NDHSAA's Most Memorable Moments & Stories from 2017-18


June 7, 2018 10:00 am

By Tom Mix
NDHSAA Media Specialist

VALLEY CITY, N.D. – The 2017-18 school year provided many memorable moments in North Dakota High School Activities Association sponsored sports and activities.

Below is a list of top moments that highlighted the year and a list of teams that celebrated NDHSAA state championships this year. Enjoy!

PHOTO GALLERY: NDHSAA's Most Memorable Moments & Stories from 2017-18

DAKOTA BOWL XXV PLAYED AT FARGODOME

The 25th installment of the NDHSAA Dakota Bowl was held November 10 at the FARGODOME. The event which features the four state championship games for the NDHSAA’s four football divisions started with a bang when Wyndmere/Lidgerwood’s Luke Foertsch returned the opening kickoff of the 9-man state title game 97 yards for a touchdown.

Four state champions were crowned:

9-MAN

WYNDMERE/LIDGERWOOD 60, SHILOH CHRISTIAN 23: Luke Foertsch paces the Warbirds with six touchdowns scored tying a Dakota Bowl record held by Jared Essler (Minot Ryan, 1999) and Kyle Steffes (Dickinson Trinity, 2001).

DIVISION A

HILLSBORO/CENTRAL VALLEY 16, LANGDON AREA/EDMORE/MUNICH 14: Burros complete a undefeated season as Grant Skager runs for 188 yards and a touchdown. The state title is the first football championship for the Hillsboro/Central Valley co-op. Hillsboro won a 9-man title in 2008 and Central Valley won a 9-man state championship in 1999.

DIVISION AA

BISMARCK ST. MARY’S 31, SHANLEY 12: Bismarck St. Mary’s quarterback Cole Gendreau passes for 167 yards and a touchdown to help the Saints win their fourth Division AA state title in five seasons.

DIVISION AAA

WEST FARGO 56, MINOT 28: Packers complete an undefeated season winning the program’s sixth state title. Andy Gravdahl was 5-for-14 passing for 80 yards and two touchdowns while also leading the team in rushing with 127 yards to pace West Fargo.

STATE VOLLEYBALL FEATURES TWO THREE-PEATS

Prior to the fall of 2017 only one volleyball program in state history had ever won three straight state championships – Fargo North (1994-96). Bismarck Century (Class A) and LaMoure/Litchville-Marion (Class B) each entered the 2017 season with a chance to three-peat and both programs did so with victories on November 18 at the FARGODOME.

Bismarck Century defeated Jamestown 27-25, 25-18, 26-28, 24-26, 15-10 in the Class A state title match.

LaMoure/Litchville-Marion defeated Thompson 25-10, 25-12, 25-14 in the Class B title match.

BISMARCK GIRLS HOCKEY STANDOUT BRITTA CURL SHINES AT INTERNATIONAL LEVEL

Bismarck St. Mary’s senior Britta Curl – one of the top prep girls hockey players in North Dakota – was named to the United States Women’s National 18 and Under Hockey Team that competed at the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Women’s World Championships in Dmitrov, Russia on January 6-13.

The United States skated to a gold medal finish, the teams’ fourth straight gold medal at that competition.

“It was one of the best hockey experiences I’ve ever had,” Curl said. “I met and got to play with so many great players. It was really fun.”

Curl, a University of Wisconsin commit, had an outstanding tournament. Curl finished the event with four goals and four assists in five games played. She was tied for second in points scored on her team.

“I was hopeful I’d have a successful tournament,” Curl said. “I didn’t know what my role was going to be on the team coming into practice. The pace of play was very fast and you have to make quick decisions with the puck.”

Curl was named player of the game in the United States’ 5-3 win over Russia in the preliminary round on Sunday, Jan. 7. Curl scored two goals and had one assist in the game. The United States defeated Sweden 9-3 in the gold medal game on Saturday, January 13.

“It’s really special,” Curl said of the gold medal victory. “To win a gold medal with the teammates who I got to know really well playing over there was fun especially after all the hard practices we went through and the close games we played.”

Curl returned stateside and helped the Bismarck Blizzard to a fourth-consecutive state championship in February at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks. Curl finished the 2017-18 prep girls hockey season with 37 goals and 17 assists (54 points).

