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Published January 02, 2012, 09:58 PM

WDAY 6 Sports Top 6 to Watch in 2012

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - With a new year underway, it's time to look forward. So tonight we give you the 6 athletes and teams that we'll be keeping a close eye on in 2012.

By: Dom Izzo, WDAY

With a new year underway, it's time to look forward. So tonight we give you the 6 athletes and teams that we'll be keeping a close eye on in 2012.

We'll be watching Fargo's Tom Hoge, who nearly earned his Nationwide Tour card last month. The TCU grad already has one professional win to his credit and has full-time playing status in Canada. Hoge seems poised to break through in 2012 and earn a permanent playing spot in the States.

Another we'll keep our eyes on is Chad Walthall and his Dragons Men's Basketball Team. MSUM received plenty of attention after its upset win over the Bison back in November, then 9 straight wins to open the season. The Dragons are ready to make some noise in the Northern Sun

It's going to be a fun winter in Pelican Rapids, Perham and Hawley, where each of the boys basketball teams are loaded with talent. Perham and Pelican are currently ranked 1-2, while Hawley may have the talent to pass them both. All play in the same section, making each a threat for the Class 2 A Championship.

2012 is an Olympic Year and there's a good chance a North Dakotan will be heading to London. Laura Janeshefksi and Fargo South's Laura Roesler each ran in the Olympic Trials in 2008, while Minot's Dagny Knutson swam for the US at the World Championship. One of these three will represent the stars and stripes in England.

I'm curious to see how Chris Mussman and his UND football team handle the transition to the Big Sky. Mussman is coming off an 8-3 season, but now will play in one of the best leagues in the nation, facing the likes of Montana, Montana State and Eastern Washington each week.

Finally plenty of eyes are already on Bismarck native Esley Thorton. Thorton, who was the player of the year in North Dakota in 2009, was the backup quarterback for the Bison this season, but NDSU has added another QB in next year's recruiting class, making 5 on the roster all juniors

are younger. This means if Thorton wants to see the field, a position change may be coming.

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