NDSU Bison Athletics: New Beginnings, Familiar Ambitions
TThe North Dakota State University Bison have always been emblematic of athleticism, determination, and spirit. As we usher in a new sports season, there’s both excitement in the air and a fervor that promises pulsating action across fields and courts.
On the gridiron, the sting of last season’s loss against
rivals South Dakota State in the national championship still lingers. But this is a team that never looks back for long. With the return of key veterans and a spattering of fresh faces ready to step into bigger roles, the Bison faithful are ready to watch a team hungry to return to the top. Whatever happens this season, one thing is certain, you can surely count on theFROM BRADY DRAKE
green and gold playing the physical brand of football we know and love every Saturday.
In other fall sports,
The women’s soccer team is on an upward trajectory, keen on crafting a narrative of growth with their revamped culture.
For Bison’s women’s volleyball, the narrative is one of continuation. Fresh off their most successful season since 2011, they’re
ready to dive, spike, and block their way to Summit League supremacy.
On the cross-country circuit, the tale is one of dual pursuits. The NDSU women’s team, with the conference crown shining on their heads, is focused on defending their title. The men, however, harbor dreams of rekindling past glories, chasing a championship that has eluded them for over four decades.
Lastly, the golf greens will bear witness to the men’s and
women’s teams swinging with vigor, building on the promise they showcased in 2022.
In essence, while football might dominate the headlines, the collective heartbeat of Bison’s sports ecosystem thunders with stories of tenacity, aspiration, and undying passion. This season beckons with challenges old and new, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned about the Bison, it’s that they always rise.
SEPTEMBER 2023 | VOLUME 18 ISSUE 3
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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D-S BEVERAGES PARTNERS WITH BUD LIGHT & NDSU
“It’s been a goal of ours for a long time to bring a custom Bud Light can to Fargo” As a longtime distributor of Anheuser-Busch products, D-S Beverages has built a strong relationship with the iconic brand over the years, which is really what laid the foundation for an opportunity like this to even be possible. D-S Beverages President Doug Restemayer says the formal partnership with NDSU started out rather informally with building strong relationships with the program over the years.
organization," Restemayer said.
On the other side of the coin, the strong relationship D-S Beverages has formed with Anheuser-Busch was also key in making this sponsorship possible. This idea for the cans had been on Restemayer's mind for a few years, and persistence paid off. He and the D-S team knew just how valuable something like this would be for the local market and with the incredible success that NDSU sports have had in recent years it made NDSU a great candidate.
As a member of Anheuser-Busch's advisory panel and being well-connected to its senior management, Restemayer helped lay the brickwork for D-S Beverages to gain the visibility to even be on the radar in the first place for an opportunity like this. The average consumer may think, 'How difficult could something like this be to pull off?' And that's exactly what makes this sponsorship so unique and exciting—this is a very exclusive production run that Anheuser-Busch does, and NDSU was just 1 of 22 schools in the nation who were selected to have limited edition Bud Light cans this year—and they’re in the company of some impressive names.
Although D-S Beverages is excited about this special edition run, what Restemayer is especially excited about is the first home game at the FARGODOME and seeing all the Bison fans tailgating, showing off their Bison pride in a whole new way. "Seeing the parking lot flooded with fans with Bud Light cans with the Bison logo on it...adds one more dimension to how big the Bison sports brand is that a company like Anheuser-Busch would take the time, energy, and expense to create cans specifically for them," he said. "I think it's going to add a lot to the gameday experience."
And this exciting sponsorship isn’t just for tailgaters to get excited about, but also for all the Bison fans enjoying gameday from home—having a branded product like this will give fans all across the state more of an opportunity to feel connected and show off their team pride.
This also amps up more exposure and will encourage future sponsorship opportunities to help support NDSU and its growth in becoming the school athletes from all over the nation want to play for. And with a sponsorship like this, it just goes to show how NDSU is growing in popularity, relevancy, and success to be included in something that is typically only offered to much larger schools. Restemayer is excited for what opportunities lay ahead, not just for the growth of D-S Beverages, but also for the relationships they will continue to build.
Ready to show off your Bison pride in a whole new way? Find these limitededition cans in liquor stores and local bars.
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A Look Inside the Preseason Press Conference with
Coming off a their 10th FCS National Championship game appearance in 12 years, NDSU head football coach Matt Entz sat down to preview the upcoming season with the media on August 11.
* Text from this press conference, which took place on Friday, August 11, has been edited for clarity and conciseness.
We had an extremely productive summer. With our new facility, having 120 players on campus from early June until fall camp was a significant advantage. The summer allowed us to start teaching and laying the groundwork, which helps speed up our pace during fall camp. Over the first seven days, we’ve been proactive with our game installations. It’s exciting to see the younger players grasp concepts, although some find the college pace more challenging than high school.
Our freshman class has integrated well, and I’m delighted that everyone has stuck around. They’re persevering, and our senior veterans, all 20 of them, have showcased incredible leadership both on and off the field. This positive energy is palpable everywhere, from the locker room to the dining center.
Our coaches are doing an exceptional job. The objective for this fall camp is to continue building on each day, leading up to our September 2 game.
Various players have emerged during fall camp. On the offensive line, Hunter Poncius and Jake Rock have to continue to develop and they’re doing a really good job. In the running back room, having a healthy TaMerik Williams is a blessing. He’s seamlessly integrated into the team, showcasing leadership that makes it feel like he’s been with us for years.
1998 - Illinois College Defensive Coordinator
1999 - Wayne State (Neb.) Asst. Head Coach/ Linebackers
2000 - Wayne State (Neb.) Asst. Head Coach/ Linebackers
2001 - Wayne State (Neb.) Asst. Head Coach/ Linebackers
2002 - Winona State Assoc. Head Coach/ Defensive Coordinator/ Defensive Line
2003 - Winona State Assoc. Head Coach/ Defensive Coordinator/ Defensive Line
2004 - Winona State Assoc. Head Coach/ Defensive Coordinator/ Defensive Line
2005 - Winona State Assoc. Head Coach/ Defensive Coordinator/ Linebackers
2006 - Winona State Assoc. Head Coach/ Defensive Coordinator/ Linebackers
2007 - Winona State Assoc. Head Coach/ Defensive Coordinator/ Linebackers
2008 - Winona State Assoc. Head Coach/ Defensive Coordinator/ Linebackers
2009 - Winona State Assoc. Head Coach/ Defensive Coordinator/ Linebackers
2010 - Northern Iowa Defensive Line
2011 - Northern Iowa Defensive Line
2012 - Northern Iowa Defensive Coordinator/ Defensive Line
2013 - Western Illinois Assoc. Head Coach/CoDefensive Coordinator/ Defensive Line
2014 - North Dakota State Defensive Coordinator/ Linebackers
2015 - North Dakota State Defensive Coordinator/ Linebackers
2016 - North Dakota State Defensive Coordinator/ Linebackers
2017 - North Dakota State Defensive Coordinator/ Linebackers
2018 - North Dakota State Defensive Coordinator/ Linebackers
2019 - North Dakota State Head Coach (16-0, 8-0 MVFC, 1st in MVFC, NCAA Champions)
2020 - North Dakota State Head Coach (7-3, 5-2 MVFC, 4th in MVFC, NCAA Quarterfinals)
2021 - North Dakota State Head Coach (14-1, 7-1 MVFC, 1st in MVFC, NCAA Champions)
2022 - North Dakota State Head Coach (12-3, 7-1 MVFC, 2nd in MVFC, NCAA Runner-Up)
Cam, our quarterback, has demonstrated excellent on-field coaching abilities, maturing in his leadership over the first seven days. And Cole Payton has also shown potential.
