Local Sports Archives for 2020-05

Hardball Association previews what Aberdeen Smittys season will look like this summer

Legion baseball will be taking place this summer in South Dakota after much uncertainty left its status in the balance due to COVID-19.  The Aberdeen Hardball Association, which oversees baseball within the city is excited the players will get a season in the end.


The American Legion Headquarters in Indianapolis sent a letter in May informing Legion posts across the country there would be no baseball this summer.  Following that letter, some states looked into having a season independent of the legion’s blessing.  From there, the headquarters sent out another letter, deciding to allow states to decide for themselves whether or not baseball could be played this summer.  Players are allowed to wear legion baseball jerseys and patches, but individual posts will need to sponsor them.


Jay Kussler with the Aberdeen Hardball Association says before the decision was made to allow states to determine for themselves the status of baseball this summer, many class A schools across the state were doing anything they could to salvage a season…





Even though games will be played, legion baseball will look different this year because of how things will be set up with no overseeing national body.  Legion baseball is for teenagers ages 13 to 19 in fifth US States and parts of Canada.  Kussler explained further…





According to Kussler, Huron and Yankton are the only two legion posts who have not approved play yet as of the end of May.  Huron and Beadle county has been one of the worst outbreaks of COVID-19 in the state and is currently experiencing a second spike in cases.


American Legion baseball is a tradition dating back to 1925 and was founded in Milbank South Dakota.  As of 2016 there are approximately 3,786 teams across North America.  The last national champion was Idaho Falls, Idaho post 56.


Kussler closed out the conversation talking about what some of the protocols that will be used to try and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 during Aberdeen Smitty’s games…


SDHSAA advisory board creates protocols for summer activities

The South Dakota High School Activities Association has announced summer plans for activities following a board meeting Thursday. Based on the NFHS reccomendations, a three phase plan will begin June 1st and include no more than 10 people indoors or outdoors during drills and practices. Moving to phase two more people will be allowed depending on the number of COVID cases over a 14 day period in any given area. Schools are not required, but highly encouraged to take follow these guideline.


In the same meeting the board failed to pass a resolution changing the football class system. A five class football proposal failed when the votes ended up tied. Instead, the board voted to form a new subcommittee which will be tasked with developing a new five and six class propsoal by November 1st.

Augustana's application to join the Summit League declined

Augustana University has had its application to join the Summit League as a Division I athletics member declined.


According to a statement by the Summit League; "after a robust discussion the league has decided not to extend a new invite to members at this time."


Augustana released its own statement calling the decision disappointing, but says the school is remaining committed to its 10-year strategic plan to be a Division I institution by 2030. Per NCAA rules an institution cannot transition to Division I without having conference membership already in hand.


The Summit League has already offered membership to St. Thomas University in the twin cities.  The school is trying to do something never done before, jump from Division III to Division I.  That institution is awaiting a decision by the NCAA on the matter.  The Tommies began looking at the Division I option after the conference it belonged to took the unprecidented step of kicking the school out because it simply was too successful in sports. 

Presentation College volleyball signs 12 players for upcoming season

Presentation College Volleyball head coach Chelsey Albrecht is excited to announce the 2020 signing class for Saints Volleyball. The 2020 class includes six freshman and six junior transfers. The signing class comes from South Dakota (6), Montana (2), Washington, Colorado (2), Idaho, and Wyoming.


"We are looking forward to welcoming our 2020 recruiting class to Presentation," said Albrecht. "We are excited to add this talented group of young ladies to complement our current student-athletes both on and off the court."


Rebecca Allen—Setter—Meridian, ID—Freshman

Rebecca Allen was a three-year starter and two-year captain for the Mavericks of Mountain View High School, under the direction of Krista Hampton. Allen led the team in total assists during her senior campaign (156), while setting a personal record for 11 consecutive serves in a match. Allen was named to the Southern Idaho Conference All-Conference Honorable Mention team (2019) and the All-Academic team (2017, 2018, 2019). Allen is the daughter of Andrew and Sabrina Allen and will major in Nursing.  

Constence Rollins—Middle Hitter—Ashland, MT—Junior

Constence Rollins was a four-year starter for the Fillies of Colstrip High School. Rollins earned First Team All-State honors in 2016 and 2017, after being named to the Second Team All-State in 2015. Rollins comes to the Saints after earning her Associates of Arts and Associate of Science degree at Williston State College. For the Buffalo's of Williston State, Rollins earned All-Conference honors, All-Region Honors, and All-Academic honors in 2017-18 before being named WSC Female Athlete of the Year in 2018-19. Rollins is the daughter of Christal Klemp-Speelman and Marlene Klemp and will major in Radiology Technology.

