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Eric Peterson, Published January 29 2010

College wrestling: MSUM’s Forde having a strong year

Evan Forde was caught in the wrong weight class last season.

The Minnesota State Moorhead junior settled in at 141 pounds because the team had a number of upperclassmen at 125 and 133 pounds, the two classes in which he was more suited to compete.

“He was way undersized there,” Dragons head coach Kris Nelson said of Forde wrestling at 141.

“He did the unselfish thing,” said Keenan Spiess, who was the Dragons head coach last season.

While Forde was below .500 (13-21) at 141, he felt the year was valuable in his development.

“Not having to worry about my weight and just going out there to wrestle and having no pressure on me, I learned a lot through that whole experience,” Forde said of his sophomore season.

Forde is now the Dragons starter at 133 pounds and is in the midst of his best college season. Forde has a 17-7 record and is ranked third in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.

“I’m pretty impressed with how he’s been wrestling this year compared to the last couple years,” said longtime Fargo South head wrestling coach Lynn Forde, Evan’s father and former high school coach. “I think he’s at a good weight right now, and he’s worked really hard at it.”

Evan has worked as a counselor at J Robinson Intensive Camps the last two summers. Robinson is the longtime Minnesota Gophers head coach.

“He knows more technique now than I have ever thought of knowing,” said Lynn, who has coached at South for more than 30 years and was an All-American at North Dakota State. “He seems to really enjoy the sport.”

Evan was around the mat since he can remember. Evan would often tag along with Lynn to practices and events with the high school team. That upbringing helped Evan develop an appreciation for the sport.

“You can learn a lot just from watching,” Evan said. “You kind of learn the wrestling attitude from being around those guys so it was a pretty easy transition for me to move into high school wrestling, just because like I felt I had been doing it all of my life.”

Eric (Evan’s younger brother) is a junior at South and a two-time North Dakota Class A state champion. When Nelson wrestled at NDSU, he used to help coach in a Fargo youth wrestling club.

“I remember all the Forde boys running around then,” Nelson said.

Evan didn’t win a state championship at South, but was a state runner-up as a freshman. He hopes he can accomplish something bigger this season.

“I high school I never felt I got done what I wanted to,” Evan said. “I think I have a reasonable shot at being an All-American. … To me, that’s a much bigger accomplishment than state titles.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.