Local Sports Archives for 2021-01

Aberdeen native Josh Heupel named Tennessee head football coach

Aberdeen native Josh Heupel has been named the head football coach at the University of Tennessee.  Tennessee is a storied football program which plays in the SEC and boasts of alums such as Peyton Manning.  Heupel is 42 years old and graduated from Central High School.  He played quarterback at the University of Oklahoma where he won a national championship in 2000.  As a coach he has been serving as the University of Central Florida’s head coach since 2018 where he accumulated a record of 28-8 during that time.  He will be the 27th coach of the Volunteer program, a program which hasn’t won an SEC championship since 1998 or a national championship since 98 as well. 

Vikings offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak announces retirement

Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak announced he will be retiring after 25 seasons of coaching in the National Football League. 


Kubiak released the following statement:


"It's been the honor of my lifetime to work for 36 seasons as an NFL player and coach. I've been on a football field for most of my life, and now I look forward to stepping away from the game and enjoying more time with my family and friends.


"I offer my sincere thanks to the owners and fans of the Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers for giving me opportunities to be a part of this great game and for treating me and my family so well over the years.


"I'll miss the competition, the planning, game days and being part of a team. But, more than anything, I'll cherish the friendships I've made along the way with players, coaches and staff. I love the game of football and will forever be its biggest fan."


Kubiak served one season as offensive coordinator, taking over for Kyle Stefanski I n 2021.  Kubiak joined the Vikings as assistant head coach and offensive advisor in 2019.  Kubiak is 59 years old and during his career served as the head coach of the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos, including winning a Super Bowl with Denver in 2016. 

Former Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson passes away

Former Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson died Wednesday.  The Packers organization made the announcement Thursday, saying Thompson passed away in his home in Atlanta Texas.  Thompson was 68-year-old and was diagnosed with a nerve disorder in 2019.  He served as the Packers general manager from 2005 to 2017 and was in charge in 2010 when the franchise won its last Super Bowl.  He also gets credit for drafting quarterback Aaron Rogers who took over for fellow Packer great Brett Favre and has been one of the top five quarterbacks in the league for over a decade.    

Missouri Valley Football Conference releases update to spring season

The Missouri Valley Football Conference has announced its return to play and the schedule for the upcoming spring football season.  The season was postponed from the fall to spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  South Dakota State will open the season on the road vs. Northern Iowa Friday February 19th.  Its first home game will be Saturday March sixth vs. Western Illinois.  The University of South Dakota will open the season at home vs. Western Illinois Friday Feb. 19th.  SDSU will play  USD the last week of the season, Saturday April 10th.  The game will be played in Brookings.   

SDSU's full schedule:


USD's full schedule:

Twins sign veteran starter Happ

After a slow start to their offseason, the Twins made their first move to reinforce the starting rotation on Wednesday by agreeing to a one-year, $8 million deal with veteran left-hander J.A. Happ, sources told The club has not confirmed the deal, which is pending a physical.

Happ, 38, adds some needed depth to a starting group that was considerably thinned by the departures of Jake Odorizzi and Rich Hill from the 2020 rotation.  As things stand, Happ should slide into the back of the rotation behind Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios and Michael Pineda. 


Happ owns a 3.98 ERA over 324 career appearances and has pitched in 15 playoff games. The left-hander has been a consistent and durable pitcher across his 14-year MLB career, and he most recently spent two-plus seasons with the Yankees following a 2018 trade from Toronto. Though he struggled with home runs in '19 in the confines of Yankee Stadium, he rebounded with a solid '20 season in which he pitched to a 3.47 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP, the latter being the best mark of his career.


Fueled by less reliance on his four-seam fastball and increased usage of his sinker, Happ's underlying metrics were also better across the board in 2020. He lowered his hard-hit rate, barrel rate and average exit velocity allowed, and all of his expected statistics indicated that he was allowing less productive contact to hitters. In fact, his xERA of 3.28, per Statcast (a projection of ERA based on quality of contact), was by far his lowest since Statcast began tracking in 2015.

