2021 Winter Sports Preview

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Winter 2021-2022 SPORTS PREVIEW BASKETBALL : WRESTLING : INDOOR TRACK & FIELD Spearfish Spartans • Lead-Deadwood Golddiggers • Belle Fourche Broncs Sturgis Scoopers • Newell Irrigators • BHSU Yellow Jackets

SPECIAL SECTION


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SPORTS PREVIEW/ BLACK HILLS PIONEER

Winter 2021-2022

Dakota Johnson takes over as Lady Spartans’ new basketball coach By Dennis Knuckles Black Hills Pioneer SPEARFISH — When the Spearfish Lady Spartans take the court for the first time in the 2021-22 girls’ high school basketball season, they will have a new coach, and a new attitude. Dakota Johnson is the new Spearfish coach, replacing Eric Lappe who resigned this past spring after nine seasons as the Spearfish girls’ head basketball coach. Area fans remember her as Dakota Barrie: a member of the Black Hills State women’s basketball team from 2010-2014. Johnson spent the last two seasons as the Sioux Falls Roosevelt head girls’ basketball coach, where she compiled an overall record of 17-24. “The experience I gained coaching at Roosevelt the past two seasons, is huge,” said Johnson. “Seeing the different levels of competition on the east side of the state compared to the west side.” Johnson hopes to get her team to be competitive every game.

“I want to bring some of that competitive spirit to this program,” Johnson said. Johnson said she first got to meet the team for the first time this summer. “My husband and I were able to move here this summer, and I got to meet with them and some of the parents in June. We also got to attend some of the BHSU (Black Hills State University) basketball camps together,” Johnson said. Johnson said she is a firm believer defense helps set up the offense. “The biggest thing is we need to let our defense set up our offense, and we’ll get there,” said Johnson. “Right now we need to concentrate on connecting, being together, being great teammates together, and developing that team chemistry, which is so important.” The Lady Spartans started practice Nov. 22, and Johnson said she has been focusing on learning the personnel, and she is expecting the older players to help the younger girls.

Spearfish fans can expect the Lady Spartans to play an up-tempo type of offense. “I am very big on if you can score on your own, then push it in our motion offense, and we won’t run a lot of set plays,” said Johnson. “But if we can’t score on our own, then I will have them run some set plays.” Spearfish finished 7-13 last season, and have not had a winning season since the 2015-16 season when they finished 15-7, but Johnson said she is not looking back, but looking forward. “I believe in focusing on the now and not the past. The way the girls have embraced me and the other coaches has been huge,” said Johnson. Johnson said she expects big things from this team, this season. “I want us to be competitive and ultimately win. Our goal is to be a .500 team, and be competitive in our conference and in Class AA. “It’s not going to be easy, but if you can’t push yourself, be challenged, and accept the challenge, then what’s the point,” Johnson said.

SPEARFISH girls’ basketball Dec. 10 hosting Belle Fourche ...........6:30 p.m. Dec. 11 at Sturgis Brown .........................6 p.m. Dec. 17 at Aberdeen Central .................. 7 p.m. Dec. 18 hosting Pierre T.F. Riggs ............2 p.m. Dec. 30 hosting Hot Springs ...................3 p.m. Jan. 4 at Rapid City Stevens ..............6:30 p.m. Jan. 6 hosting Hill City . ..........................3 p.m. Jan. 14 at Brandon Valley .......................6 p.m. Jan. 15 at Brandon Valley ................12:45 p.m. Jan. 21 at Huron .......................................7 p.m. Jan. 22 at Mitchell . .............................1:30 p.m. Jan. 25 at St. Thomas More ....................6 p.m. Jan. 27 at Rapid City Central ............6:30 p.m. Feb. 1 hosting Lead-Deadwood ..........6:30 p.m. Feb. 5 at Red Cloud ....................................noon Feb. 8 hosting Sturgis Brown ............5:30 p.m. Feb. 10 at Custer .......................................6 p.m. Feb. 15 hosting Rapid City Christian...6:30 p.m. Feb. 17 at Douglas ...............................6:30 p.m. Feb. 25 hosting Yankton .....................6:30 p.m.

Members of the 2021-22 Spearfish High School girls’ basketball team are, front row from the left: Stella Marcus, KyleeJo Symonds, Hannah Schoon, and Sophia Belfort. Second row from the left: Madi Donovan, Ashlyn Moset, Laina Ornelas, Addi Reiners, Taylor Duncan, Madeline Kelly, Adriana Britt, Callie Wince, Sierra West, Sofie Guthmiller, Anna Peldo, Hailey Donarski, and Jozie Dana. Back row from the left: Hollie Wise, Sydney Brost, Breon Bogard, Avery Kirk, Lanie Ewing, Alivia Heairet, Cassidy Ewing, Brooke Peotter, Brylee Grubb, Ava Muth, Mya Kochuten, and Cadence Kilmer. Pioneer photo by Dennis Knuckles

2021-2022 Winter Sports Preview is produced by the Black Hills Pioneer newspaper, 315 Seaton Circle, Spearfish, SD, 57783, (605) 642-2761 • (800) 676-2761 • www.bhpioneer.com Letitia Lister, publisher Mark Watson, managing editor Sona O’Connell, advertising manager Melissa Barnett, layout The publisher will not be responsible or liable for misprints, misinformation or typographic errors herein contained. Publisher also reserves the right to refuse any advertising deemed not to be in the best interest of the publication. © 2021 BLACK HILLS PIONEER, all rights reserved.


Winter 2021-2022

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SPORTS PREVIEW/ BLACK HILLS PIONEER

Spartans basketball set high expectations for this season By Dennis Knuckles Black Hills SPEARFISH — The Spearfish Spartans have set high expectations for the upcoming season, and are looking to improve on their 10-11 record last season. The team’s first official practice was Nov. 29. Erik Skoglund, who is entering his fifth season as the Spartans’ boys’ basketball head coach, said he is pleased with how practices are going. “The 2021-2022 Spartan boys’ basketball season has had an outstanding start. This year’s roster consists of many multi-sport athletes from football, soccer, track and golf,” said Skoglund. “Our pre-season strength and conditioning program will help the Spartans reach many of our goals this year. The Spartans have high expectations for their team goals and are anxious to start the season.” Skoglund gave an evaluation on players who will be representing the Spartans’ basketball team for the 202122 season. Skoglund gave an evaluation of players expected to contribute to the Spartans basketball team this season. Seniors: Peyton Millis (6’3”) is returning for his third year of varsity basketball for the Spartans. He’s a multi-sport athlete, and he is an outstanding decision maker when he gets to the paint and a lethal scorer from inside and out. Trey Wood (6’2”) is a returning major contributor for the Spartans. He is an outside 3-point sniper who can also slash it to the rim. He provides senior leadership, an outstanding work ethic, and quality decision-making. Ty Sieber (6’3”) has continued to

work to make himself into a game day performer for the varsity. He has increased his shooting range while shooting a valued percentage from behind the arc. Nick Hamann (6’3”) has overcome a devastating lower leg injury in the spring of 2021 to be able to compete at the highest level this fall. He has a tremendous controlled dribble in the paint against contact and collisions to score it or find an open teammate. His extended range to the 3-point line has opened up his game immensely. Chase McArthur (6’2”) is a speedy guard who has gained strength and speed this off-season. He has the ability to get into opposing guards in the full court while crashing the offensive glass on the other side of the floor for the Spartans. Kaidon Feyereisen (6’3”) is a stretch No. 4 shooter for the Spartans. He has excellent spacing of the floor on the offensive end while having the ability to guard multiple positions in the front court. Juniors: Antonio Serrano (6’3”) is a returning starter for the Spartans entering his junior campaign. Serrano uses his ball handling skills to transition in a slashing guard and 3-point scorer when the opportunity arises. Smith Funke (5’10”) is a ball-hawking guard who has an incredible slashing aspect to his driving game. He can take contact and collisions on his moves to the rim while scoring it in a variety of ways. Carter Lyon (6’) is a taller, stronger, quicker, and more confident player than he was last year. Lyon has extended 3-point range to knock down a highly efficient percentage from behind the

arc while also being a better slasher to score in the 10-foot zone while also becoming a better distributor of the ball in the open court. Tayte Schatz (5’9”) is a multi-functional guard for the Spartans. He can play all the perimeter positions while driving and dishing to open teammates at the rim or on the perimeter. Bridger Niehaus (5’10”) has found his niche as a fly-around guard who can get to the lane to score or dish to open Spartans. Niehaus has gained strength and decision-making skills. Rylan Palmer (6’3”) has rehabbed a broken forearm that has kept him sidelined for the entire 2020-21 season. Palmer is a multi-numbered guard who can play with the ball in his hand or find space and scoring angles without it. Jack Ammerman (5’9”) is a combo guard who needs little space to shoot his high percentage 3-point shot off. Ammerman has worked hard on his skills to be able to be labeled a shooter-slasher for the Spartans. Sophomores: Seth Hamilton (6’) is a returning starter from his guard position for the Spartans. Hamilton is coming off a broken collarbone that occurred one week prior to the 2021 football season starting. Hamilton has increased strength and quickness while adding high efficiency 3-point shooting to his dangerous drives to the rim and midrange pull-up game. Brayden Delahoyde (6’5”) has developed into a varsity contributor with his length, athleticism, strong drives to the rim, and his defensive presence on the floor. He is a major defensive performer out front for the Spartans in their multiple full court sets.

Freshmen: Ryan Heinert (6’2”) begins his second season on the varsity team. Heinert has outstanding offensive skills as he can create space to launch from behind the 3-point line while also having the shiftiness to find lanes to the rim.

SPEARFISH boys’ basketball Dec. 10 hosting Belle Fourche ...........6:30 p.m. Dec. 11 at Sturgis Brown ....................7:30 p.m. Dec. 17 at Aberdeen Central ...................7 p.m. Dec. 18 at Pierre T.F. Riggs . ....................2 p.m. Dec. 30 hosting Hot Springs ..............4:30 p.m. Jan. 4 at Rapid City Stevens ...................8 p.m. Jan. 6 hosting Hill City . .....................4:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at Brandon Valley ..................7:30 p.m. Jan. 15 at Brandon Valley ..................2:15 p.m. Jan. 21 hosting Huron .............................7 p.m. Jan. 22 hosting Mitchell . ...................1:30 p.m. Jan. 25 at St. Thomas More ...............7:30 p.m. Jan. 27 at Rapid City Central .................8 p.m. Feb. 1 hosting Lead-Deadwood ...............8 p.m. Feb. 5 at Red Cloud.....................................noon Feb. 8 hosting Sturgis Brown .................7 p.m. Feb. 10 at Custer ..................................7:30 p.m. Feb. 15 hosting Rapid City Christian ....8 p.m. Feb. 17 at Douglas ....................................8 p.m. Feb. 25 hosting Yankton ..........................8 p.m.

