We will be tracking the most special, the rarest and most interesting sports moments across South Dakota each month. Included are such events for March and a couple we missed earlier.
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:
Feb. 27: Chamberlain senior wrestler Gabe Skustad won a state championship 40 years after his grandfather won a state title for the Cubs. In 2021, Skustad decisioned Tyson Johnson of Pierre 3-2 in the state finals. In 1981, Skustad’s grandfather Doug Foley decisioned Jim Strande of Brookings 4- 3 to win the 138-pound championship. Only three Chamberlain wrestlers have won state titles: Skustad (2021), Foley (1981) and Nash Hutmacher (four, 2017-20).
Feb. 27: The South Dakota State men’s basketball team set a school record by missing only nine field goals (25 of 34, 74 percent) in an 89-77 win over Kansas City. The old school record of 69 percent (31 of 45) in a 101-92 win over Southern (Baton Rouge, LA) on Dec. 7, 2018.
March 2: White River sophomore Joe Sayler scored his 1,000 th point on a dunk.
March 3-6: For the third year in a row, Dakota State is hosting the NAIA Indoor Track and Field Championships off-campus. The 2021 men’s and women’s championships were held at the $15 million Ruth Donohoe First Dakota Fieldhouse (opened in 2020) on the Mount Marty campus in Yankton. The 2019 and 2020 championships were held at the $32 million Sanford Jackrabbit Athletic Complex (opened in 2014) on the SDSU campus in Brookings. The NAIA said including the three indoor track events in 2019-21, South Dakota has hosted nine NAIA championships: outdoor track & field (1959, 1967), DII men’s basketball (2018), men’s wrestling (1964), and men’s golf (1974) and women’s golf (1995).
March 4, 2021: Morgan Edelman of Menno ended her high school basketball career with 2,066 points, one of only 27 South Dakota girls to have scored 2,000 or more points.
March 5: Former Sioux Falls Roosevelt star Grace Glanzer had one of the most impressing pitching performances in SDSU softball history. She pitched a no-hitter with SDSU taking down PAC-12 foe Oregon State 7-0. Glanzer had four strikeouts against the Beavers, a 6-3 team that was receiving votes in the national poll. The next day, Glanzer pitched a 6-0 shutout over Colorado State, allowing only four hits.
March 5: The SDSU cross country teams swept the Summit League championship for the first time since the men and women from Southern Utah did it in 2007.
March 6: For the first time in Summit League Women’s Basketball Championship history, the No. 8 seed upset the No. 1 seed as Omaha toppled SDSU 52-40 in the opening round. The Mavericks are now 6-12 and the Jacks 21-3. It ended an 18-game win streak for SDSU. Last year in the opening round of the tourney, No. 1 USD beat No. 8 Omaha 99-40.
March 6: SDSU’s 45-10 win over Western Illinois marked the Jacks’ 100 th overall victory (vs. 55 losses) since joining the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2008.
March 6: For the first time since 2008, Rapid City will not be represented at the State AA Boys’ Basketball Tournament as both Stevens (82-50 to Brandon Valley) and Central (57-52 to Aberdeen Central) fell in the SoDak 16 games. The last time a Rapid City team won a state title was 1989 (54- 52 over Aberdeen Central).
March 6: Both the Aberdeen Central girls and boys have qualified for the state tournaments in the same school year for the 18 th time. Since South Dakota switched girls’ basketball to the winter season same as boys in 2002-03, the Golden Eagles have been in both state tourneys in 2021, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2010, 2007, 2005 and 2004. Before that, the AC teams both qualified in the school years of 2002-01, 2000-01, 1998-99, 1992-93, 1987-88, 1986-87, 1984-85, 1979-80, 1978-79 and 1977-78.
March 7: The 19-0 Aberdeen varsity girls’ hockey team won their sixth state title in the last seven years (runner-up the other year) with a 5-2 win over Sioux Falls — the third year in a row that the two teams met for the title. Led by seniors Danielle Podoll, Justice Small, Morgan Dean, Estelle Harrison, Kaitlyn Holland and Shelby Nash, the Cougars dominated their opponents this year by outscoring them 178-14 and won their seventh regular-season league title in a row. Aberdeen has a league record of 127 wins, 4 losses and 1 tie in those last seven seasons. In the last seven state tournaments, the Cougars are 20-1, outscoring opponents 169-30 with nine shutouts. Shelby Edwards coached the 2021, 2020 and 2018 state champs (and the 2019 state runners-up) while Rob Weinmeister coached the 2015-17 state champion Cougars.
