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April Special Moments

South Dakota State University basketball players celebrate on the bench during this past season's WNIT Championship game against Seton Hall at Frost Arena in Brookings. Photo by John Davis taken 4/2/2022

April 1: South Dakota coach Dawn Plitzuweit is the recipient of the 2022 Kay Yow National Coach of the Year Award, presented annually to the Division I women’s head college basketball coach who embodies a winning spirit while displaying great character, on and off the court. Plitzuweit recently took the job at West Virginia.
April 2: A sold-out Frost Arena (5,263 fans) watched the Jackrabbits crush Seton Hall 82-50 in the WNIT championship game. Kallie Theisen led the Jacks with 16 points and 11 rebounds as SDSU jumped out to a 40-18 halftime lead. WNIT MVP Myah Selland (Letcher) of SDSU had 98 points, 53 rebounds, 23 assists and 13 steals in the six tourney games. Teammate and fellow all-WNIT Tournament performer Haleigh Timmer (Rapid City) added 100 points and 30 rebounds in the event.
April 2: SDSU senior women’s basketball player Tylee Irwin (Wahpeton, ND) ended her career by playing in her 159th game. She started 121 games, helped the Jacks win 127 games and scored 1,379 career points. The Jacks were 71-7 in Summit League games in Irwin’s five (extra year due to Covid) seasons and won five Summit League titles (three regular-season, two tournaments), appeared in three NCAA tourneys (2019 Sweet Sixteen) and won the 2022 WNIT.
April 2: South Dakota’s newest football team, the indoor Rapid City Marshals, got their organization’s first win in a 46-25 showing against the visiting Topeka (KS) Tropics at Summit Arena in The Monument. The Marshals were led by former Wittenburg (IA) College quarterback Bobby Froehlich who threw four touchdowns. One of his teammates is kicker Melissa Strother, a former college soccer player who played several seasons of women’s professional football while serving as a trainer at San Diego State. The Marshals are playing in the eight-team Champions Indoor Football League.
April 3: USD made the ESPN’s women’s basketball NCAA national tourney video montage as one of the clips is of Coyote player Kyah Watson (Rapid City) picking up and hugging her coach, Dawn Plitzuweit.
April 4: Northwest Missouri State’s Trevor Hudgins was named the Small College Basketball’s national player of the year, winning the 2022 Bevo Francis Award. Black Hills State standout Joel Scott was a finalist for the award which considers the top players from NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, NAIA, USCAA and NCCAA. Hudgins’ led his team to the last three DII national titles, and his team defeated Scott’s team in this year’s national semifinals.
April 4: Team South Dakota defeated the Alaska Oilers 6-3 to win the 2022 USA Hockey Tier II 14-and-under National Championship in Kalamazoo, MI. Four team members were from Aberdeen: Carson Hundstad, Lleyton Kleffman, Carson Myhre and Jaxon Danielson. 
April 4: Watertown bowler Derek Miller rolled the first 300 game of his four-year career at the U.S. Bowling Congress Open Championships in Las Vegas. He rolled games of 125 and 156 before his perfect game.

