JAMESTOWN — Three years ago, the class of 2020 at Jamestown High School were about to enter their final year as Blue Jay athletes.
Now they’re scattered across the state of North Dakota, but the grain of their hometown Blue Jay continues to pump through their veins.
“The titles may have changed, but the goals haven’t,” said former Blue Jay and current Minnesota State University Moorhead quarterback Tommy Falk. “It’s always been about playing in the post-season and continuing to improve.”
Falk and fellow JHS Class of 2020 graduates Boden Skunberg and Kameron Selvig are entering their third year of college-level athletics.
Falk is a starter for the Dragons football team. Skunberg is in Fargo with the Bison basketball team, and Selvig traveled west, taking his talents to Bismarck for the University of Mary volleyball team.
“My time as Blue Jay taught me the importance of leadership and gave me a foundation to grow as a football player,” Falk said. “I’m extremely grateful for my time as a Blue Jay and it’s cool to see others succeeding at the next level as well.”
In his final season with the Jays, Falk threw for 1,762 yards and completed 12 touchdowns through the air. He rushed for 151 yards for 96 yards and had five rushing touchdowns – numbers he only looked to improve on once he arrived at Moorhead.
“Obviously everyone is much better at this level and I knew I was going to have to improve before I even got here, but I was extremely lucky to have come here when I did,” Falk said.
“Because we lost my freshman year to COVID, I think it made me learn our offense and adapt to the game a lot easier than most (people),” he said. he declares.
Falk said what was supposed to be his freshman year was tough because it was the first time he hadn’t played a game since he could remember. The time off ended up being a buildup until the 2021 season — a season the former Blue Jays starter called a “roller coaster.”
“We had a season with a lot of ups and downs,” Falk said. “I think I learned a lot last year about myself as a quarterback and having a full starting year has been huge for me. Going into my second season as a starter, I’m excited about the team we have and the work we put in.”
Falk went 252 for 411. He threw for 2,874 yards in his 11 games played for an average of 261 yards per game. He threw for 20 touchdowns and dropped just 10 interceptions.
Those numbers didn’t come easily as Falk quickly realized that being good at athletics doesn’t just mean a lot of training.
When he was in high school, Falk said he would have worked on his mobility by stretching more and eating better. Falk said learning to cook “decent meals” for himself and focusing more on stretching and mobility training has made a big difference for him over the past two years.
Falk said he certainly didn’t feel like he was in his third year at MSUM already, but he hasn’t even done half of his career because he has three years left as a Dragon. . This year, Falk said the overriding goal for him was to help the team achieve wins.
Falk and the Dragons are set to kick off the 2022 season Sept. 1 against Sioux Falls in Moorhead. The game is due to start at 6 p.m.
“If I can play well enough for my team to make the playoffs and be successful, I’m happy,” Falk said. “Whether I’m throwing 50 or 350 yards, I just want to do what’s necessary for us to win.”
Skunberg finds his groove for Bison in Fargo
If you drive 3.7 miles down the road from Nemzek Stadium, you’ll come across Boden Skunberg, who is preparing for a third round with the North Dakota State University men’s basketball team.
“As a freshman, nobody really tells you how much work and commitment you’ll need,” Skunberg said. “You have to be fully engaged. There was a big leap from high school to college. No matter how ready you think you are for the next level, you can always do more.”
Skunberg said the past two years have been the busiest of his life as he struggled to balance his year-round sports training, school and social life. Although balancing it all out has been difficult at times, Skunberg said the challenges have allowed her to grow as a person.
Prior to joining Team Bison, Skunberg had a senior season of 455 points, 25 steals, 178 rebounds and 105 free throws at JHS.
“It’s crazy to think this is about to be my third year in college,” Skunberg said. “I feel like I’m so consumed with what I’m doing and just enjoying each day makes it go by quickly.”
Skunberg said due to COVID wiping out his freshman season, he will be a sophomore based on athletic eligibility, which means he plans to compete for the Bison for three more seasons.
“Achieving my dream of playing basketball in D1 was a blessing as all the hours of work paid off,” Skunberg said. “NDSU was the perfect fit for me because I fell in love with the culture. (Also) family is very important to me and seeing them in every game was a big part of my decision.”
Skunberg was responsible for 188 points this season, averaging 5.9 in each of his 32 games played. The former JHS standout was 40% from 2-point range and 31% from beyond the arc.
He was 27-37 to go .730 to the tape. Skunberg caught 108 boards for an average of 3.4 per game – ranking him fourth on the team in rebound average.
Skunberg said playing for the NDSU was made a lot easier by the start he got in Buffalo City.
“Blue Jay athletics has played a huge role in allowing me to take the next step in my athletic career,” Skunberg said. “They really care about helping everyone improve, whether it’s the coaches who stick around after practice to get extra shots or just the support they provide.
“I hope the kids don’t feel left out because they’re from North Dakota. If they have a goal or a dream, I hope they know they can achieve it.”
It is clear that Kameron Selvig has not been counted since she moved to the capital.
“It’s crazy to think I’m entering my third year of college,” Selvig said. “I feel like I just started, but high school also feels like another life, so it’s an interesting thing. All the experiences and challenges along the way made it go by faster than I never would have thought.”
Selvig is currently the Marauders’ starting passer, accounting for 604 of the team’s 920 assists last fall. Selvig’s natural leadership and skill at net helped lead the Marauders to a 6-23 overall record.
While the numbers for the program could be better, Selvig said she didn’t choose the Marauders program because of the winning streak.
“What I was looking for was a community where I could grow individually, spiritually, and where I could be my best self,” Selvig said. “That’s what I found at UMary. It’s a great program and school and I really found my place here.”
The 2019 Senior Volleyball Athlete of the Year was credited with 32 kills, 29 service aces and 159 digs. She recorded the best hitting percentage on the team with a .204 in 102 sets and 29 games played.
Looking ahead to her third season as a Marauder, Selvig said her goals got longer as she got older. She said she was thinking about the future of the team and about herself as a player and a person.
“This season my goals are to take more of a leadership role within our team and to be someone my teammates can lean on and rely on in any situation,” Selvig said.
Selvig said the culture of Blue Jay volleyball is what prepared and prepared her well for college sports. From the start, Blue Jays head coach Sara Hegerle and company taught Selvig that the relationships and trust built within the team are the most important things. The soon-to-be junior said that this foundation was what helped her a lot over the past two years.
“(College sports are) so much more than your sport,” Selvig said. “You grow personally and alongside your teammates in more ways than you can imagine. The relationships formed are what have the most impact.”
These relationships may have made the transition to the college level easier for Selvig, especially given the unprecedented cancellations and schedule changes that COVID has brought to Selvig’s freshman year on campus.
“The bonds we formed as a team helped us push each other to be the best versions of ourselves every day,” Selvig said of how her teammates made the jump easy.
“The past two years have gone by so quickly. Between lessons, in-season and off-season training, traveling and competing, it’s been such a fun and challenging experience. I’m excited for the years to come.”