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Eric Peterson, Published December 11 2012

Video: Concordia women’s basketball player Sorensen spends time juggling in her father’s magic show

Moorhead - Tricia Sorensen first juggled for a sizeable crowd during her final year of high school at Bismarck Century, using steak knives.

The setting was at a chain restaurant during a pregame meal.

“It almost became our pregame ritual,” Sorensen said with a smile.

At the state volleyball tournament during her senior season, Sorensen showed off her hand-eye skills to not only her team, but another volleyball squad.

Both teams were sharing a room for their group meals.

“So I had to stand in the middle of the Applebee’s room juggling these steak knives so my team and the other team could just watch,” said Sorensen, now a senior on the Concordia women’s basketball team.

Sorensen has graduated to axes these days, and hopes to try chainsaws someday. She juggles in her father’s magic show on summer weekends in Medora, N.D.

She’s been a full-time part of the act for the past few summers, doing more than 50 shows a season.

“The axes people think are the craziest thing,” said Sorensen, who leads the Cobbers in scoring this season, averaging 13.7 points per game.

Bill Sorensen, Tricia’s father, has been doing a show at Medora for nearly 30 years. Tricia has been around the magic show since she was a child. She made cameos on the show during her childhood and then helped out backstage as she got older.

In the past few years, Tricia has been a regular on the show due to her juggling aptitude.

“I would work on these stupid juggling tricks forever and ever and it takes her 15 minutes,” said Bill Sorensen, who is a former Bismarck mayor.

Concordia head coach Jessica Rahman has seen Tricia juggle objects in practice – basketballs, tennis balls or other pieces of equipment that may be lying around.

“I don’t think she likes to display it, but she is very good at it,” Rahman said. “It just seems like second nature to her. It doesn’t look very difficult at all.”

Tricia said her juggling skill has helped on the court, honing her hand-eye coordination. The Cobbers often use Sorensen at the top of zone presses, and she is able to get her hands in passing lanes to deflect balls and create steals.

“I have a lot faster hands when trying to save a ball or catch a pass, get my hands on passes,” Sorensen said. “It really helps out with hand speed.”

When she was in high school, Tricia said her teammates would give her juggling challenges, like how many miles she could juggle on the bus before dropping things.

She once made it 12 miles.

“I had to eventually sit down and juggle because it was too rocky on the bus,” Sorensen said.

Sorensen said juggling has always come natural. Recently she learned a trick called the “Mills Mess.” She found the trick on YouTube. It took her about 20 minutes to get it down.

“It happened to be a trick my dad was trying to learn for 10 years,” Tricia said.

“My only thing is how easily she picks things up,” Bill added. “I used to practice hours and hours a day.”

Tricia – who has more than 750 points and 400 rebounds to this point in her career at Concordia – admits her dad is more skilled in one area.

“He is a much better magician,” Tricia said. “I can’t do any magic.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com