We will be tracking the most special, the rarest and most interesting sports moments across South Dakota each month. Included are such events for January and February. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you think we missed something or if you have an event you would like us to consider
for this feature:
Jan. 2, 2021: Aberdeen Wings coach Scott Langer became the all-time winningest coach in the 46-year-old history of the North American Hockey League as Aberdeen defeated Bismarck 3-1. It was Langer’s 603 rd win (241 losses and 81 ties) in 17 seasons. Langer led the Wings to the 2019 league
Jan. 19: The St. Thomas More girls’ basketball team defeated Lead-Deadwood 49-1. Jayna Prince made a free throw in the second quarter for the Golddiggers’ only point.
Jan. 22: Former Northern State star football center Max Hawk died at age 87. The Wessington Springs native retired in 1994 as the winningest South Dakota high school football coach in 38 seasons at Scotland and Yankton with 284 wins, 78 losses and two ties, a record that has since been
broken. Hawk won 10 state championships and 18 Eastern South Dakota Conference titles in his 30 seasons with Yankton.
Jan. 25: Canistota defeated Ethan 54-46 to give coach Pat Jolley his 400 th career boys’ basketball win in his 33 rd season. Jolley, 64, is one of 29 South Dakota boys’ basketball coaches to win 400 or more games. Former Custer coach Larry Luitjens (Britton/Northern State) is the all-time leader with 748
Jan. 27: South Dakota native and Aberdeen Central graduate Josh Heupel was hired as the University of Tennessee football coach. He compiled a 28-8 record in his first three seasons in his first job as a college head coach at Central Florida. Before that, Heupel, 42, had spent several seasons as an assistant for a number of major universities including Oklahoma where he
quarterbacked the Sooners to the 2000 national championship.
Jan. 28: Eighth-grader Morgan Hoffman scored the winning basket with about 10 seconds left to give the Stanley County girls’ a 33-31 win over Bennett County. It ended a 44-game losing streak for the Buffaloes, whose last win was a 45-44 decision over Bennett County on Jan. 10, 2019.
Jan. 29: The Augustana women’s basketball team defeated Upper Iowa 82-39 to give Dave Krauth his 650 th career win. Krauth, in his 32 nd year as coach of the Vikings, got win No. 600 against Upper Iowa in 2018; No. 500 vs. Southwest Minnesota State in 2014; No. 400 vs. Wayne in 2009; No. 300
vs. St. Cloud in 2005; No. 200 vs. South Dakota State in 1999; and No. 100 vs. Winona in 1993.
Jan. 30: Lake Norden native and nationally renowned sports journalist Mel Antonen, 64, died of a rare acute autoimmune disease and complications from COVID-19. Major League Baseball was his speciality as Antonen covered almost 36 World Series along with three Olympic Games.
Jan. 30: The South Dakota State equestrian team defeated the University of Texas-Martin. It was the first victory for the Jacks since Nov. 3, 2018. Helping SDSU secure the win were a pair of South Dakotans in Cassandra Townsend (Andover/Groton Area) and Isabelle Riggs (Alexandria/Hanson
High School). Also, a member of the SDSU team is Tess Elliott (Mina/Aberdeen Central).
Feb. 5: The University of South Dakota men’s basketball team defeated South Dakota State 64-56 in Brookings. It was USD’s first win at Frost Arena since Jan. 3, 2000, and it snapped SDSU’s 29-game home winning streak. Vermillion High graduate A.J. Plitzuweit led the Coyotes with 19 points and five assists.
Feb. 6: The SDSU women’s basketball team outscored USD 13-0 in the final 2:31 to win 80-75 in Brookings. Myah Selland (Letcher/Sanborn Central/Woonsocket) and Paiton Burckhard (Aberdeen Central) led the Jacks with a combined 48 points while Chloe Lamb (Onida/Sully Buttes) led USD with 18 points.
Feb. 6: The University of Sioux Falls women’s basketball team defeated Wayne State 62-58 to deliver coach Travis Traphagen his 250 th career win. A Groton graduate, Traphagen is in his 13 th season as the USF coach.
Feb. 7: An assistant coach in Super Bowl 55 got his coaching start at Augustana. Tampa Bay second-year assistant John Van Dam was a football assistant at Augustana for four seasons (2008-11). Tampa Bay won the NFL title 31-9 over Kansas City.
