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Top Taters: Ranking the best Spud athletes

posted Nov 3, 2019, 10:00 AM by Andrew Tichy   [ updated Nov 5, 2019, 1:11 PM ]
MHS senior Claire Howell is the only current Spud to crack the list. She holds the school record in the 400m dash in Track.
Photo: David Samson, The Forum | Special to The Spud

By: Jack Eisenzimmer

Editor's note: This is the first in a three-part series that examines the best of the best in Moorhead athletics over the past five decades. With the potential of a brand new high school on the horizon, we look back on the truly elite Spuds that called the current building home. Parts two and three will be published in the coming weeks. 

Today we embark on a generations-old tradition. A classic lunch table discussion. A discussion had amongst friends for decades. The answer to the age old question, “Who are the greatest athletes in our school’s history?” A question asked by students at every high school across the world since the origination of high school sports. So our question today: Who are the 15 greatest Moorhead High School athletes in the school’s history?

The methodology used for this argument combines a multitude of factors, including statistical resumes, career success in high school and beyond, accounts from spectators and coaches, and team success. For the sake of the argument we’re only going to look only at athletes that competed in the current building. That gives us every Moorhead athlete since 1966. Instead of doing an ordered list,  the rankings will have three tiers with each containing five people. There will also be a section at the end for honorable mentions or people with the potential to crack the top 15 in a few years. So without further ado, let's dig into this.

Tier Three: The Buffalo Wild Wings Tier

Our First tier of five is the Buffalo Wild Wings tier: Athletes who were really good, but not quite elite. Buffalo Wild Wings is a fine establishment, popular among MHS students, but it’s a chain restaurant that focuses on ambience and table turnover more than food. Their wings, while good, aren’t the highest quality. This is true of the athletes in the Bdubs tier. They are all great, but when compared to the host of immense talent produced over the last five decades, they come up just short. They had great high school careers, but their overall resumes keep them just outside of the top ten. So here it is, The Buffalo Wild Wings Tier.


Lisa Dyer: 

Lisa Dyer is the first entry in the Buffalo Wild Wings tier. She was a distance runner who graduated from Moorhead in 2001. She has an impressive high school resume, with a school record of 4:54.35 in the 1600m, and another school record in the 3200m with a time of 10:22.8. She competed at the state track meet in 2000 and 2001. In 2000 she took seventh place in the 3200m, and in 2001 she earned second place finishes in both the 1600m and 3200m. After an illustrious high school career, she went on to run cross country and track at the University of Minnesota, and continued running after college, setting the women's record in the Fargo Marathon 10k. 


Otis Weah:

Otis Weah is a recent entry onto this list. A running back and track athlete who graduated in 2018 from Moorhead. His football career is a storied one in the halls at Moorhead. His senior year was an incredible display with more than 1,800 yards, and 20 touchdowns. His track year was also quite strong. He set the section record in the triple jump, but missed out on state due to the ACT. He went on to play football at UND, but has recently had some reported struggles academically, potential jeopardizing his football career. 

Claire Howell:

Claire Howell is the only athlete on this list that is still in high school. Her achievements though are already extensive. She competes in volleyball, hockey, and track. Her success on the Moorhead volleyball team is impressive, with multiple state berths in the last three years, but her track career is where she really dominates. With multiple state berths, and a school record in the 400m dash with a time of 55.34s, her athletic future will likely be in track. The main reason for Claire Howell’s inclusion on this list is her all-around ability. She has found tremendous success in volleyball and track, and while the hockey team has encountered some struggles on the ice over the past few years, she remains an important member of the program.

Ellingson (center) runs in the 2011 MSHSL state tournament. Photo:

Glen Ellingson:

Glen Ellingson ran cross country and track at Moorhead, graduating in 2012 with an impressive resume. He was a very good cross country runner with a career peak coming in a second place finish at the 2010 section tournament. Track though was were he shined. In 2011 he won an individual state championship in the 3200m run with a time of 9:16.84. That time set a new school record in the 3200m that still stands today. He also has a school record in the 1600m run with a time of 4:18.43. 

Associated Press Photo

Mark Cullen:

Mark Cullen remains an iconic Moorhead hockey player. He attended the school from 1994-1998, and in that time set the record for the most career assists, racking up 111, and is fourth in overall points with 168 total. He went on to play four years of college hockey at Colorado College, and then signed with the Minnesota Wild in 2002. He bounced around the NHL and foreign hockey leagues for a while before retiring from hockey in 2016.