The South Dakota School of Mines men’s soccer team will open the 2019 season on their home turf, hosting Texas A&M International Friday at 11 a.m. at Sioux Park Stadium.
The Hardrockers look to be more competitive in their 2019 campaign under the helm of new head coach Ryan Thompson, coming off a 2-13-3 record. Senior midfielder Owen Winger leads the way. Winger was named to the 2019 RMAC Preseason Players to Watch List.
In addition to returning a solid group of upperclassmen, the Hardrockers had an influx of new players in the 2019 recruiting class that will give them depth across many positions.
“We are very excited to get our season under way and it’s been a long two weeks of our guys playing against each other and its finally time for us to play against another school,” Thompson said. “This week will be a big test for a lot of our guys, we have some new faces and some players that redshirted last year who are hungry to prove themselves and play as many minutes as possible.”
The Dustdevils finished their 2018 season with an 8-7-2 record. They were tabbed to finish seventh in the Lone Star Conference’s preseason poll.
“Friday against Texas A&M International is a great start to see where we are talent wise as well as how fit and physical we are. They will be a tough opponent looking for their first win of the season just like us”, said Thompson.
Mines cross country team to open at home
The South Dakota School of Mines men’s and women’s cross country team open the season Saturday by hosting the Hardrocker XC Classic at Robbinsdale Park.
Also competing will be the MSU Billings Yellowjackets, Chadron State College Eagles, the Valley City State Vikings (N.D.) and the Trinity Bible College Lions.
“There should be some interesting matchups,” said Hardrocker head coach Steve Johnson. “The women’s race could be a dead head between a few of these teams — including the Hardrockers.”
“Our guys have some pretty big aspirations for this season and this is their chance to see what they can do.”
The Hardrockers women’s team will be led by lone senior Kayla Gagen and lone junior Laramie Giles. Sophomore Samantha Smith, Margaret Thompson and Marissa Holinka also return to the women’s squad.
The ‘Rocker women will welcome five new freshmen, Taylor Bright, Alyssa Franke, Nadia Kaczmarz, Kelby Wilson and Adeline Wilson.
“We will be looking to our underclassmen to step up and help the team,” Johnson said. “Although we do have a quality runner in senior Kayla Gagen. “We went from six to 10 (runners) and that was a real big relief for me. We have to have five to make a team and if someone gets injured in can be a challenge to roster a full squad.”
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On the men’s side, the Hardrockers have 18 scholar athletes on the roster and ready to compete. The team has a solid core of returners, as seniors Chase Wood and Jacob Huber will lead the squad along with sophomores Andrew Harris and Ryan Moen to give Mines a solid unit to compliment a talented list of runners, including: Theron Singleton, Ben Colvin, Tim Myers, Anders Watt, Joel Haas and Mark Boden.
“We get a couple of guys back off redshirt this year which will be real valuable for us running up front,” Johnson said.
The Hardrocker men welcome six freshmen to the team — Grant Bauer, Monty Christo, III, Sam Elliott, Brett Flerchinger, Jonathon Kittleson and Lukas Lehmpuhl, along with sophomore transfer Timothy Dunham.
“We're excited about what we can get done. Our goal is to be a Top 10 program in both the conference and the region,” Johnson said.
Mines volleyball opens at Chadron State tourney
The South Dakota School of Mines women’s volleyball team is set to open its 2019 season at the Best Western Classic hosted by Chadron State College this weekend in Nebraska. The Hardrockers are slated to play four matches over the course of two days.
Mines will square off with Montana State University Billings on Friday at 9 a.m. for their first match of the season. The Yellowjackets finished their 2018 campaign with a 13-17 record overall.
“We are thrilled to be starting our season in Chadron. We finished our spring season in Chadron this past April which was really the beginning of our uprising," said Mines coach Lauren Torvi.
The Hardrockers return six players from the 2018 season, including kill leader Dana Thomson. Thomson finished the season averaging 4.06 kills per set, which put her at the top of the RMAC statistical category. The Hardrockers also return their assist leader, Shyann Bastian, and block leader, Hannah Stevenson.
“I am anxious to see all 16 members of this team lay it all out on the floor for each other. Pre-season has been nothing short of phenomenal and I know the team is excited to finally compete against our first four opponents”, Torvi said.
Mines looks to build on its successful spring season. The addition of 10 new incoming athletes has boded well for the new era of Hardrocker volleyball. The team has shifted its focus not only to skill development but developing relationships and clearly defining their culture.
“I am so proud of the work our returning women have put in to shape this culture into what it is right now. The addition of ten new young women has been so much easier than I could have ever imagined. Our upperclassmen have upheld the standards necessary for us to place a premium on both relationships and results”, Torvi said.
Mines will also face RMAC rivals Chadron State College, University of Sioux Falls and Fort Hays State University in the tournament.
The Hardrockers will face the Dickinson State University Blue Hawks for their home opener Sept. 18 at 6 p.m. in the King Center on the SD Mines Campus.