I’d like to share an interesting perspective from Coach Hager. During his tenure as the head football coach in the ‘80s and ‘90s, he played the backup quarterback every third series. It’s insights like these that make interactions with veterans like him invaluable.
Our wide receiver room is deep, with players like Tyler Terhark, Zach Mathis, RaJa Nelson, and many others showing their capabilities.
On the defensive front, the return of Eli Mostaert, an All-American caliber player, is a bonus. But we’ve also seen substantial development from players like Jaxon Duttenhefer, Javier Derritt, and Logan Larson. At linebacker, Julian Wlodarczyk, Luke Weerts, and Nick Kubitz have been outstanding.
Unfortunately, we suffered a setback with an injury to Enock Sibomana. While making an excellent play during a team period, he broke his fibula. We’re grateful for the efficient care provided by Sanford. It’s disheartening to see a player face such adversity, especially considering the limited opportunities football offers in comparison to other sports. But with our supportive football family, I’m confident he’ll bounce back stronger.
In our back end, we have players like Darius Givance and Cole Wisniewski making strides. Jayden Price has emerged as a reliable leader, and his influence is evident.
To wrap up, our main goal is to maintain our current routine during fall camp and ensure we’re ready for our upcoming challenges.
Regarding the defensive backfield, how challenging is it as a head coach during the spring and summer when you need to replace numerous positions on the depth chart? Can you elaborate on that process?
It begins in the meeting room and continues through spring ball. The 15 practices we have are vital for identifying potential players. Even in the offseason, we look at who has the movement skills to be a boundary safety versus a field safety, or a field corner versus a boundary corner. This year, we might need to be very specific about player placement. Ideally, we’re hoping that in a year, we can just play right and left. However, for now,
we need to match players with the positions that best suit their skill sets. During the summer, captain’s practices further enhance their understanding. It’s all about repetition. To master anything, you must practice it until you can’t get it wrong, and that’s our current focus.
By giving Cam Miller a larger role, what do you hope it will achieve for him?
His comfort level has noticeably increased; he’s exceptionally efficient with the ball. Now, he knows the offense inside and out. When he’s on the field, he can effortlessly adjust protections and calls based on the opposition’s setup. Moreover, if there are potential throws available, I want him to confidently make the pass and put the ball in the hands of one of our playmakers. This will give them an opportunity to gain yards on the perimeter.
What have you observed from Barika Kpeenu that allows him to fit in so well? What stands out about him based on what you’ve seen to date?
He’s a standout and will have a significant role. He’s an exceptional football player. I anticipate seeing a consistent rotation of the three main running backs. Some might get 10 carries a game. What elevates Barika is his comprehensive understanding of protections, making him a three-down back. This broadens his opportunities on the field. He has reliable hands and will contribute to our special teams. I’m genuinely excited about his potential because he brings a unique mix of explosiveness, agility, and strength—a combination not all backs possess.
Does he offer a distinct running style compared to TaMerik or TK Marshall, or are their styles quite similar?
I think they they all have a little bit of similarities. But he does have some explosiveness and shiftiness that he can make people miss in a tight window.
On the defensive line, you’ve added some players from the portal, Hunter Zenzen and Matt Weerts. What kind of depth do you have there? And can you reach a point where you’re traditionally rotating in seven or eight guys to keep them fresh throughout the game?
I’m going to answer your last question first. I believe we can reach a point where we’re rotating in seven to nine players during a game. Some will be situational. Having Loshiaka Roques healthy again is a major boost for us. His off-field personality is equally valuable as his on-field performance. He has a rapport with every player on the team, and we need that kind of energy in our locker room.
Hunter has been impressive. He reminds me of a younger Brayden Thomas, who transferred in and made a
difference through sheer effort and energy. That’s the vibe I get from Hunter. Matt, from Batavia High School, stands out with his physicality, although he’s adjusting to a new position. I believe as the season progresses, he’ll catch up and become a vital part of our defense.
It’s a delight to have Jake Kava back. He’s a leader and mentor for our younger players. The return of two coaches for the defensive line is beneficial. While Coach Goeser did a commendable job last year handling the entire defensive line, Coach Phelps has brought a fresh perspective. His experiences from various programs provide invaluable insights.
Speaking of coaches, our new defensive coordinator, Jason Petrino, is adjusting well. He’s a split safety defensive guy, which aligns with my philosophy. He’s seamlessly integrated our core values of playing hard, fast, and together. There will be subtle changes in our defense under his guidance, nothing too drastic, but I believe they will be effective. He’s been instrumental in fostering unity within the defensive room, and I’m optimistic about our performance this season.
You’ve mentioned several guys stepping up significantly in positions where it was necessary. As a coach, what has it been like for you witnessing this throughout the spring, summer, and now during fall camp?
Well, I’m incredibly excited about what our staff has achieved, as they interact more closely with our players than I do. A significant part of our success can be attributed to Jim Kramer and his team. The confidence that gets cultivated in the weight room under Coach Kramer is undeniable. When our players complete their final summer workout, they genuinely feel ready to compete against any opponent. I appreciate their confidence, but they’re also grounded, understanding there’s always room for improvement. We’ve scrutinized last year’s performance, identified areas for enhancement, and are now focusing on improving those aspects for the 2023 season. We always emphasize the need for continuous growth and addressing any deficiencies.
What have been your impressions of Cole Wisniewski’s performance at the safety position? And what have you appreciated about his contributions during this fall camp?
Well, I think he’s still learning, but he has a great understanding of the game. Playing the outside linebacker spot has likely accelerated his grasp of the safety position. He’s a reliable tackler and offers a strong physical presence, making him a great fit for the boundary safety position. It’s the same position that Michael Tutsie and Robbie Grimsley played. We’ve seen great success with this role in the past. However, we need to ensure that our defensive calls align with his unique skill set. From a movement perspective, leaning up has significantly improved his
range, allowing him to cover half the field, play the post, and manage quarters. We’re asking a lot of him, with each day presenting new challenges. But it’s thrilling to watch Cole rise to the occasion. It’s rare to have a safety who’s 6’3” and weighs 220 pounds, yet moves with such agility. His tackling is precise, and his football IQ is off the charts.
Joe Stoffel really stepped up towards the end of last year. What kind of growth have you seen from him, and what are your expectations for him this season?
He really took off towards the end of last year. With the injuries we had at tight end, he was thrown into the fire. While it’s easier when you’re the third tight end, it became challenging when he was pushed to the forefront, but he responded exceptionally well. I’ve seen maturity in him, and having an outstanding position coach in Coach Roehl ensures he’s well-prepared. His sense of urgency is evident. He’s been a support to both Finn Diggins and Carson Williams, who I believe will have significant seasons for us. They’re currently battling for the number two tight end position. Joe will definitely be a crucial part of our game plan.
You mentioned a couple of freshmen that you might utilize the four-game rule for. Where do you draw the line? Is it the assistants suggesting, “Hey, this player might be someone we can use early in the season?” What’s the criteria?
What you see on film. What they show on film is just them applying what they’ve learned in meetings. The faster they make decisions and the more you can observe that, the better. You place them in competitive situations, such as live tackling and one-on-ones, where the whole team is observing individual A versus individual B. How do they handle stressors or pressure? Because there’s a difference: stress being negative, potentially diminishing performance, and pressure that elevates performance. That’s the goosebumps you get before a big game.