Sydney Miller—Setter—Battle Ground, WA—Junior

Sydney Miller was a four-year starter and captain for the Tigers of Battle Ground High School, under the leadership of Cheyanne Knight. In her senior campaign, Miller recorded 45 kills, 205 assists, and 60 digs. Miller earned honors with the Tigers, including being named MVP in 2017-18 and the Presidents Education Award in 2017-18. Miller comes to the Saints after competing for the Clippers of South Puget Sound Community College. With the Clippers, Miller recorded 354 assists in the 2019-20 season, averaging 7.28 assists per set. Miller is the daughter of Michalyn Miller and James Miller and will major in Business Management.

Brook Russell—Defensive Specialist—Gardiner, MT—Junior

Brook Russell was a four-year starter for the Bruins of Gardiner High School, under the direction of Carmen Harbach. Russell earned an All-State Selection nod her senior season. Russell comes to the Saints after competing for Williston State College. Russell recorded 536 digs, 34 aces, and 26 assists for the Buffalo's. Russell is the daughter of Randy and Monica Russell and will major in Nursing.

Kenzie Kuxhaus—Defensive Specialist—Pierre, SD—Freshman

Kenzie Kuxhaus was a two-year starter for the Governors of T.F. Riggs High School, under the direction of Kacy Kienholz. Kuxhaus recorded 339 digs, 391 receptions, and 201 serving attempts with the Governors. Kuxhaus was named the 2019 Pierre Varsity Defensive Player of the Year and was a member of the 2019 All State ESD Volleyball Team. Kuxhaus was named the 2018 Pierre MVP and the 2016 Pierre Best All-Around Player. Kuxhaus is the daughter of Terry and Carie and will major in Biology.

Camryn Shockley—Outside Hitter—Lemmon, SD—Junior

Camryn Shockley was a four-year starter for the Cowgirls of Lemmon High School, under the direction of Kelli Penfield. With the Cowgirls, Shockley recorded 1,270 digs, 780 kills, and 272 aces. Shockley recorded a personal best 309 kills in 2017. Shockley earned First-Team All-Conference honors in 2016 and 2017. Shockley comes to the Saints after competing at Trinity Bible College. With the Lions, Shockley recorded 412 kills and 579 digs in 179 sets. Shockley was named to the ACCA Second-Team All-American in 2018 and was named Trinity's MVP in 2018. Shockley is the daughter of TJ and Lisa Shockley and will major in Human Services.

Morgan Dauwen—Middle Hitter—Lemmon, SD—Freshman

Morgan Dauwen was a three-year starter for the Cowgirls of Lemmon High School, under the direction of Kelli Penfield. Dauwen had a serve percentage of 80.7%, while recording 58 digs her sophomore campaign. Dauwen was named to the LMC First-Team in 2019, after being named to the honorable mention squad a year prior. Dauwen is the daughter of Todd and Stefanie Dauwen and will major in Business.

Saige Jones—Middle Blocker—Worland, WY—Junior

Saige Jones was a two-year starter for the Warriors of Worland High School, under the direction of Brittany Miller. Jones was a member of the 2015 State Championship team, the 2018 East Regional 3A All-Conference team. Jones comes to the Saints after competing with the Sheridan College Bruins. With the Bruins, Jones recorded 230 kills, 74 blocks and 22 aces. Jones is the daughter of Robyn and Jeramy Jones and will major in Radiology Technology.

Jenna Ostenson—Setter/Outside Hitter—Edgemont, SD—Freshman

Jenna Ostenson was a four-year starter for the Moguls of Edgemont High School, under the direction of Susan Ostenson. Ostenson recorded 1,161 assists, 652 digs, and 331 kills for the Moguls. Ostenson was named to the Panhandle Athletic Conference All-Conference First-Team 2016-2019 and was named team MVP in 2019. Ostenson is the daughter of Lane and Susan Ostenson and will major in Nursing.

Jaecy Engebretson—Setter/Outside Hitter—Revillo, SD—Freshman

Jacey Engebretson was a four-year starter for the Bulldogs of Milbank High School, under the direction of Nancy Hoeke. Engebretson recorded 1,011 kills, 913 assists, 962 digs, and 146 aces for the Bulldogs. Engebretson was named to the All-Conference team in 2017, 2018, and 2019, with being named to the Academic All-State team in 2019. Engebretson is the daughter of Jared and Amanda Engebretson and will major in Radiology Technology.

Allie White—Middle—Castle Rock, CO—Junior

Allie White competed for Terry Miller and the Cougars of Cherokee Trail High School before competing at Eastern Wyoming College. White was named to the NJCAA Academic All American team at Lamar Community College. White is the daughter of Andrew and Patricia White and will major in Business Administration.