Feb. 11: The Northern State wrestling team defeated the University of Mary 26-6 to win its first conference title since 2002. It was the Wolves’ third Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference wresting title with the other one coming in 1986. The program has had successes along the way, such as two-
time national champion Matt Meuleners (2011-12) and 41 individual conference champions. However, the program was eliminated twice in the last 21 years for financial reasons only to be brought back to life weeks later by ardent supporters.
Feb. 10: Two semifinalists for the Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year award are from South Dakota: Hannah Sjerven of USD and Myah Selland (Letcher) of SDSU. Winning the first-ever award last year was USD’s Ciara Duffy, who like Hammon, is from Rapid City.
Feb. 12: The Winner boys’ basketball team defeated Pierre 65-62. The last time those two teams met is believed to be on Jan. 21, 1985, when Pierre won 48-38.
Feb. 12: Augustana women’s basketball coach Dave Krauth won his 1,000 th game as a high school and college coach when his Vikings defeated neighboring University of Sioux Falls 76-68. Krauth is now 653-284 in his 32nd season as the Vikings coach, and he was 347-143 as a high school boys’
and girl’s coach at Tri-Valley and in Des Moines. He’s currently the fourth-winningest active coach in Division II women’s basketball.
Feb. 15: The Summit League has issued 12 weeks of women’s basketball player of the week awards this season, and SDSU junior Myah Selland (Letcher) has won half of them.
Feb. 16: Derek Stahlman of Selby broke the unrestricted walleye state record near Mobridge with a 31.5-inch fish that weighed 14 pounds and 15 ounces. It was taken from Lake Oahe by dark house spearing. It broke the old unrestricted walleye record of 14 pounds and 4 ounces that was set by
underwater spearing in Lake Oahe on Oct. 16, 2010, by Thomas Redlin of Bridgewater.
Feb. 19: SDSU played its first football game in 14 months and 12 days thanks to a Covid-induced spring season and postponed fall 2020 season. The Jacks used a touchdown with 19 seconds left to defeat host Northern Iowa 24-20 after enduring 117 practices without a game. Before tonight’s game,
SDSU last played Dec. 7, 2019, losing to Northern Iowa 13-10 in second-round action of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs in Brookings.
Feb. 19: Two of the Summit League’s best women basketball players on the same team went down with serious knee injuries within 19 minutes of game time. SDSU defeated North Dakota State 86-78 but lost Myah Selland and Tori Nelson in the process. Selland made a strong case to earn the league player of the year in her first 20 games while Nelson was the league’s freshman of year last season. The pair of starters were averaging about 30 points and 11 rebounds per game.
Feb. 19-21: Fifteen of SDSU’s 17 sports programs competed over the weekend. Only the Jackrabbit cross country teams were idle.
Feb. 20: North Dakota State defeated the SDSU men’s basketball team 84-82 after the Jacks defeated the Bison the night before 68-67 on Charlie Easley’s three-pointer with 18 seconds left. The last six meetings in the series have been decided by a total of 13 points and the last four meetings in Fargo have been decided by a total of six points. NDSU now has a 119-109 advantage in the series, which began with a 44-24 Bison win on Jan. 19, 1910, in Brookings.
Feb. 20: Tanner Berg of Northern State won the weight throw at the SDSU meet in Brookings with a school record throw of 73 feet, 11.75 inches. It was the third best throw in NCAA Division II history and the best throw in the Division II nation this season. It also was the fourth best throw this season
across all divisions, including Division I. It also earned Berg, a Watertown native, his fifth conference field athlete of the week award this season.
Feb. 24: The Mount Marty men’s basketball team got one of its biggest wins in school history on the road in the opening round of the Great Plains Athletic Conference. The Lancers (10-16 and seeded eighth) defeated No. 1 seed and 12 th ranked nationally Morningside 76-73. Mount Marty survived after almost losing a 20-point lead, an unsuccessful last-second tying three-pointer and being idle since Feb. 6. Mount Marty is now 5-30 all-time against Morningside, having lost the previous 21 times to the Mustangs and registering its last win against Morningside on Dec. 12, 2010.