April 5: SDSU made the NCAA men’s basketball national championship video montage “One Shining Moment” as one of the clips is of the Jackrabbit pep band. Another clip is of Arkansas player Stanley Umude, who spent his first four years playing at USD.
April 5: Bernie the St. Bernard mascot of Presentation College won mascot of the year in its conference via a month-long voting process on social media. The contest was organized by the Board of Student-Athletes from the North Star Athletic Association.
April 6: SDSU ended up with the most combined wins of any DI women’s and men’s basketball programs in the nation with 59 wins. Baylor, Gonzaga, Kansas and Toledo all tied for second with 55 wins.
April 7: SDSU football captains named its football captains for the 2022 season: Reece Winkelman (Marshall, MN); Mason McCormick (Sioux Falls Roosevelt); Adam Bock (Solon, IA); Mark Gronowski
(Naperville, IL); Landon Wolf (Tulsa, OK); Caleb Sanders (Glenwood, IA); and Garret Greenfield (Rock Valley, IA). That means with McCormick as one of the captains, the Jacks will take to the field this fall for the eighth season in a row led by at least one team captain from South Dakota. Since 2016 and the last seven (two in 2021, none in 2020) seasons, 12 of the Jacks 32 captains have been from South Dakota: McCormick, Wes Genant of Parkston and Xavier Ward of Freeman in fall 2021; Genant and Preston Tetzlaff of Brookings in spring 2021; Evan Greeneway of Yankton in 2019; Dalton Cox of Aberdeen Roncalli in 2018; Taryn Christion of Sioux Falls Roosevelt in 2018; Christion and Dallas Goedert of Britton in 2017; Shayne Gottlob of Salem in 2016; and Nick Mears of Milbank in 2016.
April 8: Aberdeen Central track star Sam Rohlfs started his outdoors season in style at Huron. He won four events, including setting a new all-time state record in the long jump. Rohlfs leaped 24 feet, ¾-inch to erase the old mark of 23-11.5 by Hunter Merkley of Sioux Falls Lincoln in 2019. Rohlfs also won the triple jump and the 100 and 200 meters.
April 9: The Denver Pioneers defeated Minnesota State-Mankato 5-1 to win the NCAA DI Hockey National Championship in Boston. Three former Aberdeen Wings (all 2016-17 alumni) played in the game: Kyle Mayhew of Denver, and Mankato’s Andy Carroll and Nathan Smith. Mayhew is a California native who played 10 games for the Wings that season. Carroll is a Minnesota native who played in 67 games with the Wings in the 2016-17 season and earned several post-season honors. Smith is a Florida native who played four games with the Wings in the 2016-17 season, scoring a game-winning goal against Brookings in his first weekend with the Wings on Jan. 1, 2017. South Dakota colleges know Denver and Mankato well. In most sports, the Pioneers are members of the Summit League while the Mavericks are members of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
April 10: Rapid City Stevens junior Simeon Birnbaum ran the fastest mile in South Dakota high school history at the Arcadia Invitational in California. Birnbaum won the 1,600 meters in 4:07.88 to be a field of the nation’s best prep runners. After being converted to a mile, his time broke the 1973 record of Jim Reinhart of Sioux Falls Lincoln who ran 1,760 yards (or 1 mile, which is four times around a 440-yard track) in 4:07.90.
April 10: In his 19th year of playing professional pool, Shane Van Boening of Rapid City has won his first world championship. He defeated Albin Ouschan of Austria for the 2022 World 9-Ball Pool Championship in England. Van Boening is the first American to win the title since Earl Strickland did it in 2002. He earned $78,000 for the win. Van Boening, 38, has won more than 100 tournaments and more than 50 major professional titles. The win put Van Boening in a commanding position to keep his place in the Team USA Mosconi Cup team this November 30-3 December at Bally’s Las Vegas.