Passing Yards: 3,782
Rushing Yards: 1,017
Rushing TD: 23
Did You Know?
Did You Know?
This preseason, Williams was named to the Walter Payton Award watch list!
Games Played: 28
Rushing Yards: 1,474
Rushing Touchdowns: 20 Yards Per Carry: 6.6
#28 RB TK Marshall
Senior, Minneapolis, MN
Games Played: 28
Rushing Yards: 1,474
Rushing Touchdowns: 20
Yards Per Carry: 6.6
Ever since you've been here, every time we've touched the ball, you've had great production. Are you excited about the opportunity to be featured more in the backfield this season?
I have a lot of excitement because, just like you said, being able to go out there and just be able to work effectively whenever I had a chance, I'm excited to share what I'm capable of. And I can't wait, obviously, you know, I love the summer, and I love fall camp, but I just want to get to the season. We're going to keep our head down and grind, but I'm excited for this.
What do you think having to have that patience has done for you as a person and an athlete?
It's taught me to be patient. You can't just always get what you want right away. You have to work and pay attention to the details. You have to work to get the product that you want. I think it's going to be helpful in the long run.
With the ability to transfer so readily available these days, why stay?
It says in the locker room, "Those Who Stay Will Be Champions." I'd be a liar if I didn't say, that those thoughts crossed my mind. Every football player asks themselves if they should transfer. One thing that my mom always taught me is to never quit no matter how hard things get. If it's what you love, you're not gonna quit. I know this just seems like the right place for me to get my opportunity. NDSU loves their running backs. And I knew regardless of when I got my opportunity, I was going to do something great.
What motivates you?
My family, that's probably number one. I want to say I can motivate myself, but it's my family.
#89 TE Finn Diggins
Sophomore, Perham, MN
#82 TE Joe Stoffel Senior, River Falls, WI
Did You Know?
Joe Stoffel was second on the team in receptions (25) and receiving yards (276) in 2022.
Games Played: 39
Receiving Yards: 284
Last year was your first season getting really extensive playing time here? What do you think that’s done for you as a player? And how do you think that’ll help you heading into this year?
It’s definitely helped me be more comfortable on the field. Also, knowing our opponents, I definitely feel more prepared this year. I feel like I have a better idea of what they’re going to do. I also feel like I know our offense better and what we’re going to do. It has helped me out a lot.
I think the tight end room looks pretty deep this year even though not a lot of the players have experience playing for the Bison. Can you kind of speak to that and what you’re seeing out of the group so far?
I agree with you. I think that there have been a lot of snaps between a few of us guys, but I think that even the guys that haven’t had those snaps look very good. We have a very deep room and I will stand by that. A lot of guys have worked really good through spring ball and through camp so far. So I’m really excited to see where this is going. I know that we have a very tight-knit group.
What were some important things you learned from the players that came before you at the tight end position?
Guys like Josh Babicz showed me that you show up every day. For me to just see how they go about their day, how they go about being advised, and how they go about just being a student and an athlete was definitely really important to see. Noah Gindorff was one of my biggest mentors and so was Josh, they really brought me under their wing and showed me how to be advised to be a good football player.
How long did it take you to really feel like you got a grip on things with the offense, being that tightened is such a difficult thing to learn.
It’s definitely one of those things where you have to learn everything. You have to learn what the offensive line is doing and what the receivers are doing. Like I said, those guys that were ahead of me did a really good job of teaching me and showing me how to learn that stuff and how to really put it in my mind and go out there and execute it. But yeah, it definitely took me a while.#33 FB Logan Hofstedt Senior, Cannon Falls, MN
Did You Know?
RaJa Nelson was a two-time all-state player for Lakeville North High School.
Receptions: Receiving Yards: Touchdowns:
What is it like having your brother on the team?
It’s obviously a blessing. Not many people get to say that they have the opportunity to play with their brother. I did get one year in high school to play with him. But right now, he’s been doing really good and I’m hoping to just see him on the field, which would be great.
gets who in one on ones?
I’ll be fair, it’s 50/50. We’re all gonna win some and we’re all gonna lose some. But we’re here to make each other better. The cliche saying ‘iron sharpens iron’ is true. So, in practice, it’s fun. But yeah, we’re definitely making each other better.
What are you most excited about for the season?
I’m excited to see what this team has in store. I feel like we’ve always had that target on our back, but we have a bad taste in our mouths after last year. We are definitely chasing that championship.
In his press conference, Coach Entz talked about how you’ve really grown in your flexibility and versatility. What does he mean by that?
We have four or five different receiver positions. Coming in, I was told to learn one or two at first, and then, after I got real comfortable with that, I just, on my own, started to expand my knowledge within the other positions. Just because at any point in a game, you could find yourself in a different position very quickly.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to the readers?
Just know we’re going to have a great season and we’re going to get that championship.
things. You kind of have to be vocal as well and I’m trying
Did You Know?
Grey Zabel has already appeared in 31 games for the green and gold.
to step into that position, which has been tough for me, but I’m gradually working on it every single day.
You’ve been moved around the line quite a bit during your career. Where are you playing right now
I’m still kind of bounced around all over and just playing wherever they need me to play.
What do you think you improved on most over the
I would just say my body and developing my feet and hands which are just a huge part of what you do. And then in the weight room with Coach Kramer. He did an awesome job over this offseason, putting on a few extra(Back Row, From Left to Right) (Front Row, From Left to Right) #78 OL Jake Rock Senior, Delafield, WI #73 OL Mason Miller Senior, Ada, MN OL Brandon Westberg
DE Dylan Hendricks
Senior, Pulaski, WI
Senior, Moorhead, MN
Games Played: 31
Tackles for Loss: 12.5
Did You Know?
Jake Kava totaled 312 tackles in his high school career.
What does it mean to be able to play on such a big stage in front of your hometown?
It’s awesome the relationships I have with people in this community. It’s awesome what this community has meant to me. I hope I’ve represented it well in my six years here. It has been a dream come true.
I’ve felt a responsibility as kind of being one of the local guys, especially now as an older leader on the team, that it’s on our shoulders to make sure this program keeps on improving. We have a long tradition of winning and winning championships here.
Personally, how do you go about trying to make sure the program keeps improving?
It’s a tough question. Personally, I would just say pouring into the younger guys. When I was younger, I had guys like Easton Stick, Aaron Steidel Derek Tuszka, Ben Ellefson, James Hendricks—some of those older guys— pour into me and kind of teach me the ropes of what it means to be a Bison and how we do things here and why this place is different. So, it’s just taking the lessons I’ve learned from those guys and passing them on. The older guys like Easton Stick would probably say the same thing about Carson Wentz and Brock Jensen and guys like that. They just passed on the tradition of the young guys. I think that’s probably the biggest thing is the standard here, which hasn’t changed since 1960s.(Front Row, From Left to Right)
I would just say the people. We drive each other to be the best we can be and we rely on our men upfront to get to the quarterbacks so they can make mistakes and do things they shouldn’t be doing. Doing our job will allow them to do the job they need to do.
I mean, obviously, I know the playbook a lot better now since I’m coming from safety to corner. I’m also a lot more physical, coming from safety down to corner.
