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Special Moments

August Special Moments

Warner volleyball coach Kari Jung, second from the right, talks to her players during a time out in a match last season at the Northwestern Area School gym. Jung recently recorded her 700th career win. Photo by John Davis taken 9/8/2022

July 30: Delaney Gramlick of Sioux Falls was part of the Team USA that won the Junior Roller Derby World Cup in France. Gramlick and her 19 USA teammates won the world championship against teams from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, New Zealand and Sweden. Gramlick will be a senior this fall at SF Lincoln.
Aug. 1: Dell Rapids Post 65 defeated Elk Point-Jefferson 5-2 to win the American Legion Baseball State B Tournament in Redfield. Dylan Kindt of Dell Rapids was named the State B player of the year. The day before in the double-elimination tourney, EPJ defeated DR 5-4 in extra innings (Ty Trometer scored the winning run on a wild pitch) to end Dells’ 28-game winning streak. Coach Danny Miller’s DR Phils finished the season 29-3. “Dell Rapids loves Redfield,” Miller said. “Three of our four state championships (1968, 2018 and 2023) were in Redfield.”
Aug. 2: Two recent South Dakota High School graduates earned national athlete of the year awards from USA Today. Oregon recruit Simeon Birnbaum of Rapid City Stevens was named the 2023 USA Today national boys’ track and field athlete of the year. Ohio State quarterback recruit Lincoln Kienholz of Pierre was named the 2023 USA Today national boys’ athlete of the year. Kienholz is one of the best all-around athletes South Dakota has ever produced as he was an all-state performer and Division I recruit in football, basketball and baseball.
Aug. 2: For the first time since 1992, there is not a Yankton High School graduate on the SDSU football roster.
Aug. 2: The defending national champion SDSU football team opened fall camp for the first time in 35 years that John Stiegelmeier wasn’t on the field coaching. John Stiegelmeier retired in January as the winningest football coach in SDSU history. He was 199-112 in his 26 seasons (22 winning seasons) as head coach. In total, he spent 38 seasons and 419 games (264 wins) on the SDSU sidelines as a student assistant, assistant or head coach. After retiring, Stiegelmeier was given the title of SDSU Head Coach Emeritus and Special Assistant to new SDSU coach and long-time assistant and former player, Jimmy Rogers.
Aug. 4: A rural Ethan woman served as Grand Marshal of the 83rd annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally (Aug. 4-13). Known for setting motorcycle land speed records on Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats by herself as well as with her daughters Erika Bier and Karlee Cobb, Laura Klock is only the third woman to earn the honor. Klock, a member of the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame, is also known for promoting and teaching motorcycle riding, maintenance, building, customization and safety. Black Hills native Jessi Combs (1980-2019) was the first woman grand marshal in 2017 and Jody Perewitz (Massachusetts native who was the first woman to go over 200 mph on a motorcycle) the second in 2021.
Aug. 5: Bay Area defeated the Sioux Falls Storm 51-41 for the Indoor Football League championship in Nevada. It was the final game for Kurtiss Riggs, who is stepping down after 20 seasons as the head coach of the Storm. During those 20 years, the Storm have gone 267-67 with 11 titles in 16 championship game appearances.

Aug. 6: Sioux Falls O’Gorman graduate Taryn Kloth (26) and her partner Kristen Nuss (25) won the AVP Gold Series Atlanta Open pro beach volleyball tournament. The 6-foot-4 Kloth and 5-6 Nuss are considered one of, if not the best, defensive teams on the pro circuit. The former LSU beach volleyball stars are ranked fourth in the latest Olympic rankings for Paris in 2024 and they were the AVP Women’s Team of the Year in 2022.
Aug. 6: Lila Knutson of Sioux Falls is now a four-time national champion triathlete. She won her division (11-year-old youth girls 11) in 34 minutes, 54 seconds at the 2023 USA Triathlon National Championships in Milwaukee. Knutson is part of the Sanford Triathlon Team coached by Kathy Grady. Knutson had three teammates win national titles as well: Brianna Reilly (12-year-old youth girls), Keegan Reilly (9-year-old youth boys) and Gave Mahrous (7-year-old youth boys).