Another encouraging sign for Happ was that he started to miss more bats with his slider last season, generating a 31.7 percent whiff rate, a jump of more than 10 points from his 2019 mark. The Twins and pitching coach Wes Johnson have been aggressive in their usage and development of sliders over the last two seasons.


Happ's addition is also significant in that the Twins' starting rotation skewed heavily right-handed even before Hill departed in free agency.


There could still be room for the Twins to add more starting depth, as the club saw a rash of injuries throughout their rotation last season.  Randy Dobnak could hold a starting spot after a solid 2020, but depth options Lewis Thorpe and Devin Smeltzer both struggled in their sophomore seasons.


The Twins also have strong upside waiting in the wings, as top starting prospects Jhoan Duraon and Jordan Balazovic  are likely to impact the Major League club at some point in 2021. A low-risk deal with a one-year commitment to a consistent veteran like Happ could continue to bridge the gap to those two young arms, giving them time to finish their development without being pushed too aggressively into big league action.


The club previously added right-handed reliever Hansel Robles  on a one-year deal but has otherwise been quiet in the free-agent market.

SD media prep basketball poll released 1/19/21

Boys basketball
Class AA
1. Washington (17) 7-0 85 1
2. Yankton 8-2 63 2
3. Harrisburg 6-0 54 3
4. Roosevelt 4-3 24 RV
5. Mitchell 7-1 19 5
Receiving votes: Brandon Valley 9, Rapid City Central 1. 

Class A
1. Dakota Valley (17) 7-0 85 1
2. SF Christian 8-1 65 2
3. Sioux Valley 11-0 53 3
4. Vermillion 6-0 27 5
5. Dell Rapids 6-2 21 4
Receiving votes: Tiospa Zina 2, St. Thomas More 1, Winner 1. 

Class B
1. De Smet (15) 9-1 83 1
2. Platte-Geddes (2) 6-0 70 2
3. Howard 7-1 48 3
4. Canistota 6-1 23 5
5. Viborg-Hurley 6-2 13 RV
Receiving votes: Elkton-Lake Benton 9, Dell Rapids St. Mary 8, Aberdeen Christian 1.

Girls basketball
Class AA
1. Harrisburg (17) 8-0 85 2
2. Washington 5-2 65 1
3. Aberdeen Central 7-0 42 5
4. O’Gorman 7-2 41 3
T-5. Brandon Valley 5-2 10 4
T-5. Mitchell 6-2 10 NR
Receiving votes: Roosevelt 2. 

Class A
1. St. Thomas More (17) 10-0 85 1
2. West Central 7-1 65 2
3. Winner 10-1 54 3
4. SF Christian 8-1 31 5
5. Aberdeen Roncalli 10-0 13 RV
Receiving votes: Hamlin 7. 

Class B
1. Corsica-Stickney (10) 8-2 73 1
2. Castlewood (6) 6-0 69 2
3. White River (1) 6-0 60 3
4. Ethan 7-1 31 4
5. Hanson 8-1 18 5
Receiving votes: Waverly-South Shore 2, Viborg-Hurley 2.   

Parker Fox named NSIC North player of the week for second time

After opening the home slate this weekend, Northern State junior Parker Fox has earned NSIC North Division Player of the Week honors. Fox and the Wolves swept Minnesota Crookston from Wachs Arena on Friday and Saturday. 

#24 Parker Fox (F, 6-8, 210, Jr., Mahtomedi, Minn. / Mahtomedi HS) - Northern State
- Led the NSIC last weekend averaging 27.0 points and 3.5 blocks in a pair of wins
- Added 8.0 rebounds per game while shooting 71.4% (20-of-28) from the field 
- Tallied ten assist, including a career high seven in the victory Saturday
- Recorded his third straight game with 20+ points
- Named NSIC North Division Player of the Week for the second straight week

Summit League will not have fans at conference tournament in Sioux Falls

The Summit League announced Thursday fans will not be allowed to attend the tournament, annually held in Sioux Falls.  Summit League Commissioner Tom Douple said in a statement, the decision came after a thorough review of the situation and what bringing 16 teams and fans means during this time of COVID-19.  Without fans the tournament will no longer be held at the PREMIER center and instead will be moved to the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls.  This move will allow games and practices to all take place in the same location.  All ticket holders will receive direction moving forward on their options this coming Monday. 