Wisniewski is making a transition from outside linebacker to safety for the#32 S Ty Satter Junior, Fargo, ND #35 S Sam Jung Senior, Neenah, WI #29 S Darius Givance Redshirt Freshman, Champlin, MN #31 S Cole Wisniewski Senior, Sparta, WI #27 S Ryan Jones Sophomore, Frisco, TX
Games Played: 31
Field Goals: 23-28
Long: 47 yards
You had family members that kicked as well, how did that
My brother played college football. He started at Bowling Green then went to Western Illinois, and finished up at Cincinnati. It helped a lot. I mean, he’s four years older than me so I could learn from him in any aspect of life. I could see the mistakes he had been through and could benefit from that.
Growing up, did you talk about kicking and work on things
We still do. I’ll call him a few times a week and we’ll talk about how practice is going and stuff like that. We did certainly when I was younger as well because he was leaving high school right as I was coming in. He kind of helped guide me through high school as I was really getting into kicking. He’d give me tips and try to help with things I was struggling with.
How did you guys get into that? Did you grow up
Yeah, we grew up playing soccer. My dad kind of wanted to see if we would enjoy kicking. He actually played semi-pro football and was a kicker.
Do you remember the first time you put one through
I remember my first field goal. It was in seventh grade. It was actually one of my best friends that got in field goal range. We weren’t very good that year so it was my only attempt and it was at the end of the game and we just wanted to put some points on the board. I hit a 28-yarder and I’ll never forget it. What did that feel like? Not many people are kicking at
Yeah, we were probably the only team that actually kicked extra points. I felt pretty cool. Looking back now, I must have been pretty nervous.
Do you still get nervous?
Yeah, but it’s more like pressure. It’s good butterflies. I don’t get stressed out, but I think something would be wrong with me if I didn’t get butterflies out there.
What are you most excited about this season?
I’m excited for it all. I think it’s going to be pretty cool to play in US Bank Stadium. I’m a big-time Patriots fan and I went to the Thanksgiving game last season. That was my first time there and it was a sweet atmosphere. I’m excited to play there.
*InterviewBy Brady Drake
Season Preview With Head Coach
Did you know?
NDSU has qualified for the Summit League Championship games twice under Reagan's leadership.
What do you think allowed the team to improve so dramatically between the 2021 and 2022 campaigns?
I think whenever you go through a season of adversity, and when you're challenged, it definitely allows you to reset the goals within the program. You figure out what type of characters you have and don't have. To be honest with you, since January of last year, we've just transformed the mentality of the group. We've transformed the way we play and the way we do things on a day-to-day basis. So I'm really looking forward to the season with the group we have. We've got a lot of players that have been here a long period of time and that have been through that transition. They've been able to work really hard to get to where we are now.
You talk about being able to face adversity and I think your leading goal scorer from last year, Paige Goaley, is a prime example of that, having missed two seasons with injuries and coming back the way she did. What makes her so special?
I would say that you don't come across players like Paige Goaley in every recruiting class. She's a real tough individual. She's also really, really driven in the right ways. And, to be honest with you, I'm not surprised with how she came back because of the work she puts in behind the scenes. She honestly came back a better player than she was before the injury. That just speaks to the level of commitment that she has. Paige had a very good season last year, but I think there's there's more to come this year for sure.
Can you tell me about the incoming freshman class?
We've got 10 freshmen coming in. The design of what we put together was based on what we
have graduating. We knew we wanted to bring in a big class that could learn under a big class that's going to graduate this year and a big class that's going to graduate next year as well. There's always a learning curve for new players coming into the program, but there are a lot of good qualities in the group and a lot of different players with different attributes. We're excited about the diversity of the group.
Are there any players you are expecting to take a big step forward this season?
Yeah, there is—there are a ton of players I could mention. Olivia Watson had a very good season last year. Olivia is a Moorhead kid—she's a local kid. I think she really found her form last year, but more importantly, she found confidence at this level. So, we're really excited about her pushing forward. We've also got a lot of other great players in the mix like Alicia Nead, Elana Webber, Kaitlyn Hanson—I could go on and on. There's a laundry list of players that have played a lot of minutes at this level, gotten a lot of experience, and that have been through the tough yards in the offseason.
Is there anything else you want to say to the readers?
I'm just really appreciative. I think since I've been here, the soccer community has grown a lot. We're starting to see a lot of those young families coming back and watching us play. The team really appreciates that. We've got a lot of home games this year. There are going to be a lot of really exciting opportunities to come to watch us play.Photo by Geneva Nodland Mike Regan is entering the sixth season as head coach of the women's soccer team on the heels of a season in which the Bison showed dramatic improvement. conducted prior to the start of the regular season.
and is coming off of an AllSummit League Honorable Mention.
A Q&A with Senior Goalkeeper Abby Wilkinson
Last year was your first season getting a ton of playing time,
love having that camaraderie every day. It’s crazy. It’s not something everybody experiences in life. So, when you’re around it all the time, you take it for granted.
You’re busy with school and sports, you’re in a club and have a busy social life, how do you manage it all?
locker room and just all those on the field are so fun. Like when you look up and see your family and know that you’re playing for them. I can finally show them that that’s what I’m doing. All of the hard work that I put in over the last two years finally amounted to something and it was really nice. I have proven a lot of my past coaches wrong. So, it’s been nice to be recognized.
Is the fact that you’ve been overlooked most of your career a motivating factor for you today?
I just listen to what I need and what my body needs. If I need rest, I’m going to sit down—I’m going to be in front of the TV. If I’m feeling antsy, or if I’m feeling excited, I’ll do something. If I’m feeling lonely, I’ll go talk to my friends.
What are some of your favorite rest activities?
myself that I could do stuff by myself. I’m the baby of my family and I’m the only girl in my family. I have three older brothers. I always just felt taken care of. So, I wanted to prove to myself that I can take care of myself. I also just wanted something new. I love to travel. Coming up here seeing this place was crazy. It’s amazing. It’s awesome. I’ve never heard a bad word said about NDSU anywhere either.
Who do you think the funniest person on the team is?
Games Played: 21
Goals Against Average: 1.67
Save Percentage: 0.743
Yes, absolutely. But, like I said, I do it for my family. They love watching me play and I love playing for them.
What’s your favorite part about playing?
Probably when we score and we do the “Glad All Over saga,” it’s so fun. I also just
I really like to go to my hammock. I love to hammock. I love being outside. Honestly, being from Colorado, I grew up outside. My parents were super big on that. I love going to the lake, going snowboarding, skiing, doing all that. It’s a little bit harder here because you have seven months of just harshness. I really love to paint—it’s a really nice rest activity. I love playing pool.
Why did you choose NDSU? Why travel so far from home?
I wanted to be away from home. I wanted to prove to
Honestly, Hannah Stipp is the funniest person on the team as of right now. She’s one of our incoming freshmen and is a goalkeeper. She’s hilarious. She has been living with me the last month and oh my god she cracks me up. She’s got really great one liners.
What’s a fun fact about you?
I can balloon twist animals. I can make giraffes, dogs, bumblebees, and flowers. I tried to learn how to make a bear and that kept popping on me so I’m blaming inventory.Brady Drake | Photo by Geneva Nodland
Paige Goaley came to NDSU with big aspirations and found herself on the field right away, appearing in all 18 games as a true freshman. And although she ended up missing the 2020 and 2021 seasons due to an injury, those big aspirations didn’t go away. The South St. Paul native put her ambition on full display last season, leading the team in scoring while earning a spot on the AllSummit League Second Team.