Feb. 24: Augustana coach Dave Krauth and one of his former players were named as the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference coaches of the year. Krauth earned NSIC South coach of the year and Watertown native Chelsea DeVille won the NSIC North honor. A 2009 Augustana graduate, DeVille was a four-year starter for Krauth.
Feb. 25: Andrew Kallman of Northern State was voted by the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference men’s basketball coaches as the inaugural winner of the NSIC Bob Olson Outstanding Senior of the Year Award. The award was initiated to honor a senior player in the NSIC who exemplifies the positive attributes of Olson on the court, off the court and in the classroom. Olson, a longtime basketball coach and administrator at NSU where he played college basketball, is known for his loyalty, commitment and humility. Kallman, a three-year starter and two-year captain at NSU, has been a part of four straight NSIC championship teams.
Feb. 25-27, 2021: The inaugural South Dakota girls’ high school wrestling individual state championships were held in Rapid City. More than 150 girls participated this season, with 88 qualifying for the state tourney. There were 47 Class A qualifiers in seven weight classes (112, 124, 131, 143, 167, 185 and 275) and 41 wrestlers in six divisions in Class B (112, 129, 140, 160, 185 and 275).
Feb. 26: Lemmon/McIntosh seventh-grader Darla Barnes was the first-ever South Dakota girls’ wrestling state tournament match winner.
Feb. 26: Pierre wrestler Hayden Shaffer overcame a 4-1 deficit in the final period to register a pin in 4:39 in the last match of the State A Team Dual Championships. Shaffer’s dramatic win at 138 pounds gave Pierre the state title 34-31 over Rapid City Stevens as the Governors trailed Stevens
31-28 going into that final match.
Feb. 27: The NSU wrestling team hosted the prestigious Super Region Five Tournament. The last time NSU hosted a NCAA DII super regional wrestling tourney was in 2010 and before that, in 2002. The Wolves won 16 matches, had one automatic national tourney qualifier in Caden Moore and coach Rocky Burkett was named the regional coach of the year.
Feb. 27: A college rivalry was renewed when the University of North Dakota defeated SDSU 28-17 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The teams last meet Sept. 7, 2013, with SDSU winning 35-28. UND and SDSU met every year from 1922 through 2003 (except the WWII years in the 1940s) as members of the North Central Conference. UND leads the series 47-34-5 while SDSU won the first meeting 5-4 in 1906.
Feb. 27: The Dakota State women’s basketball team outscored Bellevue 30-10 in the fourth quarter to overcome a 12-point deficit to win the North Star Conference Tournament Championship 80-72. It earned the Trojans their first trip to the NAIA National Tournament since 2008 behind 68 combined
points from Morgan Koepsell (Canova/McCook Central), Jessi Giles (Madison), Courtney Menning (Corsica/Corsica-Stickney) and Savannah Walsdorf (Kiel, WI). It was an emotional couple of days for DSU as assistant coach Jamal Branco’s father collapsed while addressing the team before
Thursday’s semifinal. David John Branco, 56, of Hudson, FL, later died of an apparent heart attack, according to the funeral home obituary.
Feb. 27: Dragr Monson of Groton Area capped off a 43-0 season by winning the State B wrestling championship at 113 pounds to become Groton’s first state champion since 2013. Meanwhile, neighboring Bradyn Robbins of Redfield Area won the State B title at 138 pounds. Robbins, the B tourney’s MVP, finished with a rare 50-win season at 51-1.
Feb. 27: Since South Dakota started its high school state wrestling championships in 1960, the 1972 Washington team remains as the only Sioux Falls school to win a State A title. In 2021, Brandon Valley became the first Sioux Falls area school to win the State A team title since SFW 49 years ago.
Feb. 27: The undefeated Aberdeen varsity girls’ hockey team won their seventh regular-season state league title in a row.
Feb. 28: The magic continues at “Wachs Arena South” at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls for the NSU men’s basketball team. The Wolves (who play home games at Wachs Arena in Aberdeen) are
20-1 since 2017 at the Pentagon after winning their fourth straight NSIC Tournament championship by defeating Minnesota State-Moorhead 78-57. The only NSU lost in that stretch at the Pentagon was 71-69 to Ferris State (MI) in the 2018 DII national championship game. Since the Pentagon opened in 2013, the Wolves are 24-4 in the building and have won their last 12 in a row there.
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