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St. Thomas More once again had a strong athletic 2016, winning three state titles, while mainstays like the Rapid City Post 22 American Legion baseball program won its fourth straight state title.

St. Thomas More swept the Class A boys and girls track and field championships for the second straight year and the STM girls’ basketball team won its third straight Class A state title. The Hardhats won their 41st overall state American Legion baseball title.

Among the other high school state team champions came from Rapid City Central in girls’ soccer and Spearfish in boys’ soccer and Custer in girls’ cross country.

There was a plethora of individual success in the area as well.

Here’s a look at some of the highlights month by month in 2016:

January

For the most part, the local high school and college teams were still in the middle, if not early stages of their seasons. There were a few highlights, though.

• January was a sad time for the Rapid City Rush and their fans, as former player Blaine Jarvis, a standout forward and key piece of the Rapid City Rush's 2010 CHL championship team, passed away on in a snowmobile accident in Montana. He was 31 years old.

Jarvis only played two seasons of professional hockey, amassing a total of 122 games between the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads and the Rush. 

February

• Rodeo hit center stage in Rapid City in early February with the annual Black Hills Stock Show.

But first came the Xtreme Bull Tour event as Utah cowboy Dalan Duncan had a long night, the second to last rider out to close out the competition. He won the top prize with an 86.

In the prep high school rodeo scene, Wall was the king of South Dakota high school rodeo as 113 of the state’s high school rodeo stars shared the spotlight during the Wrangler 20X High School Rodeo Showcase.

Savanna Johnston set the tone of the day early, as the Wall high school junior opened the 14th annual Sutton Rodeo 20X with a nice 3.39 second breakaway roping run. Johnston’s quick time applied early pressure to her competitors, who responded either by breaking the barrier or rushing and missing their loop; the second best time was Tanegai Zilverberg’s 12.39.

A couple of other talented Wall high school juniors went back to back later on Sunday as Carter Elshere won the saddle bronc riding buckle, a 68 point ride, and neighbor and best friend Cass Lytle won the steer wrestling event, dogging his steer in 7.79

When D’Ann Gehlsen brought her horse Radar to the Black Hills Stock Show Rodeo to compete in the barrel racing event, she didn’t know quite what to expect. Not surprising perhaps given that the Mission native was making her very first appearance at the Stock Show PRCA rodeo.

Following a blistering 12.46-second barrel racing run during the afternoon matinee vaulting the duo to the first spot on the leaderboard ahead of many of the top barrel racers on the Women’s Pro Rodeo Association circuit, Gehlsen was still a little awestruck.

The number that did seem vulnerable was the 80 point saddle bronc ride chalked up by Dupree's Shorty Garrett on Friday night, particularly given the quality field of bronc riders that traditionally make Rapid City a stop on the last weekend of the stock show.

• It’s basketball’s version of the Hail Mary. Rapid City Central’s Abigail Johnson guided a loose ball through the basket at the buzzer to lift the Cobblers to an improbable 45-44 win over cross-town rival Rapid City Stevens at Carold Heier Gymnasium.

With eight-tenths of a second left on the clock and trailing by one point, the Cobblers heaved an in-bounds pass to the paint. Despite a couple of Raiders defenders getting a hand on the ball, Johnson put it up as the buzzer sounded to ignite the visiting student section just a few feet away.

“It just came to me and I was like, ‘Oh man.’ I just threw it up,” Johnson said.

• Mitchell continued its state-wide dominance, running away with the Class AA State Gymnastics title Friday at the Swiftel Center in Brookings.

The Kernels won their third straight state title in convincing fashion, scoring 146.075 points, to 141.575 for second-place Sioux Falls O'Gorman. Rapid City Stevens was third at 140.825 points. Watertown was fourth at 137.550 and host Brookings was fifth at 135.775.

Rapid City Stevens senior Hannah Riker closed her career with one state title and several top places Saturday at the Class AA State Gymnastics Meet at the Swiftel Center in Brookings.