A Preason Interview with Leading Goal Scorer Paige GoaleyBy Brady Drake | Photo by Geneva Nodland
Games Played: 38
Games Started: 31
What was the experience like recovering from your ACL injury?
It was definitely really hard learning a different role off the field versus on. I played in a couple of games my freshman year and then to be out was difficult, but it really helped me become a leader in a different way. And, I think in the end, it made me a better athlete. Nowadays, they’ve come so far with how to train and how to recover from that. In the end, I feel like I came back stronger. It’s just one of the challenges I had to overcome.
Were there any dark moments in the recovery process where you were struggling mentally with everything or anything like that?
Yes, definitely, especially since it took me out right before the season started. And then with the COVID year being back-to-back, I ended up missing both seasons. I really just wanted to be out there playing with my team. My teammates’ support really helped get me through. Whenever people get injured, our team is so good about taking
them under their wings and making sure everyone stays involved.
Did you feel 100% right away?
Yeah, I got cleared in January and our team got to go to England that spring. So, I got to play 10 games in a spring instead of 5 games. That really helped. And then right off of that, I got to play for my WPSL team in the summer and that went good too.
Does the injury still motivate you today?
I’m just not taking any games for granted. After missing that much, I go into every game appreciating that I can even just be out there.
Was that your first major injury?
Yes, I even went all throughout high school without one.
Who do you think the funniest person on the team is?
We have a lot of characters on our team. I would throw Ashleigh Heely, and Abby [Wilkinson] in there for sure. They were roommates for a couple of years and they’d show up to each home game with a different dance and
skit before we would go out there. So I would definitely say they’re the funniest.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I actually played goalie until eighth grade.
Is there anything else you want to say to the readers?
I would say I’m super excited about this year. It’s going to be really special. I’m just excited for all the memories and success this year.
#3 Ava Stanchina Owatonna, MN
#28 Sidney Armstrong Parker, CO
#30 Hannah Arnold Littleton, CO
#19 Ellie Sanchez Barrington, IL
#29 Sidney Weigel Lakewood, CO
#22 Tyreese Zacher Brandon, SD
#20 Amaya Garrett Omaha, NE
#17 Gabrielle Garrett Omaha, NE
#0 Payton Mulberry Littleton, CO
#7 Cadence Kline Littleton, CO
#12 Izzy Smith Rogers, MN(left to right back 3) #00 Hannah Stipp Wichita, KS (the rest left to right) #21 Maddi Johnston Brookfield, (left to right) #4 Devon Kavanagh North Vancouver, BC
Meet Your 2023 NDSU Soccer Team
#10 Madison Majewski Franklin, TN
#11 Olivia Watson Moorhead, MN
#24 Loretta Wacek St. Paul, MN
#5 Kaitlyn Hanson Lakeville, MN
#27 Alicia Nead Highlands Ranch, CO
#13 Madalyn Grate Rosemount, MN
#9 Elana Webber Gretna, NE
#25 Olivia Lovick Lino Lakes, MN
#16 Ashleigh Heely Torrance, CA
#6 Gabby Sangillo Goodyear, AZ
#23 Jess Hanley Plymouth, MN(back row left to right) (front row left to right) (left to right) #8 Kelsey Kallio Andover, MN #1 Abby Wilkinson Littleton, CO #2 Paige Goaley South St. Paul, MN #14 McKenna Strand Woodbury, MN
Meet NDSU’s 2023 XC Teams
Last season, NDSU’s Women’s Cross Country team reclaimed the Summit League crown while the Men took second. Both teams look to build off of last year going into 2023.
An Interview With Head Coach Dennis Newell
Last year, when we spoke, you really stressed the importance of winning another conference championship. You were able to do that on the women's side. What did that mean for the program?
I think it was important in a lot of ways, not just winning the actual trophy. But I think that was a byproduct of the culture and the*Interview conducted prior to the start of the season. Photos by Geneva Nodland
cohesion and the family atmosphere in the community of what we tried to build. And I think we got there last year. I think with the men, we just went up against some really good competition that we just couldn't overcome, and that's okay. We tried, and we pursued that excellence, but we have not taken our foot off the gas pedal. That cohesion and the culture that we built is still in place and it's very easy to see when you're around this group—how much they get along and how much they do together. And I think that's what's going to carry us. Will we win year after year? I don't know. But again, we always talk about getting back to winning these conference titles, I don't think the men have won one for like 40 years. So obviously, we're very driven to try and accomplish that this year. And I think we have another opportunity with both groups to accomplish that. But again, it's going to be a byproduct of work ethic, consistency, health, sustainability, cohesion, and all these things that come together. So we talk about the outcome—we talk about winning because we don't want to apologize for having that mindset. But at the same time, I would say 90% of what we're talking about is doing things the right way with the process. It's the cliche about really enjoying the journey, but there's so much truth in that. If you don't love what you're doing, if you don't have passion for what you're doing, if you're not doing it for something greater than yourself, I don't know if you are going to be able to do it. And so we always try to have that mindset—we're doing it for the legacy of NDSU. We're doing it for the historical context. We want to be able to look back 20 years from now and say, 'Hey, we were part of this, we were a good group.' We want Hall of Famers out of this group.
Is there anyone you have seen major strides from over the offseason?
On the women's side, I think Grace Link, Reagan Baesler, and Allie Wahlund could probably lead our team. I think those three girls will kind of be the heart and soul. They're veterans. They know what to expect. They know me. They know my expectations. They do have leadership qualities.
On the men's side, we're really deep. I would say we're probably seven or eight guys deep. Zach Johnson, Payton Smith, Jake Arason, Demetrius Farmakis, Hunter Klimek, and Hunter McHenry—I'm probably forgetting somebody—are all part of a really good group.
I'm really excited for these groups. I'm excited for the challenge that the women have in front of them to defend the conference championship—we lost three of our top five and SDSU returns their entire team, and they got a really, really good transfer. UND is significantly better—they got two or three international girls that are really, really good. So our women probably have their backs up against the wall, to be honest. We have the roster that can win, but it's a matter of whether we can do it. That challenge is exciting. It's also nerve-wracking.
With the men, I feel like we're trying to do something that hasn't been done in a long time. SDSU is kind of, I hate to say it, but they have kind of owned the conference in cross country. But they graduated five or six guys that were key players.
Can you tell me about the incoming freshman classes?
On the women's side, we have Logan Harz coming in from Canada, Acey Elkins coming in from Mandan, and then Trinity Jessen coming in from Minot. All of them could be contributors. It's really a matter of health and consistency. We recruited these people because they obviously showed Division I talent or other attributes that make them potential contributors at this level.
On the men's side, we have seven new men. We have Austin Wanner a state champion from Bowman High School, Quinn Roehl a state champion from Grand Forks, Ethan Moe a champion from Williston, Ivan Askim an allstater from Williston, Elijah Pederson from Fargo North who is more of a distance guy, Jonah Dafoe, a middle distance guy from Grand Forks, and Drew Rempher from Davies, who is a middle distance guy. Those are seven guys that have come in. Depending on how things look, we could end up redshirting some of those guys. Like I said, we have a veteran group, we have a deep group. If we think some of those guys can contribute, we'll run them. But if we don't, it's a game of vision, a game of sustainability. If we think we can win this year, which we do, and we can pull it off without those freshmen, I would like to redshirt some of them. I didn't come here to win one conference title and go somewhere else. I'm here for 20 years. I want this to be something that we're building. I want the expectation [for athletes] to be, “If I go to NDSU, we’re going to win.”