March 8: Aberdeen Central girls’ basketball coach Dawn Seiler resigned her coaching duties after being named the school’s athletic director. She is the winningest girls’ basketball coach in South Dakota history. In her 37 seasons (22 at Central; 15 at McIntosh), her teams went 629-244 with 26 state tourney appearances, two titles (2016, 2018) and two state runner-up finishes.
March 9: Vermillion (22-0) will go to the boys’ basketball state tournament for the first time since 1989 after defeating Milbank 67-37 in the Class A SoDak 16.
March 9: De Smet defeated Timber Lake 64-38 in the SoDak 16 to advance to the State B Boys’ Basketball Tournament. It was one of several Timber Lake games this season that featured a dunk by 5-foot-7 junior Hank Kraft.
March 9: For the first time ever, both Dell Rapids Public and Dell Rapids St. Mary qualified for a state boys’ basketball tourney. Public defeated Rapid City Christian 68-54 to advance to the State A while St. Mary defeated Elkton-Lake Benton 58-51 to qualify for the State B. In 1975, St. Mary was the State B runner-up and Dell Rapids Public won the 1976 State B.
March 9: Lyman qualified for the State B boys’ tourney for the first time since 1996.
March 10: Minnesota released left tackle Riley Reiff after the 32-year-old Parkston native had one of his best seasons for the Vikings. Reiff became a salary cap casualty for the Vikings as the move will save the team about $11 million in salary-cap space for the 2021 season. He played 58 games for the Vikings, all at left tackle, over the last four seasons. Reiff’s 2021 season will be his 10th season in the league. He entered the NFL in 2012 as the No. 23 overall pick by Detroit out of the University of Iowa. Reiff signed a two-year contract worth $7.5 million with the Cincinnati Bengals on March 18.
March 12: To score 1,000 points in a high school career is not rare. But to do it in a state tourney is as Nevaeh Ronke of Viborg-Hurley scored her 1,000th career point against Herreid/Selby Area in the State B girls’ consolation semifinals.
March 12: Two eventual girls’ basketball state champions advanced to the state finals on buzzer-beaters. In the State A semifinals, Aberdeen Roncalli got two free throws from Olivia Hanson with 1 second left to give the Cavaliers a 36-36 win over top-seeded St. Thomas More. In the State B semifinals, Maleighya Estes made a 15-footer at the buzzer to give White River a 52-50 win over Corsica-Stickney.
March 13: In its first football game in the newly remodeled DakotaDome, Missouri State defeated the University of South Dakota 27-24 following a $26 million renovation to the west side of the facility in Vermillion.
March 13: The White River girls’ basketball program won its first State B championship under first- year coach Jared Bouman, who took over the program only one week before the season began.
March 13: White River senior Caelyn Valandra-Prue ended her career eighth on the South Dakota all-time high school girls’ scoring list with 2,536 career points. Jill Young of Mitchell Christian is No. 1 on that list with 3,317 career points followed by Becky Flynn (3,268) of Wakonda; Carla Allard (2,835) of Bennett County; Jordan Stapp (2,815) of Newell; Kieran O’Malley (2,599) of Centerville; JoEllen Hofer (2,564) of Hitchcock; SuAnne Big Crow (2,541) of Pine Ridge; Valandra-Prue; Jolonna Sazue (2,506) of Pine Ridge; and Lori Wohlleber (2,490) of Summit.
March 13: Aberdeen Roncalli coach Derek Larson, his team and their stingy defense won their school’s first girls’ basketball state title, defeating Hamlin 48-31 for the A crown. It was Roncalli’s first win over Northeast Conference rival Hamlin since 2013. Roncalli allowed its three State B opponents only 100 points.
March 13: The Ethan girls finished third in the State B. This was their seventh consecutive State B, all under seven-year Ethan head coach Tom Young. The Rustlers are 161-18 in those seven seasons with one state title (2015) and two runner-up finishes (2019, 2016).
March 15: For the third time in league history, two teams will represent The Summit League in the field of 64 in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. Regular-season champion South Dakota State and tournament champion South Dakota both qualified. It is the second time (2019 also) in state history that both the USD and SDSU women earned spots in the DI national tourney.
March 17: Bill Wilkinson, a former De Smet football coach and long-time Bulldog supporter, died after battling health issues. He was 71. Wilkinson is the grandfather of De Smet players Damon and Colt Wilkinson and the uncle of Edger Wilkinson. He coached current De Smet coach Jeff Gruenhagen in high school. The team found out about Bill Wilkinson’s death prior to arriving in Aberdeen.