Payton Colestock—Defensive Specialist—Groton, S.D.—Freshman

Payton Colestock was a defensive specialist and three-year starter for the Tigers of Groton High School, under the direction of Chelsea Hanson. In her time with the Tigers, Colestock recorded 88 aces, 273 digs, and 28 assists in her senior campaign. Colestock appeared in 36 matches, playing 110 sets for the Tigers. Colestock and the Tigers claimed the conference championships in 2019, while placing eighth at the South Dakota State Tournament. Colestock was a top medalist in golf for the Tigers in 2019. Colestock is the daughter of Roger Colestock and Michelle and Craig Muilenburg and will major in Biology.

NHL announces 24 team tournament return to play, Wild qualify

The National Hockey League announced Tuesday a plan to return to play following the season coming to a halt due to COVID-19.  The plan now approved by the players and owners would end the 2019-20 regular season and as soon as possible jump into a 24 team playoff format to crown a Stanley Cup champion.


The league says the tournament will begin with a 16-team, eight-series qualifying round and a seeding round robin among the top four teams in each conference to determine seeds for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 


NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the media Tuesday and says health and safety will take precedent in this reopening process…





Seven teams did not make the 24 team playoff.  The matchups have been announced and include in the east; #5 Pittsburg vs. #12 Montreal, #6 Carolina vs. #11 New York Rangers, #7 New York Islanders vs. #10 Florida, #8 Toronto vs. #9 Columbus and in the west #5 Edmonton vs. #12 Chicago, #6 Nashville vs. #11 Arizona, #7 Vancouver vs. #10 Minnesota and #8 Calgary vs. #9 Winnipeg.


Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin talked about the first round matchup his team has with the Vancouver Canucks.  The two teams have history from when they both belonged to the Northwest division before the realignment of 2013…





To try and ensure the safety of players and personnel the NHL plans on hosting this tournament in two cities only.  Those cities have not yet been determined, but finalists include Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Toronto and Vancouver. 


Gurein says Minnesota is an ideal location to host such an event…





The earliest this tournament will begin will be July.  The league also announced plans to move forward with the NHL draft lottery June 26th.  The lottery determines the first 15 picks in the draft and will include the seven teams that did not qualify for the tournament, plus the eight teams that lose in the qualifying round.  The draft will take place following the Stanley Cup finals. 

PC Signs two junior college transfers to women's basketball team

Presentation College women's basketball coach, Nicole Bullock has announced junior college transfers Emma Ogitchida and Jordan Kulczyk have joined the Saints team for the 2020-2021 school year.


Ogitchida is a transfer from North Dakota State College of Science. The 5'9" forward played a major role for the Wildcats in her two years, averaging 15 minutes per game over two seasons, and six points per game while playing for coach Thomas Dryburgh. Ogitchida played at Harding High School for head coach Kelly Sanquest, where she averaged 17.4 points per game and was a winner of the Athena Award and the H-Blanket. She also received First Team All-State Academic honors. Ogitchida is the daughter of Mukwa Ogitchida and will double major in psychology and social work.


Kulczyk is a Glasgow, Mont. native and was a power forward for coach Kia Herbel at Williston State. In her sophomore season at Williston State, Kulczyk averaged 6.4 points a game and 4 rebounds a game. She played her high school career at Glasgow Senior High School, where she was a four-year letterwinner, and three-year starter for head coach Travis Nielsen. She was named Defensive MVP in her senior season. Kulczyk is the daughter of Georgie and Ronnie Kulczyk and will major in Human Services at Presentation College.

