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Q&A: Holy Angels Alum, Current Gopher Talks Football

Sahr Ngekia discusses being part of the hometown team as he prepares for his sophomore season.

(AHA) alumnus Sahr Ngekia has begun his sophomore season as a tight end with the University of Minnesota football team and is looking forward to his second year as a member of the Golden Gophers.

Having played football for only three years total, the Liberian native and Lakeville resident earned a look from Minnesota after hauling in 16 receptions for 307 yards and one touchdown as a senior wide receiver at AHA in 2008.

He was then redshirted by the Gophers in 2009 after then-head coach Tim Brewster moved him from receiver to tight end.

Ngekia did not see game action as a freshman last year and is fighting for a regular playing time during his sophomore campaign. However, the journalism major remains an optimistic and helpful member of the U of M’s gridiron squad, now led by new head coach Jerry Kill.

Ngekia chatted with Patch after a long workout at TCF Bank Stadium, expounding on the team and his place within it:

Richfield Patch: How is practice going so far this year?

Sahr Ngekia: They are going very well. Everybody here is working very hard and is very enthusiastic about the season.

Richfield Patch: Where do you see yourself fitting in on this team?

Ngekia: I see myself working hard, fighting for playing time, trying to be a positive contributor and making everyone else better around me.

Richfield Patch:  What are your thoughts on Coach Kill?

Ngekia: He is a great guy. He cares a lot about his players and he is making sure that we are “all-in” and make sure we work as hard as we can to make the team better so we can have a good and positive season.

Richfield Patch: What are some of the differences you’ve seen between the high school game and college?

Ngekia: Definitely the speed and, of course, the physicality. It is a lot more physical, especially at this higher level. For me, having played wide receiver in high school and tight end in college, it is a lot different—there’s a lot more “thud,” a lot more “bang.”

Richfield Patch: The Gophers are going up against some big time opponents this year, including the University of Southern California and Nebraska. Do you get a thrill out of playing the collegiate powers?

Ngekia: It’s definitely great. [Playing top teams] will definitely be a great test for us. How we do against those big-name rivals speaks a lot for the programs and how it has come along.

Richfield Patch: What are your hopes for the season, for the team and you personally?

Ngekia: For the team, I just hope we get to a bowl game. We need to work hard, keep winning and not have a repeat of last year (3-9 overall, 2-6 Big Ten Conference). A bowl game would be a very good success and a Big Ten championship would be a great success. Individually, I just want to be a great teammate and do whatever I can to help out.

Richfield Patch: What does it mean to you to be a part of the “hometown” team?

Ngekia: It’s great to be here because my family can come see the games and see me play. I’m not far from where I grew up and people I know are familiar with the program, it’s just a great feeling to be a part of this team.

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