Pool is a reporter for The West Fargo Pioneer covering city sports and community news. He was the sports editor for The Dickinson Press covering Dickinson State athletics, high school athletics and Southwest Speedway. He graduated from North Dakota State with a degree in journalism and a minor in English. You can reach him by phone at 701-451-5715 or tweet him @CPoolReporter.
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WEST FARGO — When Megan Gaffaney was among the best players in the state of North Dakota, she was among the best performers in almost everything.
FARGO—The four-year history of the rivalry between West Fargo and West Fargo Sheyenne has seen plenty of exhilarating contests. But none were with higher stakes than Friday, March 9. Beating the Packers for the second time this season was going to be a tall order, but Sheyenne's Christian Kuntz said nobody believed in his team anway. Kuntz and the Mustangs wanted to prove themselves, and for the first time ever, the Mustangs are going to the state championship.
FARGO—Josh Sipes of Century High School in Bismarck has been to state tournaments before. He still gets nervous before games but looked poised as his team relied on him early and often during the North Dakota Class A boys basketball state quarterfinals on Thursday, March 8, at North Dakota State University's Scheels Center. Sipes recorded a double-double with game highs of 25 points and 11 rebounds as he paced West Region No. 1 seed Bismarck Century to a 68-44 win over East Region No. 4 seed Grand Forks Red River.
GRAND FORKS—Grand Forks crushed the dreams of West Fargo a year ago. And for a few minutes, the United seemed like they might have their state championship dreams taken away again. But it wouldn't happen this time around. The No. 3-seeded United were ready to respond and rolled to a 4-1 win over No. 6-seeded Grand Forks in the North Dakota girls hockey state quarterfinals on Thursday, Feb. 22, at Olympic Arena.
GRAND FORKS—Bismarck didn't have to worry much about defense in the North Dakota girls hockey state quarterfinals. The Blizzard dominated the offensive zone and controlled the puck for so long they weren't even in their defensive zone for long anyway. The No. 2-seeded Blizzard controlled the puck and allowed just one shot on goal as they shut out No. 7-seeded Dickinson 3-0 on Thursday, Feb. 22, at Olympic Arena. "That was crazy," all-West Region defenseman Taylor Lenertz said. "We worked well down low and played as a team."
FARGO—Jared Franek already was the all-time winningest wrestler in North Dakota high school history. Franek had won three state championships and was wrestling for his fourth. But Franek still felt nerves. Even as he goes to wrestle for North Dakota State next year, Franek doesn't think those nerves will ever go away.
FARGO—In the most important game of the season, West Fargo had one last trick up its sleeve. Down at halftime, the Packers recovered an onside kick on the second-half opening kickoff and scored 22 unanswered points on their way to a 56-28 victory over West Region No. 3-seeded Minot in the North Dakota Class 3A state football championship during the 25th annual Dakota Bowl on Friday, Nov. 10, at the Fargodome. East Region top-seeded West Fargo (12-0) capped an undefeated season with its first state championship since 2003.
FARGO — George Duenas knew small-town football. He had coached other North Dakota high school football teams with small rosters. But for his first practice as coach of Center-Stanton in the west-central part of the state, 12 kids showed. "What the heck do I do?" Duenas asked with a laugh. "When you have more referees on the field than players, that's when you know you have issues."
JAMESTOWN, N.D.—Matthew Nemer was wrapped in his father's arms in tears on Saturday, Oct. 14. Fargo Davies had gone through an emotional rollercoaster all week, but the Eagles couldn't finish on a high note. West Region No. 3-seeded Bismarck scored twice in the first half to cruise to a 2-1 North Dakota boys soccer state championship victory at Rotary Field over East Region No. 3-seeded Davies. "To work so hard and then fall short at the end, it's tough," Nemer said. "We did the best we could and played hard until the end. That's all you can ask for I guess."
JAMESTOWN, N.D. — West Fargo became accustomed to scoring early and often throughout the season. But the returning North Dakota boys soccer state champion Packers found a new level of offensive firepower at the right time. The East Region No. 1-seeded Packers scored four goals in a 10-minute span midway through the first half on their way to an 8-1 win over West Region No. 4-seeded Mandan in the state tournament quarterfinals on Thursday, Oct. 12, at Rotary Field in Jamestown.