USD names new radio team

John Thayer, the voice of South Dakota women's basketball for the last seven seasons, is replacing Joe Van Goor as the play-by-play announcer for Coyote football and men's basketball announced Friday by USD Director of Athletics David Herbster  and Learfield IMG College.
Thayer has been the sideline reporter for Coyote football for the past five seasons. He will be joined in the booth by Gary Culver, the former coach of Vermillion High School who has served as the analyst of Coyote football broadcasts since 2013.
"I am humbled and honored for this opportunity, and look forward to continuing to tell the stories of Coyote athletes," said Thayer. "It's been great to work with and learn from a radio veteran like Joe for the past several years. I have really enjoyed my time watching the women's basketball program develop into a nationally-ranked team that contends every year for a Summit League title, and look forward to a new challenge and role with the Coyote Sports Network."
Replacing Thayer on the sidelines is Carter Woodiel who will also be the new voice of Coyote women's basketball. Woodiel is a 2018 graduate of University of Missouri and is currently the voice of the Sioux Falls Canaries. He has also served the Sioux Falls Stampede and Midwest Communications in South Dakota.
The changes coincide with the departure of Van Goor, the Coyotes' award-winning broadcaster who is stepping down due to the rigors of travel that accompanies Division I athletics. Van Goor hopes to spend more time with family and friends while continuing to work in the radio business locally.
"I would like to thank the University of South Dakota and Learfield IMG College for the opportunity to be the voice of the Coyotes for the past eight seasons," said Van Goor. "In particular, I'd like to thank the many coaches, student-athletes, and athletic staff for helping me broadcast football and men's basketball since USD became fully eligible for NCAA Division I. Being in radio for 44 years and in sportscasting for 36 years, it's time to slow down and find opportunities closer to home."
"As a partner with Learfield IMG College and University of South Dakota athletics, we have always been proud of the product our listeners were able to receive," said Jeff Fuller, owner of 5 Star Communications. "Joe Van Goor was sports director at KVHT & KVTK Radio for many years before he was elevated to the play-by-play announcer for the Yotes, and now our own John Thayer will take the reins. I know John will do a great job as the voice of USD football and men's basketball."
Thayer hails from Eustis, Nebraska, and is a 2008 graduate of Doane College where he helped launch the Tiger Sports Network. He worked for stations in Colorado and Nebraska before arriving in Yankton in July of 2012. He became the voice of USD women's basketball ahead of the 2013-14 campaign and joined the sidelines of Coyote football in 2015.
Thayer served as sports director of KVHT/KVTK in Yankton where he hosted a weekday sports talk show called "On the John". In 2019, he transitioned to Coyote Sports Properties, the multimedia rights holder and sports marketing arm for USD athletics. Thayer is also the host of YoteCast, the Coyotes' official podcast that debuted ahead of the 2019-20 academic year.
Woodiel brings a young and impressive résumé to the Coyotes' nationally-ranked women's program. He was named Bob Costas High School Sportscaster of the Year in 2012, received two awards from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation – one of the highest honors a collegiate journalist can receive – and a Missouri Broadcasters' Association award in 2015 for his play-by-play work with KCOU-FM in Columbia. In addition, he has won an Edward R. Murrow Award and a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award for his work in radio reporting.
Woodiel spent the 2018-19 season as the broadcaster for women's basketball at High Point University in North Carolina, and has broadcasted basketball at William Woods University, Westminster College, University of Missouri and North Carolina Central University.
"I'm incredibly excited to join the outstanding broadcast team at the University of South Dakota," said Woodiel. "It's an honor to be able to learn from someone as accomplished and respected as John, and to help deliver fans the thrill of following Yotes basketball and football. I can't wait to get started!"
Van Goor has been the voice of the Coyotes since the 2012-13 academic year and before that, during the 1990-91 academic year. In all, he spent 26 years covering the Coyotes for three different broadcasting companies.
Van Goor got involved in radio after his sophomore year in high school in 1976 in Yankton and started his sportscasting career in 1984. He has covered high school football, boys and girls basketball, wrestling and track and field in South Dakota and Nebraska. Collegiately, he's done play-by-play for USD, SDSU and Mount Marty. Van Goor has worked for stations in his hometown of Yankton and in Hot Springs, South Dakota, and St. Cloud, Minnesota.
Van Goor was selected Sportscaster of the Year by the South Dakota High School Coaches Association in 2005 and named South Dakota Sportscaster of the Year in 2006 as selected by his peers by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. He has hosted "The Coyote Report," USD's weekly coach's show for football and basketball since 2012, and produced a daily show for the Coyote Sports Network called the "Coyote Sports Minute."

SDHSAA to hold special meeting Thursday

The South Dakota High School Activities Association will hold a special meeting this Thursday to discuss summer contact guidance for sports and football classification. The current proposal being explored would move the football class system from seven to five. The football advisory committee met in early may at the request of the board to study football classifications. The meeting will be Thursday morning at 10:00 central time.

PC signs two women basketball players

Presentation College women's basketball head coach, Nicole Bullock, has announced the addition of two 2020 high school graduates that will be joining the Saints' squad this fall.


Hayden Leggett of Cortez, Colo., and Jaycee Brannon of Weatherford, Texas, have committed to attending Presentation College in the fall of 2020.


Leggett is a 2020 graduate of Montezuma-Cortez High School, where she played point guard under the direction of head coach, Brad Wright. Leggett was a captain, letterwinner and starter for her team, and she was named 2019-2020 Intermountain League Basketball Honorable Mention for her play. Leggett was very active in her community outside of basketball; she participated and was named Grand Champion for Showmanship in 4-H in 2016 and was a member of the National Honors Society. She is the daughter of Tammy Hampton and Adam Leggett and plans to major in Exercise Science.


Brannon will graduate from Weatherford High School on June 1st and plans to major in Nursing at Presentation College. Brannon was a shooting guard and a two-year starter at Weatherford High School where she played for head coach Darryn Sheamire. She was named Team MVP in her senior season while averaging 5.9 points per game, 1.7 assists per game, 4.6 rebounds a game, and 1.3 steals per game. Brannon is also active in her community's health care system and is currently working towards becoming an EMT. Her Emergency Technician Services team placed first at districts and area events. She is the daughter of Jack and Mindy Brannon.