Members of the 2021-22 Spearfish High School boys’ basketball team are, front row from the left: Cody Chapman, Cayel Holmgren, Charlie Rasmussen, Mickey Strawn, Jayce Sandford, Dylon Doren, Braden Ericks, Dalton Ferrell, Drace Eisenbarth, Haroon Khan, and.Nate Sperling. Middle row from the left: Michael Gonzalez, Travis Deuel, David Doren, Cooper Dana, Carter Lyon, Nick Hamann, Ryan Palmer, Ryan Heinert, Nick Hamann, Smith Funke, James Clark, and Lucas Skoglund. Back row from the left: Boone Williams, Jacob Garness, Tony Serrano, Dawson Wood, Peyton Millis, Kaidon Feyereisen, Seth Hamilton, Brayden Delahoyde, Carter Gibbs, Ethan Hopper, Ty Sieber, Trey Wood, and Braydn Wickenhagen. Pioneer photo by Dennis Knuckles


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Winter 2021-2022

SPORTS PREVIEW/ BLACK HILLS PIONEER

Youthful Diggers preparing for season By Jason Gross Black Hills Pioneer LEAD — Lead-Deadwood will bring a very young squad into a girls’ basketball season slated to begin Dec. 10 at Oelrichs. Golddiggers’ head coach Tim Hansen said the squad will rely heavily on three players. They are senior Rachel Janssen, senior Jayna Prince, and junior Allison Mollman. “I think we’ve got some decent quickness. We’re going to be OK defensively,” said Hansen, who is beginning his sixth season as Golddiggers’ head coach. Hansen said Lead-Deadwood needs improved shooting, especially on the first attempt. “We can’t always depend on getting a rebound or two close to the basket, getting two or three looks there,” he added. Lead-Deadwood’s home opener is Dec. 14 against Newell. Other home games for the Golddiggers are Dec. 17-18 at the Stateline Shootout, Jan. 6 against Upton, Jan. 13 against Hill City, Jan.

18 against St. Thomas More, Jan. 22 against Hot Springs, Jan. 28 against Red Cloud, Feb. 3 against Philip, Feb. 12 against Douglas, and Feb. 17 against Custer. The Golddiggers will rely on ninth-graders and sophomores who may or may not be ready for the varsity, according to Hansen. He said the roster from grades nine through 12 has a total of only 12 players. Hansen said Black Hills Conference competition features high-quality teams like St. Thomas More, Hill City, and Belle Fourche. He added Class AA teams like Spearfish and Sturgis Brown are three times larger than LeadDeadwood. “Our conference schedule is very difficult,” Hansen said. “January is a real grind because that’s right in the mix of the conference scheduling.” How will Hansen and the Golddiggers define success this season? “I think it’s really going to be about coming together as a team and as a family within the group,” Hansen said. He added he would like to see the competitive attitude start to take hold with-

in in the program. Official practice sessions got underway Nov. 22. Focal points included fundamentals, and making adjustments to the offense. “The offense that we’ve run the last couple of years was put into place for a specific skill and talent set. We’re just a different team,” Hansen said. Lead-Deadwood finished 1-18 last season and fell to Custer 53-25 in the Region 7A-8A tournament. Hansen said last season’s players became more comfortable with their roles as time progressed. He added he would like to see that take place earlier this season. “Scoring was an issue for us last year,” Hansen said when asked about the biggest improvements the Golddiggers must make for this season. “We need to make sure that we take care of the ball, especially against teams that want to put some pressure on us.” Kailee Bertrand, Madelaine Rogers, Madi Rystrom, Lillie Wittmayer, and Lexie Schroeder graduated from that team.

LEAD-DEADWOOD girls’ basketball Dec. 10 at Oelrichs ...................................4 p.m. Dec. 11 at Harding County .......................noon Dec. 14 hosting Newell ............................4 p.m. Dec. 17 at Stateline Shootout...................1 p.m. Dec. 18 at Stateline Shootout...................1 p.m. Dec. 21 at Bennett County.........................TBD Dec. 30 at Sturgis Brown..........................5 p.m. Jan. 4 at RC Christian.........................6:30 p.m. Jan. 6 hosting Upton, Wyo.......................4 p.m. Jan. 7 at New Underwood........................4 p.m. Jan. 11 at Belle Fourche......................5:30 p.m. Jan. 13 hosting Hill City..........................6 p.m. Jan. 18 hosting St. Thomas More....5:30 p.m. Jan. 22 hosting Hot Springs....................2 p.m. Jan. 28 hosting Red Cloud.......................4 p.m. Feb. 1 at Spearfish ...............................6:30 p.m. Feb. 8 hosting Bison.............................5:30 p.m. Feb. 12 hosting Douglas...........................4 p.m. Feb. 17 hosting Custer..............................6 p.m.

The Lead-Deadwood girls’ basketball team includes, back row from the left: Hallie Person, Taylor Hansen, Erica Hansen, Rachel Janssen, Jayna Prince, Delaney Mattson. Front row from the left: Alayna Baurenfiend, Clarissa Heisinger, Allison Mollman, Piper Rogers, Jerzee Artz, and Emily Farmer. Head coach Tim Hansen is not pictured. Pioneer photo by Jason Gross

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Winter 2021-2022

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SPORTS PREVIEW/ BLACK HILLS PIONEER

Diggers open BB season December 10 By Jason Gross Black Hills Pioneer LEAD — Lead-Deadwood will visit Oelrichs in its varsity boys’ basketball season opener set for Dec. 10. Head coach Travis Rogers cited senior Rocke Rainey, junior Crew Rainey, and junior James Pierce as the key returning players for the Golddiggers. Rogers is starting his fourth season here. Sophomore Jaxson Burleson and ninth-grader Beau Wichterman have also shown early promise, according to Rogers. “Right now, we seem to be playing together pretty well,” Rogers said in describing team strengths. “They’re jelling as a team for as early as it is, and they’re hard workers.” Rogers agreed players will need to work on fundamentals, plus getting used to his offensive and defensive schemes. Inexperience at the varsity level poses another concern for Rogers. “We’re not bringing back a bunch of guys that have had a bunch of varsity playing time,” he said.

Numbers for the Golddiggers are currently at 20. Rogers said that includes some eighth-graders who will fill spots until the middle school season begins so a C team may be filled. Lead-Deadwood’s home opener will be Dec. 14 against Newell. The Golddiggers host the Stateline Shootout on Dec. 17-18. Other scheduled home games are set for Jan. 6 against Upton, Jan. 13 against Hill City, Jan. 18 against St. Thomas More, Jan. 22 against Hot Springs, Jan. 28 against Red Cloud, Feb. 3 against Philip, Feb. 12 against Douglas, Feb. 17 against Custer, and Feb. 21 against Rapid City Christian. “It’s going to be tough,” Rogers said in describing the schedule. “We’re hoping to be competitive with the schools that are our size.” Rogers said schools like Spearfish and Sturgis Brown pose threats because of their depth. St. Thomas More earned Rogers’ nod in the Black Hills Conference race. He said Rapid City Christian boasts a good program, with Sturgis Brown and Spearfish also contending.

“I feel like we’re in a fairly tough conference, so it will be a battle for us,” Rogers said. “Some of our nonconference games, I think we’ll compete a little bit better.” Success for Lead-Deadwood centers on work ethic, daily improvement, and playing its best at season’s end. “I think we’re successful if the kids go out and give it all they’ve got,” Rogers said. “That is very important to me.” Official practice sessions got underway Nov. 29. Players are getting back into the swing of things, which includes getting into shape. Lead-Deadwood finished 3-16 last season. Its first-round Region 7A-8A tournament game against Hot Springs was canceled because of COVID-19 protocols. Rogers said that squad displayed a strong work ethic, and he looks for the team to continue that this season. Improvements will center on shooting and rebounding, Rogers added. TK Rainey, Mekieh Hon, Kurt Primo, Gene Claymore, and Brevan Norris graduated from last season’s squad.

LEAD-DEADWOOD boys’ basketball Dec. 14 hosting Newell.............................4 p.m. Dec. 17 Stateline Shootout (vs. Sundance)...1 p.m. Dec. 18 Stateline Shootout (vs. Newcastle)...1 p.m. Dec. 21 at Bennett County ......................2 p.m. Dec. 30 at Sturgis Brown.....................6:30 p.m. Jan. 6 hosting Upton, Wyo. .....................4 p.m. Jan. 7 at New Underwood .......................3 p.m. Jan. 11 at Belle Fourche ..........................7 p.m. Jan. 13 hosting Hill City.....................7:30 p.m. Jan. 18 hosting St. Thomas More ..........7 p.m. Jan. 20 at Hill City ...................................7 p.m. Jan. 22 hosting Hot Springs ...................5 p.m. Jan. 28 hosting Red Cloud ......................4 p.m. Feb. 2 at Spearfish ....................................8 p.m. Feb. 3 hosting Philip ................................4 p.m. Feb. 12 at Douglas ....................................7 p.m. Feb. 17 at Custer .................................7:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at Rapid City Christian .........6:30 p.m.

The Lead-Deadwood boys’ basketball team includes, back row left: Beau Wichterman, Rocke Rainey, Carter Estes, Connor Harrison, Crew Rainey. Front row from the left: Jaxson Burleson, Tyler Williams, Alken Aguilar, James Pierce, and Clyde Primo. Head coach Travis Rogers is not pictured. Pioneer photo by Jason Gross

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Winter 2021-2022

SPORTS PREVIEW/ BLACK HILLS PIONEER

Rugged slate to test Bronc girls’ team By Jason Gross Black Hills Pioneer BELLE FOURCHE — Belle Fourche will have no chance to ease into its girls’ basketball season, as it visits defending state Class B champion White River on Dec. 9. Broncs’ head coach Bill Burr will rely on an upper-classman group for this season. Kaylin Garza is a senior; Chloe Crago, Dylan Stedillie, Tia Williamson, and Gracie Clooten represent the junior class. Returning experience is only one of the strong suits for Belle Fourche. “They’re a close group, and they get along so well,” said Burr, who is starting his 10th season here. “They’re very competitive in the gym; they’re all pushing each other and wanting to get better.” Burr said players are always working on shooting. He added ball handling and decision-making on the court also need improvement. “I really believe this is the toughest schedule I’ve seen us play,” Burr said.

