The Daily Republic's Ryan Deal has been named South Dakota Sportswriter of the Year for 2019, the National Sports Media Association announced Monday.

Deal, who joined The Daily Republic in 2016, covers a wide variety of area sports and is the newspaper's primary beat writer covering Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball. He has also taken a lead role with a digital high school sports initiative — "South Dakota Full-Court Press" — that breaks down prep basketball on a statewide basis each week.

"The reason this award is so deserving for Ryan is because his work does stand out and it is worth reading," Daily Republic Managing Editor Luke Hagen said. "The fact he's won this three straight years is absolutely wonderful, but definitely not surprising."

Deal, who hails from Timber Lake and has covered South Dakota sports since 2006, has won the award for the third straight year. He is the first South Dakota sportswriter to win the award three straight years since Craig Stolze won the award four straight times from 1959 to 1962 for the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

"Ryan has set himself apart as a source for sports news in our region and around the state," Republic Sports Editor Marcus Traxler said. "His knowledge for South Dakota sports shines through in everything he writes."

The NSMA selects sportscaster and sportswriter of the year award winners each year on a state and national level. The 2019 South Dakota Sportscaster of the Year is Scott Kooistra of KYNT-AM in Yankton.

Deal is the third Daily Republic sportswriter to win the honor, joining Dean Minder (1990 and 1997) and Korrie Wenzel (2005).