Blessed with speed: Blazing-fast Trinity senior Kaden Kuntz stars on the track and football field

NOTE: This story appears in the January issue of the Heart River Voice, of which I am a contributing sports feature writer.

Kaden Kuntz was only 10 years old when when he began to understand he had the gift of speed.

He had qualified for the Hershey National Junior Olympic Championships in two events, the 50 and 100 meters. He chose to run the 50 meters and became national runner-up.

The Dickinson Trinity High School senior said that was “the first time I realized I had some speed behind me.”

Kuntz hasn’t slowed down since.

Today, he can make a legitimate claim to being the fastest high school athlete in North Dakota.

He’s the reigning Class B state champion in the 100 and 200 meters — last spring, he clocked the state’s fastest 100 time in three years — and also won the long jump title. He was the catalyst for the Trinity boys winning their first track and field state championship since 2006, and figures to put them in the title hunt again this spring.

“He’s probably one of the best track athletes we’ve had in a long time,” Trinity track and field head coach Craig Kovash said.

Not only that, Kuntz’s speed and abilities on the football field helped him earn him Class A senior athlete of the year honors as he helped the Titans to the state semifinals. Just before Christmas, he signed to play college football for North Dakota State University.

Along with his athletic success, Kuntz’s coaches said he’s a standout in the classroom and has embraced a sense of leadership during his senior year.

“Not just his athleticism, but his leadership skills for setting an example for all those kids around him,” Trinity head football coach John Odermann said. “I can’t say how proud of I am of the young man he’s become and the example he sets for the underclassmen.”

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Holtz motivates energy conference in leadup to Trump

BISMARCK — Lou Holtz joked Thursday that the last time he was in North Dakota, oil was $100 a barrel and he wasn’t homeless.

The former college football coach and ESPN commentator, who lost a Florida home in a fire last summer, encouraged energy industry leaders and workers to take the recent oil downturn in stride during a speech preceding Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s appearance at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference.

“Quitting is a permanent solution to a temporary problem,” he said. “Until you fly on solar energy, oil is going to continue to be very, very important.”

Holtz, a former board member for Watford City-based Nuverra Environmental Solutions, only lightly touched on energy in his speech and went through standard motivational material that has made him a sought-after speaker nationwide.

Holtz peppered multiple jokes throughout his 40-minute speech. His few moments speaking about oil were tied into his motivational theme, and for a moment, Holtz even got political.

“We all have injustices done,” he said. “It would bother the daylights out of me in this oil business, where our government subsidizes all kinds of fancy things and puts all kinds of restrictions on me. But you can’t be bitter about it.”

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From Dickinson to Frisco: Area Bison fans confident about chances for fifth national title

Sarah and Jared Twogood, of Dickinson, stand on the fi eld at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, following North Dakota State University’s victory over Illinois State in their fourth consecutive FCS championship game on Jan. 10, 2015.
Sarah and Jared Twogood, of Dickinson, stand on the fi eld at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, following North Dakota State University’s victory over Illinois State in their fourth consecutive FCS championship game on Jan. 10, 2015.

Dave and Kay Moody aren’t exactly superstitious, but they aren’t taking any chances either.

The Moodys made their fifth annual trip to Frisco, Texas, this week the same way they did when they followed the North Dakota State University football team — and their son, senior Bison receiver Nate Moody — there in 2012.

The Moodys left Dickinson on Wednesday to drive to the Denver area and then flew to Dallas on Thursday morning and are staying at the same hotel they did during the first title season, Dave said, when Nate was a freshman who saw playing time in NDSU’s first title win.

“It’s kind of full circle,” Dave said. “That’s what we did the first year and we figured, let’s do it.”

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UnFOURgettable: Champions showed up when it mattered most to lead NDSU to fourth straight title

Was there ever really a doubt?

Trailing by four points with about 1½ minutes remaining and with a fourth consecutive FCS championship on the line, did anyone expect the North Dakota State football team to falter Saturday afternoon?

The Bison made history by defeating Missouri Valley Football Conference rival Illinois State 29-27 for the title in dramatic and downright astounding fashion.

They were nowhere near perfect. But when it mattered most, NDSU displayed every bit of that championship swagger it had accumulated over the past four seasons. Continue reading “UnFOURgettable: Champions showed up when it mattered most to lead NDSU to fourth straight title”

North Dakotans should be proud of the Bison

North Dakota State seniors celebrate their win over Towson during the 2014 NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision title game Saturday at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. *Photo by Carrie Snyder / Forum News Service)

About 10 years ago, North Dakota State decided to move its athletic programs to the NCAA Division I level.

No one knew what to expect at the time. Coming off a few years of Division II mediocrity in most sports, including football, fan sentiment was tempered. Some people predicted it would be a disaster. More were upset that long-time rivalries were ending so NDSU could play teams like Southern Utah and Cal Poly.

A decade later, there is no debate. The decision has been nothing short of brilliant.

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Moody living in the moment: DHS graduate relishing title game experiences

North Dakota State sophomore receiver Nate Moody takes on Southern Illinois defensive back Anthony Thompson on Oct. 27 at the Fargodome.

Nate Moody believes that sometime in his future, he will look back and realize how special today actually is.

This morning, Moody will snap on his helmet for the biggest game of his career and try to help No. 1-ranked North Dakota State win its second consecutive Division I Football Championship Subdivision title when it meets No. 5 Sam Houston State at 11 a.m. today at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

The 2011 Dickinson High School graduate said being back in Frisco and playing for another title is a surreal accomplishment he never expected when he joined NDSU as a preferred walk-on.

“I don’t really have words to put to it,” Moody said. “It was a great experience last year, it’s going to be another great experience. Hopefully I just realize, someday, what this actually is. Even last year isn’t all that realistic to me and even to a lot of other people. We’re still playing football.”
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Chris Carlson, one of Dickinson area’s greatest athletes, dies at age 41

Chris Carlson simultaneously led a blessed and troubled life.

Carlson, an adoring father to two young daughters and a man best known in Dickinson for his athletic accomplishments, died tragically of an apparent suicide in his home Sunday, family and friends said Monday.

“We all knew he struggled with issues and things of that nature,” said Kyle Carlson, his younger brother. “He tried his hardest to work through it.”

The son of longtime Dickinson High School track and field coach Jack Carlson, Chris Carlson was described by many as one of the best athletes Dickinson has ever produced.

Among his many athletic accomplishments, Chris Carlson was named the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association’s Male Athlete of the Year in 1989, the year he graduated from DHS.

An all-state quarterback and a standout pole vaulter who helped the Midgets track team his father coached to the 1989 state championship, Chris Carlson was also a standout on the basketball court and the baseball field.

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