Belle Fourche visits Spearfish on Dec. 10 before its home opener Dec. 14, when the Broncs host Sturgis Brown. The Broncs will also compete at the Stateline Shootout set for Dec. 17-18 in Lead. Other slated home games for Belle Fourche are Jan. 11 against LeadDeadwood, Jan. 20 against Douglas, Jan. 22 against Bowman, Jan. 29 against Eastern South Dakota member Watertown, Feb. 1 against Red Cloud, Feb. 5 against Custer, Feb. 8 against Rapid City Christian, and Feb. 18 against Faith. St. Thomas More, Spearfish, Custer, and Rapid City Christian are among the Black Hills Conference teams on the slate. “It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Burr said. “We’re excited and ready to get going.” Burr said St. Thomas More is the team to beat in the conference. He added Rapid City Christian, Custer, Spearfish, and Sturgis Brown will also be competitive.

“You’re going to have to be ready to play,” Burr said in describing a typical night in the conference. “Any one night, anybody can beat anybody.” Burr said the Broncs boast some good height and great speed, with a willingness to play physically down low. He sees the team being very competitive if it can play its style. “We have to play together as a team and use every one of those special spots we have, like the speed and strength underneath,” Burr said. He agreed playing as a team will define a successful season for the Broncs. Official practice sessions began Nov. 22, with players going back to the basics. Footwork, ball handling, and passing were stressed before the team started work on its offensive and defensive sets. Belle Fourche forged an 18-7 record last season and finished eighth at the state Class A tournament. Its final game was a 49-42 loss to McCook Central. Burr said the Broncs did not per-

form as well at state as they would have liked. He added this year’s players really want to return and improve on that 0-3 finish. “It’s a process, and you can’t jump ahead of yourself,” Burr said of a basketball season. Burr said shooting is something that needs improvement, and players work on it a lot. Bella Jensen, Jasmyn Jensen, Hayley Wilbur, and Kylee Crago graduated from last season’s team.

BELLE FOURCHE girls’ basketball Dec. 9 at White River.............................5:30 p.m. Dec. 10 at Spearfish...............................6:30p.m. Dec. 14 hosting Sturgis Brown................7 p.m. Dec. 17-18 at Stateline Shootout, Lead.....TBD Dec. 21 at Wall............................................1 p.m. Jan. 3 at St. Thomas More..................7:30 p.m. Jan. 7 at Chadron, Neb.............................7 p.m. Jan. 11 hosting Lead-Deadwood........5:30 p.m. Jan. 18 at Hill City....................................6 p.m. Jan. 20 hosting Douglas......................7:30 p.m. Jan. 21 at Hot Springs.........................5:30 p.m. Jan. 22 hosting Bowman County, ND.....1 p.m. Jan. 29 hosting Watertown (BF Middle School)..1 p.m. Feb. 1 hosting Red Cloud.....................5:30 p.m. Feb. 5 hosting Custer................................1 p.m. Feb. 8 hosting RC Christian (BF Middle School)......7 p.m. Feb. 18 hosting Faith...........................5:30 p.m. Feb. 24 at New Underwood.................5:30 p.m.

The Belle Fourche varsity girls’ basketball team is getting ready for its season. Pictured are, back row from the left: Reese Larson, Kaylin Garza, Grace Clooten, Tia Williamson, Dylan Stedillie. Front row from the left: Alexis Sheeler, Lily McCarty, Chloe Crago, Mataya Ward, and Sloan Young. Head coach Bill Burr is not pictured. Pioneer photo by Jason Gross

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Winter 2021-2022

Page 7

SPORTS PREVIEW/ BLACK HILLS PIONEER

Experienced Broncs to return to court By Jason Gross Black Hills Pioneer BELLE FOURCHE — Belle Fourche returns a wealth of experience for a 2021-22 boys’ basketball season set to begin Dec. 10 at Spearfish. That lineup includes seniors Aiden Giffin and junior Anthony Budmayr, who earned All-Black Hills Conference honors a season ago. Seniors Gabe Heck, Ryker Audiss, and Cole Hockenbary also gained significant varsity time for head coach Clay Pottorff ’s squad in 2020-21. Seniors Devin Burns, Dalton Davis, and Caiden Stores; juniors Anthony Staley and Tatin Yackley; and sophomore Nolan Wahlfeldt are also on the roster as of press time. Returning production and experience emerge as strong suits for Pottorff, who is beginning his seventh season as Broncs’ head coach. “This core group of guys has been playing together for a long time,” Pottorff said. “They know where they’re at on the floor, and they play

well together.” Pottorff said players will need to maintain consistency as practices and games progress. He added the Broncs will play sharp and do well together, but continuous focus is needed. Belle Fourche’s home opener is set for Dec. 14 against Sturgis Brown. Other home games are Jan. 11 against Lead-Deadwood, Jan. 22 against Bowman, Jan. 25 against Lemmon, Feb. 1 against Red Cloud, Feb. 5 against Custer, Feb. 8 against Rapid City Christian, and Feb. 18 against Faith. Pottorff said the Spearfish opener represents a new wrinkle on the schedule. Belle Fourche will also visit Redfield on Jan. 14 and compete in the next day’s Redfield Classic. “It will be a fun year, and I like the schedule that we have,” Pottorff said. “It’s fun experiences for the boys and fun competition.” Pottorff said the Black Hills Conference race is tough to call, but he favors St. Thomas More. He added Spearfish and Sturgis Brown bring

experience to the table, with Douglas being a scrappy club. “We’re trying to establish ourselves as a team you can throw in that conversation that if you come to our place, it’s going to be a tough battle that night,” Pottorff said. Pottorff said the Broncs will come in each night expecting to compete and do the things necessary to win. “If we play hard and play smart, we’ll be in every game,” he added. Broncs’ success centers on playing harder than the opponent, according to Pottorff. Official practice sessions began on Nov. 29. Focal points have included details, fundamentals, and maintaining consistency. Belle Fourche finished 9-12 last season, with the team falling 45-40 to Rapid City Christian in a Region 8A tournament game. Pottorff said the Broncs finished strong in 2020-21, and he added players can take confidence from that to start setting a foundation for this season.

Consistency will need improvement from last season to this, according to Pottorff. Brextin Garza, Lan Fuhrer, Logan Goeders, Gage Kracht, Bryton Oedekoven, and Blake Vissia graduated from last season’s team.

BELLE FOURCHE boys’ basketball Dec. 10 at Spearfish...................................8 p.m. Dec. 14 hosting Sturgis Brown...........5:30 p.m. Dec. 17-18 Stateline Shootout, Lead.........TBD Jan. 4 at St. Thomas More..................7:30 p.m. Jan. 7 at Chadron, Neb.............................7 p.m. Jan. 11 hosting Lead-Deadwood.............7 p.m. Jan. 18 at Hill City...............................7:30 p.m. Jan. 21 at Hot Springs..............................7 p.m. Jan. 22 hosting Bowman County.......2:30 p.m. Jan. 25 hosting Lemmon..........................7 p.m. Jan. 27 at Harding County..................5:30 p.m. Feb. 1 hosting Red Cloud..........................7 p.m. Feb. 5 hosting Custer...........................2:30 p.m. Feb. 8 hosting RC Christian................5:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at Douglas................................7:30 p.m. Feb. 18 hosting Faith................................7 p.m. Feb. 25 at Mobridge-Pollock....................6 p.m.

Belle Fourche will open its varsity boys’ basketball season Dec. 10 at Spearfish. Seniors and returning members from last season are, back row from the left: Dalton Davis, Ryker Audiss, Anthony Staley, Aiden Giffin, Cole Hockenbary. Front row from the left: Gabe Heck, Caiden Stores, Devin Burns, and Anthony Budmayr. Head coach Clay Pottorff is not pictured. Pioneer photo by Jason Gross

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Winter 2021-2022

SPORTS PREVIEW/ BLACK HILLS PIONEER

Sturgis Brown girls’ basketball team has high expectations for season By Tim Potts Black Hills Pioneer STURGIS — The Sturgis Brown z Scoopers girls’ basketball team is preparing for the upcoming 2020-2021 season, and it will return a veteran club. Jordan Proefrock is in her eighth years as Scoopers’ head coach, and she said expectations are high for the season. “We are returning a good nucleus of seniors, and Sawyer Dennis our junior point guard. I thought we finished our season strong last year and completed the season with an 8-12 record,” said Proefrock. “We will need to build our bench depth in order to play how we want to play this season. We are looking to push the ball more and change up our defenses.” The Scoopers have set several goals, starting with having a winning record, making it to the Class AA state tournament, and be in the running for the Black Hills Conference title.

Spearfish, Red Cloud, Saint Thomas More, Hill City, and a much improved Custer team will all be very competitive in the conference this year. “We are right there with all of them to compete as well,” said Proefrock. Kaylee Whatley and Tatum Ligtenberg, both seniors, have been playing on the varsity team since their freshmen year. They both will be looked upon to be the leaders and step up in big ways. Dennis has also been on varsity since her freshmen season, and has made great improvements. “Dennis will be looked upon to help lead our team at the point guard position,” Proefrock said. Whatley is excited about upcoming season. “I’m really excited for the upcoming season. We have a great team this year, and we all work really well together. We have big expectations for this season, and I know that we’re going to work hard to meet them,” said Whatley.

Lexi Long, a senior, shared her thoughts on the season. “I am so excited about this upcoming season. It feels like your senior season is what you’ve been working for since you were in fifth grade. A lot of us put in a bunch of time this summer and kept a ball in our hands,” said Long. “We just have to go into every game with the mentality that each game is important and will help seat us in our end goal of playing in the SoDak 16.” The Scoopers will have 50 girls fighting for positions on the varsity team, with 21 freshmen, so the numbers are up this season. Proefrock talked about the strengths and weakness of this year’s team. “This year the girls are pretty even at every position. It should make our practices more competitive and as a result make us better,” said Proefrock. “Our potential weakness could be not having enough experienced depth on the bench.”

STURGIS BROWN girls’ basketball Dec. 10 hosting Douglas .....................6:30 p.m. Dec. 11 hosting Spearfish ........................6 p.m. Dec. 14 at Belle Fourche.......................... 7 p.m. Dec. 17 hosting Pierre T.F. Riggs .......7:30 p.m. Dec. 18 hosting Aberdeen Central ....1:30 p.m. Dec. 21 hosting RC Stevens ................6:30 p.m. Dec. 30 hosting Lead-Deadwood . ...........5 p.m. Jan. 4 hosting Custer ..........................6:30 p.m. Jan. 6 hosting St. Thomas More ............7 p.m. Jan. 11 at RC Christian ......................6:30 p.m. Jan. 13 at RC Central ..........................6:30 p.m. Jan. 21 at Mitchell . ..................................7 p.m. Jan. 22 at Huron ..................................1:30 p.m. Jan. 25 hosting Hill City .........................6 p.m. Jan. 27 at St. Thomas More ....................7 p.m. Feb. 8 at Spearfish ...............................5:30 p.m. Feb. 11 hosting Hot Springs ...............6:30 p.m. Feb. 17 hosting Red Cloud ..................6:30 p.m. Feb. 22 at Douglas ...............................6:30 p.m. Feb. 26 hosting Yankton ..........................1 p.m.

