Slaba to join Jackrabbits: Hanson standout opts for track over basketball

Hanson's Reggie Slaba runs the anchor leg of the 4x800-meter relay last season at Howard Wood Dakota Relays. (Ryan Deal / Republic)

Reggie Slaba can’t compete for his current team, but he made a decision about his future one.

The Hanson High School multi-sport athlete tweeted his intentions on Thursday to compete for the South Dakota State University track and field team. Slaba cited the coaches, facilities and the school itself for picking SDSU.

“It really just seemed like the best fit for me and my future,” Slaba said. “I really like their program and I could just really see myself there for the next four years.”

Slaba had plenty of college options for basketball and track. He was considering Dakota Wesleyan University for basketball, the University of South Dakota for track and Dakota State University for both sports.

He had a breakout season in hoops and said picking track over basketball was a tough decision. Slaba averaged 21.5 points per game and scored his 1,000th career point for the Beavers.


“It’s probably the sport I love first,” Slaba said. “But you have to consider your options. I felt like I made the right decision.”

Slaba is a multiple-time state placewinner. He won last year’s Class B 800-meter title in 1 minute and 58.46 seconds. It was Slaba’s first state title and he also broke the school record in the event.

Slaba said the SDSU coaching staff envisions him being a 400-to-800-meter runner and he will train with the sprinters.

“I won’t be running a lot of long distances and I am really happy with that,” Slaba said. “I think as I’ve kind of matured, I think I became more of a sprinter and just a lot faster than I was when I was younger.”

The track and field season is currently suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. But Slaba is staying sharp by running each day in hopes it will resume later in the season.

“I want to be the best I can be if we get to that point,” he said. “It’s a bad situation, but you have to kind of try to make the best of it.”

Slaba also has family ties to South Dakota State. Slaba’s father, Ray, attended SDSU and his sister, Brooke, is currently enrolled at the school.

But Reggie said that didn’t factor into his decision.


“(Ray) wasn’t pressuring me to go one way or the other,” Reggie Slaba said. “He just wanted what was best for me and this is kind of what we decided in the end.”

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