April 11: Matthew Mors signed to play basketball with SDSU, where he will have four years of eligibility remaining. The Yankton native is a transfer from Wisconsin, where he redshirted last year. Mors was one of the most decorated and highly-recruited high school basketball players in South Dakota history.
April 11: USD’s Hannah Sjerven (Rogers, MN) was selected in the third and final round (28th of 36 overall picks) in the 2022 WNBA Draft by the Minnesota Lynx. She is the first Coyote to be taken in the WNBA draft. She reports to camp next week and the Lynx will open their 24 th season with a two-game preseason: at Washington April 27 and hosting Las Vegas (coached by Rapid City native Becky Hammon) at 1 p.m. May 1 at the Target Center. The Lynx open the season May 6 at Seattle.
April 12: Former Aberdeen Wings player Nathan Smith had a wild few days. Three days after playing in the collegiate national championship game for runner-up Minnesota State-Mankato, the 23-year-old
made his NHL debut for the Arizona Coyotes. In-between, his life was 72 hours of plane rides, packing, good-byes, introductions, a couple of practices with his new NHL teammates and signing a two-year contract worth $2.7 million. He is the first former Aberdeen player to play in an NHL game.
April 14: A string of bad luck for one of the state’s oldest track meets continued as ridiculously high wind speeds and cold temperatures forced the cancellation of the Corn Palace Relays in Mitchell. The 70th running of the event was in 2021, but the 69th running was back in 2017. In 2018, weather (Mitchell got 16 inches of snow that day) cancelled the mid-April meet as it did in 2019. In 2020, Covid wiped it out.
April 14: USD junior Merga Gemeda ran a 41-second personal best 10,000 meters that broke a 22-year-old school record. Gemeda ran the race in 29 minutes, 18.51 seconds to break the USD record of 29:24.6 set by Matt Hoyt in 2000.
April 15: The Rapid City Rush ended the regular season on a hockey high note with a 5-2 win over Tulsa. The Rush scored a franchise record 83 points during the regular season and made the ECHL post-season for the first time since 2015.
April 16: South Dakota native Danielle Sievers of Gary led Oklahoma to its fifth gymnastics national title in the last eight years. The freshman tied for first in the bars (9.975) and tied for OU’s best score in the floor exercise (9.875). Sievers also earned two All-American honors (floor and bars) at the 2022 national meet. The Big 12 champion Sooners finished its season 31-2, and Sievers won a share of the Big 12 floor championship. Sievers, a 2021 graduate of Deuel High School, competed at the nation’s highest club level (10) in high school, winning three national championships (2017-19) in floor. She has earned her way onto prestigious teams such as three Junior Olympic National Teams and the USA Development Program National Team. As a youngster, she trained at Deuel (a South Dakota gymnastics mecca) and at the Dakota Gold program in Watertown, before finishing her club career at the All American Gymnastics Academy in Sioux Falls starting in 2012. For several years, she made the 210-mile round trip from her home in Gary to train in Sioux Falls for 20-30 hours per week year-round.
April 18: NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN released his 12 favorite underrated picks 10 days before the 2022 draft, saying those of the list had the potential to make significant impacts in the NFL in the years ahead. Among the picks were SDSU running back Pierre Strong Jr., who Kiper wrote “is really good at most everything.”
April 18: Augustana has hired its first hockey coach in school history, University of Minnesota assistant Garrett Raboin. The new DI program will take to the ice in the fall of 2023.

April 19: Spearfish track and field junior standout Jaden Guthmiller won the 200 meters in 21.74 at the Track-O-Rama meet in Rapid City. It broke a 21-year-old meet record of 22.0 seconds set in 2001 by former Campbell County (WY) runner Curtis Goehring, who would go on to star at Stanford.
April 20: Former Rapid City Stevens multi-sport and USD basketball star Kyah Watson is following her coach to West Virginia. Watson has three years left to play for the Mountaineers of the Big 12 Conference. Dawn Plitzuweit recently left USD to coach at West Virginia. Watson is the daughter of one of the state’s all-time greatest high school athletes, Carla Allard-Watson (1969-2017) of Bennett County.
April 20: Former Aberdeen Wings player Nathan Smith scored his first NHL goal, but his Arizona Coyotes’ lost 4-3 to Chicago. He is the first former Wings player to score an NHL goal.
April 21: Clark native Kim Kaufman controlled high winds to shoot a 2-under 70 to lead the 120-player field in the first round of the Cooper Rock Championship in Hurricane, Utah. Kaufman, 30, ended the tourney tied for 12th with a 217 in the Espon Tour event. This tour allows players to qualify to earn their LPGA cards.