Wolves wrestling wins second dual against ranked opponent

The Northern State University wrestling team battled with No. 22 Wisconsin Parkside Thursday evening in Wachs Arena, coming away with their second win over a nationally ranked opponent. The Wolves tallied two bonus point victories in the dual, handing the Rangers their second loss of the season.
Final Score: NSU 20, UWP 12
Records: NSU 2-0, UWP 0-2

  • Michael Bigler opened the dual for the Wolves, facing off against fourth ranked Joe Arroyo; despite suffering a loss in the match, Bigler was able to  fend off Arroyo giving up only a decision
  • Ty Althoff kicked off the team scoring for NSU, notching a hard fought 8-6 decision over Lucas Schevikhoven; the freshman scored first with nearfall points in the second and fought off an attacking Schevikhoven in the third
  • Kolton Roth and Wyatt Turnquist followed with back-to-back major decision victories with mirror scores of 14-2
  • Roth defeated Francesco Schiro after going down on an early takedown in the first; the junior tallied two reversals, a takedown, and two 4-point nearfalls in the win
  • Turnquist downed Nathan Hensley, coming out hot in the second period with back-to-back 4-point nearfall scores; he added a barrage of scoring in the third, which sealed the bonus point win
  • Caden Moore kept the wins rolling in the 157 pound bout, defeating Ben Durocher in a 3-1 decision; the win gave Northern a 14-3 lead heading into intermission
  • After a misstep at 165 pounds, Northern's Cole Huss answered back recording a sudden victory win over Ryan Neu
  • Huss battled back from an early deficit, notching a takedown in the first overtime period for the 9-7 match victory
  • The Rangers chipped away at the NSU lead in the following two bouts with back-to-back decision wins
  • The Wolves led 17-12 heading into the heavyweight match, with a victory in sight but not secured
  • Ali'i Loyola stepped up for NSU, recording his second win of the year with a 7-2 decision over Nate Lloyd; Loyola scored in all three periods, controlling a majority of the match

"We got the win, it's two top-25 teams in a row, but we've got a long ways to go.  We still got to get some conditioning up, obviously it helped us in one match, we got the win in overtime. Overall our guys fought hard, like I said they are a tough team. We are glad to have them in our conference now, just add more depth to our conference. It was good to get a win over them."

125: Joe Arroyo (Wisconsin-Parkside) over Michael Bigler (Northern State) (Dec 5-1)
133: Ty Althoff (Northern State) over Lucas Schevikhoven (Wisconsin-Parkside) (Dec 8-6)
141: Kolton Roth (Northern State) over Francesco Schiro (Wisconsin-Parkside) (MD 14-2)
149: Wyatt Turnquist (Northern State) over Nathan Hensley (Wisconsin-Parkside) (MD 14-2)
157: Caden Moore (Northern State) over Ben Durocher (Wisconsin-Parkside) (Dec 3-1)
165: Shane Gantz (Wisconsin-Parkside) over James Burks (Northern State) (Dec 6-3)
174: Cole Huss (Northern State) over Ryan Neu (Wisconsin-Parkside) (SV-1 9-7)
184: Reece Woracheck (Wisconsin-Parkside) over Marcus Placide (Northern State) (Dec 5-3)
197: Job Ayala (Wisconsin-Parkside) over Treyton Cacek (Northern State) (Dec 7-5)
285: Ali'i Loyola (Northern State) over Nate Lloyd (Wisconsin-Parkside) (Dec 7-2)
141 Extra: Cayden Henschel (Wisconsin-Parkside) over Robert Coyle III (Northern State) (MD 15-6)
157 Extra: Chase Bloomquist (Northern State) over Eric Bauer (Wisconsin-Parkside) (Dec 9-6)
174 Extra: Tanner Wiese (Northern State) over Drake Regenhardt (Wisconsin-Parkside) (Dec 6-1)
The Wolves head north to take on Minot State at 7 p.m. next Thursday, January 21st.