March 17: For only the third time in 36 games this season, the Aberdeen Wings lost. Fairbanks, St. Cloud and Minot are the only teams to beat the Wings so far. Despite the 2-1 loss to Minot, Aberdeen continued one of the greatest seasons in hockey history at any level.
March 18: White River extended its incredible run in the State B Boys’ Basketball Tournament by starting play in its 16 th straight tourney in Aberdeen.
March 18: Mitchell is back in the State AA Boys’ Basketball after an almost decade absence. The Kernels were last in the tourney in 2012, the last year of coaching for legendary Gary Munsen. Before that, the Kernels qualified for 34 of 39 tourneys from 1973-2012 under Munsen, winning nine state titles. In the next eight seasons following 2012, the Kernals went 30-140, including a 42-game losing streak. However, Mitchell entered the State AA with a 15-6 record under fourth-year head coach Todd Neuendorf.
March 18: Five of the eight State B boys’ basketball coaches are coaching their alma maters: Jeff Gruenhagen (De Smet), Brian LaRoche (Lower Brule), Cooper Garnos (Lyman), David Rohrbach (Aberdeen Christian) and Colby Fitzgerald (Dell Rapids St. Mary).
Mach 19: NSU spring graduates Parker Fox and Andrew Kallman both announced they will be entering NCAA transfer portal to finish their college basketball careers. In three seasons at NSU, Fox recorded 1,450 points, 665 rebounds, 318 blocks, 185 dunks, 119 assists and 82 steals while the Wolves went 71-15. In four seasons at NSU, Kallman recorded 891 points, 312 rebounds, 329 assists and 72 steals while the Woves went 107-19 and finished as the 2018 national runners-up (Fox red-shirted that season). In the last four seasons, the Wolves have won four regular-season conference
and four conference tournament titles. The 2020-21 Covid-shortened season didn’t count against the eligibility of the players so Fox has two seasons left and Kallman one.
March 20: Aberdeen Christian made the most of its first time playing in a State B Boys’ Basketball Tournament by finishing as the runner-up. The school qualified for its first-ever State B in 2020, but that event was not played due to Covid-19. Aberdeen Christian was established in 1996.
March 20: Fifty years after winning the State B Boys’ Basketball title in 1971, De Smet did it again in 2021. The school with the rich sports-tradition also won State B basketball titles in 1970, 1987 and 1995 with a State A title in 1999. The Bulldogs have been runners-up in three of the 24 state tourneys for which they have qualified and finished third three times as well.
March 20: Brandon Valley has had an amazing state tournament run in the last four years thanks to seniors like Joe Kolbeck, who will join 15 former Brandon Valley players next season who are currently playing college baseball. Kolbeck is a starting quarterback, basketball starter and 90-mph plus pitcher who has helped the Lynx play in the 2018, 2019 and 2020 State 11AAAA football finals with two state titles and in the 2019, 2020 and 2021 State AA basketball tourneys with one state title. So far in baseball, he helped Brandon win the 2018 and 2019 high school spring state titles (the 2020 season was canceled due to Covid and Brandon was a favorite). In American Legion baseball, Kolbeck helped Brandon advance to the 2018, 2019 and 2020 (runners-up) State A tournaments.
March 20: This marked the final State B Boys’ Basketball Tournament for Gene Brownell as Tournament Director after 23 years. He is retiring as athletic director at Aberdeen Central so new AD Dawn Seiler will take over the role as tourney director in the future.
March 20: Tyler Feldkamp of Sioux Falls Roosevelt capped his senior basketball season in memorable fashion. He not only scored 20 to lead Roosevelt past Sioux Falls O’Gorman 60-37 for the State AA title, he also surpassed 1,000 points scored in his career.
March 20: Two South Dakotans finished their careers among the top five scorers in boys’ basketball history as Matthew Mors of Yankton finished fourth (2,707 points) and Connor Libis of Dell Rapids St. Mary finished third (2,731). Meanwhile, Dakota Valley senior Paul Bruns finished his career with 2,206 (15 th ) It is the first time South Dakota featured three prep seniors who ended up with more than 2,000 career points. The state now has 38 high school boys’ who have scored more than 2,000 points. Libis (Briar Cliff), Mors (Wisconsin) and Bruns (North Dakota) will play college basketball next season. The all-time leading South Dakota high school boys’ scorer is Louie Krogman of White River (3,521) followed by Don Jacobsen of Lake Norden second (2,825). Milt Sorenson of Wakonda is fifth (2,577) followed by: 6. Josh Mueller of West Central (2,563); 7. Chuck Welke Jr. of Warner (2,550); 8. Bob Swanhorst of Cresbard (2,402); 9. LaMoine Torgerson of Forestburg (2,381); 10. Jerry Wingen of Canova (2,333); 11. Colby Fitzgerald, Dell Rapids St. Mary (2,294); 12. Jim Dyer, Willow Lake (2,256); 13. Ryan Van Zee, Armour (2,246); and 14. Steve Brown, Hamline (2,212).