Members of the 2021-2022 Sturgis Brown Scoopers girls’ basketball team are, back row from left: Rachel Banks, Kenna Goebel, Kaylee Whatley, Joellen Cano, Reese Ludwick, Kaitlyn Bush, Zoey Holt, Novali Dinkins, and Taesha Monahan. Front row from the left: Zabree Bush, Landry Haugen, Taten Ligtenberg, Sawyer Dennis, Cali Ewing, Addie Jolley, Sage Graham, Keeley Heikes, and Taylor Price. Pioneer photo by Tim Potts

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Winter 2021-2022

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SPORTS PREVIEW/ BLACK HILLS PIONEER

Scooper boys’ basketball expects to be competitive this season By Tim Potts Black Hills Pioneer STURGIS – The Sturgis Brown Scooper boys’ basketball team started tryouts on Nov. 29, with 51 athletes fighting for a position on the team. Derris Buus is in his fourth year as head coach of the Scoopers, and looks forward to a strong season, being extremely competitive, and hoping to improve on last year’s record. “Our staff fully expects to compete hard in every game this season. We have eight guys returning that started at some point for the Scooper varsity team last year. We have our top three leading scorers back as well as our three best defenders from last year,” said Buus. “We look to improve immensely from last year’s 3-17 record. We have a group coming back that is very committed and spent a ton of time improving their skills this off-season.” This year’s team will have five seniors; they are Ridge Inhofer, Konner Berndt, Carson Pankratz, Jonas Perez, and Tanner Ortlieb. Inhofer talked about this year’s team and his thoughts and goals for the season. “The group of guys we have is extremely competitive. With a tough season last year, we all are hungry to win and get a

chance at a state tournament. “Being one of the seniors this year allows me to be a leader on the team. I will work to keep a good chemistry between the boys, keep everyone’s heads up, and clear vision of our goals,” said Inhofer. “This year’s team is going to be deep with athletes. There will be all sorts of different looks on the court. It should make for some exciting nights in west gymnasium.” Juniors competing for playing time will be Gavin Ligtenberg, Owen Cass, Dysen Peterson, Korbin Jensen, Connor Cruickshank, Cale Jolley, Tayten Smeenk, Slade Heller, Owen Koontz, and Jake Vliem. Sophomores that had varsity experience last year are Tyan Buus and Aiden Hedderman “We expect to be one of the best defensive teams in our conference, and we expect to outwork our opponents. They are multi-sport athletes who make practice very competitive and enjoyable,” Buus said. The Scoopers lost only two seniors from last season: Thor Sundstrom and RJ Andrzejewski. “Last year’s seniors were very committed to our program and the program’s success,” said Buus. “I want to thank them

for the four years of dedication to our basketball program. They worked hard and were great teammates to our younger kids. We will miss them, and they will still be a big part of the Scooper basketball program.” The leading scoring for the Scoopers last season was Cass. As a sophomore, he scored 145 points on the season, and averaged 7.7 per game. Peterson was second in scoring on the season with 127 points and Pankratz with 98. The Scoopers’ shooting percentages were 45%, 22% on 3-pointers, and 54% from the free throw line. Chairman of the Boards was Vliem with 96 rebounds on the season, averaging 4.7 rebounds per game, and Peterson followed with 88 rebounds. Buus talked about his expectations for the Scooper as they open their 2021-22 season Dec. 10, at home, against Douglas. “We expect our team to play harder and smarter than any opponents we face. We expect to be the best defensive team on the floor, and we look forward to the opportunity to get back on the court against Douglas who beat us twice last year,” said Buss. “Our staff, as well as our players, are excited for the upcoming season.”

STURGIS BROWN boys’ basketball Dec. 10 hosting Douglas ..........................8 p.m. Dec. 11 hosting Spearfish ...................7:30 p.m. Dec. 14 at Belle Fourche .....................5:30 p.m. Dec. 17 at Pierre T.F. Riggs . ....................7 p.m. Dec. 21 hosting RC Stevens .....................8 p.m. Dec. 30 hosting Lead-Deadwood....... 6:30 p.m. Jan. 4 hosting Custer ...............................8 p.m. Jan. 8 at St. Thomas More ......................6 p.m. Jan. 11 at RC Christian ......................7:30 p.m. Jan. 13 at RC Central ...............................8 p.m. Jan. 21 hosting Mitchell . ........................7 p.m. Jan. 22 hosting Huron ........................1:30 p.m. Jan. 25 hosting Hill City..........................8 p.m. Feb. 1 hosting St. Thomas More..............7 p.m. Feb. 8 at Spearfish ....................................7 p.m. Feb. 11 hosting Hot Springs ....................8 p.m. Feb. 17 hosting Red Cloud ..................3:30 p.m. Feb. 22 at Douglas ....................................8 p.m. Feb. 26 hosting Yankton .....................2:30 p.m.

Members of the 2021-2022 Sturgis Brown High School boys’ basketball team are, back row from the left: Owen Koontz, Slade Heller, Carson Pankratz, Dysen Peterson, Jake Vliem, Aiden Hedderman, Jonas Perez, and Owen Cass. Front row from the left: Korbin Jensen, Tyan Buus, Konner Berndt, Tanner Ortlieb, Ridge Inhofer, Connor Cruickshank, Tayten Smeenk, and Gavin Ligtenberg. Pioneer photo by Tim Potts

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Winter 2021-2022

SPORTS PREVIEW/ BLACK HILLS PIONEER

Newell needs to fill starter spots By Jason Gross Black Hills Pioneer NEWELL — The Newell varsity girls’ basketball team returns only two starters from a squad that finished 17-5 last season. Senior Sydnee Kjellsen and sophomore Jaelyn Wendt highlight the returning players for head coach Scott Wince’s squad. Both starters return; junior Taylor Gaer, junior Stacy Mahaffy, sophomore Kim Johnson, and sophomore Rachel Erk are among others gaining experience last season. “We’re really young and almost starting over. We don’t have an identity yet this year,” said Wince, who is in his fifth season as Newell’s head coach. Wince recalled the 2020-21 Irrigator team ran, pressed, and trapped with a lineup that included three seniors. He said he doesn’t know if Newell is that squad anymore. He has coached these players for the last few years and views that as a team strength. Terminology, offense, and defense are the same from middle-school to high-school levels. “They listen very well. They want to be good,” Wince said in describing the players. “We can work on x’s and o’s as we get going, but those other characteristics are pretty important to me.” Wince said players will need to work on fundamentals and the sport’s mental aspect, such as decision-making. He added failure will happen, and learning how to deal with that is vital. “It will be a growing experience this year,” Wince said. “I think good things are coming. It just depends on how well things mesh together.” Newell opens its season Dec. 10 when it hosts Harding County at Austin Auditorium. Other scheduled home games are Dec. 11 against Bison, Jan. 4 against Wall, Jan. 11 and 14 at the West River Tournament, Jan. 28 against Faith, Jan. 29 against Philip, Feb. 4 against Edgemont, Feb. 15 against New Underwood, and Feb. 17 against Dupree. Newell’s slate includes games against Class A opponents LeadDeadwood, Custer, and Hill City. Wince said they are bigger, faster, stronger, and more physical than his squad.

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“I think our schedule’s going to be tough,” Wince said. He added the Irrigators could be an underdog against most opponents because of what was lost from last season. Wince tabbed Timber Lake as the Little Moreau Conference favorite. He said Faith, Lemmon, Harding County, Bison, and virtually everyone else should battle for the number 2 spot. “I think everybody in the conference is going to compete,” Wince said. He envisions a well-balanced slate with a lot of really close games. Players maturing in their roles will mark success for Wince and Newell this season. “They’re young, but I think by the end of the year, we’re going to be knocking someone off we’re not supposed to,” Wince said.

Official practice sessions began Nov. 22 with two-a-days. Focal points included conditioning and fundamentals, with an emphasis on increasing stress levels. “We’re becoming comfortable, being uncomfortable,” Wince explained. “Hopefully, that transitions into game decisions.” Newell’s 2020-21 campaign ended with a 47-41 loss to Timber Lake in the Region 8B tournament. Wince said last season’s leaders held younger teammates accountable. He added he has seen that in some younger players so far this season. “We’re going to have to play good team defense and understand the concept of man-to-man,” Wince said of the biggest improvements to make from last season to this. “Our sixth,

seventh, and eighth person are going to have to really step up and fill some shoes.” Kayden Steele, Lexa Burtzlaff, and Kassidy Weeldreyer graduated from last season’s team.

NEWELL girls’ schedule Dec. 10 hosting Harding County.............3 p.m. Dec. 11 hosting Bison...............................3 p.m. Dec. 14 at Lead-Deadwood.......................4 p.m. Dec. 16 at McIntosh...................................5 p.m. Dec. 20 at Lemmon....................................3 p.m. Jan. 4 hosting Wall....................................5 p.m. Jan. 7 at Tiospaye Topa............................2 p.m. Jan. 11 hosting West River Tourney......6 p.m. Jan. 14 hosting West River Tourney......6 p.m. Jan. 15 at West River Tourney............9:30 a.n. Jan. 20 at Custer........................................6 p.m. Jan. 28 hosting Faith................................3 p.m. Jan. 29 hosting Philip...............................1 p.m. Feb. 3 at Hill City.......................................6 p.m. Feb. 4 hosting Edgemont..........................1 p.m. Feb. 8 at Oelrichs.......................................4 p.m. Feb. 11 at Timber Lake.............................3 p.m. Feb. 15 hosting New Underwood.......5:30 p.m. Feb. 17 hosting Dupree.............................3 p.m.