April 21: It was a loss he will never forget. Tyler Danish and his Boston Red Sox teammates lost 6-1 to Toronto, but Danish came in to pitch the last two innings, held the Blue Jays scoreless and struck out five. It was the 27-year-old right hander’s first MLB appearance since 2018. Originally drafted by the White Sox, Danish pitched 13.0 MLB innings spread across 2016-18 for Chicago before spending the next four years fighting his way back. That fight included pitching two seasons of independent ball between 2019-20, including including six weeks in 2020 with the Sioux Falls Canaries. Danish helped Sioux Falls qualify for its American Association league championship series where it lost to Milwaukee.
April 23: Former NSU standout athlete and long-time South Dakota teacher and coach Tim Mulhair (1955-2022) of Yankton has died at age 67. He had 1,420 points and 950 rebounds for the Wolves’ basketball team from 1973-77. The Sioux Falls native also was a huge tennis advocate in South Dakota, coaching Yankton boys’ and girls’ teams to 461 wins in 25 seasons.

April 23: Former Northern State football great Harlan “Butch” Krein has died at the age of 86. Krein was the last of the original “60 minute men” who played on both sides of the ball for an entire 60-minute game. Krein, who was inducted in the NSU Hall of Fame in 1984, earned All-American honor for the Wolves in 1958.
April 24: Baylor Scheierman, who is currently testing the NBA draft waters, also entered the NCAA transfer portal. The top schools in the nation immediately contacted Scheierman, who was the Summit League player of the year for SDSU. Within 24 hours, the arguably best mid-major basketball player in the country became one of the most-sought after players in the history of the portal, which was created in October 2018.
April 24: Omaha, NE, native Maddie Krull is transferring from USD to play basketball at Nebraska, where former USD coach Amy Williams is the coach of the Cornhuskers. Krull will have three years of eligibility remaining. USD will now rebuild from its Sweet Sixteen season with five new starters (three graduated and two transferred) and a new coach.
April 25: South Dakotan Madison Grimm of Wallace has won the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2022 National Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest. The 15-year-old’s green-winged teal will grace the 2022-23
Junior Duck Stamp, which raises funds to educate and engage our nation’s youth in wildlife and wetlands conservation and outdoor recreation. Students in K-12 from across the nation participate in the contest each year. Grimm has won the contest three times (also in 2013 and 2020).
April 25: The first baseball game on the new $410,000 turf at Drake Field at the Cadwell Sports Complex in Mitchell was played when Dakota Wesleyan hosted a doubleheader that was swept by Morningside.
April 26: SDSU softball coach Krista Wood picked up the 500th win of her career (vs. 315 losses). She is the winningest softball coach in school history at SDSU with a 230-161 career mark in eight seasons. Her other 270 wins came when she coached at Wayne State.
April 27: Sully Buttes graduate Chloe Lamb of Onida was named the USD female athlete of the year. The USD senior led the Coyotes to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament’s Sweet Sixteen this past season. Lamb also won a prestigious Coyote Character Award.

April 27: USD’s Hannah Sjerven made her pro basketball debut as her Minnesota Lynx fell 78-66 to Washington in WNBA preseason action. Sjerven played 14 minutes off the bench and contributed six rebounds and four points.
April 28: A first-round NFL draft pick has ties to South Dakota. USC receiver Drake London was taken with the eighth pick in the draft by Atlanta. His relative is former 1940s Onida and 1950s Northern State multi-sport star athlete Bill Jordan. Jordan went on to a decorated coaching, teaching and administrative career at Black Hills State in Spearfish.
April 28: Aberdeen Central senior Josh Martin won the 800 meters in 1:56.72 at the Al Sahli meet on his home track. It broke the school record of 1:57.74 set by Guy Thornton in 1995.

April 28: A new $100,000 plus turf infield started to be installed at the Sioux Falls Baseball Stadium, also know as the Birdcage and home to the Sioux Falls professional baseball team the Canaries. The outfield will remain natural grass.
April 29: With the help of a 31-inch walleye that weighed just more than 11 pounds, pro angler Austin
Earley of Brookings fished his way to the top of the leaderboard on the first day of the two-day Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s National Walleye Tour stop at Chamberlain-Ocoma. Earley finished 11th in the tourney.