Wild prospect Marco Rossi out with upper body injury

Minnesota Wild center prospect Marco Rossi is out indefinetly with an upper body injury. Rossi was selected was selected by Minnesota 9th overall in the 2020 NHL draft. He is 19 years old and finished playing for his native Austria in the 2020 World Juniors before reporting the injury. Minnesota opens the regular season Thursday on the road vs. the Los Angeles Kings. Puck drop will be at 9:00 p.m. Central time.   

Parker Fox named NSIC north player of the week

For the second straight week a member of the Northern State University men's basketball team has been named the NSIC North Player of the Week. Junior, Parker Fox grabbed this week's award following his strong weekend versus Bemidji State.
Fox led the Wolves averaging 20.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game in the two wins over BSU. He shot 55.2% from the floor, including a weekend best 11-of-16 on Saturday. Fox added a team high seven steals and four blocks. In addition, he averaged nearly a point a minute in the Saturday victory, knocking down 24.
Northern State opens play at home this Friday and Saturday versus Minnesota Crookston.

No general admission tickets to be sold for NSU's weekend games against MN Croockston

Northern State Athletics announced today that no general admission tickets will be sold for this weekend's men's basketball doubleheader versus Minnesota Crookston. The current high priority population for admittance is Wolves Club members (season ticket holders), suite holders, NSU students, NSU team parents/families via passbook, and visiting team parents/families/fans. 

SD Media basketball poll released 1/11/21

Boys basketball

Class AA
1. Washington (15) 5-0 81 1
2. Yankton (2) 7-1 69 2
3. Harrisburg 6-0 44 3
4. Brandon Valley 4-1 33 4
5. Mitchell 7-0 27 5
Receiving votes: Roosevelt 1. 

Class A
1. Dakota Valley (17) 6-0 85 1
2. SF Christian 6-1 62 2
3. Sioux Valley 10-0 52 3
4. Dell Rapids 5-1 33 4
5. Vermillion 6-0 22 5
Receiving votes: Mobridge-Pollock 1. 

Class B
1. De Smet (15) 7-1 83 1
2. Platte-Geddes (2) 4-0 70 2
3. Howard 7-0 41 3
4. Dell Rapids St. Mary 5-2 28 4
5. Canistota 5-0 22 5
Receiving votes: Viborg-Hurley 11.

Girls basketball
Class AA
1. Washington (7) 4-1 74 1
2. Harrisburg (8) 7-0 71 2
3. O’Gorman (2) 6-1 52 3
4. Brandon Valley 5-1 32 4
5. Aberdeen Central 6-0 26 5
Class A
1. St. Thomas More (16) 8-0 84 1
2. West Central (1) 6-1 64 T-2
3. Winner 8-1 55 T-2
4. Hamlin 4-1 30 4
5. SF Christian 6-1 17 5
Receiving votes: Aberdeen Roncalli 5. 
Class B
1. Corsica-Stickney (17) 7-0 85 1
2. Castlewood 5-0 65 2
3. White River 5-0 52 3
4. Ethan 6-0 35 4
5. Hanson 6-1 11 NR
Receiving votes: Viborg-Hurley 5, Newell 1, Waverly-South Shore 1.   

Nothern women's game against Southwest Minnesota State also canceled due to COVID-19

Officials from Southwest Minnesota State University and Northern State University announced tonight that both women's basketball games between the teams scheduled for Friday and Saturday have been canceled due to COVID-19 testing protocols at SMSU. The games will not be rescheduled.
Similar to the cancelation with Bemidji State, Northern is currently in the process of locking in another opponent to play the Wolves women this weekend. With the timing of the cancelation however, that may be unlikely.