The Newell varsity girls’ basketball team includes, back row from the left: Shannon Yates, Mary Mahaffy, Jaelyn Wendt, Rachel Erk, Hailey McCann. Front row from the left: Kim Johnson, Sydnee Kjellsen, Stacy Mahaffy, and Taylor Gaer. Head coach Scott Wince is not pictured. Photo courtesy of Newell High School journalism class

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Winter 2021-2022

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Page 11

New coach to make Newell debut By Jason Gross show everything that we had in us on Black Hills Pioneer the floor, off the floor, in practices?” NEWELL — A new head coach He placed an emphasis on daily imguides Newell into a boys’ basketprovement and wants his players to ball season set to begin Dec. 10, succeed on and off the court. when the Irrigators host Official practice sesHarding County at Austin sions began Nov. 29. Auditorium. Fundamentals took Paul McLaughlin center stage, with takes over for Steven McLaughlin describing Schoenfish, who stepped the process as “starting down following the 2020-21 small, starting simple, campaign. and then growing.” McLaughlin listed seBasketball has been a nior Jaden Tennis, junior part of McLaughlin’s life Colton Burtzlaff, junior for a long time. The Rapid Nate Randolph, and sophCity Christian and Black omore James Duncan Hills State University Irrigators’head coach as key players for the graduate coached ninthPaul McLaughlin Irrigators. grade and sophomore “They hustle every second on the teams last season in Lafayette, Colo. court,” McLaughlin said in outlining “I have the love for the game and Newell’s team strengths. “They give 100%, and I never have to question that.” McLaughlin said the Irrigators are a relatively young squad. He added fundamentals and maturity would need the most work. “Being able to speed things up and slow them down at the appropriate time,” McLaughlin said in further describing the maturity aspect. “With them being so young into this varsity-level playing, the game’s going to be a different level for them.” Other Newell home games are set for Dec. 11 against Bison, Jan. 6 against Sundance, Jan. 13-14 to start the West River Tournament, Jan. 28 against Faith, Jan. 29 against Philip, Feb. 4 against Edgemont, Feb. 17 against Dupree, and Feb. 19 against Wall. “We have a difficult schedule,” McLaughlin said. He added the Little Moreau Conference boasts tough teams like Harding County, Lemmon, and Timber Lake. McLaughlin said Newell should compete well with conference teams having lower numbers as the Irrigators do. “I measure our success by, did we leave the game giving everything that we had?” McLaughlin said. “Did we

never want to let it die,” McLaughlin said. “I want to pass on that love to these new players.” This year will mark McLaughlin’s second official season as a basketball head coach. His coaching philosophy stresses the fundamentals, with emphasis on zone defense and a fastpaced offense. “I’m a team-oriented coach,” McLaughlin said. “We have to win and lose games as a team.” McLaughlin most looks forward to watching this season’s Irrigator squad work. Newell finished 2-18 during the 202021 season. The final game was a 67-19 loss to Lemmon during the Region 8B tournament. Ryan Hohenberger and David Morell graduated from last season’s team.

NEWELL boys’ schedule Dec. 10 hosting Harding County.............3 p.m. Dec. 11 hosting Bison...............................1 p.m. Dec. 14 at Lead-Deadwood.......................4 p.m. Dec. 16 at McIntosh...................................5 p.m. Dec. 2 at Lemmon......................................3 p.m. Jan. 6 hosting Sundance, Wyo............5:30 p.m. Jan. 7 at Tiospaye Topa............................2 p.m. Jan. 13 hosting West River Tourney......6 p.m. Jan. 14 hosting West River Tourney......3 p.m. Jan. 15 at West River Tourney...........9:30 a.m. Jan. 25 at New Underwood.................5:30 p.m. Jan. 28 hosting Faith................................3 p.m. Jan. 29 hosting Philip................................1 p.m Feb. 3 at Hill City..................................7:30 p.m. Feb. 4 hosting Edgemont..........................1 p.m. Feb. 8 at Oelrichs.......................................4 p.m. Feb. 11 at Timber Lake.............................3 p.m. Feb. 17 hosting Dupree.............................3 p.m. Feb. 19 hosting Wall.............................4:30 p.m.

Newell is preparing for its boys’ basketball season set to start on Dec. 10. Pictured are, back row: Gavin Tesch; third row from the left: Chase VanDerBoom, James Duncan. Second row from the left: Colton Burtzlaff, Tevin Schiffner, Isaac Stark, Joshua Stomproud, Jamin Davidson, Nate Randolph. Front row from the left: Darin Lewis, Chase Johnston, Devon Jones, and Evan Byrom. Head coach Paul McLaughlin is not pictured. Photo courtesy of Paul McLaughlin

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Winter 2021-2022

SPORTS PREVIEW/ BLACK HILLS PIONEER

Lady Jackets’ basketball looking to find its identity By Dennis Knuckles Black Hills Pioneer SPEARFISH — The Black Hills State University women’s basketball team is looking to find its identity as the 2021-22 basketball season gets underway. Last season, the Lady Jackets were 11-8 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, and 14-9 overall. They were declared Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) champions after Colorado Mines was unable to compete in the championship game due to COVID-19 shutting the program down. They lost to No. 3 Westminster College (Utah), 74-65, in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Tourney. Returners are: Ashlee Beacom, Danica Kocer, Niki Van Wyk, Megan Engesser, Ashley Davis, Summer Fox, and Raven Cournoyer. “(Ashlee) Beacom just manages the game so well, and Danica (Kocer) has got so much poise as a player. She is super competitive and tough. Both Beacom and Kocer are huge for us in how they play. They are definitely two players that have bought in to what we are doing. They have got themselves in great condition, and they are mentally as tough as anyone,” Black Hills State head coach Mark Nore said. New faces are: Kammie Ragsdale, Morgan Hammerbeck , and Kalla Bertram. Nore begins his 20th season as the Lady Yellow Jackets head coach. Nore said the first few games of the sea-

son will be evaluating players and establishing a rotation. “We’re still trying to get rotations. We are trying to get something established inside, so we can do anything to get to the free throw line and be able to manufacture some points. We move the ball well as a team.” Black Hills State began its season Nov. 12-13, with a pair of games against Minot State, in Minot, N.D. The Lady Yellow Jackets lost the opening game, 55-52, before winning the rematch the next day, 56-55. “I thought we really competed. I thought we grew as a team. I really felt like the new players that we have, have really grown. I think just being in those game situations, I think it gave them an understanding of what college basketball is like,” Nore said. “I thought Minot was a very solid team, and I thought they have as good a player (Amber Stevahn) inside as we’ve seen or will see. Those were two situational games that one we fell short, and one we learned from and got a big stop, so there is growth in the team. “ In subsequent games, the Lady Jackets would defeat Wayne State 66-50 before losing to the University of Sioux Falls 73-51. Black Hills State spent the Thanksgiving holiday competing in Kaneohe, Hawaii, at the Malika Sports Oahu Thanksgiving Classic. Black Hills State lost 68-65 to Hawaii Pacific University, and they lost 73-51 to Walsh University (Ohio).

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Nore said the Hawaii trip was different than past road trips. “We’ve gone to Florida, and we’ve gone to Costa Rica before, and we fund raise a lot for those trips. We work really hard fundraising. It was something that I was happy our team was able to do. It was a trip of a lifetime,” Nore said. Nore said the team overcame many obstacles along the way. “It was a great experience, a great growing experience for the team. We didn’t play great, but we definitely had a different obstacles and adversities,” said Nore. “Staying in an airport overnight, to dealing with all the COVID protocols. Then with the time change (Hawaii is three hours behind Spearfish), which also affected games.” Nore added, “It was a really good experience, and we played two really good teams. When we got back we took a couple of days just to get some rest. We’d been on the road for a month. It’s been fun to practice at home again, and we worked on some things to get ready for our conference schedule.” Being RMAC champs means Black Hills State will have a target on its back. “You know, we want to be that team where teams have to be ready, and that part too is exciting, said Nore. “We’ve got a new team this year, and there’s a lot of growth with this team, and I definitely felt a lot of growth this week. We’ll be excited to be at home, and playing a conference team.”

BHSU women’s schedule Dec. 10 at Colorado Mesa University.......TBD Dec. 11 at Westminster College (Utah).....TBD Dec. 17 hosting New Mexico Highlands.. 5:30 p.m. Dec. 18 hosting UC-Colorado Springs....4 p.m. Dec. 31 at Regis University........................TBD Jan. 1 at Colorado School of Mines..........TBD Jan. 8 hosting Colorado Mesa.................4 p.m. Jan. 15 at Western Colorado University..TBD Jan. 18 hosting Chadron State College.5:30 p.m. Jan. 21 hosting South Dakota Mines.5:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at Metro State-Denver...................TBD Jan. 29 at Colorado Christian...................TBD Feb. 4 hosting Adams State.................5:30 p.m. Feb. 5 hosting CSU-Pueblo.......................4 p.m. Feb. 11 UC-Colorado Springs.....................TBD Feb. 12 at New Mexico Highlands............TBD Feb. 15 at Chadron State College..............TBD Feb. 19 at South Dakota Mines..................TBD Feb. 25 hosting Colorado Christian...6:30 p.m. Feb. 26 hosting Metro State-Denver.......4 p.m. March 2-6 RMAC Championships...........TBD

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Page 13

Front row left: Alivia Pautz, Samantha Oase, Tyler Whitlock, Ashley Davis, Ashlee Beacom, Kammie Ragsdale, Haylee Weathersby, and Celsey Selland. Back row left: Natalie Holte, Kylie Sanger, Niki Van Wyk, Summer Fox, Raven Cournoyer, Megan Engesser, Danica Kocer, Kalla Bertram, and Morgan Hammerbeck. Photo courtesy BHSU Sports Information Department

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SPORTS PREVIEW/ BLACK HILLS PIONEER

Winter 2021-2022

BHSU men’s basketball team looks to be competitive in RMAC By Dennis Knuckles Black Hills Pioneer

SPEARFISH — The Black Hills State University men’s basketball team is looking to be competitive in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) for this season. The Yellow Jackets finished 11-7 overall and 10-6 in the RMAC during a trying season that saw six games canceled and nine games postponed due to COVID-19. “Last year was such a unique year, and I think no one was really prepared on how to deal with that,” said Ryan Thompson, who is entering his fourth season as the Yellow Jackets’ head coach. “The toughest part was the uncertainty of not knowing if you were going to play a game, week-to-week. Things kind of being outside of your control with being able to play basketball games, and having a normal schedule that you rely on with preparing for games.” Thompson added, “It was an odd year, and I’m glad it’s kind of been put in the past. I’m thankful for the 18 games we did get to play. It gave our younger guys a lot of experience, and I certainly think that will help us this year.” Thompson said he was pleased with

how his team worked out during the offseason. “We had a really good offseason. Ten of our 12 returners stayed here over the summer, and worked out together. We only have three new freshmen on this year’s team. We have a veteran team that’s been here at least one year, and that’s made practice easier for us in regards to getting our system in, moving things a little quicker, kind of having our expectations set, and all of our returners were able to teach the few new guys the way we do things,” said Thompson. Black Hills State is 2-2 so far this season. They won both games at the MSUDenver Conference Challenge Nov. 13-14. They defeated Arkansas Fort Smith 77-62, and Oklahoma Christian 76-73, in overtime. “I thought we played really well against Arkansas Fort Smith. We really executed out game plan defensively, and I thought our guys played really hard. Offensively we got into a good rhythm. We shared the ball, and I thought we played really well against a solid Arkansas Fort Smith team,” said Thompson. “The next night we weren’t

as sharp. Didn’t execute as well, and did not have our A game. We shot the ball poorly from behind the 3-point line, but we found a way to win. Anytime you can maybe not play your best basketball and still come out with a win, and learn some things from it, that’s a good thing.” On Nov. 19 the Yellow Jackets played in the East West Challenge losing to Augustana 73-63, and the next night they lost to Northern State 76-73. “I thought we played even better that weekend. I was really pleased with our team. We had a great opportunity to win both games. Northern State and Augustana are top-25 teams that can make the NCAA Tournament, so it was a great experience for us,” Thompson said. Nov. 24 Black Hills State traveled to Billings, Mont., and lost to MSU-Billings 81-69. “That game was a let down for us. I don’t think we were ready to play, and ultimately that falls on me. We had a couple of guys out, and we can use those as excuses, but we did not play at the same level we did in those first four games in regards to our defensive intensity, and our ball movement. And execution, and being sharp offensively,” Thompson said.