April 29: Former Ipswich standout Macy Heinz was part of the Kansas State women’s 3,200-meter relay squad that broke a school record with a time of 8:31.22 during the Drake Relays in Des Moines, IA.
April 29: SDSU sophomore softball player Tori Kniesche (Wayne, NE) turned in the most dominating pitching performance in school history. She faced 22 batters, issuing one walk, one foul fly ball out catch by her third basemen and struck out 20. It was her second no-hitter in two days as her Jacks blanked St. Thomas 5-0 and 10-0 on April 28 when she struck out 13 (then a school record).
April 29: Pro fisherman Dustin Kjelden of Brookings won his first National Walleye Tour tournament in his home state. In two days of fishing Lake Francis Case near Chamberlain-Oacoma, Kjelden produced 10 fish that weighed 31.76 pounds. He earned $88,598 in cash and prizes that included a new Ranger fishing boat for beating the other 134 pros in two days of fishing in rain, high winds and wild temperature swings. Troy Lorensen of Oacoma was second with 30.14 pounds, earning $22,100.
April 30: SDSU had two players — 31 in school history — taken in the draft for the first time since 1976. Jacks’ running back Pierre Strong (Little Rock, AK) was picked in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft with the 127th overall pick by New England. His quarterback, Chris Oladokun (Tampa, FL), was the 241st overall pick in the seventh round by the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are the fourth Jackrabbits to be picked in the draft since 2018, joining tight end and Britton-Hecla graduate Dallas Goedert (2nd round by the Eagles in 2018) and cornerback Jordan Brown (7th round by the Bengals in 2019). The last time SDSU had two draft picks in the same year was in 1976 when defensive tackle Todd Simonson was picked in the sixth round by Houston and defensive end Bob Gissler was picked in the 14th round by Miami.
April 30: Three SDSU football players signed free agency contracts: offensive lineman Aron Johnson (Chisago City, MN) with Baltimore; cornerback Don Gardner (Chicago, IL) with Tampa Bay; and safety Michael Griffin (Cottage Grove, MN) with Tennessee. USD linebacker Jack Cochrane (Mount Vernon, IA) signed with Kansas City and his teammate, safety Elijah Reed (Aurora, CO), has been invited to the rookie minicamp of the New York Jets.
April 30: Northern State thrower Tanner Berg (Watertown) had a runner-up finish at the prestigious Drake Relays in Des Moines, IA. Berg reset his school record in the hammer throw breaking the 70-meter mark (a milestone for hammer throwers) with an effort of 230.87 feet.
April 30: The Rapid City Rush hockey team has advanced to the second round of the ECHL playoffs for only the second time in team history. The team, an affiliate of the Arizona Coyotes of the NHL and the Tucson Roadrunners of the AHL, was founded in 2007.

April 30: The Sioux Falls Storm nipped the visiting Iowa Barnstormers 50-47 in overtime to give coach Kurtiss Riggs his 250th coaching win of the South Dakota indoor football team. In his 18th season with the Storm, the former University of Sioux Falls All-American quarterback is 250-55 in coaching the team.

April 30: A 2020 four-star quarterback has transferred from Iowa State to USD. Aidan Bouman, a backup who never played in a game for the Cyclones, will have three seasons of eligibility remaining. He is the son of former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Todd Bouman, who played at St. Cloud State and SDSU.

April 30: At the conclusion of the U.S. International Team Trials in Greensboro, N.C., USA Swimming announced the group of 41 swimmers that will represent the country at this summer’s FINA World Championships June 18-25 in Budapest. Highlighting the U.S. roster are numerous Olympic gold medalists including Katie Ledecky, Caeleb Dressel, Lilly King and former Aberdeen resident Michael Andrew. Andrew is scheduled to race four events (50-meter freestyle, butterfly and breaststroke and 100 breaststroke).

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