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Special Moments

June Special Moments

Dell Rapids St. Mary’s Connor Libis (5) lays up a shot around Viborg-Hurley’s Grant Mikkelsen (behind Libis) during the third place game at the 2021 South Dakota Class B boys basketball tournament at Wachs Arena. Libis announced last week that he is transferring to Northern State to play basketball for the Wolves. Photo by John Davis taken 3/20/2021

June 1: Dell Rapids defeated Dakota Valley 11-5 in 11 innings to defend its State B high school spring baseball championship. Dylan Mathis led the way for the winners with four hits while teammate Brayden Pankonen pitched 8 1/3 innings, striking out 10 and allowing six hits and zero runs.
June 1: Rapid City native and Las Vegas coach Becky Hammon was named WNBA coach of the month for May. The 16-year WNBA veteran led the Aces to a 9-1 record in May, the best record in the league. It also is the best 10-game start for a rookie head coach in WNBA history.
June 2: A groundbreaking ceremony to begin the transformation of Frost Arena into First Bank & Trust Arena was held on the SDSU campus in Brookings. The $50 million project will be completed in 2024. Frost Arena has served as the home of Jackrabbit basketball, volleyball and wrestling since opening in February 1973.
June 3: Long-time baseball coach Andy Bernatow has been named as the Mount Marty athletic director. He had been serving as the interim AD for the past year. Bernatow led the Lancers’ baseball program to 444 wins in 18 seasons. He also is a former MM baseball player himself. Assistant coach Josh Teichroew was named the new baseball coach for the Lancers.
June 3: The Rohrbach name and Aberdeen Christian basketball continues its tradition. Matt Rohrbach will take over as head coach of the boys’ team for his brother David Rohrbach. David coached the Knights for seven years (111-46) and took them to the past two state tournaments, including a runner-up finish at the 2021 State B. His twin brother, Michael, was the head girls’ coach at Christian for a couple of seasons. All three Rohrbachs were standout players for the Knights.
June 3: Former Northern State standout and Wyoming assistant Sundance Wicks was named as one of the most impactful assistant coaches in DI men’s basketball by Silver Waves Media.
June 6: SDSU softball coach Krista Wood is leaving to take the head job at Creighton. She led the Jacks to 238 wins and back-to-back NCAA tourney appearances in the past eight seasons. In 16 years (eight at Wayne State) as a head coach, Wood is 508-318.
June 7: Gregory won the Class B boys’ golf title in the weather-shortened one-day state tourney, with Coy Determan of Gregory and Bennett Cassens of Faulkton Area tying for the medalist honors. With a couple of major knee surgies and other health issues, Determan missed most of his high school career as a multi-sport star athlete. At the Region 4B golf tourney on May 24, he did not qualify as an individual for the state tournament, but his team qualified by placing second.
June 7: The Augustana athletic teams won 11 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference titles in eight sports this season (football; men’s and and women’s cross country; men’s basketball; women’s golf; women’s tennis; softball and baseball). The basketball, tennis and softball teams not only won regular-season titles, but conference tourney titles as well.

June 8: Construction on a new tee-ball/casual play field started at the Veteran’s Memorial Sports Complex in Webster. The Webster Diamond Club’s $70,000 field will be a miniature version of Target Field, home to the Minnesota Twins. The field is expected to be ready for play next summer.
June 10-12: The Aberdeen Gun Club hosted the fifth South Dakota High School Clay Target State Tournament with 860 shooters representing almost 60 high schools. The first tourney in 2016 drew about 30 shooters from about five schools.
June 11-12: For the first time, the Watertown Lacrosse Club hosted the Northern Plains League Championship Tournament. The Watertown club, in its eighth season, hosted 32 boys’ and girls’ team in six divisions, including teams from Aberdeen, Sioux Falls, Rapid City and North Dakota.
June 13: Sioux Falls native Joe Krabbenhoft, 35, was promoted to associate head coach of the Wisconsin Men’s Basketball program after six seasons as an assistant coach for the Badgers. Krabbenhoft is a former standout player for the Badgers and Sioux Falls Roosevelt.
June 14: Three South Dakota colleges won their conference’s award for having the best overall men’s and women’s athletic teams in all sports in 2021-22. Dakota State won its first ever North Star Athletic Association All-Sports Commissioner’s Cup. SDSU won’s its second consecutive Summit League Commissioner’s Cup. Augustana won the award for the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. The awards are based on most points scored across all conference-sponsored sports on a point scale system.
June 15: Simeon Birnbaum of Rapid City Stevens ran the mile under 4 minutes (an all-time prep state record 3:59.51) to win the event at the Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle. Birnbaum, who will be a senior this fall, became just the 17th United States high-schooler ever to run a sub 4-minute mile. Madison native Jeff Schemmel was the first South Dakota native to run a sub four-minute mile (3:59.4), running for Kansas State on June 1, 1974. Birnbaum is the first SD high schooler to accomplish the feat. Watertown native Steve Heidenreich also was a sub-4-minute miler for Indiana.
June 15: Rarely does a Class B coach jump to the Class AA ranks but it happened when Brookings hired David Rohrbach as its next boys’ basketball coach. In seven seasons at Aberdeen Christian, Rohrbach coached the Knights to a 111-46 record and a State B runner-up finish in 2021.
June 16: Purdue men’s basketball has added David Jenkins Jr. to its 2022-23 roster. It is Jenkins’ fourth college team, and he has scored 1,853 career points. Jenkins played his first two seasons at SDSU, then was at UNLV for two seasons (sat out first year via transfer rules) and played for Utah last year. Jenkins, who played for former SDSU coach T.J. Otzelberger at UNLV and for former NSU assistant and USD coach Craig Case at Utah, will use up his extra Covid year this season.
June 16: USD director of track and field & cross country Lucky Huber was named the U.S. Track and Field & Cross Country Coaches Association’s Midwest Region Women’s Coach of the Year in Division I. Huber, in his 28th year with USD, and his women Coyotes swept the indoor and outdoor Summit League titles in 2022 for the first time in program history. It is the eighth such honor for Huber, but his first at the DI level.
June 17: The Rapid City Stevens sprint medley relay team won a national championship at the Nike Outdoor Nationals in Eugene, OR. Running on the team were Tanner Lunders, Justin Juniel, Alex Otten and Simeon Birnbaum. Their winning time of 3:25.12 also set a new all-time state record. It also re-established the school record the foursome set last month that broke a 45-year-old record. In 1977, the RCS team of Chas Fox, Mark Marolf, John Herman and Steve Dahlman ran a 3:34.1.