BHSU men’s schedule Dec. 10 at Colorado Mesa University.......TBD Dec. 11 at Westminster College (Utah).....TBD Dec. 17 hosting New Mexico Highlands.7:30 p.m. Dec. 18 hosting UC-Colorado Springs....6 p.m. Dec. 31 at Regis University........................TBD Jan. 1 at Colorado School of Mines..........TBD Jan. 8 hosting Colorado Mesa.................6 p.m. Jan.15 at Western Colorado University.5:30 p.m. Jan. 18 hosting Chadron State College.7:30 p.m. Jan. 21 hosting South Dakota Mines.7:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at Metro State-Denver...................TBD Jan. 29 at Colorado Christian...................TBD Feb. 4 hosting Adams State.................7:30 p.m. Feb. 5 hosting CSU-Pueblo.......................6 p.m. Feb. 11 UC-Colorado Springs.....................TBD Feb. 12 at New Mexico Highlands............TBD Feb. 15 at Chadron State College..............TBD Feb. 19 at South Dakota Mines..................TBD Feb. 25 hosting......................................7:30 p.m. Feb. 26 hosting Metro State-Denver.......6 p.m. March 2-6 RMAC Championships...........TBD

Members of the 2021-22 Black Hills State University men’s basketball team are, front row from the left: Jadin Penigar, Taylor Edwards, Victor Desmond, John Shanklin, Joel Scott, Ryker Cisarik, Ryder Kirsch, and PJ Hayes. Back row from the left: Caelin Hearne, Ethan Forrester, Adam Moussa, Sindou Cisse, Sava Dukic, Tommy Donovan, and Michael Russell. Photo Courtesy BHSU Sports Information


Winter 2021-2022

SPORTS PREVIEW/ BLACK HILLS PIONEER

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BHSU indoor track returns veteran squad By Dennis Knuckles Black Hills Pioneer SPEARFISH — Black Hills State University (BHSU) is returning a veteran squad for the 20201-22 indoor track and field season. The 2021-22 indoor season was a short one, with only four regular season meets, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We did have a good indoor season last year, more so on the women’s side than the men’s side. There were certainly some bright spots on both teams,” said Seth Mischke, who is entering his seventh season as BHSU’s head coach. JoJo Sherman, Hannah Hendrick, and Breanne Fuller earned First Team All-RMAC honors. Mikayla Tracy and Xiomara Robinson earned second team all-conference honors. “The cool thing about the women’s team is almost everybody is back from last year’s squad that was competitive in the league and made it to the national meet, so that’s kind of exciting to think of moving forward,” Mischke said. During the 2020-21 season, the BHSU women’s team finished third at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships held in Spearfish, their highest finish since they joined the RMAC in 2012. “It was our best effort there. Point total wise and placing wise. It was cool to do it at home,” said Mischke. “Granite there were two teams that didn’t show

up for the conference meet because of the COVID deal. We’re excited about this season. We’ve got some people in better spots, training wise.” At the NCAA Division II championships in Birmingham, Ala., Black Hills State crowned five All-Americans at that meet. Kyla Sawvell finished third in the women’s shot put, Robinson finished 11th in the women’s one-mile run, and the women’s distance medley team consisting of Ruby Lindquist, Tracy, Taylor Lindquist, and Robinson finished seventh, and set a school record with a time of 11 minutes 41.97 seconds. “We went out there and competed well and did a lot of cool stuff. It was a fun weekend for sure down in Alabama,” Mischke said. The team has been working hard since September to get ready for the indoor track season.

“It’s been a long fall, as it typically is for us. Kids are training for three months before they get a chance to do anything competitively against somebody else, and that’s a little bit different than most other sports,” said Mischke. “They are definitely anxious about getting in there and mixing it up, and seeing where their fall training cycles have put them.” Mischke added, “Obviously we’re not trying to win a conference title or a national title our first meet in. We’re not trained to that extent or that scenario, but I do think we have some people in pretty good places physiologically and technically in their events, and I think there is going to be some good things that show up and hopefully a good little springboard going into the winter break to keep them motivated and come back in January and get ready for the rest of the indoor season.”

BHSU indoor track & field Jan. 14-15 hosting Myrle Hanson Open..TBD Jan. 21-22 hosting Dave Little Alumni Mile..TBD Jan. 28-29.....................................................TBD Feb. 4-5 at Bison Open................................TBD Feb. 11-12 at SDSU Classic Open..............TBD Feb. 18-19 hosting Stinger Open...............TBD Feb. 25-26 at RMAC Championships.......TBD

Pictured are members of the Black Hills State University track and field team showing off their skills at meets during the 2020-21 indoor track and field season. Pioneer file photos


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Spearfish coming off a season of high expectations, injuries By Dennis Knuckles Black Hills Pioneer SPEARFISH — The Spearfish Spartans’ wrestling team is coming off a season of high hopes and injuries during the 2020-21 season. “Last year we had some high expectations, and then we had a couple of our leaders Max Sailor and Clay Donovan get hurt, and that kind of changed the outlook of the season. But we did have a lot of state qualifiers last year that were young, and we had two seniors that placed,” said John Bokker, who is entering his sixth season as the Spearfish head coach. Juniors Taylor Graveman and Maraia Kruske return this season as state champs. “On the girls’ side we’ve got everybody back there, and that’s going to be pretty exciting. We have Taylor Graveman who is back. She is ranked No. 4 in the nation. Shea Irion placed second last year at state, and Maraia Kruske took first,” said Bokker. “So we have two state champions, both juniors coming back, and then we’ve got a lot of girls coming up the ranks in the middle school too, so it’s going to be exciting.” Bokker is excited about the future of the Spearfish girls program. “It’s great. We had some of the high

school girls over with the middle school girls the other day, over in Belle Fourche, and they were cheering on each other. It was a great atmosphere, and I think our girls program is up and coming,” Bokker said. On the boys’ side, Bokker said two seniors will be relied to be team leaders. “Oakley Blakeman and Clay Donovan are our seniors coming back, and they are both state placers,” said Bokker. “For juniors we have Mason Schlup, who was a state qualifier. For sophomores we have John Jeffery and Mason Schmitz. We’ve got a lot of good sophomores coming up. Aiden Kracht is a freshman; we have 19 freshmen right now in our program, and I’m really excited for our future.” Bokker added, “We’re pretty young this year, but we have some talent.” Wrestling practice began Nov. 15. “Practices have gone good. We got a little bit dinged up. We’ve got some shoulder injuries right away, and hopefully those guys will heal up and come back with a vengeance,” Bokker said. Bokker said he was disappointed in the physical shape some wrestlers reported in at on the first day of practice. “A lot of the guys as soon as football got over and everything they’ve been working out,” said Bokker. “Some of them we haven’t seen, and I was kind

of disappointed with how in shape they were, but they’ll get in shape real fast.” Bokker stressed the importance of getting in shape to be able to compete. “ It’s very important to get in shape and avoid injuries, because you will be rolling and doing things you don’t normally do, and that’s where those injuries do happen, so the guys that have been lifting and working out with us previously, they definitely are ahead of the game as far as injury prevention,” Bokker said. The Spartans will be challenged this season to fill all of the weight classes. “Right now we’ve got a bunch of guys bunched up at 145, 152, so we are going to have to figure out whether they go up and down,” said Bokker. “We’re really thin in the upper and lower weights. We’ve only got one guy in those weight classes. We might not have some of the bigger guys this year. I was hoping to get some of the football players to come out, and some of them did, just not the big guys that we needed.” Bokker made clear what he expects from his team. “I want to see hard work and toughness. I want to see them go out there and compete and do it in a classy way,” Bokker said.

SPEARFISH wrestling Dec. 10 at Rapid Invite .............................2 p.m. Dec. 11 at Rapid Invite ............................ 8 a.m. Jan. 6 at Belle Fourche ............................5 p.m. Jan. 13 at Douglas Triangular ...............5 p.m. Jan. 15 at Douglas BHC .........................10 a.m. Jan. 20 hosting triangular ......................5 p.m. Jan. 22 at Pierre East/West Duals ....8:30 a.m. Jan. 27 hosting Rapid City Stevens .......5 p.m. Jan. 28 at Belle Fourche Invite . ..............noon Jan. 29 at Belle Fourche Invite . ............ 9 a.m. Feb. 11 hosting Sturgis Brown ...............5 p.m.

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SPORTS PREVIEW/ BLACK HILLS PIONEER

Front row from the left: Devon Heinbaugh, Payten Storbeck, Dago Rodriguez, John Jeffery, Taylor Graveman, Madeylynn Schlup, Maraia Kruske, Shea Irion, Ellie Jeffery, and Ruben Lucio. Second row from the left: Markus Medina, TaShaun Dominic, Brennan Walsworth, Korben Harris, Mason Schmitz, and Dominic Evans. Third row from the left: Clay Donovan, Kaydyn Loup, Landon Citrowske, Aiden Kracht, Evan Wilson, Stephen Nible, Quinten Carlson, Oakley Blakeman, Caden Langenfeld, and Jacob Ellingson. Back row from the left: TaShaun Bad Bear, Mason Schlup, Zack Adler, and Kolter Robbins. Not pictured are: Makalya Curtis, Mason Johnson, Matthew Medina, Sam Schnieder, Jaydon Maier, and Dominick Mills. Pioneer photo by Dennis Knuckles

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Winter 2021-2022

SPORTS PREVIEW/ BLACK HILLS PIONEER

New coach to guide Digger wrestling team By Jason Gross Black Hills Pioneer LEAD — Lead-Deadwood’s wrestling season began Dec. 3 at the Custer Invitational, with a new coach at the helm. Oliver Renner will guide the Golddigger program for the upcoming campaign. He takes over for Philip Thomas, who served in that position for two seasons. The program boasts between 15 and 20 boys and girls. One of those athletes is sophomore Trinity Zopp, who finished third in the girls’ 160-pound Class B division at last season’s state tournament. Tristen Fierbach and Mikaela Heller represent the senior class this season; Allie Lester and Nevaeh Foster are juniors. Other sophomores on the roster as of press time are Isaac Foster, Trystian Greenfield, Luke Harris, Mekhi Hayes, Ethan Hess, Dylan Meade, Joey Osowski, Diggers’ head Myka Fitzgerald, Steven Oliver Renner Buchholz, and Miles Renner. Ninth-graders Baelyan Greenfield, Drew Janke, Eric Kosters, Tanner Millard, and Cruz Mollman round out the roster. “We have one new kid this year that’s never wrestled before,” Renner said. “The whole rest of the team has absolutely great experience.”