Stay tuned to and the NSU Athletics social media accounts for more information as it becomes available.

Northern wrestling upsets #20 in the nation Upper Iowa

Ali’i Loyola made his Northern State wrestling debut tonight in dramatic fashion, sealing the match victory for the Wolves in overtime. The 18-15 win for the NSU over No. 20 Upper Iowa is the Wolves first victory over the Peacocks in the NCAA Division II era.


125: Kaden Anderlik (Upper Iowa) over Michael Bigler (Northern State) (Dec 7-1)

133: Ty Althoff (Northern State) over Donny Schmit (Upper Iowa) (Dec 8-6)

141: Kolton Roth (Northern State) over #9 Tate Murty (Upper Iowa) (Dec 8-7)

149: Wyatt Turnquist (Northern State) over Connor Manderfeld (Upper Iowa) (Fall 4:17)

157: #8 Chase Luensman (Upper Iowa) over Caden Moore (Northern State) (Dec 6-2)

165: #10 James Burks (Northern State) over Scott Kellenberger (Upper Iowa) (Dec 9-3)

174: #12 Myron Crawford (Upper Iowa) over Cole Huss (Northern State) (Dec 9-4)

184: #8 Dalton Hahn (Upper Iowa) over #12 Marcus Placide (Northern State) (Dec 8-2)

197: Zach Ryg (Upper Iowa) over Treyton Cacek (Northern State) (Dec 8-3)

285: Ali’i Loyola (Northern State) over Jordan Baumler (Upper Iowa) (TB-1 3-2)



125 Extra: Landen Fischer (Northern State) over Dakota Henry (Upper Iowa) (Dec 9-4)

149 Extra: Chance Throndson (Upper Iowa) over Adam DeBoer (Northern State) (Fall 1:24)

149 Extra: Dalton Schams (Upper Iowa) over Caleb Lazure (Northern State) (Inj. 0:27)

157 Extra: Billy Holtan (Northern State) over Ryan Faught (Upper Iowa) (Dec 3-1)

157 Extra: Mac Spotts (Upper Iowa) over Chase Bloomquist (Northern State) (Dec 6-5)

174 Extra: Colter Bye (Upper Iowa) over Tanner Wiese (Northern State) (Dec 4-0)

184 Extra: Dalton Nelson (Upper Iowa) over Samuel Stroup (Northern State) (Fall 1:26)

197 Extra: Bodie Garnier (Upper Iowa) over Joshua Trumble (Northern State) (Dec 5-2)


Northern opens home competition next Thursday versus Wisconsin Parkside. The match is slated to start at 7 p.m. in Wachs Arena. Live video and result links are available on the wrestling schedule on

NHL sells naming rights to 2021 divisions

The National Hockey League has sold the naming rights to its four divisions for the upcoming 2021 season.  The league announced Tuesday the teams will play in the Scotia NHL North Division, Honda NHL West Division, Discover NHL Central Division and MassMutual NHL East Division. The season will begin January 13th and run 56 games.  According to league sources the plan is for these naming rights to last just this season.    

Team USA hockey wins World Junior gold

Team USA Hockey upset heavy favorites Canada at the World Junior Championships to win the gold medal Tuesday.  The final was 2-0 and the game was played in Edmonton Alberta Canada.  The World Junior Hockey Championship is an annual event put on by the international ice hockey federation and features the best players under the age of 20.  This was team USA’s first 2017.  Florida Panthers prospect and current Boston College goaltender Spencer Knight stopped 34 shots to earn the shutout victory.  He had three shutouts throughout the entire tournament, the most ever for an American goaltender in the tournament.   