June 18: Former Northern State standout Dakotah (Bullen) Lindwurm of Eagan, MN, won the prestigious 46th annual Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth Saturday for the second year in a row. The 2017 NSU graduate earned $20,000, running the second fastest race ever for women (2 hours, 25 minutes, 1 second, 33 seconds short of the course record set by Kellyn Taylor in 2018). Lindwurm was an All-American in CC and track for the Wolves.
June 18: NFL Draft Diamonds ranked its top 100 small school prospects for the 2023 NFL Draft. Tucker Kraft (Timber Lake) of South Dakota State was ranked third. Other SDSU players to make the list were Jaxon (seven) and Jadon (15) Janke of Madison; Garret Greenfield (12); Mason McCormick (18, of Sioux Falls Roosevelt); Zach Heins (37, of Sioux Falls Washington); and Reece Winkelman (77). Also on the list were South Dakota’s Alex Jensen (20) and Brock Mogensen (68); Blake Larson (49, of Brandon Valley) of Augustana; and Kendahl Johnson (95) of South Dakota Mines.
June 18: The Brandon Valley boys’ 4×400 relay team set an all-time state record of 3:18.09 by finishing second at the at the Nike Outdoor Nationals in Eugene, OR. Running on the team were Jeremiah Donahoe, Joey DeWitt, Joey Anders and Julian Watson. It broke the record of 3:19.10 set in 2011 by Watertown’s Kirk Gilbertson, Collin Schull, Levi Winkels and Lukas Bernard.
June 18: Simeon Birnbaum of Rapid City Stevens established an all-time state record of 1:50.12 in the 800-meter run by finishing second at the Nike Outdoor Nationals in Eugene, OR. His run broke Jim Reinhart’s record of 1:50.50 set by the Sioux Falls Lincoln standout in 1973.
June 18: Wall graduate Cash Wilson helped Tarleton (TX) State to a men’s national championship in Casper, WY. Wilson and his Texan teammates won the week-long College National Finals Rodeo title. Wilson, a junior, was the national runner-up in saddle bronc finishing with 308.5 points. Shea Fournier of McNeese State was the national champ with 316 points.
June 18: The 73rd annual South Dakota High School Rodeo Finals will be remembered for many things, including the heat. Temperatures on the final day reached 102 degrees.
June 20: Mitchell and Dakota Wesleyan graduate Jeff Culhane will become the new play-by-play announcer for Florida State football and men’s basketball. His new title on July 1 will be the director of broadcasting for Learfield’s Seminole Sports Properties. Culhane has been the NDSU play-by-play announcer for the last six years and has worked announcing sports at West Virginia, the University of Nebraska and the University of South Dakota. Culhane will replace Gene Deckerhoff, who was the voice of the Seminoles for 43 years. Culhane, 39, started his broadcasting career at age 14 at his uncle Kevin Culhane’s radio station (AM-1490 KORN) in Mitchell.
June 20: After transferring from Northern State to Minnesota last year, former Wolves’ All-American basketball player Parker Fox suffered a season-ending injury to his left knee. Today, he suffered a season-ending injury to his right knee.
June 21: Silver Waves Media named its most impactful Mid-Major Division I assistant coaches in women’s basketball. Among those named were Carissa Thielbar of SDSU and Ty Margenthaler of USD. Thielbar just finished her seventh season with the Jacks, helping guide the team to the 2022 WNIT national championship. Her husband is former SDSU standout and current Minnesota Twins’ pitcher Caleb Thielbar. Margenthaler, brother to long-time Mankato men’s coach Matt Margenthaler, was hired by USD in April, but he brings 20 years of coaching experience, including four as a head coach, to the Coyotes.
June 21-23: South Dakota had three national coach of the year winners. Bill Weber of Watertown was named the national assistant boys’ coach of the year, Kurt Schultz of Baltic as the boys’ cross country coach of the year and Paul Hendry of Rapid City Stevens as the girls’ track coach of the year. The National High School Athletic Coaches Association awards were presented in Altoona, IA. Also, Jim Dorman (Sioux Falls) and David Dolan (Rapid City) were inducted into the national Hall of Fame and Dolan earned the Dwight T. Keith Award, the highest honor given out to one person by the NHSACA each year. Only five other South Dakotans (Max Hawk, Jerry Miller, Wayne Carney, Forry Flaagan and Virg Polak) have won the award since it was started in 1978.