Renner agreed returning experience is a Golddiggers’ strength heading into the campaign. Athletes will need to work on technique and conditioning as practices and events progress. Lead-Deadwood’s activities page indicates the Golddiggers will host Rapid City Stevens in a dual set for Jan. 11, with a triangular set for Feb. 10. Douglas hosts the Black Hills Conference tournament on Jan. 15. Rapid City hosts the Region 4B tournament on Feb. 19, with the state B event set for Feb. 24-26 in Sioux Falls. Coach Renner is taking a “wait and see” approach regarding the Black Hills Conference race. He said he has not really had a chance to list who will represent the other squads. His focus has centered on practice arrangements and taking things one day at a time, he said. “I find success in going out every day and putting coach it in as hard as they can,” Renner said. “I have not seen one of them try to eke out on anything.” Renner said grit, winning key matches, and announcing Lead-Deadwood’s presence on the mat also mark success. “We might not win it, but we’re going to be in it all the way to the end,” coach

Renner said. Official practice sessions began on Nov. 15. Renner said several team members have lifted weights, and team captains run early open mat times. “There is a core group of about seven or eight of them that are highly motivated,” Renner said. “They’ve been at it, at least in the back of their minds, the whole time. That’s what’s really exciting for me,” he added. Renner said former head coach Philip Thomas decided in late August or early September to attend barber school. He recalled his name happened to come up, and he said he has coached virtually everyone in youth soccer or AAU wrestling. “We love wrestling; we love these kids,” coach Renner said in recalling conversations he and assistant coach Dale Williams had with school staff members. “We’re going to do everything we can to help them succeed.” Coach Renner’s son Miles has wrestled since age 5, and Oliver’s involvement began at that time. “We have to work hard to make it happen,” coach Renner said in describing his wrestling philosophy. “If we don’t work hard, nothing’s going to happen.” Renner said wrestlers are in the room because they are hard workers and highly motivated. He especially enjoys the sport’s one-on-one aspect, along with a team’s tight-knit nature. Jacob Harris and Cody Rakow graduated from last season’s team.

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Dec. 3 at Custer ........................................ 3 p.m. Dec. 10 at Rapid Invite..............................2 p.m. Dec. 11 at Rapid Invite............................. 8 a.m. Dec. 16 hosting triangular.......................5 p.m. Dec. 17 at Hot Springs..............................5 p.m. Dec. 18 at Hot Springs Wrestling Extravaganza.9 a.m. Dec. 30 at Rancher Invite.......................11 a.m. Jan. 7 at Presho Mid-Dakota Monster..11 a.m. Jan. 11 hosting RC Stevens......................6 p.m. Jan. 14 at Philip Invitational.................10 a.m. Jan. 15 at Douglas BHC Tourney.........10 a.m. Jan. 20 at Spearfish Triangular..............5 p.m. Jan. 28 at Belle Fourche Invite.................noon Jan. 29 at Belle Fourche Invite............... 9 a.m. Feb. 1 at Newell Round Robin..................5 p.m. Feb. 10 hosting Triangular......................5 p.m. Feb. 19 at Rapid City..................................noon

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Winter 2021-2022

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SPORTS PREVIEW/ BLACK HILLS PIONEER

The Lead-Deadwood wrestling team is preparing for its 2021-22 season. Members include, back row from the left: Trystian Greenfield, Baelyan Greenfield, Dylan Meade, Cruz Mollman, Isaac Foster, Steven Buchholz. Middle row from the left: Tristen Fierbach, Mekhi Hayes, Trinity Zopp, Nevaeh Foster, Miles Renner. Front row from the left: Luke Harris, Drew Janke, Tanner Millard, and Eric Kosters. Ethan Hess, Joey Osowski, Myka Fitzgerald, Allie Lester, Mikaela Heller, and head coach Oliver Renner are not pictured. Pioneer photo by Jason Gross

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Winter 2021-2022

SPORTS PREVIEW/ BLACK HILLS PIONEER

Belle wrestlers working toward 2021-22 season By Jason Gross Black Hills Pioneer BELLE FOURCHE — Belle Fourche wrestlers are working to prepare for a regular season that began Dec. 2 against Douglas. The Broncs’ returning lineup features several athletes who qualified for last season’s state Class A tournament. That listing includes eighth-grader Riley Dighton, junior Thomas McCoy, junior Gunnar Geib, senior Cade Bickerdyke, and junior Hailey Rodriguez, who placed fourth in the Girls’ 124-pound division at state. Bill Abell is starting his ninth season as Broncs’ head coach. He will step down at the end of this campaign. Other wrestlers Abell cited were senior Cayden Wolfe, sophomore Logan Tyndall, junior Levi Melanson, and ninth-grader Owyn Schreder. Abell said program numbers are solid with numbers in the mid-20s. He added numbers seem to increase by one or two each year. “The attitude in the (practice) room looks really good,” Abell said. He added those overcoming the injury bug from last season are ready to get going. Mat experience and conditioning will need work as practices and events

progress. Abell said the program is retaining more athletes than in past years. “Hopefully, we can bring some of that mentality into the room with us,” Abell said of the competitive attitude that places a heavy emphasis on mat time. Belle Fourche defeated Douglas 51-21 in its season opener and finished third at the Custer Tournament. The Broncs will also host a triangular on Dec. 16, a quadrangular on Jan. 6, and their annual tournament Jan. 28-29. Douglas hosts the Black Hills Conference tournament on Jan. 15. The Region 4A tournament is Feb 19 in Rapid City, with the state A tournament Feb. 24-26 in Sioux Falls. Abell said the schedule is very similar to that of past seasons. However, a significant change will take place. Belle Fourche will compete at the Harding County Invitational on Dec. 30. This eliminates a traditional threeweek break with no tournaments or duals between mid-December and early January. “We’re just going to try and come out of the gates a bit harder than we have in the past,” Abell said. “Hopefully, that can structure a nice

GOOD LUC!K BRONCS

recovery over Christmas break better than we have in the past.” Abell looked at the Black Hills Conference race and said Custer boasts a strong program. He added Spearfish can never be counted out. “Once we can get to the place where we need to be, I think we’re going to be competitive,” Abell said in comparing the Broncs to Black Hills Conference teams. He added the squad is currently doubled up in some weight classes. Success for Abell has always centered on athletes still wanting to wrestle when the season ends. Retaining wrestlers has served as one of his focal points. Official practice sessions began on Nov 15. Tempo and pace have increased from early sessions in recent years. “We’re going back to the ‘one match’ concept,” Abell said in describing the foundation being set for this season. “We have to win one match at a time; once that happens, it opens doors.” Abell agreed the biggest improvement centers on creating state tournament success. Bronc boys’ wrestlers did not win a state match last season.

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Dec. 10 at Rapid City Invite.....................2 p.m. Dec. 11 at Rapid City Invite.................... 9 a.m. Dec. 16 hosting Custer & Lead-Deadwood....5 p.m. Dec. 30 Harding County Rancher Invite.11 a.m. Jan. 6 hosting Spearfish, Hill City, & STM...5 p.m. Jan. 7 at Presho Invite............................10 a.m. Jan. 8 at Presho Invite............................. 9 a.m. Jan. 15 at Douglas BHC Invite..............10 a.m. Jan. 21 at Chamberlain Invite ...........4:30 p.m. Jan. 22 at Chamberlain Invite ............... 9 a.m. Jan. 28 hosting Belle Fourche Invite.......noon Jan. 29 hosting Belle Fourche Invite.......noon Feb. 3 at Hot Springs dual........................5 p.m. Feb. 5 at Hill City Invite.......................8:30 a.m. Feb. 10 at Sturgis dual.........................5:30 p.m.

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SPORTS PREVIEW/ BLACK HILLS PIONEER

Belle Fourche’s wrestling team is getting ready for its 2021-22 season. Members include, back row from the left: Gideon Funk, Sean Wahlfeldt, Lucas Green, Cayden Wolfe, Brooks Clooten, Cade Bickerdyke, Aidan McCarty, Cortez Rodriguez. Middle row from the left: Elijah Braning, Gunnar Geib, Andy Tonsager, D’Angelo Garduna, Payton Jackson, Thomas McCoy, Zach Tonsager, Soren Kopp. Front row from the left: Riley Dighton, Owyn Schreder, Taiten Eaton, Hailey Rodriguez, Alexa Swaney, and Logan Tyndall. Max Mundt, Levi Melanson, assistant coach Josh Schleusner, assistant coach Tevin Gomez, and head coach Bill Abell are not pictured. Pioneer photo by Jason Gross

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SPORTS PREVIEW/ BLACK HILLS PIONEER

Winter 2021-2022

Sturgis Scooper wrestling prepares for the season with a good group of athletes By Tim Potts Black Hills Pioneer STURGIS – The Sturgis Brown Scooper wrestling team officially began practice on Monday, Nov. 15, preparing for the upcoming season with 45 athletes on the practice mat. “We are coming into this season with a good group of kids. We lost some points with our graduating seniors but will get the opportunity to get some new young kids in the lineup,” said Mike Abell, Sturgis Brown’s varsity coach. “We should have some solid competition for some spots on the team. We are excited to see what these kids can do this year.” This will be Abell’s 18th year coaching wrestling and his sixth year at Sturgis Brown. He commented that the number of wrestlers starting the season is consistent with past seasons, and had a couple kids not come out this year but there is a good group of ninth-graders, and our middle school programs have some solid numbers as well with some talented kids coming up. Abell talked about the strengths and potential weakness of this year’s team. “We have a lot of kids returning in the varsity line up that got quality experience last year, and a potential weakness is spreading kids out to get all of our hammers in the lineup,” Abell said. The Scoopers will have 12 state qualifi-

ers returning with five boys and two girls that placed in the 2021 state tournament. The Scoopers ended the state tournament last year with 113.5 points in a solid sixth-place position. Returning state tournament place winners for the Scoopers boys’ include Korbin Osborn Bunch at 106 pounds placed sixth, Maverick Simons at 120 pounds placed eighth, Kelton Olson at 132 pounds placed third, Perry Ketelsen at 138 pounds took sixth place, and Reese Jacobs who capped off an undefeated season and championship at 170 pounds. “Reese had an amazing year last year and capped it off with a state title. His work ethic and dedication paid off and he was rewarded with a state title and a team plaque. I hope to see him continue his leadership and drive on and off the mat. He is a great kid to be around and coach,” said Abell. Jacobs talked about his expectations for himself and the team. “Well I am very excited for this year’s team; I feel like we will be more prepared and in shape for the season. My expectations are high and I hope we can prove ourselves a little more than last year. A few people are coming back from last season and some people stepping up to varsity for the first time. Overall I can’t wait for me and my team to get out there and compete at the best of our abilities,” said

HEART. TALENT. DEDICATION. We salute our area athletes for their excellent performance as individuals and teams.