WEST FARGO’S JARED FRANEK BREAKS WRESTLING CAREER WINS RECORD

West Fargo senior Jared Franek, a North Dakota State commit, surpassed former Packers teammate Jordan Shearer on the all-time career wrestling wins list during the 2018 East Region individual tournament at West Fargo High School.

Franek scored a pin in the 160-pound region championship match giving him 261 career victories. Shearer, a six-time NDHSAA individual state champion, finished his decorated prep career with 259 wins.

Franek won the 160-pound individual Class A state title in February at the FARGODOME.

NO. 5-SEED GRANT COUNTY WINS CLASS B GIRLS BASKETBALL STATE TITLE

Grant County needed to rally to force overtime in the Region 5 girls basketball championship game, but in the end the Coyotes emerged with a 58-49 victory over Shiloh Christian to earn a trip to the state tournament at the Minot State Dome.

The Coyotes would receive the No. 5 seed and play defending state champion Kindred (No. 4 seed) in the quarterfinals. Grant County kept its momentum rolling in Minot defeating the Vikings 60-57 courtesy of a buzzer-beater 3-pointer made by senior Alexis Bentz.

The Coyotes defeated No. 1 seeded Medina/Pingree-Buchanan 49-47 in the semifinals to set up a meeting with unseeded Killdeer in the championship game. Grant County defeated Killdeer 53-44 in the title game led by senior guard Taylor Roehl who scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Roehl was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

BOYS SWIMMING AND DIVING STATE MEET HELD AT WEST FARGO’S HULBERT AQUATICS CENTER

West Fargo’s Hulbert Aquatic Center opened this fall and in March the new facility hosted its first NDHSAA state swimming and diving meet.

The Hulbert Aquatic Center features the pool used in the 2016 Olympic Trials which was moved to West Fargo from Omaha, Neb. The facility can hold more than a thousand fans and up to 600 athletes.

The 2018 NDHSAA boys swimming and diving meet was held at the Hulbert Aquatic Center on March 2-3. Minot won the team state championship ending Bismarck Century’s run of five straight titles (2013-17).

PATRIOT GAINS: BISMARCK CENTURY SWEEPS SUPER A BASKETBALL STATE TOURNAMENT

The 2018 NDHSAA Super A Basketball Tournament was headquartered at the SCHEELS Center in the Sanford Health Athletic Complex. Saturday’s championship games were a sweep for Bismarck Century.

Century’s girls basketball defeated Mandan 55-51 in the title game and the Patriots’ boys squad followed up with a 63-56 victory over West Fargo Sheyenne for the program’s first title since 2011.

The Century boys and Century girls basketball teams made history becoming the first school to win state championships in the same combined Class A tournament, which began in 2003. The last school to have won both Class A state titles in boys and girls basketball during the same school year was Fargo North during the 2001-02 school year. North won the girls tournament in the fall of 2001 and then won the boys tournament in the winter of 2002.

HILLSBORO/CENTRAL VALLEY BOYS BASKETBALL WINS B BOYS BASKETBALL STATE TITLE WITH ANOTHER BUZZER-BEATER 3-POINTER

Hillsboro/Central Valley won its second consecutive North Dakota Class B boys basketball state championship on Saturday, March 17 at the Bismarck Event Center defeating Bishop Ryan 73-71 in overtime.

The 2018 state championship game victory was just as dramatic as the 2017 title. In both games, a late 3-pointer was needed to decide the outcome.

In 2017 it was Kyle Henningsgard who supplied the buzzer-beater, game-winning 3-pointer in the Burros’ win over Four Winds/Minnewaukan. Senior Ryan Troftgruben provided the deciding bucket – a 3-pointer with three seconds remaining in overtime to clinch the 2018 state title.

Troftgruben finished with 11 points and was 3-for-5 from beyond the 3-point line.

“I knew we were down by one and I have to make this or it is game over,” Troftgruben said.

Sophomore guard Carson Henningsgard drew a double team and kicked the ball out to Troftgruben for the game-winner. Hillsboro/Central Valley is the first Class B program to repeat as state champions since May-Port CG won two in a row in 2002 and 2003. The recent rarity of back-to-back championships and how unique the Burros’ run is wasn’t lost on Troftgruben.