Aug. 7: Being the state’s 15 th biggest (based on enrollment) high school, Pierre opened its fall football camp with 89 players, one of the biggest 11-man football rosters from across the state. Coach Steve Steele’s is beginning his eighth season with 32 lettermen returning, and his Governors are the six-time defending State 11AA champions. The Governors, ranked No. 1 in the pre-season SD media poll, have 21 seniors this season. Steele’s record at Pierre is 67-15, with six of those losses coming in his first season in 2016. The Governors sent two players from last year’s team to the Big Ten Conference: quarterback Lincoln Kienholz at Ohio State and offensive lineman Jason Maciejczak at Nebraska.
Aug. 8: Joe Van Goor was honored with the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Association “Man of the Year” award. The Yankton man and long-time sports radio play-by-play man has been the public address voice of the association’s state tournament for the past 10 seasons.
Aug. 8: Elizabeth Juhnke (Lakeville, MN) will not play for the USD volleyball team this season, which would have been her fifth year (extra year due to Covid). She injured her left knee Dec. 2 in the Coyotes’ NCAA Tournament five-set loss against Houston last season. She will be a student assistant with the Coyotes. Juhnke was the Summit League player of the year last year and a three-time SL Tournament MVP. Juhnke registered more than 2,000 career kills and led the Coyotes to a four-year record of 95-24 (59-8 in the Summit League) with two regular-season conference titles, three conference tourney titles and three NCAA tourney appearances. Coach Leanne Williamson enters her 10th season with the Coyotes with a career record of 192-80 (115-30 in Summit League play). Her Coyotes have earned a spot in the NCAA tourney four of the last five seasons.
Aug. 9: One of the top players in the South Dakota boys’ soccer Class A division is Hot Springs senior Maggie Preuss, one of five girls on what has been for years a high school co-ed varsity team. Preuss was a first-team All-Stater last season and has been a varsity starter since seventh-grade.
Aug. 9: Scott Larson is the new athletic director at Black Hills State. A seasoned athletics administrator with over two decades of NCAA experience, Larson was most recently the director of athletics at Lubbock (TX) Christian University.
Aug. 10: One of the scariest moments of the NFL pre-season involved a former SDSU standout. Seattle wide receiver Cade Johnson was taken off the field on a stretcher and transported to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center where he spent the night after suffering a concussion in the team’s preseason opener against the Minnesota Vikings. Johnson cleared concussion protocol Aug. 22, and returned to full football activities.
Aug. 10: The Summit League announced a new three-year media rights deal that expands its partnership with Midco Sports, creates the Summit League Network and severs its ties from ESPN in favor of CBS Sports Network.

Aug. 11: Former Mixed Martial Arts world welterweight champion Logan Storley defeated Brennan Ward (17-7) by technical knockout in the main event of Bellator 298 on Showtime at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls. The Webster native is now 15-2 and it is the seventh time Storley has fought in his home state. Storley is the No. 1 contender (Ward was ranked seventh) and hopes to get another shot eventually at Bellator welterweight champion Yaroslav Amosov of the Ukraine, who is responsible for both of Storley’s losses.
Aug. 12: Former Vermillion High School and Augustana/USD basketball standout A.J. Plitzuweit will forego his remaining college eligibility to play professional basketball in Germany for the EPG Baskets Koblenz team.
Aug. 13: Led by tourney MVP Kendall Gassman, Canova, a community of less than 100 residents, won its sixth SD Amateur Baseball Association state tournament. Canova (population 89) defeated Lesterville (population 115) 4-0 in the title game. The two teams came from the two smallest towns in this year’s State B tourney. The Canova Gang also won titles in 2018, 2009, 1979, 1971 and 1966 and was making its 15th appearance in a state championship game.
Aug. 14: Brandon was awarded the 2025 SD Amateur Baseball Association state tournament in 2025 (Aug. 6-17) and Mitchell in 2026 (Aug. 5-16). Mitchell, who hosted the 91st annual tourney this year, will host again in 2024 (Aug. 7-18). This year’s 12-day tourney at Cadwell Park generated an all-time record of $69,565 in paid admission (the old record of $65,585 was set in 2015).