Jacobs. For the Scooper girls, Brooklyn Brandt at 124 pounds placed fifth, and Madison Snyder took fifth at 143 pounds. Other Scoopers who qualified for the state tournament and are returning this season include Beau Peters, Aiden Werlinger, Zak Juelfs, and Buck Fickbohm. The Scoopers lost four seniors from last year’s team: Wren Jacobs, Logan DeSersa, Robert Merwin, and Zaven Osborne. “Those seniors will be missed and as always it will be hard to replace the points they scored this team over the years.” said Abell. Abell commented on last year’s challenges and how the team pulled together. “Last year was different with the Covid regulations and limited numbers at tourneys but it went well for us – we had our ups and downs as always, but the kids really pulled together as a whole and battled hard at the region and state tourney. I could not have been prouder of that group and what they did last year. “The favored team in the state this season has to be Brandon Valley as they didn’t really lose anybody and get some kids back that they didn’t have last year. “They will be the heavy favorite,” said Abell. The Scoopers will open the season with

the Mandan Tournament on Dec. 3. “We missed Mandan last year due to COVID protocols, and we are looking forward to getting back up there and seeing some tough North Dakota competition,” said Abell.

STURGIS BROWN wrestling Dec. 10 at Rapid Invite..............................2 p.m. Dec. 11 at Rapid Invite............................. 8 a.m. Dec. 17 at West Central High School Double Dual.. 5:30 p.m. Dec. 30 at Rancher Invite..................11:00 a.m. Jan. 4 at Rapid City Central....................7 p.m. Jan. 14 at Philip Invitational.................10 a.m. Jan. 15 at Jerry Opbroek Invitational . 9 a.m. Jan. 22 at Pierre East/West Duals.....9:30 a.m. Jan. 28 at Belle Fourche Invite.................noon Jan. 29 at Belle Fourche Invite............... 9 a.m. Feb. 11 at Spearfish...................................5 p.m.

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Winter 2021-2022

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SPORTS PREVIEW/ BLACK HILLS PIONEER

Members of the 2021-2022 Sturgis Brown High School wrestling team are, back row from the left: Perry Ketelsen, Paul Pulling, Tel Trohkimoinin, Gabe Dennis, Mason Oswski, Dakarai Osborne, Gunnar Sarkela , Preston Ray, Aiden Werlinger, Ryne Bostrom, Buck Fickbohm, Braden Temple, Zak Juelfs, Morgan Delapena, Kash Krogman, Jackson Ford, Reese Jacobs, Joseph Valle, Kelton Olson, Kalvin Ketelsen Caleb Weishaar, and Dawson Inhofer. Middle row from the left: Beau Peters, Quintin Longanecker, Teryn Zebroski, Kaden Olson, Korbin Osborn, Tegan Zebroski, Thayne Elshere, Maverick Simons, Cade Willnerd, Rylan Schinzel, Dee Daniels, George Hamer and Gage Studer. Sitting from the left: Lucas Lewellen, Madison Snyder, Brooklyn Brant, Barrett Patterson, Cody Jones, Elliot Smith, Jayden Rahn, and Josh Granum. Not pictured are Chase Temple and Angelo Valle. Pioneer photo by Tim Potts

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Winter 2021-2022

SPORTS PREVIEW/ BLACK HILLS PIONEER

Newell wrestlers set for season By Jason Gross Black Hills Pioneer NEWELL — Five Newell wrestlers are preparing to begin their season Dec. 310at the Lusk Invitational. Senior Chase VanDerBoom; and sophomores Gavin Tesch, Charlie Clements, Colton Niles, and Abrym Heinert comprise the squad. Dylan VanDerBoom is beginning his second season as Irrigators’ head coach. Chase VanDerBoom qualified for last season’s state Class B tournament at 138 pounds. He and Clements are the only returning athletes from the 2020-21 squad. Coach VanDerBoom said his brother Chase VanDerBoom will provide a lot of leadership this season. He sees Niles wrestling at 220 or 285 pounds, with Tesch, Heinert and Clements competing in the light to middle weights. “My main point this year is to get a lot of technique covered, and build on that,” coach VanDerBoom said when asked what athletes will need to work on as practices and events proceed. Newell’s schedule includes a number of more difficult tournaments, according to coach VanDerBoom. The Irrigators compete at places like Chadron (Neb.) and

Presho. “We see a lot of competitors from across the state that help us come postseason time,” coach VanDerBoom said. “That will really define us as a competitive team: how many kids can we get to the state tournament?” The schedule on the Newell School District page as of Nov. 18 includes the St. Thomas More Quadrangular on Dec. 16, the Hot Springs Invitational on Dec. 18, the Harding County Tournament on Dec. 30, the Mid-Dakota Monster in Presho on Jan. 7-8, the Newcastle (Wyo.) Tournament on Jan. 14, the Chadron Tournament on Jan. 22, the Lemmon Round Robin on Jan. 25, the Belle Fourche Invitational on Jan. 28-29, the Newell Round Robin on Feb. 1, the Black Hills Classic in Hill City on Feb. 5, and the Badlands Brawler in Wall on Feb. 12. Rapid City will host the Region 4B tournament on Feb. 19. State Class B tournament action is set for Feb. 24-26 in Sioux Falls. Coach VanDerBoom said all Newell wrestlers could qualify for state if they put their minds to the task. He said every athlete in the sport is capable of being defeated. It is a matter of

who shows up to wrestle that match, he added. “What defines success for me is not just winning,” coach VanDerBoom said. “All we can do is compete, practice hard, and eventually be one of the top kids in South Dakota.” Official practice sessions began Monday, Nov. 15. Technique and endurance are taking center stage. “If we can’t beat them technically, then we can wear them out and beat them in the third period as long as we can make it that far,” coach VanDerBoom said. What can Chase VanDerBoom and Clements take from last season to begin setting a foundation for this season? “They brought a good attitude and hard work ethic,” coach VanDerBoom said of the duo’s practice sessions. “They put their heads down and kept on the grindstone.” Coach VanDerBoom said the biggest improvements center on their getting the nerves out of their systems. The Irrigators did not lose any seniors due to graduation. Caleb McGregor placed fourth at 195 pounds at last season’s state meet but has moved to Webster.

NEWELL wrestling Dec. 16 at STM Quad................................5 p.m. Dec. 18 at Hot Springs Wrestling Extravaganza.... 9 a.m. Dec. 30 at Rancher Invite.......................11 a.m. Jan. 7-8 at Mid-Dakota Monster, Presho... 9 a.m. Jan. 14 at Newcastle Tourney................ 9 a.m. Jan. 15 at Bennett County Invitational...noon Jan. 22 at Chadron Tourney................... 9 a.m. Jan. 25 at Lemon Round Robin..........4:30 p.m. Jan. 28 Belle Fourche Invite.....................noon Jan. 29 Belle Fourche High School........ 9 a.m. Feb. 1 at Newell Round Robin..................5 p.m. Feb. 5 at Black Hills Classic, Hill City... 9 a.m. Feb. 12 at Badlands Brawler, Wall......... 9 a.m. Feb. 19 at Stanley County Region...... 4B noon

Newell’s wrestling team features, from left: Gavin Tesch, Abrym Heinert, Charlie Clements, Chase VanDerBoom, and Colton Niles. Head coach Dylan VanDerBoom is not pictured. Photo courtesy of Dylan VanDerBoom

Good Luck and Have Fun! Erin L. Melling

Attorney at law Licensed in SD, ND, and MT

South Dakota Office:

1409 5 Ave Belle Fourche, SD 57717 Phone: (605) 723-1659 Email: mrlawpc@mrlawpc.net th

Wishing all area athletes a great season!

Aaron W. Roseland

Attorney at law Licensed in SD & ND

North Dakota Office:

602 Adams Ave Suite 1 Hettinger, ND58639 Phone: (701) 567-2418 Fax: (701) 567-4290 Email: mrlawpc@mrlawpc.net

West Highway 212, Belle Fourche, SD • (605) 892-4032


Winter 2021-2022

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SPORTS PREVIEW/ BLACK HILLS PIONEER

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Page 26

Winter 2021-2022

SPORTS PREVIEW/ BLACK HILLS PIONEER

2021-2022 Sturgis Brown cheerleaders Members of the 2021-2022 Sturgis Brown High School basketball cheer squad are, back row from the left: Abby Enninga, Lynnsie Royer, LaMeera Mills, Ashley Bear, Macy Wise, Ashlyn Krcil, and Lilly Forbes. Front frow from the left: Kirstin Bernsdorf, Paige Gorczewski, Gracie Williams, McKenzie Tarrant, Hannah Robertson, Abbey Gaeta, and Kira Willnerd. Pioneer photo by Tim Potts

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Winter 2021-2022

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SPORTS PREVIEW/ BLACK HILLS PIONEER

2021-2022 Spearfish cheerleaders

Members of the 2021-22 Spearfish High School basketball cheerleading team are, front row from the left: Abigail Noor, Kalen Brown (Co-Captain), and Alexis Bevier. Middle row from the left: Meghan Ballard, Coach Pam Waterson, and Treanna Castro. Back row from the left: Hailey Dahl and Kaylynn Laub. Not Pictured is Lele Enos (Co-Captain). Courtesy photo

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Lead-Deadwood’s cheerleading squad for the winter sports seasons features, back row from the left: Joslyn Kooima, Chloe Myers, Cameron Stoflet. Middle row from the left: Miranda Kearns and Delanie Berglund. Front row from the left: Teyara Gustafson and Hailee Buchholz. Coaches Wendy Rogers and Samantha Rogers are not pictured. Courtesy photo

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SPORTS PREVIEW/ BLACK HILLS PIONEER

Winter 2021-2022

2021-2022 Belle Fourche cheerleaders Belle Fourche has announced its cheerleading squad for the 2020-21 winter sports seasons. Pictured are, back row from the left: team manager Lucy Merjil, Abby Vissia, Kiana Tingly, Miryah Lundin, Ella Carlson. Front row from the left: Baylee Clendening, Naveah Balderas, and Amiyah Gomez. Head coach Michaela Hallam is not pictured. Photo courtesy of Michaela Hallam

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