Sports news

Nate Wek

The forty-second annual Floyd Farrand Invitational wrestling tournament is taking place at Lincoln High School in Sioux Falls Thursday and Friday of this week. This is a double elimination individual tournament that features some of the best high school wrestling programs in South Dakota.

This annual event began in 1975 when Floyd Farrand, who was the Lincoln High School athletic director at the time, wanted to create a tournament outside of the state championships, to showcase the talent in the state.

Zach Zenner Scores Twice Against Dallas

Dec 27, 2016
Tim Heitman, USA TODAY Sports

South Dakota State Unversity alum and Detroit Lions running back Zach Zenner had his best statistical game in the National Football League on Monday night against the Dallas Cowboys.

The Cowboys defeated the Lions 42-21, but Zenner took advantage of his playing time in the game.

Zach Zenner ran for 67-yards and two touchdowns in the loss to Dallas on Monday night. He also caught two passes from quarterback Matthew Stafford for 25-yards. Both receptions led to first downs.

Lakota Nation Invitational Celebrates 40 years

Dec 5, 2016

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Lakota Nation Invitational.

The LNI, as it’s often called, is held every year at the civic center in Rapid City.

It started out as a basketball tournament, but has grown into an event that showcases sports, alongside student wit, cultural understanding, and creativity.

The Lakota Nation Invitational started in the wake of the Wounded Knee occupation in the 70’s. LNI organizer Brian Brewer says many schools were reluctant to schedule games against Native schools.

Craig Wollman / SDPB

One high school volleyball player welcomed weekend weather that made it difficult for fans, teams, and officials. The 2016 state volleyball championships took place in Huron, Watertown, and Brookings over the weekend. A Northwestern High School student celebrated the snow. 

Fernanda Orsi is a senior setter for the Northwestern Wildcats. On Saturday, Her team defeated the Chester Area Flyers in four sets to win the 2016 Class B state volleyball championship.

Seven games remain in South Dakota’s 20-16 high school football season.  Games in Nine-Man Classes go today (Thursday), with two more games Friday, and another two games Saturday.   Here, once again, is playoff football by the numbers.

We’ve reached one of our favorite times of the year—the weekend that offers up 14 teams, playing seven games, with the winners taking the gold trophies home as state champions.  To further your enjoyment of the games as you take them in at the Dome or watch on SDPB-TV-1—let’s find out the things you’d like to know, by the numbers.


SDPB's Steve Thum and Gary Ellenbolt preview the seven South Dakota High School Football Championship games that begin Thursday at the DakotaDome in Vermillion. Games are scheduled through Saturday night. Click here for the entire schedule of games and coverage on South Dakota Public Broadcasting.


Winner 38, Bridgewater-Emery-Ethan 13

Groton Area 16, Aberdeen Roncalli 10


Winner vs. Groton Area, 1 PM CST Friday


Gregory 44, Stanley County 7

Webster Area 38, Baltic 28


Gregory vs. Webster Area, 10:30 CST Thursday


Warner 57, Sully Buttes 21

Colman-Egan 56, Potter County 26


Warner vs. Colman-Egan, 1:30 CST Thursday


Langford Area 61, Harding County 44


Sioux Falls Washington   24,  Sioux Falls O'Gorman     14

Brandon Valley   49,  Sioux Falls Roosevelt   46

11-AAA FINAL:  Brandon Valley vs. Sioux Falls Washington, 7:00 PM Saturday, November 12th


Mitchell  52, Pierre   14

Harrisburg 61, Spearfish     7

11-A FINAL:  Mitchell vs. Harrisburg, 7:00 PM Friday, November 11th


Madison  35, St. Thomas More 19

Tea Area 31, Dell Rapids   21

A dozen high school football teams will advance to play in state championship games tonight—semi-final contests in three 11-man classes take place around the state.  One school searching for a playoff win is among the few teams in West River that typically see success in football.  


In parts of South Dakota, High School Football is a big deal. Fans don’t have to travel to the metro areas to find a great game.

The state is host to some impressive young athletes, and they’re often found in small towns.

The little town of Langford, South Dakota is home to the Langford Area Lions. The community is small, but don’t take it for granted – this 9B school has a football team that can flat out play ball.

Baltic School District

Over the next couple of days, high school football teams in South Dakota will fill openings for next week’s state championship games in Vermillion.  28 teams in the seven classes are one step away from the Dakota Dome. Baltic High School looks to continue an unbeaten season.

There’s one thing you have to hand to the Baltic Bulldogs—no one has given them anything this year.  The Bulldogs played eight regular-season games; seven of their opponents made the playoffs this year; and Baltic has defeated every opponent, under the direction of Head Coach Jason Aberson.


Winner 40, Tri-Valley 0

Bridgewater-Emery-Ethan 6, Sioux Valley 2

Groton Area 55, Bennett County 0

Aberdeen Roncalli 68, Red Cloud 18


Bridgewater-Emery-Ethan at Winner

Aberdeen Roncalli at Groton Area


Gregory 52, Clark/Willow Lake 0

Stanley County 35, Wolsey-Wessington 28

Webster Area 38, Canistota 16

Baltic 52, Mount Vernon/Plankinton 34


Stanley County at Gregory

Dan Aaker / Winner High School

Twelve more games are on the schedule for State High School Football Playoffs tonight (Monday).  One of the most highly-regarded teams in Class 11-B will play this evening without a teammate.  South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s Gary Ellenbolt looks at how players and coaches deal with a tragic loss off the field.