Aug. 14: University of South Dakota athletic director David Herbster announced his resignation to pursue a new career opportunity on the community relations team for Sanford Health in Sioux Falls. Herbster became the university’s 13th athletic director in 2013, following the university’s transition to Division 1 athletics. Prior to that, he served as USD’s interim athletic director for one year and was with the university as an associate athletic director and deputy athletic director since 2007. 
Aug. 14: Starting Sept. 1, Carla Metts Gebhart will take over as the sports director of Queen City News (WJZY-FOX Charlotte), which has the largest sports media team in the Carolinas. Gebhart, the Carolina Panthers sideline reporter this preseason, was based out of Sioux Falls when she worked in the Dakotas from 2015-17 as a reporter/producer for the Midco Sports Network. As part of her new duties, Gebhart will take lead chair for the Emmy-nominated Charlotte Sports Live, the Carolina Panthers’ pregame show (Black & Blue Kickoff Live) and the Emmy Award-winning NASCAR show Around The Track. Gebhart joined WJZY in 2020 and won her first Emmy Award earlier this year for her work at Daytona.
Aug. 15: Shawn Neisteadt streak of announcing winged 410 sprint cars at Huset’s Speedway in Brandon has ended. For 16 years — since Aug. 18, 2007, he had announced every winged 410 sprint car race at Huset’s.
Aug. 18: In a memorable Class 11B football opener, Winner nipped Tri-Valley 8-0 in three overtimes. In the third OT, Jude Sargent had a 12-yard TD run for Winner, and then added the two-point conversion. Teammate Shawn Hammerbeck sealed the win with his interception when Tri-Valley was trying to tie and extend the game.
Aug. 11: Rapid City native Becky Hammon was enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame along with her NBA mentor Gregg Popovich. A former WNBA star who is now coach of the WNBA defending champion Las Vegas Aces, Hammon became the NBA’s first woman assistant coach under Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs. Another honoree that night was former Spurs’ standout Tony Parker.
Aug. 18: One of South Dakota’s greatest runners has come home. Ipswich native Macy Heinz was hired by NSU director of track and cross country coach Lynne Dingman as the Wolves’ distance coach. A decorated school record holder at Ipswich, the University of South Dakota and Kansas State, Heinz brings a wealth of knowledge to the distance program. Heinz won 20 state championships in track and cross country at Ipswich where she was a five-time State B track and field MVP. Heinz was an All-American collegiately for the Coyotes and Wildcats holding USD school records in the 600-meter run and 4x800m, and a Kansas State school record in the 4x800m.
Aug. 19: Maya Hansen with two goals and an assist helped SDSU defeat Augustana 6-0 in front of the largest crowd (505) ever at Fishback Soccer Park in Brookings. The previous SDSU home attendance record was 474 fans on Aug. 29, 2010, when the Jacks lost to Drake 1-0.
Aug. 20: Huron native Jacey Hupp has been named the new women’s rodeo coach at the University of Wyoming. She was a five-time College National Finals Rodeo qualifier at SDSU and a former high school state champion in goat tying.
Aug. 21: The University of Jamestown is exploring moving its athletic programs from NAIA to NCAA DII while at the same time exploring its options of joining the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. The four-year private university in North Dakota with a current enrollement of 1,256 is led in its athletic department by Aberdeen native Austin Hieb. The NSIC has 15 members in Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska and South Dakota, including Northern State.
Aug. 22: A women’s pro soccer league announced it will have a team in Sioux Falls. The Sioux Falls City Football Club will be joining the Women’s Premier Soccer League. Established in 1997, the WPSL will start a pro division sometime in 2024 or 2025 with a goal of having at least 10 teams. Along with Sioux Falls, the league also has commitments from teams in Oklahoma City, Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin (TX) and East Bay (CA).