• The only head coach the Rapid City Rush had ever known has stepped down to concentrate on his general manager duties. Joe Ferras, who has been the team’s head coach since its inaugural campaign in the Central Hockey League in 2008-2009, resigned his bench job before the 2-0 win over the Idaho Steelheads in Boise, Idaho. Associate head coach Mark DeSantis took over the team and was named the team’s new head coach.

• After four years as head coach for the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology football team, Stacey Collins resigned this week to become the special teams coordinator for Division I Utah State University. Zach Tinker, the offensive coordinator and associate head coach under Collins, was named the program’s head coach in an announcement at the Hall of Fame room at the King Center.

• With the Pierre Governors effectively clinching the team title early in the day, the focus turned to the individual title hunts for an added boost of excitement heading into Saturday night’s final day of the SDHSAA 2016 Class A State Wrestling championships.

A group of Black Hills area wrestlers didn’t disappoint as Rapid City Stevens' Logan Wood capped an outstanding career with a title at 145, and Tyler Waterson of Spearfish won his second state title at 128.

March

• Four Black Hills State University women's basketball players were honored by the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, highlighted by First Team selection Taylor Trohkimoinen.

Trohkimoinen, a junior from Newell, averaged a team-best 3.2 assists while scoring 8.2 points and grabbing 4.7 rebounds per game. Named All-RMAC Second Team is senior guard Christine Thorn. Cheyanne Balster and Bailey Kusser each were named All-RMAC Honorable Mention squad.

South Dakota School of Mines junior Megan Rohrer earned second team honors. On the men’s all-conference squad, Black Hills State University senior Nick Ongarato was named All-RMAC First Team, with fellow senior Riley Ryan named to the Honorable Mention squad. South Dakota School of Mines junior Konor Kulas was named to the men’s second team.

• South Dakota head coach Amy Williams, a Spearfish native, was named Coach of the Year and junior guard Caitlin Duffy, a St. Thomas More graduate, was named Transfer of the Year as the Summit League announced its women's basketball postseason award..

• The Rapid City Christian boys’ basketball team jumped on Oelrichs early and didn't look back on its way to a 62-41 win in the District 14B championship game at the King Center.

• The Rushmore Thunder girls' varsity hockey team's quest for a first-ever South Dakota Amateur Hockey Association state title came up short as they fell to Brookings 4-2 in the semifinal state tournament action at the Mitchell Activities Center.

• The Black Hills State University women's basketball team is going dancing in a historic way. The Yellow Jackets earned the school's first trip to the NCAA Division II Tournament, as they were picked as the seventh seed of the South Central Region, facing Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference foe and No. 2 seed Colorado State-Pueblo on Thursday in Lubbock, Texas.

Black Hills State, 21-8, was one of four RMAC teams to earn NCAA bids. The Jackets would fo on to beat CSU-Pueblo 78-60 before falling to

• Rapid City central graduate Aero Amo qualified for the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls.

• Despite outshooting Watertown 46-13 margin, the Rushmore Thunder fell to the Lakers 2-1 in overtime in first-round play at the 2016 SDAHA Boys State Varsity hockey tournament in Brookings. The thunder would go on to beat Mitchell for the consolation championship.

• The Black Hills State University track & field team claimed a pair of All-Americans at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championship in Pittsburg, Kan. Alec Baldwin nearly had himself a national championship as it was a three-man race to the finish line. Baldwin placed second in 4 minutes, 13.34 seconds. Wall native Madison McLaughlin placed eighth in the shot put with a toss of 46-feet, 11 inches.

• If there was any doubt, and there really wasn’t any, the St. Thomas More girls’ basketball team proved again to be the top Class A program in the state from start to finish, with yet another championship.

The Cavaliers won their third straight state title and fourth in the last five years with a smothering 49-32 win over Winner at the Watertown Civic Arena.

“It means a lot to be able to put our stamp on this program,” said STM senior forward Ciara Duffy. “The people who went before us left an incredible legacy. To be able to be a part of that is certainly a very humbling thing.”

