We will be tracking the most special, the rarest and most interesting sports moments across South Dakota each month. Included are such events for September 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:
Aug. 27: Harrisburg debuted its new turf when it defeated Pierre 56-20 to open the football season.
Sept. 2: Two freshmen led Northern State to a 1-0 win over Montana State-Billings. Freshmen Megan Fastenau (Aberdeen Central) scored the goal and goalie Alexus Townsend (Omaha) made 10 saves for the Wolves. NSU has now won six straight season openers: 2019 at Green Bay (1-0 NSU); 2018 vs. Black Hills (2-0 NSU); 2017 vs. Black Hills (4-0 NSU); 2016 vs. Black Hills (8-1 NSU); and 2015 vs. Spring Hill College of Alabama (2-1 NSU). The last time NSU lost a season opener was Sept. 5, 2014, when visiting Northwest Missouri State defeated the Wolves 2-1.
Sept. 2: Fifty years later, Northern State almost upset Mankato again in football. Mankato came into the 2021 game ranked second in the nation (the Mavericks lost in the last NCAA DII national championship game) and heavily favored to win the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference again. The Mavericks also came into this year’s game with a 35-game NSIC winning streak and a 26-4 record at home dating back to 2016. However, the Mavericks had to rally to score 10 points in the final five minutes to send the game to overtime where they beat the visiting Wolves 40-34. On Oct. 9, 1971, the then-NAIA Wolves got a 16-14 dramatic win over NCAA Division II nationally ranked Mankato 16-14 before an overflowing Gypsy Day crowd at Simmons Field. Like the 2021 game, the 1971 Wolves scored on the last play of the game to beat the Mavericks. The Wolves are 1-10 all-time against Mankato.
Sept. 2: In 24 hours, South Dakota State raised $1,940,896 from 5,438 donors in all 50 states and across 13 countries to transform lives at the Brookings school. Those who gave to the fifth annual One Day for STATE campaign supported more than 110 causes at SDSU, including athletics, scholarships, research, academic programming and more.
Sept. 2: Aberdeen Central graduate Josh Heupel won his debut as the University of Tennessee football coach as his Volunteers defeated Bowling Green 38-6. Former Tennessee quarterback and NFL Hall of Famer Peyton Manning said “I’m on board and pulling hard” for Heupel. “I like Coach Heupel,” Manning said in giving high praise to the team’s new coach. “I’ve known Josh through the years.”
Sept. 3: For the sixth season in a row, the South Dakota State football team took the field led by team captains from its home state. Since 2016, 12 of the Jacks’ 32 captains have been from South Dakota. SDSU’s 2021 fall season captains include South Dakotans Wes Genant (Parkston), Mason McCormick (Sioux Falls Roosevelt) and Xavier Ward (Freeman, played for Canistota-Freeman). Other previous team captains from South Dakota since 2016: Genant (2021 spring); Preston Tetzlaff of Brookings (2021 spring); Evan Greeneway of Yankton (2019); Dalton Cox of Aberdeen Roncalli (2018); Taryn Christion of Sioux Falls Roosevelt (2018, 2017); Dallas Goedert of Britton (2017); Shayne Gottlob of Salem (2016); and Nick Mears of Milbank (2016).
Sept. 3: Six FCS football teams defeated FBS teams, including SDSU’s 42-23 win at Colorado State. Meanwhile, host Kansas scored with 70 seconds left to squeeze by the University of South Dakota 17-14. Both SDSU and USD are 2-9 vs. FBS teams.
Sept. 3: Wagner defeated Tripp-Delmont/Armour/Andes Central/Dakota Christian 21-0 to open up its new $2.2 million football and track complex. The new turf field puts Wagner in elite company among the 11A, 11B and nine-man schools. Of those 106 teams in those five classes, only Wagner, Garretson, Sisseton, Wall and Aberdeen Roncalli play their home games on turf fields. In South Dakota classes 11AAA and 11AA, 18 of the 19 teams play on turf.
Sept. 4: Sioux Falls Lincoln scored on a 53-yard Hail Mary pass from Tate Schafer to Jack Smith on the final play of the game to outlast Watertown 31-26. In the final 15:33, there were four lead changes. Watertown took its final lead at 26-25 with 42 seconds left in the game on a 28-yard TD pass from Drew Norberg to Collin Dingsor and the two-point conversion from Norberg to Juven Hudson.
