeing first hand the work that goes into providing the studentathletes and department of athletics what it needs to excel. We are creating leaders not only during their time at NDSU but these individuals will go out into our communities throughout our region, country and world and provide excellence to others in all they do. In this crazy time (especially with no sports), what is the best way to support Team Makers? The student-athletes are still working hard to represent NDSU athletics so when they get the green light to compete, they will represent themselves and the University in the best way possible. Any contribution made will go directly to the overall experience of the studentathlete in support of their education and experience. These student-athletes will not only have success while in school at NDSU but will be proud, supportive alumnae of the school and athletic program that treated them so well. Your investment will have lasting effects, not only at NDSU but in the communities in which these men and women will call home after graduation.

Meet Dr. David Glatt Title: Chairman of the Team Maker Gaming Committee How did you first get involved with Team Makers? I was invited by another Team Maker member 30 years ago. What interested you about becoming a part of the Team Makers Executive Committee? Coordination between gaming and the Team Makers organization. What would you say you enjoy the most about being on the Team Makers Executive Committee? I enjoy observing the support we provide for NDSU student-athletes. In your time on the Executive Committee, how have you seen Team Makers evolve? The organization is continually evolving as we focus on expanding engagement, streamlining systems and enhancing communication. Where would you like to see Team Makers go in the next 5-10 years? Continue to increase our funding to our student-athletes.

What are some of the rewards in being a member of the Team Makers Executive Committee? What are some of the challenges? Seeing the results of our support. Multiple national championships! In this crazy time (especially with no sports), what is the best way to support Team Makers? Continue as before.


Lance Radunz Draft 56


NFL Scout Professional

Mock Pro Day Combine


bisoncrossing 1 2 3


Across 4. Town from which that fullback is from. 5. This running back rushed for 55 yards in the win.


Down 1. This cornerback intercepted Central Arkansas to seal the victory for the Bison. 2. NDSU’s fullback who caught and rushed for a touchdown against the Bears.

herenw&egoglod gree

3. This Bison led the team in receptions on October 3 against Central Arkansas. Price 1. Luepke 2. Henderson 3. Spencer 4. Wilson 5.



*Swanson is a native of Maddock, N.D., a proud NDSU alum and a lifelong Bison fan.

What Comes Next don’t know what comes next. But I don’t fear it. As uncertain as our future is – like the future at any other point in time of our shared history, it is nothing if but uncertain – we’ll come through the other side of this. It won’t be unscathed. We have picked up some scars along the way. And we’ll probably pick up a few more before the dawn. The important thing is that we keep going, that we just keep going. One small step at a time. One foot in front of the other.




The rhythm of our daily lives has been disrupted with the absence of timehonored traditions, like North Dakota State football, which for some of us stretches back decades to Dacotah Field. I went to my first Bison game in late November 1990, a playoff game, right around Thanksgiving with my dad, brother, and grandpa. I miss it, man. I miss it fiercely. I don’t miss the football as much, though, as the simple things like having a cold beer in the Fargodome

parking lot with my Grandpa Jim at tailgating, or running into guys like Brent Tehven at Herd and Horns during Friday lunch the day before the game. Those are ties that bind. Some years ago, NDSU was upset at home. I can’t remember who we lost to, but recall walking out of the Fargodome to our tailgater disappointed. Grandpa Jim saw me, sort of smiled that grandfatherly grin while shaking his head, and said something to the effect of, “You look like you could use a beer.” He handed me one, and we stood there in silence for a good long while just taking pulls from our cans as the parking lots cleared out. Here we are, years later, and for the life of me I can’t tell you who we played or what decided that game. What I can tell you is that the memory of standing there with my grandpa, doing something as simple as sharing a beer, is a memory of Bison football that stands out – among Frisco trips, or even wins at Iowa or Kansas State – all these years later. Those are the mystic chords of memory that will swell our hearts once again.

Maybe not tomorrow, next week or next month. Our borderline, seemingly hopeless sense of optimism has pulled us through the fires before. Comparisons abound between this year and 1968, perhaps the only other year in the last half century or so that’s seen as much tumult, discord, and strife. What we too often forget about 1968 is how it ended.

While it doesn’t erase what happened that year, it serves as an important reminder. On December 24, 1968, the crew of NASA’s Apollo 8 entered lunar orbit, becoming the first humans ever to reach orbit around the moon.

That night, on Christmas Eve, as the moon’s gravity hugged their humanly vessel as it graced the starlit heavens, Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders broadcast live back to Earth in what was then the most watched television program in history. The crew of Apollo 8 closed their broadcast by reading from the Bible’s Book of Genesis. When Lincoln gave his address at Gettysburg in November 1863, at the darkest of times in our nation’s history, could he have imagined three of his countrymen reading the Bible from lunar orbit. When Borman, Lovell, and Anders broadcast from lunar orbit, could they have imagined that within 50 years, there’d be more computing power and access to knowledge in something called an iPhone than there was in their entire space capsule. George H.W. Bush once said that, “I do not mistrust the future. I do not fear what is ahead. For our problems 62


are large, but our heart is larger.” In our heart of hearts, even in a year where the daily deluge of new stories is one prolonged breaking news bulletin after another, there is a goodness among us. This goodness can rise above and overcome. We have always faced challenges and problems. That is not unique in our history. What would be unique is if we gave up now, in the face of adversity, and stopped fighting for a better tomorrow. We shall overcome. The story of our university, communities, and America is that we have faced those challenges and problems together. Maybe it’s a naïve sense of optimism and togetherness that comes from growing up in a place like Maddock, North Dakota. Times were tough there in the 1980s, like they were in largeswaths of rural and inner city America. But we survived, and Maddock still survives.

Maybe it’s a hope born from something as simple as sharing a beer in the Fargodome parking lot with my Grandpa Jim after a Bison loss. Maybe it harkens back to that passage in Genesis that Commander Borman shared with the assembled humanity listening back home in December 1968:“And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.” In this season of Thanksgiving, I can’t tell you what comes next. I can’t tell you when Bison football will play next, or when I’ll get to have a beer with Grandpa Jim in the Fargodome parking lot. But whenever that is, and whatever comes next, we will face it together, just like we have countless times before. And for that, I give thanks.

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Bison Illustrated November 2020  

Year after year, season after season, the faces change at North Dakota State. While rosters and visages change, the mantra has always remain...

Bison Illustrated November 2020  

Year after year, season after season, the faces change at North Dakota State. While rosters and visages change, the mantra has always remain...

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