In Class B girls, Faith downed Wall 40-26 in the in the seventh place game. Faith closed out the season at 21-3, while Wall finished at 21-5.

• A Sioux Falls Christian team that looked the class of the field from the opening tip of the Class A state boys' basketball tournament, closed out an impressive run with a 56-49 win over a game St. Thomas More team, earning the Chargers a first-ever state tournament crown.

• Led by a strong defensive effort, the Rapid City Stevens boys’ basketball team dropped Pierre 53-33 in the third place game of the Class AA state tournament in Sioux Falls.

• Having lost its first three matchups with cross-town rival Central this season, Rapid City Stevens’ sophomore Mya Hendry gave the Raiders the lift they needed with her last-second basket for a 58-57 victory in the game for fifth place.

• Led by three double figure scorers, Corsica/Stickney dropped White River 72-57 in the State B boys consolation title game. De Smet handed second-seeded Harding County its third loss of the tournament with a 44-40 win in the seventh place game.

• STM senior Ciara Duffy was named to the Class A all-state girls basketball team. Mason Archambault of Rapid City Stevens was named to the Class AA boys’ all-state first team.

April

• Longtime Sturgis Brown High School wrestling coach Steve Keszler stepped down from his head coaching job. Former Spearfish coach Michael Abell replaced Keszler.

Keszler was recognized nationally in 2014 being named the 2014 National Wrestling Coach of the Year by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association. Keszler was honored as South Dakota Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2010. He was also a finalist for National Coach of the Year in 2010. Keszler has 26 years of head coach experience with incredible numbers, including nine state championships, 14 regional championships, and 14 conference championships. He has coached 32 individual state champions and 194 individual state place winners. His career dual record is 347-61.

• Wynter Childers of the Spearfish Gymnastics Academy came away with the all-around title for the second straight year at the Region 4 Gymnastics Championships in St. Louis.

Childers finished with a score of 38.475 in the all-around. She also won individual titles on vault (9.700), bars (9.475) and beam (9.700) and placed second on floor (9.600). She qualified for the Junior Olympic Nationals May 5-8 in Fort Worth, Texas.

• Arlen Janis Jr. got an opportunity to box for a national crown, as he came away with the 165-pound title at the Midwest Regional Golden Gloves Championships in Omaha, Neb. Janis overcame a lot of holding and grabbing by his opponent, Drako Rodriguez of Sioux City, Iowa, to earn a 3-1 decision. He went on to compete in the U.S. National Golden Gloves Championships May 16-21 in Salt Lake City.

• Eighteen hundred people gathered on the ice at the Rushmore Center Ice Arena to view the announcement of the grand prize winner of the Kraft Hockeyville Contest on NBC’s national NHL telecast.

And while for the Rushmore Thunder Association (RHA) and its Thunderdome For Rapid City hockey fans, the outcome was a bit anticlimactic — the Thunderdome lost out to Marquette, Mich. The title of reserve champion, the $75,000 payout earned from the second-place finish, and the community effort that made it possible should take some sting off the outcome, said James Johns, President of the Rushmore Thunder Hockey Association.

May

• Drew Iddings got his chance to be a Raider once again. This time, the former Rapid City Stevens all-state football player could be donning the Silver and Black of the Oakland Raiders. Iddings, who completed an outstanding career with the University of South Dakota, signed a free agent contract with the Raiders just after the completion of the NFL Draft.

• Athletic achievement and excellence were the main course as outstanding area high school and college athletes and five new additions to the Rapid City Sports Hall of Fame were honored at the 2016 Rapid City Sports Recognition and Hall of Fame Banquet in LaCroix Hall at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.

The awards for High School Female and Male Athletes of the Year led off the festivities and Ciara Duffy of St. Thomas More and Grant Youngblood of Rapid City Stevens garnered the awards chosen from among a select field of elite athletes representing Rapid City area high schools.

• It would have been easy for New Underwood native Alex Anderson to call it a career, thanks to a bad back and other nagging injuries. That bad back forced him to give up football for Black Hills State University. That and a groin injury nearly curtailed his chances to compete in track and field. Anderson fought off the urges to quit and he’ll finish his athletic career as a champion, winning the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference decathlon title at Lyle Hare Stadium with 6,211 points.