Sept. 4: Rapid City Stevens upset Sioux Falls Roosevelt 43-33 to end a 12-game losing streak. In the final wild five minutes, the teams combined for five TDs and 33 points. RCS’s last win was a 32-27 win over rival RC Central on Oct. 4, 2019.
Sept. 4: Dakota Wesleyan defeated Mount Marty 20-3 in front of 3,000 fans at Crane-Youngworth Field in Yankton. It was the first football game ever for Mount Marty, which has been preparing for this opener for the past two years. The last time Yankton hosted a college football game was Nov. 3, 1984, when Yankton defeated Dakota State 10-7 on the same field (since remodeled).
Sept. 4: Augustana raised $500,000 last year so it could replace its 11-year-old turf at Kirkeby-Over Stadium in Sioux Falls. The new turf got off to a great start as the Vikings rolled over Minot 49-0 in its football opener.
Sept. 5: As part of celebrating its 25 th season, the WNBA announced the league’s all-time greatest 25 players. Rapid City native Becky Hammon was named to that team. She played 16 seasons (1999-2014) and was a six-time All-Star who scored 6,563 career points and collected 1,881 assists and 540 steals. At 5-foot-5, she also got 1,233 career rebounds and 67 blocked shots.
Sept. 9: The kickoff of the 2021 NFL season also kicked off the opening of legalized sports gaming in South Dakota. Four casinos in Deadwood opened itself to betting on certain sports: the Tin Lizzie, Cadillac Jack’s, Gold Dust and Mustang Sally’s.
Sept. 9: SDSU held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new $4 million, 16,000-square-foot Frank J. Kurtenbach Family Wrestling Center. It is scheduled to open in 2022 and will feature four competition mats, plus a strength and conditioning area, locker rooms, team room, coaches’ offices and spaces for academics and nutrition.
Sept. 10: Red Cloud senior lineman Justina Pourier is playing her last high school football season this fall. She has played football her entire career, scoring a touchdown last season. She helped Red Cloud reach the semifinals of the 2019 All Nations Conference playoffs.
Sept. 10-11: The Badlands Sabres junior hockey team of Rapid City lost its opening games in its inaugural season in the North American Tier III Hockey League. First, the Sabres lost 7-1 to host Gillette (WY), and then 5-1 to Gillette in the Sabres’ first home game in front of 488 fans at Roosevelt Ice Arena in the Monument (the former Rushmore Plaza Civic Center), which is unveiling a $130 million remodel project this fall. The Monument also is home to The Rapid City Rush, a minor league hockey team.
Sept. 11: St. Thomas More senior Jed Sullivan played his fourth football game of the fall despite tearing his ACL in his left knee for a fourth time on July 12 during off-season drills. He got the go-ahead to continue playing as doctors prepare for what they hope is a permanent fix for his knee later this fall. His recovery will extend into next year’s baseball season, but Sullivan is still hoping to play college baseball next fall.
Sept. 11: SDSU routed DII’s Lindenwood 52-7 before 15,137 fans in Brookings. It was the eighth largest crowd in SDSU history; the Jacks are 31-5 at Dykhouse Stadium since moving in the fall of 2016. Lindendood (MO) is coached by former University of Sioux Falls coach Jed Stugart. He went 65-17 in seven seasons (2010-16) at USF where he guided the Cougars through the transition from NAIA to DII. SDSU is now 21-4 in home openers under coach John Stiegelmeier, a Selby native and former NSU assistant. Attendance records at SDSU’s Dykhouse Stadium: 1. 19,371, Oct. 26, 2019, vs. NDSU (23-16 SDSU loss); 2. 18,130, Nov. 4, 2017, vs NDSU (33-21 win); 3. 17,730; Oct. 22, 2016, vs. Youngstown State (24-10 win); 4. 16,887, Sept. 17, 2016, vs. Cal Poly (38-31 loss); 5. 15,806, Sept. 16, 2017, vs. Drake (51-10 win); 6. 15,345, Nov. 12, 2016, vs. USD (28-21 win); 7. 15,171, Sept. 10, 2016, vs. Drake (56-28 win).