West Fargo, ND
Grand Forks, ND
Cold Spring, MN
West Fargo, ND
Plymouth, MN(left to right)
Coming off of a second-place individual finish at the Summit League Championships to lead NDSU to the conference crown in 2022, Grace Link is hungry for more.
What do you think allowed you to take that big step forward that you did this past season?
I think it was a combination of a lot of things. I think a big part of being successful is consistency. I think freshman year, I wasn’t able to have a lot of consistency. I had some injury issues and whatnot. And I think my sophomore year, I was able to figure out those and have a lot of consistency and have training partners. My teammates all pushed me and the expectations were really high. We wanted to win. And we knew that we needed to perform well to win. And I think coach did a really good job of preparing us well for conference.
Jonah Dafoe Grand Forks, ND
Demetrius Farmakis Genoa City, WI
Ivan Askim Williston, ND
Ethan Moe Williston, ND
Dameon Zenawick Grand Forks, ND
Quinn Roehl Grand Forks, ND (left
Regan Bosch Fargo, ND
Austin Wanner Bowman, ND
Brady Huggins De Soto, KS
Drew Rempher Fargo, ND
Elijah Pederson Fargo, ND
Jacob Knodle West Fargo, ND
Hunter McHenry Grand Forks
Gretna, NE(left to right back row) to right, front row)
Symon Keiser Jordan, MN
Mason Kindel Bismarck, ND
Tyson Mahar East Grand Forks, MN
Hunter Klimek Motley, MN
Zach Johnson Moorhead, MN
Jake Arason Grand Forks, ND
Payton Smith Carrington, ND(left to right)
Last season, in his first year with NDSU, Hunter Klimek was the top runner for the Bison at the Summit League Championships, finishing 9th after transferring in from Iowa Central Community College.
What was your first experience with the program like?
Amazing. I got along with the team. Everything blended perfectly. This team is really good to work with and it was really good to build up throughout the season and everything. I had a great first experience.
How did you go about adjusting after transferring in?
It was definitely a big transition. There’s way more competition here. It’s the next level, a big step up. It was a shock to the system right away, but I just started training with the guys and they pulled me along.
How was here different culturally?
All of the new people who came in just started clicking immediately, which I think helps with training throughout the season.
What are your goals for the season?
Win a team conference title, of course, and then I think nationals is the goal, either as a team or individually.
Last season, NDSU Volleyball put together a 21-12 record and advanced all the way to the Summit League Championship semifinals before a stint in the NIVC Tournament.
The season was the winningest since the Bison went 26-9 in 2011.
Season Preview with Head Coach
Last season, the program took some really big steps forward. What do you think has to be done so the program can take those final steps this season to take the conference?
I think our main focus this offseason has been to continue getting better. We know our goals. This team doesn’t have a preset roadmap, so we’re creating it ourselves to reach our next goals. I believe the team has a good mindset. It’s about coming in every day, working hard, and competing at a high level. We rely on the experience of the older members in the program to guide the younger ones.
I spoke with Ali [Hinze] and she said you were very supportive with her injuries during the recruiting process. What about her made you believe she was going to come back from those two back surgeries she had during her prep career?
Sometimes we focus on recruiting the athlete, but it’s also about the person. There might be issues, like an injury, or other challenges before college that we’re unaware of. It’s a leap of faith when you don’t know the outcome. But it’s about trust in your judgment. With Ali, the trust and relationships we’ve built helped her through her recovery. We believed she had what it takes to bounce back and get where she needs to be.Photo by Gary Ussery
Has she exceeded your expectations?
She hasn’t exactly exceeded expectations because she sets high goals for herself. We support her, but her motivation and drive are evident. She’s level-headed and handles the pressures of her role well. She’s already surpassed some of her own goals, and it’ll be interesting to see how much further she can go.
Can you tell me about the new players coming into the program?
We have three new players joining us: Arianna Blohm and Emma Tallman, both of whom are middles, and Lauren Jansen, who plays outside. We’re looking to add depth to our front row and improve our offense. Jansen will also help improve our back-row play.
They’ve all trained and played at a high level and are very competitive. During recruitment, it was clear how eager they were for the next steps in their careers. It’s great to add them to our current team.
Is there anything else you want to say to our readers?
I hope we can put on a good show, compete, and perform well. There might be bumps along the way, but I believe this group will surprise not only themselves but many others too.
Meet Your 2023 NDSU
Comming off their winningest season since 2011, NDSU volleyball is reaching for the Summit League crown in 2023.Photos by Gary Ussery (left to right) #3 Arianna Blohm Spring Valley, MN #13 Lauren Jansen Plainfield, IL #8 Emma Tallman Johnston, IA (left to right) #18 Ally Barth Verona, WI
Right after stepping on campus Ali Hinze immediately impacted the North Dakota State volleyball program, earning Summit League Freshman of the Year honors. She hasn't slowed down since then either and is coming off of an All-Summit League First Team selection.
A Preseason Interview With Ali Hinze
People who have seen you play probably wouldn't think that you had two back surgeries in high school, how did that experience shape you as an athlete?
The summer going into junior year, I had back surgery and I was out for three months. I had to relearn how to walk and everything because I had 20 screws put in. After being out for three months, I broke the screw. So we had to go back in and reopen it up and they put in another two rods. It definitely impacted me. I had to relearn how to play and everything because I can't bend my back.
What caused the injury?
Scoliosis. It was just a genetic thing.
So, I’m sure by that time in your career, you already were thinking you could play collegiately.
Yeah, I definitely was. I actually called Coach Lopez after it happened and she was very understanding. That made me realize this was the right place for me.
Did you have any doubts that you wouldn't make it back?
Yes, when you have this surgery they say you could never play hockey again,Photo by Gary Ussery
basketball is really risky, and volleyball is risky. But my sister actually had the same surgery performed on her and seeing her come back helped. But it was nerveracking. Not being able to bend your back is definitely challenging for playing volleyball.
How long did it take for you to feel like you were back to where you were?
At least a year. I remember my first practice coming back I went to a private gym with Taylor [Quan], who was my teammate in high school, and I left the gym crying because it was just so different.
Now, my surgeon will have me text volleyball players that he has worked on to let them know that they can make it back.
What are your thoughts heading into this season?
We're definitely going for that championship. We haven't won one in a long time. And then just soaking up the memories because I know once we're done with volleyball, it's a rude awakening. So I'm going to just enjoy my last two years and have fun.
You guys were pretty close last year. What steps do you think the team has taken to progress toward that goal?
I think realizing how far we took things last year makes us want to set the bar that much higher. We want that conference championship and we want to go to the NCAA tournament.
Sets Played: 293
with Head Men’s Golf Coach Steve Kennedy
Golf is such an up-and-down game. What’s it like having everything come down to a conference tournament at the end of the season?
Yeah, it does for a mid-major. All of the other teams that are in the Power Five conferences are going to get automatic bids if their rankings are high enough. For us to get a high enough ranking in the past, it was based on the strength of the schedule. All of the Power Five schools play each other so their strength of schedules were a lot higher than ours. I mean, last year, I think we got up to number 68 in the country and the top 75 get automatic bids. In the spring, we didn’t play as well, because it’s hard up here—we hadn’t played all winter. In the fall, we’re very, very strong because our guys have played all spring and all summer. They’re at the top of their game. When we go in the spring, it just takes a little more time.
Your players expressed to me that they were disappointed in their 4th place finish at the conference championships last season. Ian Simonich finished 12th, what did you see from him?