“It’s crazy, especially in the manner that we won both of them in,” Troftgruben said. “It is a dream come true.”

Henningsgard led the Burros with 22 points and dished out six assists. He was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player following the championship game.

Hillsboro/Central Valley’s largest lead in the second half was 44-31, but the Lions never quit. Bishop Ryan got a big lift from its junior guard combo of Ben Bohl and Mason Hedberg.

Hedberg hit several clutch 3-pointers down the stretch for Bishop Ryan – none bigger than his 3-pointer with 9.4 seconds remaining to tie the game 63-63. Bohl led the Lions with 24 points. Hedberg finished with 21 points.

VIDEO: Ryan Troftgruben hits buzzer beater to help Burros win Class B Basketball title

FARGO DAVIES GIRLS TRACK AND FIELD TEAM DOMINATES IN BISMARCK

The Fargo Davies girls track and field team had a banner weekend at the 2018 NDHSAA State Meet in Bismarck. The Eagles scored 222 team points to win the Class A girls state championship edging runner up finisher Bismarck Century by 138 points.

Individual State Champions for Fargo Davies were:

Rose Gaye: 100 Meters, 200 Meters, 400 Meters
Kaia Beil: 100 Meter Hurdles
Kaia Schneider: High Jump
Michaela Hjelseth: Javelin
Alya Kretchman: Pole Vault
4x100 Relay: Kaia Beil, Roseline Gaye, Merritt Beil, Sally Korgho
4x200 Relay: Roseline Gaye, Kaia Beil, Carsyn Bachmeier, Ellen Donat
4x400 Relay: Emily Jahner, Ellen Donat, Sally Korgho, Rose Gaye
4x800 Relay: McKenna Lovehaug, Taylor Dietz, Hailey Bjerke, Megan Lundstrom

COMPLETE RESULTS: 2018 NDHSAA State Track & Field Meet

WEST FARGO’S STREAK OF SOFTBALL TITLES COMES TO AN END

Since becoming a NDHSAA-sponsored sport in 2009 fastpitch softball has been synonymous with West Fargo. The Packers won nine straight titles since 2009 – three as one division (2009, 2010, 2011) and six in Class A division (2012-17).

This spring West Fargo’s impressive consecutive titles streak came to an end as the Packers lost their quarterfinals matchup to Bismarck Century. Ultimately, Minot defeated Dickinson 4-2 in the Class A softball state championship game.

MINOT GIRLS TENNIS WINS TEAM DUAL TITLE, FIRST WEST REGION TEAM TO DO SO SINCE 2001

Minot defeated West Fargo Sheyenne 3-2 in the 2018 NDHSAA girls tennis championship dual on Thursday, May 31 at Choice Health & Fitness in Grand Forks. The Magicians picked up victories at No. 1 and No. 3 singles as well as a win at No. 2 doubles to clinch the championship. The Magicians victory in the title match mark the first time a West region team had won the state dual tournament since Bismarck Century won in 2001.

OTHER MOMENTS OF NOTE:

SPRINTERS DOMINATE AT STATE TRACK: It was a great year for sprinters at the 2018 NDHSAA Track and Field State Meet. Calob Larson (Bismarck Legacy, FR.) won the Class A boys 100, 200 and 400 meters. Kaden Kuntz (Dickinson Trinity, JR.) won the Class B boys 100 and 200 meters. Rose Gaye (Fargo Davies, SR.) won the Class A girls 100, 200 and 400 meters. Grace Zimmerman (Hazen, SR.) won the Class B girls 100, 200 and 400 meters.

SOUTH BORDER FRESHMAN EMILY ST. AUBIN IS CLASS B GIRLS GOLF MEDALIST FOR THIRD STRAIGHT YEAR

South Border freshman Emily St. Aubin three-peated as medalist of the North Dakota High School Activities Association Class B girls golf state tournament in May.

St. Aubin scored a 4-over 76 on Wednesday at Dakota Winds Golf Course and finished with a two-day total of 157 for the individual state championship. St. Aubin becomes just the second girls golfer in state history to win three straight individual medalist championships. Laura Kraft of Jamestown high school won three straight Class A state titles from 2008 to 2010.