Sept. 11: Opening night at the new, on-campus $33 million NSU Regional Sports Complex was a success. The Wolves defeated Southwest State 30-13 in front of 5,867 football fans in Dacotah Bank Stadium, which is the major part of the complex that includes the Koehler Hall of Fame Softball Field.
Sept. 11: The first-year Mount Marty football program continues to make history. Last week, the Lancers played its first-ever football game at home in Yankton (20-3 DWU win). This week, the Lancers played at the University of Jamestown (35-6 UJ win), the Jimmies’ first opponent on Rollie Greeno Field in its newly renovated $11.5 million Hansen Stadium (formerly Taylor Stadium) that includes a new nine-lane, 400 meter track.
Sept. 13: SDSU’s basketball arena is getting a new name and a $50 million makeover. In the fall of 2023, Frost Arena will reopen as First Bank and Trust Arena after the Brookings-based bank donated $20 million toward the project. The new arena will seat 5,500. Since joining the Summit League and DI basketball in 2008-09, the SDSU men are 156-17 at Frost while the Jack women are 162-25. Since Frost Arena opened in 1973 at a cost of $3.7, the SDSU men are 513-131 at Frost. The SDSU women are 517-125 at Frost. The attendance record at Frost is 9,456 on Feb. 11, 1989, when the SDSU men defeated Augustana 90-77. That is when the arena was all bleacher seating and before chairback seating started to be added in 1992.
Sept. 13: The Las Vegas Aces of the WNBA honored South Dakota native Becky Hammon by retiring her No. 25. Hammon played for the San Antonio Silver Stars for eight (2007-14) of her 16 WNBA seasons, and the Silver Stars relocated to Las Vegas in 2018. The Silver Stars retired Hammon’s number in 2016, where it hangs in the rafters of AT&T Center, home of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs of which Hammon is an assistant coach. The New York Liberty retired Hammon’s No. 25 in 2015.
Sept. 15: DWU senior Jeff Schuch of Dell Rapids has won the NAIA A.O. Duer Scholarship Award for 2021. The award is named in honor of the NAIA’s former executive secretary (1949-75) and has been annually presented since 1967 to only one male and female student-athlete completing their junior season in any sport who has excelled in scholarship, character, and citizenship. Schuch, who started all 27 games for the DWU men’s basketball team last season, has a grade point average of 3.9 while working toward his degree in biochemistry. He is only the seventh athlete from a South Dakota college to win the award: 1989, Stacy Nicolaisen, DWU; 1996, Julie Hinrichs, Mount Marty; 2000, Tom Nelson, MM; 2006, Kyle Kattke, SD Mines; 2009, Trevor Holleman, Sioux Falls; and 2011, Danielle Bellet, DWU.
Sept. 17: Jovey Christensen ran for 547 yards on 36 carries and scored nine touchdowns to lead Alcester-Hudson past Centerville 70-54. Christensen averaged 15.2 yards per carry and his TD runs were 1, 35, 90, 28, 67, 1, 27, 2 and 45 yards. Meanwhile, Centerville quarterback Cole Edberg threw seven touchdown passes (69, 17, 15, 68, 26, 9 and 19 yards) with 499 total yards on 31 completions. The teams combined for 115 plays, 1,175 yards of offense and 18 TDs. The team also combined to make 10 two-point conversions, including two runs by Christensen and four passes by Edberg.
Sept. 17: The SDSU soccer team held visiting Northern Illinois to only one shot on goal in a 2-0 win. It is only the fourth time in 409 games and SDSU’s 22-year soccer history that the Jacks allowed an opponent to get off only one shot on them.
Sept. 17: Peyton Millis of Spearfish intercepted a pass on the final play of the game to preserve the Spartans 21-19 win over host Sturgis. It ended a 25-game losing streak for Spearfish, which last had won a football game on Oct. 5, 2018 (42-25 over Douglas).
Sept. 19: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland won the fourth annual Sanford International in Sioux Falls. Clarke, 53, beat K.J. Choi with a birdie on the second hole of a playoff after Steve Flesch was eliminated in the first playoff hole. All three members of the PGA Champion Tours finished the event with a 12-under 198 at Minnehaha Country Club. Clarke earned $270,000 of the $1.8 million purse.