• Joe Carlin was down to his last event, his last chance to qualify for the Men’s Junior Olympic National Championships. It had been a tough gymnastics meet for Carlin, who had struggled a bit to earn a nationals bid in the previous five events during the Region 4 Gymnastics Championships in Lincoln, Neb.

The one event remaining just happened to be his best event — the pommel horse — and he nailed it, placing second with a score of 13.30 points, qualifying for the first time in his long gymnastics career to the top meet in the country.

• Sioux Falls Lincoln won three singles and two doubles titles on the way to a third successive title, compiling 690 points to easily out-distance second place O’Gorman (572), which claimed the remaining three singles and one doubles titles.

Mitchell (462), Rapid City Stevens (341), Sioux Falls Washington (335) and Aberdeen Central (296) earned spots on the podium, while St. Thomas More finished eighth (277) and Rapid City Central 13th (155).

• St. Thomas More repeated as both boys and girls Class A state track and field champions, Sioux Falls Lincoln doubled up in Class AA, and in Class B the Ipswich girls won their fifth consecutive and Bison captured a first-ever title.

Area girls swept all three classes with Brianna Philipsen of New Underwood winning the Class B title, Shannon Duffy of St. Thomas More taking the top spot in Class A and Elizabeth Schaefer of Rapid City Stevens easily dominating in the Class AA finale.

Raider teammate Bennett Fierro also doubled in the hurdles winning the 110 (14.83) and 300 (40.08), and Spearfish senior Taylor Koch won the girls 300 meter hurdles.

Kassidy Kirsch, Delaney Carlson, Carolyn Eckrich and Bailey Carlson won the 4X100 and Ciara Benson replaced Eckrich for the win in the 4X200, while Kassidy and Klaire Kirsch, Eckrich and Kaci Cooper copped the sprint medley crown.

The STM boys won three relay events, the 4X100, 4X200, and 4X400 (based upon the best qualifying time as the final was cancelled). P.J. Freidel teamed with Jake Aanderud, Alek Keegan and Cole Thurness in the 4X100, while Thomas Rafferty replaced Aanderud in the 4X200 event. STM’s Luke Julian won the 1,500 in 4:17.37.

A number of area athletes stood out on Saturday as well, as Belle Fourche sophomore Shayla Howell was a double-winner, also capturing the 200 (25.28) and the 400 (57.20). The New Underwood girls, featuring three seventh-graders, won the Class B 4X400 relay (seventh-graders Lexi Ballard, Juliana Schaub and Cerington Jones, plus Philipsen).

On the Class B boys' side, Philip won two relays, the 4X200 relay (Dalton Kinsley, Cooper West, Garrett Snook and Deontae Thorn) and the 4X400 relay (West, Snook, Thorn and Clayton Fosheim).

The Bison Class B Boys title was fueled by the efforts of senior Cole Buer and sophomore Daniel Burkhalter. Buer won the 100 and added a fourth-place finish in the 200, while Burkhalter outdistanced the field in the 1,600 on Saturday.

Rapid City Stevens was awarded the boys Class AA 4X400 team (Devon Hansen, Carter Price, Grant Youngblood and Fierro) by virtue of recording the best qualifying time.

Also at the state meet, the Custer quartet of Mallory Delmont, Clara Sedlacek, Morgan Parys and Tori Glazier broke the Class A meet record in the 4X800 meter relay with a time of 8 minutes, 26.26 seconds. And before the day was out, sophomore Glazier captured her fourth consecutive 800-meter run crown with another meet record performance (2:14.13), Chance Dooley defended his 2015 3,200 meter crown and Jordan Menken claimed the girls' shot put title.

Dooley added another Custer distance crown, turning an early move into an easy win, outdistancing Derick Peters of West Central by 13 seconds with a time of 9:35.99. Menken, who returned to track after sitting out her sophomore year, made her return a triumphant one with a 42 feet, 10 ½ inch heave to win the girls shot put.