South Dakota media prep basketball poll released 1/04/21

Boys Basketball
Class AA
1. Washington (15) 3-0 84 2
2. Yankton (3) 5-1 69 4
3. Harrisburg 5-0 44 5
4. Brandon Valley 3-1 41 1
5. Mitchell 6-0 27 RV
Receiving votes: Roosevelt 4, Aberdeen Central 1. 

Class A
1. Dakota Valley (18) 5-0 90 1
2. SF Christian 4-1 65 2
3. Sioux Valley 7-0 52 4
4. Dell Rapids 4-1 39 3
5. Vermillion 4-0 24 5

 Class B
1. De Smet (15) 5-1 87 1
2. Platte-Geddes (3) 3-0 75 2
3. Howard 4-0 29 RV
4. Dell Rapids St. Mary 4-2 28 5
5. Canistota 4-0 27 RV
Receiving votes: Viborg-Hurley 21, Lemmon 2, White River 1. 

Girls Basketball
Class AA
1. Washington (14) 3-0 86 2
2. Harrisburg (3) 6-0 65 3
3. O’Gorman (1) 3-1 49 1
4. Brandon Valley 4-1 35 4
5. Aberdeen Central 4-0 34 5

Class A
1. St. Thomas More (17) 5-0 88 1
T-2. West Central (1) 4-1 62 2
T-2. Winner 5-1 62 3
4. Hamlin 3-1 29 5
5. SF Christian 4-0 17 RV
Receiving votes: Tea Area 6, Garretson 4, Aberdeen Roncalli 2. 

Class B
1. Corsica-Stickney (18) 5-0 90 1
2. Castlewood 4-0 65 2
3. White River 5-0 51 4
4. Ethan 4-0 37 3
5. Viborg-Hurley 7-0 26 5
Receiving votes: Newell 1.  

Jared Spurgeon named Wild captain

The Minnesota Wild named defenseman Jared Spurgeon as the next team captain to replace longtime captain Mikko Koviu who's contract was not renewed following the end of the 2020 season. He is just the second fulltime captain in team history. Spurgeon is 31 years old and has been in the NHL since 2010. He was selected by the New York Islanders 156th overall in the 2008 NHL draft. He signed a free agent contract with Minnesota in 2010-11 after failing to be signed by the Islanders. Spurgeon talked about the decision...



Top 18 picks and first round playoffs set following final week of NFL football

Following the conclusion of the NFL regular season Sunday, the playoffs and first 18 picks in the 2021 NFL draft have been set.  The top 18 picks will go as follows:
18.) Miami Dolphins
17.) Las Vegas Raiders 
16.) Arizona Cardinals 
15.) New England Patriots 
14.) Minnesota Vikings 
13.) Los Angeles Charges
12.) San Francisco 49ers
11.) New York Giants
10.) Dallas Cowboys
9.) Denver Broncos
8.) Carolina Panthers
7.) Detroit Lions
6.) Philadelphia Eagles
5.) Cincinnati Bengals
4.) Atlanta Falcons
3.) Miami Dolphins (Via Houston Texans)
2.) New York Jets
1.) Jacksonville Jaguars 

The playoffs matchups include in the NFL wild card matchups which will be played January 9th and 10th Indianapolis @ Buffalo, Los Angeles Rams @ Seattle, Tampa bay @ Washington, Baltimore @ Tennessee, Chicago @ New Orleans and Cleveland @ Pittsburgh.  The Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs each earned the top seed and a first round bye. 

Aberdeen Wings head coach Scott Langer sets new NAHL wins record

Aberdeen Wings head coach Scott Langer set a new record Saturday, winning his 603rd game in the NAHL. With the win he becomes the winningest coach in NAHL history. The win was a 3-1 victory over the Bismarck Bobcats. With the win Aberdeen improved its record to 17-1-0 and currently sits atop the league in points with 34. Its closest rival is the Lone Star Brahmas with 31 points. Langer became the head coach of the Aberdeen Wings in 2016 after many years with the Topeka RoadRunners in Topeka Kansas.