The funeral for Park Christian’s Zach Kvalvog was Monday, after a car accident took the 18-year-old’s life last week.
It was said the happiest place for Kvalvog was the basketball court. He was the starting point guard for the Falcons since he was a freshman. He was a captain as a sophomore when the Falcons went to state for the first time in school history and he scored his 1,000th career point as a junior.
The Falcons were 16-10, 22-10 and 21-7 with a section championship in the three seasons Kvalvog was the starting point guard. They were 8-19 and 6-21 in the two seasons before Kvalvog took over at point guard.
Here’s what opponents said on social media and in interviews with the Forum about facing Kvalvog in his happy place.
Brett Maas – Norman County East Ulen-Hitterdal basketball coach
Zach Kvalvog was the best leader I have ever seen at the high school level. I was in awe of him every time I watched or competed against PC.
— Brett Maass (@coachmaass) June 23, 2015
As a freshman, Zach had the task of guarding (conference) player of the year Neil Henrickson early in the year when Park came to Ulen. During free throws, Neil would always come over to me and we would talk about the game and some strategy. In the middle of the game, Park was shooting free throws so Neil came over towards the bench to come talk to me. As I was going over adjustments with Neil, we looked over and Zach was basically standing side by side with us. Gary Walton, Parks coach at the time, must have told Zach to never leave Neil’s side. We both kind of just looked at Zach with this weird look and started laughing. Zach never flinched. He was totally immersed in the game plan. I will never forget that. The kid had absolutely no fear.
Daniel Lindgren – Mayville State (Enderlin High School)
Prayers go out to the Kvalvog family. I played against Zach multiple times, one of the most enthusiastic players I've ever played. #RIP
— Daniel Lindgren (@DLindgren_10) June 24, 2015
Ron Ohren – Norman County West basketball coach
Lots of memories most of them bad for the Panthers. The kid never stopped hustling all over the court. I remember last year’s game at NCW when our point guard asked Zack, “Don’t you ever get tired?” and Zack calmly replied, “Never.” I remember playing them his freshmen year and I called my point guard, who Zack was guarding, over for a chat during a free throw and Zack came with him to listen to our conversation. Hated playing against the kid, but that is out of complete respect for his talents and work ethic. What coach wouldn’t want a Zack Kavlvog on your own team.
Cody Baumann – Fosston
Prayers out to the Kvalvog family. I feel like I've had a great privledge to have been able to play against zach
— Cody Baumann (@BaumannCody) June 24, 2015
Kyle Haberman – Lake Park-Audubon basketball coach
He was a player your guys hated playing, but highly respected. I remember during our playoff game last year where he simply took over the game on both ends of the floor. He made you shake your head and admire how hard he was playing. Zach was the type of kid you could tell your players, “This is what it takes to be great.”
Ryan Bjerke – Fargo North
Zach Kvalvog was a hell of a competitor and ball player. Prayers go out to his family and Park Christian during this tragedy
— Ryan Bjerke (@ryanbjerke) June 23, 2015
Tyler Bormann – Breckenridge basketball coach
He was a tremendous leader, as evidenced by his ability to set the tone for that program as a freshman, a tough task for any high school player, yet it appeared natural for him. He lead by example with his effort and toughness. As a point guard, he played beyond his years in terms of understanding how to make others better and being difficult to play against at an early age. If you’re a basketball fan, you appreciated and respected the way Zach played the game regardless of what team you cheer for. We (Breckenridge) left the floor better as a team having played against Zach’s team and he earned our respect both as a player and young man in the process.
Samuel Priem – Detroit Lakes
Probably the best on ball defenders I've ever played against.. RIP Zach Kvalvog
— Samuel Priem (@23_priem) June 23, 2015
Mike Clark – Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton basketball coach
Zach was the kind of player any coach would want on and leading their team. His work ethic and passion for the game was evident every time he stepped on the floor. He was as intense of a competitor as we’ll ever see, but played the game and treated it and his opponents with the respect and honor they deserve. He was a joy to watch and a challenge to game plan against. Just an all-around great player.
Matt Bye – Moorhead
Zach was one of the most fierce competitors and best leaders I have ever known. I would go into battle with him any day #RIPKvalvogBrothers
— Matt Bye (@mattbye19) June 23, 2015
Gregg Preston – Hillcrest Lutheran Academy basketball coach
The news about the Kvalvog boys was completely gut-wrenching. I appreciated Zach’s energy, enthusiasm, hard work, competitiveness, and the overall excitement and life that he brought into a gym and a game by his presence. Personally, he was a player that always was willing to talk after the game, whether he won or lost and it was apparent that the basketball relationships he built in his years as a high school basketball player extended well beyond the Fargo-Moorhead area. We are hurting with and praying for the family, friends, and our brothers and sisters at Park Christian
Shayne Dauenhauer – Fargo Shanley
Live today like there's no tomorrow. Thanks for always pushing me to be my best. Hit some 3 pointers in Heaven. Rest in peace Zach Kvalvog
— Shayne Dauenhauer (@ShayneDauenhaue) June 23, 2015
Todd Henrickson – Barnesville basketball coach
What I remember of Zach as a freshman was the tenacity with which he played. Although he was not big in stature, he more than made up for it through heart and desire. We had solid guards that year and he made things very difficult for us. He was aggressive on both ends of the floor and worked extremely hard. He did a great job running their offense and setting his teammates up. It was also difficult to rattle him. I remember showing different defensive looks which seemed to have little or no affect on him. The program may have said he was a freshman, however, he sure did not play like one.
John Gullingsrud – Pelican Rapids basketball coach
I think the best word that comes to mind when I think about Zach Kvalvog, as a basketball player, is relentless. He would go all out on both ends of the floor for the entire game and would never let up. When a team’s best player has that type of attitude and work ethic, it rubs off on the rest of his teammates and the whole team follows suit, which is what we would see when we played Park Christian. That is why he was such a good leader. He led not only with words but with his actions. As a coach, opponent, or basketball fan in the stands, you couldn’t help but respect the way he played the game.
Neil Steffes – Fertile-Beltrami
He was a very intense competitor, hard worker, great leader and he was a player who you hated when you were playing against him, but you wanted him on your team because he wanted to win and would do anything to get the win.
Chris Murphy can be reached at 701-241-5548 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SeeMurphsTweets for Minnesota prep updates and smart alecky remarks about sports, movies, music and life in general.