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FREEMAN—When the starter's gun fires, Freeman sprinters Collin Helma and Braxton Schmidt are rivals. But once they cross the finish line and the results are in, animosity and jealousy is nonexistent. The two Flyers are two of the top sprinters in Class B, with Helma capping his freshman season by winning the 2018 state championship in the 400-meter dash, while Schmidt has placed fourth two years in a row. They also served as half the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 state title-winning relay teams that led Freeman to the Class B overall championship.
The Corn Palace Relays had been a Mitchell High School track and field staple for 69 years, but the meet has been wiped from the schedule by Mother Nature two years in a row. Mitchell Activities Director Cory Aadland announced Wednesday that the meet—scheduled for Saturday at Joe Quintal Field—would be canceled yet again due to a mid-April snowstorm. Last year, the meet went by the wayside after more than 16 inches of snow blanketed Mitchell on the scheduled date.
SALEM—Before the running events begin at the McCook Central/Montrose's Fighting Cougar Invitational on Tuesday, the stadium is relatively quiet and the lone event taking place within its fence is the boys high jump. There are only two competitors, but they are attempting to clear 6 feet. Garretson's Trevor Fiegen—last season's Class A third-place finisher—just missed, so Howard junior Colton Spader takes three steps and effortlessly clears the bar, drawing murmurs from onlookers.
In 1950, the National Football League was a still fledgling league in a sport still years away from becoming the mainstream juggernaut we see today. It was not until 1950 that the New York Giants and Washington Redskins became the first teams in league history to have a contract for all of their games televised. Back in Mitchell during the same year, Ordell Braase was just getting started. It was then, during his senior season, that Braase led the Kernels to the Class A state basketball championship.
Drew DeMers spent a large chunk of his freshman baseball season at Dakota Wesleyan University observing from the dugout. He was a standout for Winner/Colome during his high school years—earning Class B second-team all-state honors and winning a club state championship—but last season brought just 33 at-bats. So he studied the game.
Basketball fans regard March Madness as the most exciting three weeks of the year because of the potential upsets, buzzer-beaters and performances brought by the NCAA Tournament. That madness, however, can also be applied to the coaching carousel that revs up each March. Schools buyout the contracts of fired coaches, pay their new hire and pay off the new coach's buyout from his old contract.
With the high school basketball season coming to an end, many players are turning to AAU and travel leagues to stay on the court, but Mitchell High School seniors Derek and Tayler Factor are taking a different route. The Factors already competed in the Lakota All-Star Game on March 23 in Oglala and they will both compete with teams from April 5 to April 7 at the AMERIND All West 100 Native American Basketball Classic in Lakewood, Colorado.
GREGORY—Coaching football has been Brian Allmendinger's "thing" for nearly two decades at Gregory High School. Allmendinger served as an assistant for the Gorillas for eight seasons before taking the reins of the program in 2008, leading Gregory to 82 wins in 11 years, including 28 consecutive wins and three Class 9AA state championships in four seasons from 2014 to 2017.
Mitchell Christian school opted to side with youth when hiring its new track and field coach over the winter. Lane Tibbs, a senior business finance major at Dakota Wesleyan University, is set to lead the Golden Eagles this spring, but don't be fooled by his age, his credentials fit the bill.
BROOKINGS -- As South Dakota State University surged past Syracuse on its own floor with a 16-2 run, the ESPN cameras repeatedly cut to the Jackrabbit bench celebrated euphorically en route to an upset win Monday to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA women’s basketball Tournament. At the center of those celebrations was Plankinton native Megan Bultsma, a 6-foot-3 reserve center in her third season for 28-6 SDSU.