MOORHEAD, Minn. – Each senior on the Minnesota State University Moorhead wrestling team has their own unique story or lasting impression. For Evan Forde, his lasting impression as a leader and teammate is already well known. His legacy as a Dragons wrestler, however, still has one more chapter left.
Forde is a local product of Fargo, N.D. and the pride of the Fargo South High School Bruins. Before his arrival at MSUM, the Forde name was a well-known part of wrestling in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Evan’s father, Lynn, is the coach of the Bruins wrestling team and was a member of the North Dakota State Bison wrestling team along with Evan’s uncles Bruce Forde and Randy Forde.
Forde was a successful wrestler at Fargo South, placing three times in the state tournament as high as second. Upon his arrival, Forde made an instant mark on the conference, posting a 15-14 record.
Forde has been the Dragons’ captain for the past two seasons, in large part due to his leadership and intensity. For Forde, there is added pressure that comes with being a captain and having the experience of a senior in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
“When I was younger, I had to just worry about myself and be ready to wrestle on my own,” Forde said. “Now there is more pressure to have the whole team ready, along with yourself.”
Forde has doesn’t hide the fact that his record since the spring semester has began has been frustrating. Rather, he expects to win the close matches with his experience. The frustration has turned into added motivation to prove how strong of a wrestler he is with his collegiate career nearly at its end.
“The biggest thing is finishing off these last few duals strong,” Forde said. “I’m getting to that point where I’m watching a lot of film on the guys I have wrestled and get to where I’m ready to peak.”
A large part of Forde’s approach is to never give excuses for coming up short. To never blame any struggles on the road being too tough. For Evan, the same applies to the competition the Dragons face year in and year out.
“Having a tough schedule helps us because by wrestling all this tough competition during the year, that’s going to help better prepare you for the post season,” Forde said. “In the end, having a tough schedule and a poor record is better than an easy schedule and a good record.”
It’s not too often you can go to an NCAA Division-II dual and see a wrestler sometimes out yell his coach. But come to a Dragons’ dual and that very well could be the case. Forde does his best to hide the coach with in, but his competitive drive often gets the best of him.
“I don’t pay attention to it but that is what I’m known for,” Forde said. “I can get a little into it but that’s because I want my teammates to win as badly as I want myself to win. It can be more frustrating watching teammates lose because it’s out of your control.” Evan’s voice is usually silent when he wrestles, but his father Lynn is there to kill any silence.
“That’s still the voice I can easily pick out from the crowd, Forde said. “I hear every word he says and I still get good advice from him. He has basically been my coach my whole life.” The lessons Lynn taught Evan extend beyond the mat as well.
“My motto has been to try and live life with no regrets and he has really supported me through that,” Forde said. “If you put 100 percent effort into what you’re doing than no matter what the outcome you can be proud of what you done.” It’s fairly easy for Forde to realize what it’s going to be like when this is all gone.
“You miss the feel of competition a lot, it’s why we are all in this, Forde said. “But I will miss the camaraderie and that team aspect. I know that we (seniors Tallen Wald, Jon Swart, Brady Schneeberger and Evan) can all look back on our struggles together and see how we got through it as teammates. To finish strong with these guys would mean a lot to me.”
Finishing strong begins with the John Sterner Endowment Dual, which means more to Forde than one would begin to think.
“There is tradition here in this wrestling program and the Endowment Dual is a tribute to that tradition,” Forde said. “It’s not just about raising money it’s about putting on a good show for all of those people who support us.” Forde has full control over how much longer he will wrestle; assuring no timetable can end his career.
“That’s why this sport is so great,” Forde said. “If your team isn’t doing so well there is still not limit to how far you can go. I want my team to do well but the only way to help them is by taking care of myself.” With the national tournament nearly a month away, it’s Forde’s chance to leave his mark on Dragons’ wrestling.
“I’ve been in this sport my whole life and I got one month left to see what I can do.”