SD Legion will sanction baseball this season

Press release - This year marks the 95th anniversary of American Legion Baseball. It all started here in South Dakota by a resolution from Milbank, South Dakota, that was adopted at an American Legion National Convention in 1925.


This Spring, when The National American Legion canceled National American Legion Baseball, it had many wondering if the American Legion Baseball season would be done before it even began. After a clarification, it was determined that American Legion Departments could, in fact, sanction State American Legion Baseball. 


On May 13th, the South Dakota executive committee adopted the following motion.

"Motion to sanction a 2020 South Dakota American Legion Baseball Program to be administrated by sponsoring Posts, coaches, and managers. That these teams follow guidelines recommended by the State Athletic Commission, which states Teams must abide by local, state, and national COVID19 policies, have insurance and have permission from city officials to play". The executive committee passed this motion because "It's the right thing to do."


The local coaches and baseball committees have stepped up to the plate and are providing great leadership.  The South Dakota American Legion appreciates their efforts to make the 2020 season a possibility.


The South Dakota American Legion has sent information to the coaches from last year's registered teams, and many of them, along with their sponsoring posts, are planning their 2020 season. We are asking to have the proof of insurance, SD Form#2, and team rosters mailed to State Headquarters in Watertown by June 10th, 2020.


We look forward to a great season and are proud to be sponsors of South Dakota American Legion Baseball. LET'S PLAY BALL!!


Vikings announces dates and times for pre-season games

The Minnesota Vikings have announced pre-season opponents, dates and times for all four games.  Week One vs. Houston Texans, kick off will be at 7:00 p.m. on Friday August 14th 

Week Two @ Cincinnati Bengals, kick off will be at 6:00 p.m. Friday August 21st

Week three @ Cleveland Browns, kick off will be at 3:00 p.m. Sunday August 30th.

Week four vs. the Seattle Seahawks kick off will be at 7:00 p.m. Thursday Sept. 3rd

Stadem stepping down as Washington head football coach

Sioux Falls Washington head football coach Chad Stadem has announced he is stepping down from his position.  Stadem will be moving to the new Jefferson High School in Sioux Falls to take the Activities Director Job when the school opens in the fall of 2021.  Stadem has been coaching football for 17 years, winning five state titles, one with Howard, one with Flandreau and three consecutive with Washignton from 2015-2017. 

Vikings sign Anthony Harris to franchise tender

The Minnesota Vikings have signed safety Anthony Harris to a franchise tender according to ESPN. That means Harris will be guaranteed a salary of over $11 million for the 2020 season. Harris and the team will have until July 15th to come to a long term deal or he will become a free agent following the 2020 season. Harris is 28 years old and was tied for a league leading six interceptions in 2019. Harris is an undrafted free agent who played college football at Virginia. HE entered the NFL in 2015 and got his chance to start and show what he can do following an injury to one time starter Andrew Sendejo.

SD legion baseball season back on

Press Release:

The 2020 Baseball saga took another turn last night.  As all should know, the letter received from National Headquarters shut down all National sponsorship and involvement in American Legion baseball for the 2020 season.  There was a section in the letter that was open to interpretation as to whether local baseball could be supported or not.  Yesterday, we received better interpretation on that section of the letter.  With the new information, the Department Executive Committee had an emergency meeting and approved the following motion: “to sanction a 2020 South Dakota American Legion Baseball Program to be administered by Sponsoring Posts, coaches and managers. That these teams follow the guidelines recommended by the State Athletic Commission which states "Teams must abide by Local, State and National COVID19 Policies, have insurance and have permission from City officials to play”. 


This means as long as the following guidelines are meet, baseball can be played as American Legion Baseball:

  1. South Dakota American Legion Baseball 2020 Form #2 must be signed and submitted by the player and parent/guardian.  There is a copy of the form attached to this email and the form is available on the South Dakota American Legion website under programs and baseball.   
  2. Post/Team must obtain insurance and provide proof of insurance prior to practicing and playing.  Teams will have until June 10 to produce proof of insurance.  K & K, who did National insurance, can still be used for local insurance.  Post/Teams can use them or find another company.  Copies of proof of insurance must be sent to South Dakota American Legion Department Headquarters as soon as possible. Here is a link to K&K Insurance. 
  3. Teams must submit a roster to State HQ by June 10th which will be forwarded to National Headquarters Americanism Director. 
  4. Develop and approve local rules for playing baseball.  It is recommended SD American Legion Rules be used to play.


The Department Executive Committee is extremely happy a solution was developed to play Legion Baseball.  Afterall, in that South Dakota is the birthplace of American Legion Baseball, it is only fitting we have a Legion Baseball season for 2020.

SD amateur baseball moving forward with a season

The South Dakota Amateur baseball association announced Wednesday it will move forward with an amateur baseball season despite COVID-19. 


However, teams and fans will have to adhere to certain guidelines to try and ensure safety of players and spectators.  