Lead-Deadwood standout Carolyn Groeger took home the gold in the girls pole vault with a winning vault of 10-3. Rapid City Central junior Michelle Johnson won the girls high jump with a 5-6 leap, and Douglas senior Austin Barrett won the boys shot put event with a heave of 56-10, his best toss of the season.

• Chadron State College junior Stachia Reuwsaat came within a hair of winning her first outdoor national championship, placing a very close second in the long jump at the NCAA Division II Track & Field Championships in Bradenton, Fla.

Reuwsaat, a St. Thomas More graduate, won the indoor national title earlier this year and nearly pulled off the double. She finished with a best jump of 21 feet, 2½ inches. Nikia Squire of Queens, N.C., won the event 21-2¾.

Black Hills State University freshman Jonah Theisen won the 3,000-meter event. He made his move at the bell lap, sprinting his way to the national title, beating the 12-man field with a time of 8 minutes, 53.29 seconds. It was the first NCAA national title in Black Hills State's history.

The Yellow Jackets got their second title one day later when Wall native Madison McLaughlin won the shot put competition with a toss of 16.98 meters (55 feet, 8½ inches).

June

• Sydney Bormann and her Parkston teammates had their way on the Southern Hills Golf Course in Hot Springs, winning yet another individual and state team title respectively. Bormann won her fourth Class A state medalist honors in five years and the Trojans took home the team championship trophy for the fifth straight year

• Rapid City Central graduate and University of Michigan senior Tony Smoragiewicz moved up five spots and finished 15th in the men’s 5,000-meter run Friday in the NCAA Division I Track and Field Championships at Eugene, Ore. Smoragiewicz went in to the meet seeded 20th in 14 minutes, 12.55 seconds, but Improved on that time and finished in 13:55.19.

• Kristi Steffes, from Black Hills State, took home the national championship in the barrel racing at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo., finishing in a time of 13.85 on her final run, which was the top time all week. Steffes finished with a four round total of 56.09, which barely beat out Danyelle Williams of Blue Mountain Community College who had a total of 56.24. Steffes' win also helped Black Hills State women finish third in the team standings.

Chadron State also had a women's national champion as Shelby Winchell won the goat tying championship Saturday night. On four runs Winchell had a total time of 25.0 seconds, including a run of 6.3 seconds in her final run.

• Becky Hammon established herself as one of the top players in high school at Rapid City Stevens, in college at Colorado State University and in the WNBA with the New York Liberty and the San Antonio Stars. The latter has earned herself in an elite group of of the best women's basketball players in the world, as she was named as one of the 20 greatest and most influential players in WNBA history.

Hammon played 16 seasons in the WNBA, the first eight with the Liberty and the final eight with San Antonio. She finished her career averaging 13.9 points and 3.8 assists per game. Her top season came in 2009, when she averaged 19.5 points and 5.0 assists a game. She retired after the 2014 season.

• Jason Olson had to read his name on the large screen before it sunk in that he was just named the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Coach of the Year for tennis. The longtime Rapid City Stevens head tennis coach had indeed won the award Wednesday night in the national convention, beating out seven other regional winners at the Galt House in Louisville, Ky.

July

• Chadron State College junior Stachia Reuwsaat went 19 feet, 4 inches while finishing 22nd among the 25 entries in the preliminaries of the long jump at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore.

• It would only make sense that Rio Nutter and Bodie Mattson would eventually team up in the rodeo arena with a rope in their hands. And the fact that they are now world champions together probably comes to no one’s surprise. Just 14 years old each, the two lifelong buddies won the junior team roping title last weekend at the National Little Britches Finals in Guthrie, Okla.

• For the Rapid City SWAT U18 softball team, second place was an all-too-familiar feeling. SWAT had finished second in the Amateur Softball Association's South Dakota state tournament many times.

This year, it was SWAT that got to experience the sweet taste of victory. SWAT won the state tite, beating Brandon Valley 9-2 to win the championship.