June 22: Division I Softball named its top 150 players in the nation, and SDSU pitcher Tori Kniesche was No. 85 on that list.
June 23: In his first year as a sports agent, Mitchell native Mike Miller’s client Paolo Banchero of Duke was selected No. 1 in the 2022 NBA draft. Banchero was taken by Orlando, which drafted Miller with the fifth pick in the 2000 NBA Draft. Miller, who went on to win the NBA rookie of the year, and his company Lift Sports Management represented Banchero. Banchero’s Duke teammate Wendell Moore Jr. also was taken in the first round (26 th pick by Minnesota) and is also represented by Miller’s company.
June 23: Former SDSU standout Caleb Thielbar got his first MLB career save in helping the Minnesota Twins slip past Cleveland 1-0.
June 24: Former USD guard Stanley Umude signed a deal with the Detroit Pistons. Umde, who played four years for the Coyotes and led Arkansas to the Elite Eight last season, will try to make the NBA roster this fall.
June 24: Rapid City native Becky Hammon was selected to coach Team Wilson in the AT&T WNBA All-Star Game July 10 in Chicago. Her Las Vegas Aces have the best record (13-3) in the league.
June 25: Former Aberdeen resident Michael Andrew won five medals at the World Swimming World Championships in Hungary. He became the first swimmer in history to medal in three 50-meter races (silver in free and bronze in breast and fly). He also won gold in the mixed 4×100 relay and silver in the men’s 4×100 relay.
June 25: In what might have been the biggest payout in South Dakota sports history, Worlds of Outlaws sprint car driver Sheldon Haudenschild of Wooster, OH, earned $100,000 by placing first in the 40-lap Huset’s High Bank Nationals in Brandon. On the final lap, Haudenschild went from third to first, passing fellow drivers James McFadden (Australia) and Michael “Buddy” Kofoid (Penngrove, CA). The race was sponsored by Billion Auto, which announced next year’s winner will earn $250,000, the highest payout in winged sprint car history.
June 25: USD graduate Chris Nilsen defended his U.S. Outdoor Pole Vault U.S. Championship. He won his second title in a row by clearing 18 feet, 8.25 inches (5.7 meters).
June 27: USD has landed quarterback Todd Drummond, who will be a high school senior at Pawhuska (OK) this fall. He is the son of veteran TV food show host Ree “The Pioneer Woman” Drummond. Todd’s commitment created national headlines when Ree Drummond, who has a new partner in Walmart, shared the news will her millions of followers on her social media accounts.
June 29: Milbank and University of Sioux Falls graduate, player and former football coach Kalen DeBoer landed one of South Dakota’s and the nation’s top prospects in Pierre quarterback Lincoln Kienholz. Kienholz, who hit a homer for his Pierre Legion baseball team on the day he committed, was a DI recruit for basketball and baseball as well. He will be a senior at Pierre this fall where the Governors have won five state football titles in a row.

Pierre’s Lincoln Kienholz, left, runs along the sideline ahead of Aberdeen Central’s Jacob Waltman, back right, during Friday night’s game at Swisher Field. Photo by John Davis taken 10/15/2021

June 29: Connor Libis of Dell Rapids St. Mary will transfer from Briar Cliff to NSU to play basketball for the Wolves. Libis, who scored 2,731 points (third most all-time for boys) in high school, will have all four years of his eligibility left.
June 29: Julie Eppard of Chester was named the state’s Athletic Director of the Year by the South Dakota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association. It is the first time a woman has won the award.
June 30: The two women’s basketball DI national champions from 2022 will meet in Sioux Falls. SDSU, which won the WNIT championship, will play NCAA champion South Carolina Dec. 15 at the Sanford Pentagon.

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