The league will begin play on May 31st and league tournaments are scheduled for July with a state tournament scheduled for August 5th through the 16th in Mitchell. 


Stipulations that must be followed include:

  • players may stand outside the dugout during the game
  • umpires may call balls and strikes from behind the plate or mound however they feel comfortable 
  • players must wear batting gloves 
  • mound visits will be 6 feet between manager and player 
  • masks should be used where practicle including fans 
  • no shaking hands and more.
  • limit equipment sharing
  • hand sanitizer will be available in teh dugout 

"Spirit of Su" award winners announced.

The “Visions of SuAnne” Foundation, in coordination with the South Dakota High School Basketball Coaches’ Association (SDHSCA) and South Dakota High School Activities Association (SDHSAA), are pleased to announce the selections of the 2020 recipients of the award that has come to be known as the “Spirit of Su.”

This year’s honorees include:

AA Boys – Cooper Cornemann, Yankton High School.

Cornemann, who is set to play basketball next year for South Dakota State, earned First-Team All-ESD and All-State honors this year as a captain point guard for the Bucks, who were the top seed headed into this year’s championships. Cornemann has been active in activities in his church and community, and becomes the second “Spirit of Su” winner in his family, following his sister Ketty who won the award in 2006.

AA Girls – Emma Osmundson, Sioux Falls Lincoln High School.

Osmundson, who will attend South Dakota State next year as part of the Jackrabbit softball program, volunteers at several efforts in the Sioux Falls community, including coaching youth sports and assisting with Meals on Wheels among other programs. Osmundson, who was also selected as an All-Conference and All-State First Teamer, sports a 4.27 GPA and ranks in the top ten of her graduating class at Lincoln.

A Boys – Maxwell Nielson, Sioux Valley High School.

Nielson, who is headed to Northern State to continue his academic and basketball career, has been a five-year starter and All-Conference selection for the Cossacks. Nielson, who was named to the All-State First Team and a finalist for Mister Basketball in South Dakota, has been a part of the Sioux Valley High School National Honor Society and Student Council, as well as an active leader in youth ministry at his local church.

A Girls – Morgan Hammerbeck, Winner High School.

Hammerbeck, who has lettered 13 times for the Warriors and was selected to multiple All-State First Teams in Volleyball and Basketball, is set to attend Black Hills State next year, playing basketball for the YellowJackets. Hammerbeck has been a phenomenal leader in her community and school, serving as Student Council President & Vice President in addition to working on behalf of St. Jude’s, the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

B Boys – Nicholas Sayler, White River High School.

Sayler, a three-year captain of the Tiger team that captured consecutive Lakota Nation Invitational Titles in 2017, 2018 and 2019, has been a multi-sport standout in White River. In addition to his accomplishments in basketball, Sayler was recognized with All-State honors in football and was the 100M Dash State Champion in 2019. In the community and school, Sayler was an active member of Teens Against Tobacco Use, or TATU, helping steer students in elementary and middle schools in the area away from tobacco and drug use. Sayler is planning on attending South Dakota State this fall.

B Girls – Sydnie Schauer, Faith High School.

Schauer, a three-year starter and 1,000-point career scorer for the Longhorns, holds school records in multiple sports for Faith (single-season three point shooting & volleyball career assists). Schauer is also active in leadership roles in her Student Council, National Honor Society, and teaches Sunday School and Vacation Bible Study at her local church. Schauer will attend Dickinson (N.D.) State University this fall, majoring in Special Education and Elementary Education.

The “Spirit of Su” award has been bestowed on deserving athletes each year at the State Basketball Championships since 1994, following SuAnne’s death in an automobile accident on her way to attend the Miss Basketball Banquet following her senior year. The “Spirit of Su” award recognizes excellence in academics, athletics, leadership and community service among seniors playing at each of the state basketball tournaments. Quilts awarded to each honoree include colors and symbolism of all races of people, living together in beautiful harmony, as was SuAnne’s dream. The honorary quilts and awards were presented in person earlier today to each of the six recipients on behalf of the Visions of SuAnne Foundation.

AHL cancels remainder of 2020 season

The American Hockey League, the official farm system for players just below the NHL has announced they will cancel the remainder of the 2019-20 season including playoffs. League president Dave Andrews mad the announcement Monday. The decision was made following a vote by the league's board of governors last Friday. The league had suspended play a of March 12th due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The AHL is a gate driven league therefore requires people to actually attend games to generate revenue for operations. The NHL is still exploring ideas to try and salvage the remainder of the season.

Golden Gopher head men's hockey coach Bob Motzko named Big Ten coach of the year

Minnesota Golden Gopher men's hockey coach Bob Motzko has been named the Big Ten hockey coach of the year. Motzko earned the honor in his first year as head coach of the Gopher program, leading Minnesota to a 18-16-4 record overall and a 11-10-3 conference record. This is his fifth coach of the year honor for Motzko, earning the honor during his time in the NCHC and WCHA as well.