He played with a torn ACL last season and he battled hard last spring. He needed to put in a lot of extra time in the weight room and in the training room.
The finish was very disappointing for all of us. We had five allconference players and they announced those all-conference players the day before the tournament, and I think that put a lot more pressure on us. I wish they would have waited until after the tournament or did it at a different time. But it just seemed like everybody had a target on our back. We expected to win and we just put too much pressure on ourselves.
You graduated some key players, how are you looking to replace them so you are where you need to be this season?
Our team was so deep. Last year, we had guys that didn’t get a sniff of the course that were all-conference the year before. We had guys who had won numerous tournaments in the summertime and they just didn’t get a chance because we were so deep. We’re going to be deep again this year with the guys we brought and they are going to contribute right away, I think. The summer was great. I looked down our lineup and there’s just not a weak spot. The qualifying that we go through is probably tougher than the tournaments because they all want to travel, they all want to play.
Can you tell me about the freshmen you have coming in?
I have one freshman, Max Wilson from Roseau, MN. Max had a great year in high school this year. He’s kind of he’s on the smaller size side, but he pounds the heck out of the ball. He reminds me a little of Nate Deziel, who was smaller but hit the heck out of the golf ball. I think that Max is going to grow quite a bit this year. Roseau is way up north and they don’t get a lot of time to golf up there. They get even less than in Fargo. I think when he gets around really good players like he is here now at North Dakota State, his game is going to develop a lot quicker and he’s really going to shine here in the next few years.
What did you see from him in the recruiting process aside from his ability to hit the ball a long way?
I usually look at demeanor and how I think they’re going to fit in with the team. All these guys can play. And I think Max is just one of those guys that is very caring and very, very competitive. He’s also very smart—that’s another thing that I look for. Education is very important to me being a former high school teacher. All these guys are pretty close to a 4.0 GPA. I think that transfers to the golf course because they can think their way around the golf course and they don’t panic when certain situations come.
You, yourself, had a strong finish at the Summitt League Tournament last year, what do you think that’s going to do for you heading into this year?
To be honest with you, I think we, as a team, came away from that, disappointed. We thought we had a really good chance of winning and we didn’t. We all play individual games, but we were there to win as a team and we didn’t do that. We feel, going into this season, that we have a lot to prove.
All of us ended up playing pretty well at the end of this summer and winning various tournaments.
How do you think your game has grown over the offseason?
It’s been a little different, just kind of coming off the torn ACL that I’m playing with. I had to kind of use my time a little more wisely and practice a little bit smarter and then kind of take care of my body a little more. But I think it’s in a good place. My game physically probably hasn’t grown a ton, but mentally is where I think, at this stage of my career, is where you’re going to gain the most. I’ve gained good perspective, realizing golf is a hard game. It’s never going to go your way all the time. But everything feels well.
Playing without an ACL, have you had to alter your physical fitness routine much?
I worked really hard with our trainer for the first two months right after the injury just to get everything back with my range of motion, and my strength around the knee area. I worked really hard and now am at a place where it’s really just about maintaining. I just have to keep up the strength and keep the muscles around it strong. It’s as good as it’s going to feel. I can still get stronger every day, but it’s not going to affect me walking around. We play a sport where we don’t have to jump or cut so I can walk and I’m not going to wreck it or anything.
An interview with Junior Ian SimonichLast season, Ian Simonich was an All-Summit League Second Team selection... on a torn ACL.
Last season, Nate Adams was an All-Summit League First Team Selection after winning three tournaments on the season, posting the second best season average in program history (71.89), and tying the program tournament 54-hole record with a -13 at the GCU Invitational.
Last season you made the all-conference team, what did that mean to you?
It meant a lot. I had really wanted to make it in previous years because it kind of gives you a little story about who you are and what your career was when you were playing at school. So, it was on my mind. The previous year, I felt like I was probably one of the guys that was right on the bubble. That kind of gave me a lot of fuel to have a better season and really put in an effort to make it.
What do you think you improved on most over the offseason?
I think my improvements have been more mental than physical. I’m honestly not hitting the ball as far as I have been in previous years, which is totally fine with me. I’ve been hitting more fairways and hitting it a lot straighter and just focusing on good places to attack. I’d say there has been a lot of mental improvement this offseason. Just getting the opportunity to play with some of the world’s best players and watch how they play a couple times this summer has been good for my mental state.
How often are you golfing in the summer?
Well, I don’t work at all so I play every day. I don’t really take many days off. If I have two tournaments in a row in two weeks, I might take a day off after one, but there are not really many days off.
You don’t experience burnout to any degree?
I haven’t and I hope I never do. I just enjoy playing as much as I can. I think it helps being from up north where we only have sevenish months to play.
What do you like about the game?
I love how it all kind of rests on your own shoulders. You don’t really rely on anybody in the heat of the moment.
An interview with Senior Gavin Cronkite
Gavin Cronkite has improved every year at NDSU. And this past season, he was selected to the AllSummit League Second Team.
You’ve really improved every year you’ve been here, what do you attribute that to?
I think I have to give a lot of credit to my teammates that push me every day. We have such a good relationship. We’re friends off the course and we’re just super competitive at practices. That competitive fire kind of comes out and just wanting to get better every day. And especially freshman year and sophomore year, I struggled to make the lineup. During that time, I just watched the older guys and learned a ton. I feel like my work ethic is up there with the best of them. That just kind of helped me continue to improve.
How did the upperclassmen support you in those early years?
They were great, they were always there to give me advice or input when I wanted. If I didn’t necessarily want it, they let me be. I feel like that that balance of the two was just perfect for me.
What are some of the things you and your teammates do to bond away from the athletic side of things?
A handful of us are living together this year so we’ve already had a couple of bonfires and such. We like to play billiards a lot. We also try to go bowling once a week or once every other week.
Who’s the best athlete on the team?
I think there are a handful of good athletes. I feel like I have to go with Josh Gallo. He’s pretty good at most things. He takes me down in ping pong and some of those other sports so I have to get better.
with Head Women’s Coach Matt Johnson
The Women’s golf team finished third at the Summit League Championship last season, the program’s best finish since 2018. This season, they return all but one golfer from last year’s squad.
What have you seen out of your team so far as you prepare for the season?
This is probably the deepest and most talented team we’ve ever had. We’ve got a group of eight that are all pretty capable. There’s no way to really predict realistically who the top player is going to be or even who the top five are going to be. They’re all very capable. Whoever is playing the best at any particular time, or any particular week, is probably going to be the ones that play and it’s kind of fun to have a team that’s got the depth and skill of this group.
How do you go about managing that as a coach?
Well, that is that is one of the tricks. So, in the fall when, we’re able to be outside for the entirety of our fall season, which we’re not in the winter and spring, we let the players dictate as much of that as possible by doing as much qualifying as possible. Then, the tournament scores, obviously, will matter. And then we’ll do a couple more cycles of qualifying as we go through so players will get more than one opportunity to earn a spot and get into the lineup. That’s really the key, to keep giving people chances and kind of see what happens over the long term. Somebody may not play well this weekend, but they may play well next weekend.
Is there anyone in particular that has made big improvements from last season?
It’s too early to really tell on that one. We’re only one weekend in. I’d be more comfortable just saying that we have a couple of leaders out there. Both have improved, I think, since last year, and were our best players last year. Those players would be Elise Hoven, and Madi Hicks.
Can you tell me about your freshman?