• It was more than beginner’s luck for the Rapid City Inferno U16 girls’ fastpitch softball team this season. It was a group of young softball players determined to be the best … and they were, winning the State U16 Division C title in Sioux Falls.

In just their first year together, the Inferno went 5-0 in the tournament, beating local rival, Rapid City Marauders 7-6 in nine innings in the title game.

• For the third straight year, the Canyon Lake Little League won the North/South Dakota Little League championship, booking them a trip to the regional tournament in Indianapolis. Canyon Lake used a late game explosion, with 10 runs in the top of the fifth inning to put an otherwise close game away, 16-1 over Rapid City rival Harney Little League.

• Rapid City Post 22 has been there before. The Hardhats, knocked off for the first time in the State A American Legion Tournament Saturday night in Sioux Falls by Renner Post 307, showed no worries on Sunday, stopping Renner 12-2 in seven innings for their fourth straight title and 41st in their storied history.

“I’m just proud of these kids,” Post 22 manager Mitch Messer said. “I’m proud of our entire organization; the parents, players, coaches. Everything is well deserved.”

Rapid City Post 320 had one of its best seasons ever, placing third in the state tournament.

• Washington, Mo., Post 218 stopped the Post 22 Expos 4-1 in the title game of the Central Plains Junior Legion National Regional Tournament at Fitzgerald Stadium.

• Canyon Lake Little League has shown in the last few years that tradition, along with talent, speaks volumes when it comes to big games. The Rushmore Little League is heading in that direction. So it was no surprise that the two 10-11 year-old All-Star teams battled down to the end Sunday in the ND/SD District 1 Tournament at Red Pesek Field.

Canyon Lake prevailed again, stopping Rushmore 11-7 in the second title game after Rushmore forced extra play with a 10-4 win in the earlier contest.

August

• After blowing through its state tournament with four consecutive wins, Creighton Prep Post 1 (Omaha, Neb.) finished off a similar effort at the regional level on Sunday afternoon at the Central Plains Regional tournament with a 5-2 victory over the Rapid City Post 22 Hardhats to advance to the American Legion World Series in Shelby, N.C.

• The Midwest Regionals Little League Tournament came to a quick end for the Canyon Lake All-Stars, as Frontenac Little League, Kan., rolled to a 15-7 win at the Reuben F. Glick Little League Baseball Center in Indianapolis, Ind. Canyon Lake, which fell 4-3 to Coon Rapid, Minn., on Sunday, was eliminated in the double-elimination tournament.

• Chadron State College freshman football player Eric Goll, 20, passed away following team practice, the Eagles first of the fall camp. Goll, a native of Haines City, Fla., was transported from the practice field to Chadron Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead at approximately 12:30 p.m.

Goll redshirted in 2014 after signing with Chadron State out of Haines City High School. He also saw no action last season.

• Before the Rapid City Post 22 Bullets began the State 16U baseball tournament, they practiced their celebration dogpile.

In their minds, they were going to celebrate when it was all said and done and they wanted to do it right. They did it right, easily winning the state tournament in Yankton, thumping Harrisburg 12-3 in the title game.

• The Rapid City Post 22 Cadets used a never-say-die attitude in winning the State 14U baseball championship in Harrisburg. The Cadets won five games in the state tournament, stopping Brandon Valley 5-1 in the title game. None was bigger, though, than the semifinals in which Post 22 rallied twice from large deficits to beat Watertown 14-13.

• Sturgis native Paige McPherson came up empty in her shot for another medal in the Summer Olympics Friday morning in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. McPherson, who won the bronze medal in taekwondo at the 2012 London Olympics, lost her first-round match 6-5 to Farida Azizova of Azerbaijan at 67 kilograms.

McPherson still had a chance for a bronze medal if Azizova would have gone on to reach the finals through the repechage round. But Azizova would lose to South Korea’s Oh Hie-Ri 6-5 in the semifinals. With that loss, McPherson was eliminated from the competition.