NDSU wide out Kepouros to transfer to Northern State

Dakota News Now reports Former North Dakota State wide receiver Jimmy Kepouros will bring his talents to Aberdeen as a senior grad transfer with one year of eligibility left.  Kepouros will join the Northern State program under first year head coach Mike Schmidt after helping the Bison with the 2019 FCS national championship.  He caught 30 passes for 324 yards and two touchdowns last season.  Kepouros started his career at Western Michigan in 2015, transferred to the College of DuPage in 2016 and spent the past three years in Fargo. 

American Legion cancels 2020 season

The American Legion Headquarters in Indianapolis Indiana has announced Legion baseball for the 2020 season has been canceled due to COVID-19.  South Dakota was moving forward as recent as Sunday assuming there would be a season, with protocols in place to try and encourage social distancing and be in line with CDC guidelines.  However, news came down in the afternoon there would be no season.  South Dakota was among 25 states which had plans to move forward with the season before the cancelation.  Legion baseball is for teenagers ages 13 to 19 and has more than 3,500 teams across the country.  The program was established in Milbank South Dakota in 1925. 

Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk talks return to the NHL season

Sports leagues of all sizes professional and amateur have seen their seasons ended early, suspended or postponed due to COVID-19.  Many are still trying to find work arounds to salvage whatever they can.


For the NHL, the league is exploring several different options to crown a Stanley Cup champion.  The league holds regular conference calls with officials and player representatives of the NHL Players Association. 


Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk serves as the Wild’s representative and is a regular on these calls.  He explained to the media what an average conversation is like…





Dubnyk speaks honestly about the fact that restarting this season is going to be difficult, but according to him everyone is working towards the same goal and that is playing hockey again…




The New York Post reports the league is now  looking at a 24-team tournament with a best of three play in round rather than a condensed finish to the regular season or just a straight start to the Stanley Cup playoffs.  That is if the league can get clearance to play games safely.   

Derrek Tuszka readies for NFL minicamp following getting drafted

Warner native Derrek Tuszka was recently drafted into the NFL by the Denver Broncos in the 7th round with the 254th pick overall, the second to last pick in the draft.  He was drafted after a stellar high school career and Division I college career at North Dakota State where he helped the Bison win four FCS National Championships.  He was named a Unanimous FCS All-American in 2019; first team All Missouri Valley Football Conference and the Missouri Valley Football Conference Defensive Player of the Year.


The NFL draft is a three day event with the first round on day one, second and third round on day two and the last four through seventh rounds on day three.  Because Tuszka was likely a day three pick, watching the draft from start to finish made it a long weekend, but he says he enjoyed it…





Tuszka played for the Warner Monarchs from 2011 to 2015.  During that time he played two years with his older Jarrod Tuszka who also went on to play for NDSU.  Lining up against them for a few games each year was Britton/Hecla tight end Dallas Goedert who would go on to play for South Dakota State and eventually get drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of the NFL draft and have an NFL career.  Tuszka says he would never have believed three D-1 athletes were on the field and two NFLers as well during his high school days…





Tuszka was just one of six FCS players selected in this 2020 draft. That is well below the average number of FCS players selected by NFL teams.  For instance, in 2019 13 players were picked from FCS schools.  Tuszka says a lack of a pro day and fewer opportunities for scouts to see players due to COVID-19 likely hindered many FCS players chances…





Tuszka enters an pre-season now unlike any other due to COVID-19 and its effects on the nation.  He will take part in an online rookie minicamp Friday May 8th with the Denver Broncos, but admits following that no one knows for sure what is going to happen…


NSAA commissioner Cory Anderson announces resignation

The North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) announced Tuesday that Commissioner Cory Anderson will resign on June 30, 2020 after completing his seventh year with the conference.  He will be moving to a new position that will be announced on a later date.


"It has been my honor to serve and represent the North Star Athletic Association since inception in 2013.  I thoroughly enjoyed my role and the people that I worked to serve as not only colleagues, but friends for life.  The North Star is positioned well going forward.  We have experienced leaders in all of our key positions.  It's the North Star's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings."


Anderson was the inaugural commissioner that established the North Star Athletic Association in June 2013.  The NSAA conference began with five charter schools in the 2013-14 season and grew to 10 members in two years while increasing their national profile in the NAIA.


The current North Star Athletic Association conference has eight members including Bellevue (Neb.), Dakota State (S.D.), Dickinson State (N.D.), Mayville State (N.D.), Presentation (S.D.), Valley City State (N.D.), Viterbo (Wis.) and Waldorf (Iowa).


Under Anderson, the North Star Athletic Association held its 'Final Four' basketball conference tournaments in Watertown for the past two seasons, as well as 'Super Six' volleyball conference tournament this past fall.  The North Star had been recognized by NAIA national office as its Champions of Character conference recipient.