Aug. 22: South Dakota got a rare visit from the president of National Collegiate Athletic Association in a listening session in front of a full Elmen Center on the campus of Augustana University. Houghton native and Augie president Stephanie Herseth Sandlin welcomed NCAA president Charlie Baker and U.S. Sen. John Thune, who helped set up the session that was hosted by Augie and its NCAA DII league, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. Thune also serves on a committee that oversees college sports issues before the Senate. Baker, the former governor of Massachusetts who started his job with the NCAA in March, discussed such in-the-news topics such as transfer rules and Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) deals. This year, 45 percent (817 of 1,815) of college basketball players who entered the transfer portal will not play in the upcoming 2023-24 season as they did not get an offer.
Aug. 24: The North Star Athletic Association will play the 2023 season with only five football teams that will play each other twice in home and away series: Valley State, Mayville, Waldorf (IA), Dickinson State and Dakota State. Last year, the conference had seven members with football teams. However, Presentation College and Iowa Wesleyan closed due to financial troubles.
Aug. 24: The defending WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces surpassed the league’s record for regular-season wins with a 94-87 defeat over the Chicago Sky. Rapid City native and Las Vegas coach Becky Hammon’s Aces are now 30-4. The previous record for most wins in a regular season was 29, set by Phoenix in 2014.
Aug. 25-27: The Interior Frontier Days Rodeo returned to being a pro rodeo for the first time since 1929.
Aug. 25: For the first time in 13 meetings, Spearfish defeated St. Thomas More 51-27 in football. It also was a special night because Spearfish was celebrating the 20th anniversary of its 2003 football state title win over Aberdeen Central with former players and coaching staff from that team recognized at halftime.
Aug. 25: Class 11AA’s second-ranked Tea Area led Huron 27-7 with 7.5 minutes left in their football game, but Huron scored three times before losing 27-26. With 13 seconds left, Huron’s Colton McNeil threw a three-yard touchdown to C.J. Gainey, but the Tigers’ pass attempt for the two-point conversion and the win failed. Tea Area is in its third season in the Class AA division (22-3 with two state runner-up finishes). Since 2010, Tea Area has a 95-45 record in football while Huron is 35-91. Tea Area began its football program in 2003 as a Class 9B school with an 80-yard field painted on top of a baseball diamond. It has moved up five classes (9B to 9A to 9AA to 11B to 11A to its now 11AA) since then. Tea Area is set to join the Eastern South Dakota Conference in 2024.
Aug. 25: The Douglas football team ended a 25-game losing streak with a 34-16 road win over Belle Fourche. The Patriots last win was a 47-21 road win over Belle Fourche on Sept. 4, 2020.
Aug. 25: The South Dakota college football season will open tomorrow with 10 teams instead of 11 with the closure of Presentation College. PC had a football team for 12 seasons with a record of 41-79-0. Defending FCS national champion SDSU is the winningest college team in state history with a record of 643-477-38 in 125 seasons followed by NSU (587-422-34 in 119 seasons); USD (549-545-36 in 125 seasons); Sioux Falls (467-424-20 in 103 seasons); and Dakota Wesleyan (448-554-30 in 124 seasons). Then comes Black Hills State (441-497-41 in 120 seasons) followed by Augie (434-485-15 in 100 seasons); SD Tech (391-494-35 in 117 seasons); Dakota State (323-395-17 in 107 seasons); and Mount Marty (3-18-0 in two seasons).
Aug. 26: The ESPN series “Portraits” featured Aberdeen native and Tennessee football coach Josh Heupel. Topics included growing up in Aberdeen and coaching the Volunteers.
Aug. 26: Two-time Defending State B champion Warner went 4-0 to win the Parkston Volleyball Tournament and to give coach Kari Jung her 700th career win. The Monarchs’ coach is now 703-132 in 25 seasons with eight state titles and five state runner-up finishes.
Aug. 26: Two sets of twins were among 13 former standouts who were inducted into the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame in Sioux Falls. Inductees included twins Chad and Scott Boekelheide, who led Northwestern to state Class B boys basketball titles in 1989 and 1991 and then had great careers at NSU. Also inducted were former USD and Mitchell standouts Jeana (Hoffman) Krome and Jenna (Hoffman) Kubesh. The Hoffmans played in six State AA tournaments and led the Kernels to four conference titles and the 2003 state title, and they led USD to the NCAA DII national runners-up in 2008. Also inducted were Tri-Valley’s Brenda (Davis) Comstock, Armour’s Dan Freidel, White River’s Louie Krogman, Custer’s Paige Paulsen and Newell’s Jordan (Stapp) Proefrock. Inducted posthumously were Arnold Johnson (Brookings), Harry Marske (Andover) and Derek Paulsen (Custer).