DISTINGUISHED STUDENT ANNA HOLEN WRAPS UP DECORATED PREP CAREER:

2017-18 NDHSAA/Farmers Union Insurance Distinguished Student Anna Holen of LaMoure High School represented her community and peers well addressing school delegates at the NDHSAA Membership meeting in October.

A month later, Holen helped the LaMoure/Litchville-Marion volleyball team to its third straight NDHSAA Class B state championship. Holen led the Loboes with 15 kills in a 3-0 win over Thompson and was named North Dakota High School Coaches Association’s Class B Volleyball Senior Athlete of the Year following the title game.

In girls basketball, the Loboes spent most of the 2017-18 season ranked in the Top 10 before losing to Medina-Pingree/Buchanan in the Region 3 semifinals. Holen would finish her prep basketball career with 2,001 career points.

In March, Holen was named Miss Basketball – an award voted on by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. Holen averaged 20.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.1 steals per game her senior season helping the Loboes to a 20-4 record. She was also named NDHSCA Class B Girls Basketball Senior Athlete of the Year

Holen is committed to play volleyball at the University of Jamestown this coming fall.

PARK RIVER/F-L AGGIES REPEAT AS B BASEBALL CHAMPS: The Park River/Fordville-Lankin Aggies and Thompson Tommies met in the Class B baseball state championship game for the second year in a row. The Aggies and Tommies’ 2018 battle needed extra inning to determine a winner. Park River/F-L defeated Thompson 7-3 on June 2 at Jack Brown Stadium in Jamestown to repeat as state champions.

Several other programs repeat as NDHSAA State Champions: Complete list of repeat champions not previously mentioned in 2017-18 NDHSAA Season Recap

Class A Boys Cross Country: Bismarck Century
Class B Boys Cross Country: New Town
Class A Girls Cross Country: Fargo Davies
Class B Girls Cross Country: Hillsboro/Central Valley
Boys Hockey: Grand Forks Central
Girls Swimming and Diving: Bismarck Century
Class B Girls Track and Field: Hazen
Class A Wrestling (Team Dual): Bismarck
Class B Wrestling (Team Individual): Lisbon
Gymnastics: Dickinson
Class B Speech: Enderlin/Maple Valley
Class A Speech: Valley City
Student Congress: Richardton-Taylor
Class A Boys Golf: Grand Forks Red River

COMPLETE 2017-18 TEAM STATE CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP

Class B Baseball: Park River/Fordville-Lankin

Class A Baseball: Bismarck Century

Class B Softball: Central Cass

Class A Softball: Minot

Class B Boys Basketball: Hillsboro/Central Valley

Class A Boys Basketball: Bismarck Century

Class B Girls Basketball: Grant County

Class A Girls Basketball: Bismarck Century

Class A Boys Cross Country: Bismarck Century

Class B Boys Cross Country: New Town

Class A Girls Cross Country: Fargo Davies

Class B Girls Cross Country: Hillsboro/Central Valley

Class 3A Football: West Fargo

Class 2A Football: Bismarck St. Mary’s

Class 1A Football: Hillsboro/Central Valley

9-man Football: Wyndmere/Lidgerwood

Class B Boys Golf: Kindred

Class A Boys Golf: Grand Forks Red River

Class B Girls Golf: Heart River

Class A Girls Golf: Grand Forks Red River

Boys Hockey: Grand Forks Central

Girls Hockey: Bismarck Blizzard

Boys Soccer: Bismarck High

Girls Soccer: Fargo Davies

Boys Swimming and Diving: Minot

Girls Swimming and Diving: Bismarck Century

Boys Tennis: Fargo South

Girls Tennis: Minot

Class A Boys Track and Field: Bismarck Century

Class B Boys Track and Field: Dickinson Trinity

Class A Girls Track and Field: Fargo Davies

Class B Girls Track and Field: Hazen

Class A Wrestling (Team Dual): Bismarck

Class B Wrestling (Team Dual): South Border

Class A Wrestling (Team Individual): Bismarck

Class B Wrestling (Team Individual): Lisbon

Gymnastics: Dickinson

Class A Volleyball: Bismarck Century

Class B Volleyball: LaMoure/Litchville-Marion

Debate: Fargo Davies

Class B Plays: Enderlin

Class A Plays: West Fargo

Class B Speech: Enderlin/Maple Valley

Class A Speech: Valley City

Student Congress: Richardton-Taylor High School