Mikayla Arechigo has been on the sidelines for the Aberdeen Central girls’ basketball team for the past six seasons. She will be there once again next year, only this time in a much different role.
Arechigo is moving from assistant coach to the head coach of the Golden Eagles.
“It’s a very exciting opportunity” she said. “Coaching is a part of my family tradition. Sports has been a huge part of my life. I’m excited to continue it in a new avenue. It’s really an exciting journey to start out on.”
Arechigo is no stranger to area sports fans. Competing as Mikayla Barondeau, she was a multi-sport standout at Frederick and then at Northern State where she still holds several records. She is replacing Dawn Seiler who will become Central’s athletic director.
“There’s always going to be changes. I think one of the things that I’ve respected most about Coach Seiler is her ability to make adjustments with her teams, based on their strengths and what they do well,” Arechigo said. “I think there will need to be some changes and adjustments, but I think that’s the case every year. I’m hoping that my staff and I will be able to make the right changes and the right decisions.”
Arechigo knows that it will be difficult to follow on the heels of Seiler, who is stepping down as the winningest girls’ basketball coach in South Dakota history.
“I think that for anyone to take on and try and be coach Seiler, is not a realistic expectation or aspiration,” Arechigo said. “I plan on being my own coach, but I am very grateful for the foundation that Coach Seiler has left behind.”
Arechigo has served as the freshman coach and is excited about the opportunity to get to coach girls that she has guided in the past.
“I think it will be interesting to see their new roles that they will develop into,” she said. “and I’m sure that they’re ready to take on those new roles and challenges as well.”
Arechigo comes from an athletic background. Her parents, Randy and Janelle, are both former college athletes and have coaching backgrounds (her mom is still the head cross country coach at Frederick).
“My parents have always been very supportive of whatever it is I want to pursue. Having parents to understand the challenges and the excitement that comes with being a coach, the benefits of it, I think that definitely helps inspire me,” Arechigo said. “I think it’s nice to have that support from home where I can bounce ideas off of them, or if there are challenges that I am facing I can get some advice on dealing with that as well. There’s definitely a lot of benefits to having their expertise at my disposal.”
Arechigo has already received some advice from her dad who told her the biggest changes in transitioning from assistant to head coach is more responsibilities and more decision making. And also more pressure.
“I’ve always been a competitor and I’ve always liked the pressure,” Arechigo said.
Arechigo said she has benefitted from a variety of coaches, from her elementary days in Frederick, through her time at Northern, as an assistant in Ipswich, and most recently as an assistant with the Golden Eagles.
She is still trying to come to grips with the fact that for the first time she is now a head coach.
“I don’t think it really has quite sunk in, yet,” Arechigo said. “I have the excitement, I have the nerves, and all of those things that come with it, but I think it will take a while for me to fully understand the role.”
One thing Arechigo does know is that for the last half dozen years she has worked under a legendary coach and is equipped to meet the demands of the new position.
“I think that the opportunities that Coach Seiler has given me here have prepared me well for it,” Arechigo said. “I’m extremely grateful and extremely excited to take on this challenge.”
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