September

• The Black Hills State University women’s soccer team fell behind early and couldn’t recover as it fell in its inaugural match to Minot State, N.D., 4-0 on Thursday afternoon.

• The last time local golfer Lyle Pagel competed in the South Dakota Golf Association's Senior Men's Championship was in 2014, and he finished 36th. In the 2016 version of the senior state golf championship, Pagel hit a tournament low 68 in his final round, rounding out with a score of 142, six strokes ahead of anybody else, to win the state title.

• Six area BMX riders came away with state titles at the South Dakota State BMX Championship at the Aberdeen Hub Area BMX track. Earning titles were: Trintin Wangen, of Rapid City in Balance Bike, Case Dubbelde of Box Elder in 3 Balance Bike, Landon Schwiesow of Rapid City in 7 Intermediate, Alexis Labine of Box Elder in 7 Girls, Cailtlin Parks of Elite Racing Products/ 605 Racing of Box Elder and Dmitri Lewis of Rapid City in 10 Expert.

October

• Spurred by a record setting performance by medalist Will Grevlos, Sioux Falls Washington captured the Boys Class AA golf team title as the annual two-day event concluded at Moccasin Creek Golf Club in Aberdeen.

The Warriors two-day aggregate total of 629 strokes in the tightly contested team race was five shots better than Pierre and Sioux Falls Lincoln who shared second with 634 totals. Defending champion Sioux Falls O’Gorman finished fourth (638) while Aberdeen Central (647) outlasted Rapid City Stevens (655) for fifth spot. Sturgis finished 13th, Rapid City Central came in 16th, and Douglas took 17th.

• After losing last year’s Class AA girls’ state title game to Sioux Falls O’Gorman, the Rapid City Central girls’ soccer team turned the tables and shut out the Lady Knights 3-0 to win the state championship in Sioux Falls.

• The Spearfish Spartans boys’ soccer team used a stout defense, while scoring some timely goals, to win the Class A high school state championship 3-0 over Tea Area in Sioux Falls.

• Aberdeen Central scored twice in the matches opening six minutes and overpowered Rapid City Stevens 5-1 for the State Class AA boys’ soccer title in Sioux Falls.

• Consistency in golf can be a hard thing to find sometimes, but for Parkston's Jacob Lee two consistent rounds gave him a state championship. Lee won the Class A boys state title at Hart Ranch Tuesday by shooting a 76, which was one stroke better than the 77 he shot Monday. He held off St. Thomas More's Nick Lust by one stroke. Following Lee and Lust was Brett Mattson from Lead-Deadwood and Brian Finn from Tea Area in the top three, as Mattson and Finn tied with a tournament score of 156.

• What seemed like a forgone conclusion when the girls tennis season started came to fruition at Sioux Park. Sioux Falls Lincoln won the team state championship. Lincoln was regarded as the best team by many throughout the season, and with their 646 points they proved the narrative to be true.

Rapid City Stevens took second with 586 points, Sioux Falls O'Gorman grabbed third with 513, St. Thomas More finished fourth with 440.5 and Watertown rounded out the top five with 383.

• Two West River individuals and one team came away with state titles at the South Dakota State Cross Country Championships at the Broadland Creek Golf Course in Huron. Earning individual 5K state titles were Haleigh Timmer of St. Thomas More (Class A) and Daniel Burkhalter of Bison (Class B).

Timmer, an eighth grader, ran past the Class A competition in 18 minutes, 36 seconds. Burkhalter, a junior, took his second consecutive title in 16:30. The Custer girls were the only area team to earn a state title as the Wildcats finished the day with a total of 62 points in Class A.

November

• In a game of big plays, the defending state champion Madison Bulldogs had a couple more than St. Thomas More, and with that said, will make another trip to the DakotaDome. The Bulldogs got those big plays on both sides of the football and took control in the third quarter en route to a 35-19 victory. With the win, Madison will take on Tea Area on Nov. 12 for the 11A title.

• Defending state champion Winner Warriors raced out to a 46-0 first half lead en route to the schools seventh state football title, a 54-0 win over an overwhelmed Groton Area squad.