We only lost one player from last year so we only have one freshman this year. Her name is Nora Roberts and she is a very
good player. She is someone who’s very well-seasoned and tested competitively. I expect that she will come in and make an impact for us this year.
What did you see out of her in the recruiting process that made her stand out over some other people that you were looking at?
She’s very competitive—she loves to compete, and she is very driven to win. On top of that, she just has some excellent skills. She goes about things very well. She’s a lot more experienced and has a lot more game to fall back on than most freshmen. She’s just got all the different shots for all the different situations. She’s also very mentally strong. For golf, that is so important because you’re out there by yourself in all these different scenarios.
Are there any new tournaments that you guys have on the schedule? Is there anything you’ve got circled as something that you’re looking forward to this year?
All of our events are good events this year. I am proud to say something similar each year, but this year kind of stands out a little bit more. The only new event we have this fall is we’re going to an event in Chicago, which is a good one because it’s a regional tournament at a really good golf course. But we have our own tournament. And then our two feature tournaments of the fall are Seattle, which is at Tacoma Country Club, which is probably always our players favorite golf course. And then we also go to the Coeur d’Alene Resort Course, which is the famous course with the floating green. Both events have really strong fields and are very excellent golf courses.
Why is the Tacoma one a favorite?
The course itself—it’s a great golf course. A lot of PGA Tour players are members there. It’s kind of a quiet golf course that no one really hears about because they like it that way.
Last season was by far Catherine Monty’s most successful at NDSU. The Stillwater, MN native tied for fifth at the Summit League Championship, the highest finish of any Bison.
How was your summer? How’d the tournaments go?
They went pretty well. I placed sixth at the Minnesota Amateur with +4 over three rounds. And then, at The Open, I had to play my old teammate Maddie Herzog and we both shot 71, but she beat me in 19 so I didn’t advance at all. And then in the State Match Play, I made it to the semifinals and lost to my teammate Madi Hicks, it was a really good season.
What do you think you improved on?
Definitely my consistency and being able to shoot more consistent rounds and getting off to a better start. The first couple of holes, freshman and sophomore year, I would start really slow. But now, I feel like I’ve gotten the hang of getting off to a strong start. And that really benefits the overall score and my position at the end of the week.
You’ve made pretty significant jumps in you play every year that you have been here. What has allowed you to do that?
Last year was probably my biggest jump. Coach and I and my assistant coach, Chris, we’re able to put together a pre-round warmup that made sure I was ready to go in all areas of my game. That really helped me consistently shoot better scores. And then, also, my swing pattern was way more recognizable and consistent throughout the season, especially in the spring.
How do you manage to stay
The NDSU Team Makers Official Watch Site Program
The NDSU Team Makers Official Watch Site Program was created to engage a variety of establishments and hospitality locations in our community and across the country that recognize the economic impact Bison Athletics has on our community. It was also instituted to support the significant number of alumni, fans and friends across the country that gather to watch the Bison compete in their respective sports. This program gives everyone with an affinity for NDSU an opportunity to be part of the team and continue promoting Bison Athletics nationwide.
If you are interested in becoming a Team Makers Official Watch Site, please contact Team Makers Executive Director, Derrick Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org
Be sure to stop by these locations during Bison games this fall for a chance to win door prizes provided by Team Makers!
Mule Creek Saloon 16846 W Bell Rd Ste 100 Surprise, AZ 85374 623.584.8250
Native Grill & Wings 21164 N John Wayne Parkway Maricopa, AZ 85138 520.568.6077
Philly’s Sports Grill 1826 N Scottsdale Rd Tempe, AZ 85281 480.946.6666
R.T. O’Sullivans 6646 E Superstition Springs Blvd Mesa, AZ 85206 480.396.9933
Union Grill & Tap 1686 N Higley Rd Suite #101 Gilbert, AZ 85234 480.935.5800
Buffalo Wild Wings 2201 1st Ave N Moorhead, MN 56560 218.512.0400
Clive’s Roadhouse 13050 Aldrich Ave S Burnsville, MN 55337 952.426.3625
Copper Trail Brewing Co. 205 Broadway St Alexandria, MN 56308 320.219.6688
LynLake Brewery 2934 Lyndale Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN 55408 612.315.7817
Parallel 46 10510 Co Hwy 5 Detroit Lakes, MN 56572 218.439.3535
Pit 611 15057 Co Hwy 11 Audubon, MN 56511 218.439.6121
Ultimate Sports Bar and Grill 1101 Division St. Waite Park, MN 56387 320.251.5580
Wilkin Drink & Eatery 2020 508 Minnesota Ave Breckenridge, MN 56520 218.643.3862
Double Barrel Saloon and Casino 401 S Ellery Ave Fairview, MT 59221 406.742.8110
Barcode Bar & Grill 835 23rd Ave E West Fargo, ND 58078 701.532.2900
Blarney Stone Pub 1910 9th St. E. West Fargo, ND 58078 701.532.1500
Buffalo Wild Wings 1515 19th Ave N Fargo, ND 58102 701.280.9464
Buffalo Wild Wings 1501 42nd St SW Fargo, ND 58104 701.356.9464
Buffalo Wild Wings 218 S 3rd St Bismarck, ND 58504 701.323.9464
Buffalo Wild Wings 3420 N 14th St Bismarck, ND 58503 701.751.2568
Chieftain Conference Center (Sports Bar and Grill) 60 4th Ave. S. Carrington, ND 58421 701-652-3131
Chub’s Pub & Package Place 421 N University Dr Fargo, ND 58102 701.235.8425
Doc’s Pub & Eatery 344 Main Ave N Hankinson, ND 58041 701.242.7676
Esmond Bar 46 Northern Pacific Ave W Esmond, ND 58332 701.249.3591
Herd & Horns Bar & Grill 1414 12th Ave N Fargo, ND 58102 701.551.7000
Holiday Inn Fargo & Spirits Lounge 3803 13th Ave S Fargo, ND 58103 701.282.2700
Knickerbocker Liquor Locker 412 Main Ave Hickson, ND 58047 701.588.4282
MacKenzie River Pizza 819 24th Ave E West Fargo, ND 58078 701.532.2221
The Piggy BBQ 816 24th Ave E #118 West Fargo, ND 58078 702.755.3806
Proz Sports Bar & Grille 101 6th St NE Devils Lake, ND 58301 701.662.2101
Sidelines Bar & Grill 205 Main St N Berthold, ND 58718 701.453.3445
SideStreet Grille & Pub 404 4th Ave N Fargo, ND 58102 701.271.0092
Spitfire 1660 13th Ave. E. West Fargo, ND 58078 701.478.8667
Suite Shots 3400 James Wy. S. Fargo, ND 58104 701.532.4653
Town Hall Bar 103 Main Ave W West Fargo, ND 58078 701.282.3568
Twin Peaks 1515 42nd St S Fargo, ND 58103 701.515.4685
Velva Star City Golf Course 4525 Hwy 41 N Velva, ND 58790 701.338.2363
Woody’s Bar & Grill 1550 32nd Ave S Fargo, ND 58103 701.241.9817
Z’s Grub & Pub 620 Front St Casselton, ND 58012 701.346.0110
South Dakota Credo’s Pub 5520 W. Success Street, Ste 100 Sioux Falls, SD 57107 605.275.5750
Tennessee Crow’s Nest 2221 Bandywood Dr Nashville, TN 37215 615.783.0720
Kennedy’s Public House 19179 Blanco Rd San Antonio, TX 78258 210.764.1333