Kurtis Moody just wanted to play basketball. And now he’s getting his wish.
The 2011 Pequot Lakes High School graduate was a regular on the basketball court as a senior — earning team MVP and the Dispatch Player of the Year honors with the Patriots.
He enrolled in college at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and was a red-shirt member of the Bulldogs’ men’s basketball team his freshman year.
Moody was biding his time at UMD with the hope of increased playing time during the 2012-13 season. But that didn’t happen as he only played a total of 19 minutes.
The 6-foot-2 forward was frustrated. After two years of mainly practicing, Moody just wanted playing time. He was willing to switch from being on a Division II team to a Division III program, and visited the University of Wisconsin-Superior and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
He made the decision to transfer to Eau Claire, located in central Wisconsin. His transfer was approved, and Moody found himself in the starting lineup when the Blugolds opened the season Nov. 16.
“Quitting never crossed my mind,” Moody said of his basketball career. “I didn’t have the opportunity that I wished for (at UMD), but I knew Eau Claire was a nice fit. We basically have a new team since only four guys were left from last year.”
Moody especially liked Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s head coach, Matt Siverling.
“I met (Siverling) two years ago when I was visiting colleges and he was coaching at Wisconsin-Superior. I like (Siverling), and he’s doing a good job in his second year at Eau Claire,” Moody said.
Siverling is also impressed with Moody.
“Kurt is a competitor,” he said. “He works extremely hard on both ends of the floor and is willing to do whatever it takes to help his team win.”
The Blugolds are off to a 4-2 overall start, and Moody is taking advantage of his starting opportunity by averaging 13 points and seven rebounds.
“I knew I had a chance to start, but I had to work hard and earn it,” Moody said. “The style of play fits me, and I’m working to get better.”
Moody admits that it “takes time to get used” to the speed of the game, and adds that players are generally bigger in Division II than Division III.
“I’ve been practicing for two years, but it’s different playing in games,” he said. “The speed and intensity is greater in games, plus you’re way more focused.”
Moody said the Blugolds are working to return to the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference dominance it enjoyed in the 1970s and 1980s.
Clarifying the ‘facts’
A former editor often advised writing “believed to be” before listing historic “facts” in stories. I should have remembered that advice in the Oct. 29 edition of the Echo Journal when I wrote that Pequot Lakes junior golfer Maggie Heggerston, who verbally committed to play for the University of Minnesota women’s golf team starting in 2015, will be the first Pequot Lakes graduate to play Division I women’s golf.
Since the story ran, I was reminded that the Pequot Lakes program had two other Division I golfers — Liz (Meschke) Larson, who played at the University of Montana, and Jackie Heslop, who golfed for Northern Illinois. They both joined their Division I programs in 2002.
Larson, a 2000 Pequot Lakes graduate, participated in two state tournaments. Before transferring to Montana, she was an All-MIAC golfer with the Concordia College-Moorhead. She then went to Montana for her junior year and helped the Grizzlies finish fourth at the Big Sky Conference championships as a senior.
Heslop, who was a captain when the Patriots won the Class A state title in 2002, enjoyed a successful college career as a four-year letterwinner. She was Northern Illinois’ Most Valuable Golfer as a junior, and then finished 11th overall at the Mid-American Conference meet as a senior.
In conclusion, let’s say Heggerston is “believed to be” the first Pequot Lakes graduate who will golf for the University of Minnesota women’s team and play in the Big 10 Conference.
Also, few high school girls’ golf teams have had three Division I players, which is a testimony to the quality of the Patriots’ program over the past two decades.