March 20: Houston defeated Cane Ridge 62-43 for the Class AAA Tennessee high school boys’ basketball championship. The team was coached by Mitchell native Mike Miller and featured his sons Mason (Creighton recruit and Class AAA’s Mr. Basketball) and Mavrick. Mike Miller won South Dakota’s Mr. Basketball award in 1998, guided Mitchell to state championships in 1996 and ’97, led Florida to the 2000 NCAA national championship game (Michigan State won 89-76); and won two NBA titles with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013.
March 20: With its lineup of Angok Akot, Akok Aguer, Eli Williams, Tahj Two Bulls and Mikele Kambalo for the Boys’ Basketball State AA third-place game vs. Yankton, the Sioux Falls Washington Warriors are believed to be the first team in South Dakota history to start five black players.
March 23: NSU spring graduate Mason Stark will be entering NCAA transfer portal to finish his college basketball career. In three seasons at NSU, Stark recorded 1,107 points, 289 rebounds, 204 assists and 55 steals while the Wolves went 71-15. In the last four seasons (Stark redshirted the 2017-18 season), the Wolves have won four regular-season conference and four conference tournament titles.
March 23: Parker Fox of Northern State is named a first-team All-American, the 20 th in school men’s basketball school history and joining Ryan Miller (1998), Brad Hansen (2002) and Kevin Ratzsch (2009) as the fourth in the school’s NCAA DII era. Other NSU All-Americans were Harry Marske (1959); Mel Klein (1961); Jim Schlekeway (1968); Gary Evjen (1971); Bill Christensen (1975); Scott Bosanko (1981); Kevin King (1984); Scott Deadrick (1985); Kevin Burckhard (1993-94); Chad Hauger (1993); Eric Kline (1993-95); Lance Luitjens (1995); and Jeremy Vliem (1995).
March 26-28: Olympian Gracie Gold brought her figure skating training camp to Mitchell, drawing 64 skaters from five states. Hosted by the Mitchell Skating Academy, Gold was a two-time U.S. champion (2014, 2016) and the 2014 Olympic bronze medalist. Helping with her Road to Gold camp was 2013 U.S. Men’s Champion Max Aaron and Geoff Varner, another American skater who competed internationally.
March 27: The pandemic continues to affect athletics in the Dakotas. The Missouri Valley Football Conference canceled today’s North Dakota State at South Dakota football game scheduled due to COVID-19 protocols involving NDSU. Three days later on March 30, the SDSU at NDSU game scheduled for April 3 was moved to April 17 due to NDSU’s outbreak.
March 27: Former Northern State starter Andrew Kallman committed to North Dakota State where he will play his final season of basketball.
March 27: Brandon Valley inducted two of its 2020-21 successful coaches battling serious health issues into its school’s hall of fame. Boys’ basketball coach Brent Deckert was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in August and has been undergoing gene therapy treatment as he continues to teach and coach. Football coach Chad Garrow has been battling brain cancer since November. Both men have coached BV teams to state titles.
March 29: The first Small College Basketball Champions Classic will be hosted Nov. 18-19, 2022, by NSU. The event will consist of 12 total men’s teams: four NCAA Division II teams, four NCAA Division III teams and four NAIA teams. Match-ups and game times will be announced at a later date as the event will try to draw elite teams from those three divisions.
March 29: Former Rapid City Central and South Dakota State star football player Adam Vinatieri was one of four people selected to be inducted June 9 into the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America Hall of Fame. Vinatieri went on to become the NFL’s all-time leading scorer (2,673 points in 24 seasons) and to win four Super Bowls. Created in 1988, the 158-member hall recognizes former collegiate Academic All-Americans who have achieved lifetime success in their professional careers and are committed to philanthropic causes.
March 30: The National Women’s Football League is planning to have at least one team in South Dakota. The Aberdeen Hornets are scheduled to join the league in 2022. The tackle league’s social media accounts hinted that a team might be coming to Aberdeen at the beginning of 2021. Other teams are trying to be set up across the country. A different women’s tackle league is scheduled to kick off play in a few weeks in South Dakota. On May 8, the Sioux Falls Snow Leopards are scheduled to host the Iowa Phoenix in a Women’s Football Alliance full-contact game in Sioux Falls.
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