Rapid City Stevens was on display Monday at the 46th annual Rapid City Sports Hall of Fame and Sports Recognition Banquet presented by the Rapid City Sports OFFICIALS, as two Raiders walked away with the high school athlete of the year awards.
Elizabeth Schaefer, who plays basketball, volleyball and runs track, was named the Girls' Athlete of the Year, while Cody BeVier, who played football, wrestled and runs track, was named the Boys' Athlete of the Year.
Schaefer said that in a field that included Jordynn Toliver from Douglas, Sarra Gutknecht from Rapid City Central, Rayna Turley from Rapid City Christian and Elizabeth Erlandson from St. Thomas More, she was surprised to win.
"It means a lot, especially with all the great nominees that are up for it," she said. "I’m just thankful the OFFICIALS picked me because it was a hard choice; they’re all great athletes."
Schaefer was a team captain and named offensive player of the year for volleyball, and was selected to the Class AA all-state tournament team and was first team all-state.
In basketball, she also made the Class AA all-state tournament team. In track and field, she won the 300-meter hurdles state championship for the third straight year while being named first-team all-state track.
Schaefer said a lot of her inspiration comes from her family. Her two older brothers also have athletic backgrounds, Steven Schaefer was South Dakota Mr. Basketball in 2014 and Greg Schaefer was the 2013 American Legion Baseball Player of the Year.
"This is awesome for me. I’m hanging with my brothers I guess," Schaefer said with a smile. "Both of my parents played college sports, so they’ve all been really great role models for me and taught me about work ethic. Then my coaches, coach (Michael) Brooks, Kylie Voorhees (volleyball), coach (Lyle) Pagel for track, they’ve all helped support me and give me confidence."
Of all the sports she is involved in, she said her best is track. She also said that this season she has fallen in love with basketball and has always loved volleyball.
Fellow Raider BeVier was also surprised to win the boys' athlete of the year award. He was up against Trevor Severson from Douglas, Kolby Kost from Central, Nicholas Babb from Christian and Ty Trainor from STM.
"It’s just great, it’s amazing. I was so surprised and I had no idea," he said. "It could have been any of us. We’re all great athletes and they just picked me, which is great."
BeVier led the Raider football team in touchdowns and total offense this season, while being named to the ESD All-Conference team. In wrestling, he was a team captain and went 40-5, placing third in the state tournament.
He was also named a team captain for track and field. He was seventh in the 100-meter dash at the 2017 state meet and was a member of the 4x400 meter relay team that finished fourth at state.
When asked what his best sport is, BeVier said it isn't always the sport he's best at.
"The funny thing is, a lot of my coaches that I grew up with think wrestling is my best sport, but I don’t have the passion for it the way I do for football and track. Wrestling is my best sport, but it’s not my most passionate sport," he said. "I love football, even though I’m short. I love juking, swerving and scoring touchdowns, celebrating with my team, just the team bonding is amazing. If I have the chance to throw my shoulder down, I will because not many kids will be expecting it. But if I get the chance to, I love it."
BeVier stands shorter than most on the football field at 5 foot, 6 inches and 145 pounds, but that hasn't stopped the senior, only motivated him.
"A lot of people on other football teams look at me and say ‘that kid probably isn’t very good, he’s short,’" he said. "From my dad’s genes, I have the speed, I have the heart and I’ll keep going every moment."
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BeVier said he will be attending Black Hills State University where he will run track and potentially walk-on to the football team.
Other winners Monday night included Alexys Swedlund and Ciara Duffy for female collegiate athlete of the year. Both players played for STM in high school.
Swedlund is a junior at Washington State where she averaged 18 points and 6 rebounds a game during the Women's National Invitational Tournament.
Duffy is a sophomore at the University of South Dakota where she was the Summit League Freshman of the year and was selected to the Summit League All-Conference team.
The male collegeitate athletes of the year were Aero Amo, formerly of Central, now at Augustana, and Kyle Burdick, formerly of Stevens, now at South Dakota State.
Amo was a Division II All-American wrestler after finishing seventh at 184 pounds in the Division II national tournament. He finished his career with the Vikings with a 130-31 record.
Burdick was named the Most Outstanding Performer at the 2018 Summit League Indoor Track and Field Championships after winning the 3,000 meters, the 10,000 meters, and finishing second in the 5,000 meters.
Sadie Mae Tesch won the Independent Athlete of the Year. A sophomore at Central, she placed in 18 regional, national and international tournaments in the last year. The largest tournament, the World Indoor Cup in France, she finished third.
She took first in the South Dakota State Indoor Young Adult Freestyle and the South Dakota Indoor Championship Cadet.
Shane O'Connell won the Professional Athlete of the Year as a bareback bronco rider. The 2014 Central graduate won the all-around at the Deadwood Days of 76 Rodeo, the PRCA Championship Rodeo in Nebraska, the Greeley Stampede, Crystal Springs Rodeo, Dactoah Stampede Rodeo and was the co-champion of the Red Bluff Round-up in California.
His 2017 earnings were $64,757.
The banquet also honored four new members of the Rapid City Sports Hall of Fame.
Stan Evans was a longtime football and basketball official as well as a baseball umpire. He officiated 29 years at the high school level for basketball, 23 for American Legion baseball and 19 for football.
Donna Bader Young was the head gymnastics coach at Stevens from 1983-89. Her teams won state titles in 1984, 1987 and 1989.
Chas Fox went from the football field at Stevens to being one of only three football players in Rapid City to play in the NFL.
After graduating from Stevens in 1981, he played for Furman before spending time with the Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona Cardinals and Buffalo Bills of the NFL.
Darren Paulson has been the activities director at Central for 14 years, after spending 13 years at Lead-Deadwood. He has severed as the state event director for 13 different sports and will be retiring at the end of the school year.