New Rockford's Bo Belquist growing as senior captain at UND

Sep. 6—GRAND FORKS — Despite being in the top five in every wide receiver statistical record at the University of North Dakota, New Rockford native Bo Belquist is more concerned about winning.

"I really, to be honest, don't even think about it at all, I don't even know where I'm at or what's the most," he said. "I just try to prep each week, do my best. I'm not one that's really chasing records, just trying to do my best to help the team win and do my part."

As of Sept. 4, Belquist sits fourth in career receptions with 147, fifth for career receiving yards with 1,711 and fourth for career touchdowns with 16.

On Aug. 23, Belquist was announced as one of five UND captains for the 2023 season.

"It's one of the biggest honors that you can receive here so I mean, super grateful for that, honored that the teammates voted and it turned out the way it did," Belquist said. "So I'm just trying my best to uphold that title and carry it every day throughout, whether it be school, football, whatever it is. Everyone's gonna be looking up to you, so I'm just trying to do my best."

Belquist's freshman year in 2020 presented some challenges, he said.

"It was a different time, coming out of COVID, you know high school, we didn't get to participate in track," Belquist said. "It was a little weird coming into college, getting into the flow of things, getting to know all the schemes. It's kind of a level up from high school. So it was a little bit of a shock, but it took time to understand how they get going with it."

During his career at New Rockford-Sheyenne, Belquist helped lead his team to a 30-14 record. Belquist said the most significant change between Class B football and the NCAA Divison I game is the mental side of the game. Belquist said it took a longer time for his body to catch up to the jump in competition than for his mind to make the leap.

"In nine-man, I wasn't used to zone coverages and reading all that kind of stuff," he said.

Fighting Hawks head coach Bubba Schweigert said he has seen Belquist pick up the finer points of the game at an incredible rate of speed.

College football is in Belquist's blood as his father, Elliot, and uncle, Alex, played football at North Dakota State University. As a result, Belquist said he grew up as a big Bison fan but decided the Fighting Hawks were the better fit.

"It was on the top of my list growing up and even before I committed here, I always wanted to go there (to NDSU)," he said. "... That was what I wanted to do but through the recruiting process, I just felt different about UND. The coaches and players when I went on visits seemed a lot more welcoming and felt like more of a culture here. I just saw myself succeeding better if I went here."

Belquist said his best skill on the field is his route-running ability and his understanding of the game. Schweigert said Belquist's hands and his competitiveness are his best skills on the field. Belquist said he wants to continue to get faster and stronger. Schweigert said he wants Belquist to continue to work on his leadership ability as a captain.

During his career, Belquist has played in 29 games, compiling 147 receptions for 1,711 yards and 16 touchdowns. Belquist's first career score came during his freshmen season at UND during the third quarter of a win over Southern Illinois on Feb. 20, 2021.

"I remember the concept, in goal line we had an out route going and they were playing zone coverage and I broke out and I moved a little too fast, moved out of the zone and Tommy (Schuster) threw it to my back shoulder kind of got lucky with it," Belquist said. "Once you go back and watch it in the film room, I could've sat and had a wide-open touchdown but I made it harder on myself. But that one sticks with me."

Belquist is one of eight Class B players on the current Fighting Hawks roster.

"You're always looking to recruit good guys that love football and we're OK recruiting guys that played nine-man or Class B or Class A or outside the region," Schweigert said. "I know he's developed some real close relationships from guys that are from outside the state and I think the guys from North Dakota always have some type of bond because of where they grew up and they're playing for the flagship university of this state. But overall, he's gonna develop relationships within the team and does a really good job of that."

As a senior, Belquist said he is waiting until the season is over to make a decision on whether or not to come back for his extra year of eligibility but is leaning toward returning.

"It's always been a goal and dream of mine (to play professional football)," Belquist said. "So if that opportunity comes, I'm gonna take it and give it my best try. I'm not worried about not making it either. I'm just grateful for the opportunity UND has given me and if I get a chance then I'll take it. I'll try my best and whatever happens, happens."

Belquist said the advice that he would give to Class B football players who want to play at the highest level of collegiate football is to continue to grind. He echoed the same advice when talking about his sister, Kelsie, and her aspirations to run track at the Division I level.

"I feel like the biggest piece of advice that I would give is trust in your own abilities," Belquist said. "You gotta believe in yourself. You can't think just because you're playing nine-man in Class B that you can't make it to the next level. Once you get to college you realize that everyone comes from somewhere, everywhere is different. So, if you fit in, you'll fit in, and you'll find your role. ... So, I'd say yeah, just keep your head down and keep working hard in high school. The harder you work the more people will notice you and take the opportunities if they're given to you and make the most out of them."