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Dakota Wesleyan men's basketball team's rollercoaster year tops Mitchell-area sports stories of 2010

The Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball team went through a lot in the past year.

The Daily Republic chose the Tigers as the top sports story in the Mitchell-area for the 2010 year.

The Tigers won their first-ever Great Plains Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament titles and picked up the school's first win at the NAIA National Tournament since 1947.

DWU finished 28-6 and advanced to the national tournament for the fourth straight year under coach John Hemenway.

Then, on May 26, Hemenway left.

After finishing his fifth season with the team, Hemenway took a head coaching job at Berea College in Kentucky. Shortly thereafter, star point guard Darrin Dorsey went with him to Berea, leaving DWU with a big hole on the floor and the bench.

On July 1, Athletic Director Curt Hart announced the hiring of former University of Sioux Falls head coach Shane Murphy as Hemenway's successor.

Here is a list, in order, of the top Mitchell-area sports stories of the calendar year, as chosen by The Daily Republic.

To say the Cornbelt Conference dominated 9-man football this past season would be an understatement.

Canistota (9B), Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan (9AA) and Hanson (9A) each won state titles at the DakotaDome in Vermillion last October as representatives from the Cornbelt.

The Mitchell High School football team opened the newly-renovated Joe Quintal Field in style on the night of Sept. 3.

The Kernels beat Brookings 23-6 for their first win of the season and 2,100 fans were in attendance.

The Wagner High School wrestling team won its third straight Class B wrestling state title in late February in Sioux Falls.

Coach Ernie Valentine announced he was leaving the school for a job in Nebraska shortly thereafter. That ended an 11-year run in which Valentine helped shape the Red Raiders into a wrestling powerhouse.

Mitchell native Mike Miller signed as a free agent with the Miami Heat on July 15 after much speculation.

Miller joined the Heat after they had already re-signed Dwyane Wade and agreed to terms with Chris Bosh and LeBron James, making Miami the most popular team in the NBA.

n Mitchell Christian High School boys' basketball coach Tom Young won his 300th career game with a 72-43 victory over Dakota Christian on Jan. 14.

The Dakota Wesleyan University women's golf team was named the college women's team of the year in the South Dakota by the state's sportswriters association.

The Tigers won their second straight Great Plains Athletic Conference championship behind star Junior Dani Bellet, who won the conference's player of the year for the second consecutive year.

The Dimock/Emery amateur baseball team took home its first-ever Class B state title by beating Crofton, Neb., 6-4 in the championship game at Sioux Falls Stadium on Aug. 15.

The Raptors were runners-up in the Sunshine League regular season and finished their season 28-6.

Letcher native Jill Moody won her second career average title in the barrel racing competition at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas earlier this month.

Moody and her horse, Dolly, broke a 25-year-old NFR barrel racing average record on their way to the title, which she also won in 2008.

The Mitchell High School fastpitch softball team won the Class A state championship in early October in Sioux Falls.

The Kernels beat Vermillion twice in the deciding day of play to win the state title in stunning fashion.