Sept. 19-26: Yankton hosted the most elite archers in the world at the 2021 Hyundai World Archery Championships, considered to be the most prestigious world archery event next to the Olympics. The is only the fourth time this event has been held in the U.S. (last time was 2003 in New York City).
Sept. 20: In the first five weeks of the Class B volleyball poll, there have been four No. 1 teams: Northwestern to start the season, then Warner, followed by Wolsey-Wessington for two weeks, and now Bridgewater-Emery.
Sept. 21: Presentation College junior Laura Babcock (Aberdeen) has been named the North Star Athletic Association’s Volleyball Defender of the Week for the third time in four weeks.
Sept. 21: Augustana continues to add sports, announcing the Vikings will add women’s lacrosse starting in 2023-24. In June, Augie said it would be adding men’s DI hockey. Next month, Augie will start men’s swimming and diving, and women’s diving will be added to the women’s swimming program. In 2022-23, the Vikings will add women’s acrobatics and tumbling.
Sept. 22: Dakota Wesleyan defeated Dordt 3-1 in volleyball for the first time in school history, led by sophomore Ady Dwight (Langford) with 21 kills. The Tigers are now 1-20 against Dordt since their first meeting in 2011.
Sept. 24: In the first high school football game at NSU’s recently opened on-campus Dacotah Bank Stadium, Herreid/Selby Area defeated Ipswich 46-28 behind Brenden Begeman’s four touchdowns and 307 yards of total offense.
Sept. 24: Powered by 20 kills, three blocks and two aces by Natalia Szybinska, the NSU volleyball team defeated conference rival Minnesota State-Mankato 3-1, and the Wolves have now won seven in a row over the Mavericks since 2017. Also since the 2017 season, NSU has gone 54-10 in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference matches.
Sept. 24: Terry Ganley served as Grand Marshal for the University of Minnesota’s 2021 homecoming parade. Ganley coached women’s swimming and diving for the Gophers for 44 years after retiring in 2021. When the men’s and women’s programs merged in 2011, she became the overall head coach. Ganley, who was an All-American swimmer for the Gophers in the 1970s, coached 299 All-Americans, including Elyce (Iwerks) Kastigar of Aberdeen, who also was one of Ganley’s 147 Big 10 champions.
Sept. 25: NSU defeated the University of Sioux Falls 41-10 in football. Before this game, USF was 4-0 against the Wolves since the Cougars moved to DII. The last Wolves win against the Cougars was 32-0 in 1959.
Sept. 26: Rapid City native Jakeb Sullivan quarterbacked the Frankfurt Galaxy to the first-ever European League of Football championship. The Galaxy defeated the Hamburg Sun Devils 32-30 in front of 23,000 fans in Dusseldorf, Germany. Sullivan rallied his team from a 30-20 deficit in the final quarter by throwing one of his four TDs. With 23 seconds left, Sullivan ran in the game-winning TD. Sullivan, a St. Thomas More and South Dakota School of Mines graduate, was the game MVP.
Sept. 28: South Dakota Mines defeated Black Hills State 3-2 in volleyball. The last time Mines beat Black Hills in volleyball was Nov. 12, 2015, as the Hardrockers had lost 10 matches in a row to their rivals.
Sept. 29: For the first time in school history, DWU is ranked (tied for 13th) in the top-25 of the NAIA national volleyball coaches’ poll. The Tigers (15-1) started their program in 1974. DWU players include Ady Dwight (Langford Area), Tya Weideman (Northwestern), Brianna Duerre (Webster), Rachel Fielder (Selby Area) and Gracie Olivier (Sully Buttes).
Sept. 29: Sioux Falls O’Gorman junior and Nebraska volleyball commit Bergen Reilly helped the U.S. U18 National Team go 7-1 at the Volleyball World Championships in Mexico. Reilly was Team USA’s starting setter and helped her team defeat Serbia 3-1 to win the bronze medal. The only team the Americans lost to was Italy, which was defeated by Russia in the gold medal match.
Sept. 30: The Rapid City Stevens boys’ soccer team defeated Spearfish 1-0, the Raiders’ first win over their Black Hills foes since 2017.
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