Anderson had over 30 years of experience in coaching, higher education, the private sector, and non-profit administration.  A 1989 graduate of Valley City State, he worked in several capacities over the next 19 years in higher education.  He served as a chair and rater for the North Dakota Collegiate Athletic Conference, Dakota Athletic Conference, and NAIA Region III.  In 2005, he was recognized as the first recipient of the NAIA Coach of Character Award for Region III.    


The North Star Athletic Association Board of Directors will begin their national search for the next commissioner immediately.

Winningest coach in NFL history Don Shula passes away at 90 years old

The winningest coach in National Football League History, Don Shula passed away Monday at the age of 90 years old.  Shula had a successful playing career in the NFL before becoming a coach, spending three years with the Baltimore Colts, but finding most of his success with the Miami Dolphins who he coached from 1970 to 1995.  During that time he won two Super Bowl championships and helped the Dolphins complete the only perfect undefeated season in NFL history in 1972, a record that no other team has been able to replicate to this day.  Shula was inducted into the pro football hall of fame in 1997. 

Chicago Bears decline 5th year option for QB Trubisky

The Chicago Bears have announced the team has declined the fifth year option on quarterback Mitch Trubisky for the 2021 season. Trubisky was the second overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft and finished last season 28th in total quarterback rating with 39.4, tied for 27th in touchdown passes with 17, 21st in passing yards at 3,138 and 32 yards per pass attempt at 6.1. He will earn $4.423 million in 2020 and count 9.237 million against the salary cap.   

Northern signs JUCO transfer Carly Mekash

Northern State University head coach Paula Krueger announced today the addition of Carly Mekash to the 2020-21 roster. Mekash joins the Wolves after playing two seasons at Northland Community College.


“Carly was one of the best rebounders in junior college,” noted Krueger. “We graduated 3 of our top 4 rebounders in Brianna, Jessi, and Sara; as a perimeter rebounder we see Carly contributing on the glass on both ends of the floor.”


A native of Greenbush, Minnesota, Mekash is a 5-foot-9 forward who shot 59.6% from the floor for NCC. She average 29.6 points per game and ranking in the top-10 nationally in rebounds. Mekash is a NJCAA All-American and NJCAA All-Academic team member. She is the sister of former women’s basketball student-athlete Tori Mekash and daughter of Dale and Shellie.


“She has played both inside and outside at the college level providing her with the opportunity to score on multiple levels,” added Krueger. “We are excited to add Carly to our roster.”


Two Jacks wrestlers named Division I scholar All-Americans

 South Dakota State University's Tanner Cook and Henry Pohlmeyer were honored Thursday as Division I Scholar All-Americans by the National Wrestling Coaches Association.

Both wrestlers qualified for the 2020 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships and have compiled a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 during their collegiate careers.

Pohlmeyer completed his Jackrabbit career this past winter by compiling a 22-5 overall record in the 149-pound division in earning a trip to the nationals for the third time with a runner-up finish at the Big 12 Wrestling Championship. The Johnston, Iowa, native has majored in political science at SDSU.

Cook moved into the starting lineup at 165 pounds at semester break and turned in a strong first season with the Jackrabbits by posting a 21-4 record with a team-best 14 wins by fall. A freshman from Ilion, New York, Cook is majoring in marketing and communication.

In all, 175 Division I wrestlers from 63 institutions were honored as members of the 2019-20 Scholar All-American Team.


Northern volleyball names team captains for 2020 season

Northern State University head volleyball coach, Brent Aldridge announced today the 2020 team captains for the Wolves. Laura Snyder, Morgan Baufield and Sally Gaul were selected by their peers to lead the Wolves this fall.
"The 2020 team captains are selected by their teammates and to me that says a lot about what all three of these young women mean to Wolves volleyball," noted Aldridge. "They were all named to the NSIC All-Conference team last year, but beyond that they are very good students, hard working in the weight room and wonderful human beings. They lead by example and with their voices on and off the court.  The impact that each of them has had during their careers so far at Northern State is nothing short of amazing. I look forward to watching them continue to grow as not only team captains but also as future leaders in whatever community that they settle into after their athletic and academic careers at Northern State are completed."
A native of Ham Lake, Minnesota, Snyder is a 3-time all-conference selection for the Wolves. She was named the 2017 NSIC Freshman of the Year and 2019 NSIC Offensive Player of the Year. In addition, Snyder is a 2-time AVCA All-American and the 2019 AVCA Central Region Player of the Year. A native of Plymouth, Minnesota, Baufield earned all-conference accolades for the Wolves in the fall of 2019, landing on the NSIC second team. A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Gaul was named to the NSIC second team as a sophomore. Moreover, the trio are NSIC All-Academic recipients and NSU Maroon Tie honorees.