Aug. 26: USD graduate Chris Nilsen tied for the bronze medal in the pole vault at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Hungary. Nilsen cleared a season-best of 19 feet, 6.25 inches to tie with Australia’s Kurtis Marschall and share the bronze. Sweden’s Mondo Duplantis defended his gold medal by jumping 20 feet and the Phillipines’ Ernest John Obiena took silver with a vault of 19-8 ÂĽ (6.00m). This marks Nilsen’s fourth international medal: a silver from the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, a bronze from the 2022 World Indoor Championships and a silver from the 2022 World Championships. Nilsen, the American indoor record-holder at 19-10.25, is a Kansas City native who was a three-time national champion for the Coyotes.
Aug. 26: Dakota Wesleyan snapped a six-game losing streak in football to rival Dakota State with a 23-13 win. DWU safety Adam DeJong sealed the win with his interception at the goal line with 5:15 left. The Tigers also got key contributions from Jamin Arend (120 yards of total offense and a touchdown), Ethan Engen (blocked a punt that resulted in a safety), Austin Lee (243 yards passing and two TDs) and Victor Kniesche (eight tackles, including a sack). DWU leads the all-time series 40-36-1.
Aug. 26: Mitchell senior soccer star Mia Mullenmeister scored five goals, including the 100th of her varsity career, to pace the Kernels past Brookings 6-2. Mullenmeister now has 102 career goals.
Aug. 28: Chaos reigned in South Dakota nine-man football last Friday night. All three No. 1-rated teams in the nine-man ranks lost: Howard (No. 1 in 9AA) lost to Canistota 30-18; Gregory (No. 1 in 9A) lost to Wolsey-Wessington 48-32; and Hitchcock-Tulare (No. 1 in 9B) lost 40-0 to Faulkton. The new top-rated teams in today’s polls after the weekend surprises — to some — were Parkston (9AA), Wolsey-Wessington (9A) and Faulkton (9B).
Aug. 29: After 52 seasons of USD women’s basketball that started in 1971, freshman Olivia Kieffer of Rapid City will be the first Coyote in program history to wear the jersey number 0. Kieffer was a four-time all-stater who scored 2,492 career points for RC Christian.
Aug. 30: Including a former NSU player, five South Dakotans played before 92,003 fans, a world attendance record for a women’s sporting event, at Volleyball Day in Nebraska. It was the brainchild of the Cornhuskers’ athletic department that took seven months of planning. Fans jam-packed Memorial Football Stadium in Lincoln to watch a college volleyball doubleheader featuring four Nebraska teams, including a team from Northern State’s Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference that featured two South Dakotans. In the first match, the NSIC’s Wayne State defeated Nebraska-Kearney 3-0. Wayne has two South Dakotans on its roster (NSU transfer Havyn Heinz of Huron and University of Sioux Falls transfer Ally Beresford of Dakota Dunes). In the second match, Nebraska defeated Nebraska-Omaha (from SDSU’s/USD’s Summit League) 3-0. UNO has two former O’Gorman standouts on its roster: twins Meghan and Makayla Tiahrt. The Cornhuskers also have a South Dakotan on its roster, starter Bergen Reilly of OG, who had 19 assists, seven digs and three kills. Reilly and the Tiahrts were seniors for the Knights last season. There were 36 native Nebraskans combined on the four rosters.
Aug. 31: The SDSU football team opened its defense of the FCS national title with a 45-7 win over Western Oregon. It was the Jacks’ 15 th win in a row. A crowd of 16,258 showed up to celebrate the title and honor its national championship coach John Stiegelmeier, wife Laurie and their family. The Jacks renamed their athlete facility attached to its Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium as the Stiegelmeier Family Student-Athlete Center to honor their now retired coach, who is a Selby native and former NSU assistant.

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