• A stout defense proved to be the key for the Colome as the Cowboys, a perennial 9B power, captured the school’s third 9B state football championship, upending defending champion Langford Area 42-23 in the DakotaDome.

• Despite a lop-sided loss in their season ending game against Colorado School of Mines, the Black Hills State University football team finished the season at 7-4, one of the top improvements in Division II college football., BHSU was 0-11 in 2015.

• Black Hills State University volleyball senior Lacy Stevens earned Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors, voted on by the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Coaches, while Yellow Jacket teammates Brynn Eckhardt and Cheyenne Palu also earned RMAC honors.

Stevens, an Edgemont native, ended her season with 568 digs averaging 5.61 digs per set to finish first in the conference.

• Rapid City Stevens finished fourth at the Class AA state volleyball tournament, falling to Aberdeen Central 3-2 in the third-place contest. Harding County defeated Lyman in straight sets to score a seventh place finish at the Class B tournament.

• St. Thomas More's Haleigh Timmer was named an All-American by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, after she won the Class A state championship in October in Huron.

• Three key members of a Gregory offense that averaged nearly 41 points a game on the way to an undefeated season and the Class 9AA football title were recognized by the South Dakota Football Coaches Association on its all-state team.

Quarterback Andy McCance, running back Robert Vomacka and wide receiver Jayd VanDerWerff were named to the elite list, as selected by the SDFBCA.

• Winner ran the table without a loss, culminating with its second-straight 11B state championship. It seems only fitting that the Warriors lead the 2016 South Dakota 11B All-State football selections. The Warriors placed nine members of their undefeated squad on this year's all-state team — by far the most of any program. They included: Drew Demers, Jayden Schroeder, Cameron Kuil, Jordan Turgeon, Wyatt Ewing, Isaac Naasz, Krockett Krolikowski, Chase Kingsbury and Kayleb Brozik.

• St. Thomas More had a pair of players on the Class A all-state football team, Jake Aanderud at receiver and Chase Thurness at center. Hot Springs had two players, Brice Harkless as a defensive back and Trey Nachtigall as a kicker. Zach Lange of Belle Fourche was named as a special teams player and Cheyenne-Eagle Butte was represented by long snapper Wyatt Jewett.

• Several players from Spearfish, Douglas and Sturgis were named to the Class 11AA all-state football team, as selected by South Dakota Football Coaches Association. Four Spartans who helped Spearfish reach the state semifinals led the area selections. Offensively, wide receiver Jaxon Rosencranz and guard Brendan Rotert were selected, while on defense, end Michael Chaffin and back Jackson Bogue were picked.

For Douglas, running back Branson Taylor and defensive back Jarrod Boswell were picked for the first team. Another senior for Douglas, Boswell recorded 134 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and 1.5 sacks.

For Sturgis, junior defensive tackle Joel Carpenter was named to the first team.

December

• Three Rapid City Stevens Raiders and one Rapid City Central Cobbler were named to the Class 11AAA All-State football team this week.

For the Raiders, earning first-team honors were senior defensive back Cam White and special team players, senior George Johnson and junior Jamin Wurtz. For the Cobblers, senior linebacker Ira Murphey was also named to the first team.

• Rapid City Stevens senior Cate Whiting was named to the Class AA all-state volleyball first team.

• In the Rapid City Invitational wrestling tournament, Pierre outdistanced runner-up Bismarck 235.5-198.5. Aberdeen Central (192.0) claimed third followed by Rapid City Central (168.5) and Sturgis (146.0), Rapid City Stevens (133.0), and Philip (127.5).

Area gold medal winners included Stevens junior Spencer Stockman (126), Rapid City Central senior Timmy Paris (220), Spearfish senior Tyler Waterson (138) and senior Nick Donnelly (152) of Class B powerhouse Philip.

• The Winnebago (Neb.) boys basketball team dismantled a good Red Cloud team 97-51 at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center’s Barnett Arena for its second straight LNI title. The Little Wound girls won its second straight title, 65-31 over Pine Ridge.

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