Last month, SDPB photographer Andrew Bork and I spent a day in Winner, covering the Warriors football team for a piece called “Warrior Gameday.”  One member of that squad was number 66, Taylor Watzel.

High School football playoff teams in Classes 11-Triple-A, 11-Double-A and 11-A have opening-round games scheduled for tonight.  That’s a total of 12 games—seven of them are within mere miles of each other in and around Sioux Falls. 

South Dakota Public Broadcasting

Nine weeks of regular-season high school football end in South Dakota tonight (Thursday).  Some schools are already locked into the post-season, and know they'll play a first-round  game next week.  But other schools either have to win their last game, or get help from another team in the state, to have their seasons extended.  Some schools need both to happen.

There are two weeks left in high school football’s regular season.  Games scheduled for tonight (Friday) and next Thursday will determine who advances into the playoffs.  Sunshine Bible Academy near Miller is doing pretty well this season, and could get into the post-season, despite just 14 players on the roster. 

Hot Springs Soccer, Playing With Boys

Oct 11, 2016
Nate Wek / SDPB

High school soccer in South Dakota continues its growth in popularity. Officials in the sport say each year the talent pool gets deeper, and the games become more competitive.

The team from Hot Springs, is following this trend, but with a little twist.

Hot Springs high school isn’t able to have a girl’s soccer team, due to the policy with enrollment numbers. But this doesn’t stop three junior girls from playing the game they love.

Yankton Press and Dakotan

The Sioux Falls metro area is one of the fastest growing in the Midwest.  While the state’s largest city continues to add more people, communities on the perimeter are seeing growth as well.  One such town is Harrisburg—just a few years ago, the Tigers were successful in South Dakota’s 11-B class.

SDPB's Gary Ellenbolt spends a day in Winner to take in the tradition of a Winner Warriors high school football game. From tuning in to the local radio station, to visiting with locals and members of the football program, Ellenbolt provides a "day in the life" of Winner on football day.

Nate Wek / SDPB

The state fall golf championships are currently underway in South Dakota. Class AA boys are competing at the Moccasin Creek Country Club in Aberdeen, while the Class A boys are at the Hart Ranch Golf Course in Rapid City. John Krogstrand with the South Dakota High School Activities Association says state golf is special because it’s all about the team.  

File Photo / Pierre Capital Journal

With October approaching, high school football teams are preparing to launch their post-season runs.  A few schools are also going through Homecoming festivities.  But in two schools in the central part of the state, a long-time Homecoming tradition is getting careful scrutiny. 

Donald Weidler / Dakota State University

SUGGESTED LEAD:  In South Dakota college football, a lot of attention is paid to the state’s largest schools.  The University of South Dakota and South Dakota State play Division One schedules across the U-S.  But a team from a small school in Madison is having a successful season—and gathering national attention for its play.

Sue Brozik / Gregory Times-Advocate

Another weekend of high school football starts today (Friday) around the state.  One of the best-looking games is taking place between two Class Nine-Double-A teams that have built strong traditions. 

Courtesy PDR Disabled Youth Hunt

The 2016 PDR Disabled Youth Hunt took place near the town of Clark this past weekend. The annual event offers youth with disabilities the opportunity to take part in an authentic South Dakota whitetail deer hunt with all expenses paid.

The Payton Dean Rasmussen Disabled Youth Hunt is in its 9th year. It’s named after Dean Rasmussen’s grandson…who died at 17 months. The goal of the hunt is to give kids with disabilities who have an interest in hunting a chance to actually take part in the sport.

School Of Mines Bids For Stadium Upgrade Funding

Sep 14, 2016
SD School of Mines & Technology

The South Dakota School of Mines is making a push for a $2.5-million stadium upgrade.   

The O’Harra Stadium hosts state track meets and regional college and high school football games.    

Heather Wilson is President of the South Dakota School of Mines.  She says the upgrades include a new digital scoreboard and billboard. The plan also includes new football turf that is safer for athletes and an upgrade to the running track.   

Wilson says the large events at the stadium have a positive economic impact on the community.

Nate Wek / South Dakota Public Broadcasting

When you need to find somebody in a small town on a fall Friday night, the fastest way is to look under the lights of the local football field.  At least three communities in the state have made substantial improvements to their playing areas; with one school in the southeast putting together a magnificent modern facility with the community’s help. 

University of South Dakota Athletics

The University of South Dakota officially opened the Sanford Coyote Sports Center Tuesday night.  The Coyote volleyball team hosted the University of North Dakota in the centerpiece of a 66 million dollar facility upgrade. 

Centerville High School Facebook Page

Teams from across the state start working their way to the Dakota Dome for November’s championship games. But one school in southeast South Dakota won’t get anywhere near the post season this year—a low student enrollment doesn’t give the Centerville Tornadoes enough players to field a varsity team.

Sioux Falls Group Works to Establish Polo In East River

Aug 11, 2016
Heather Benson / South Dakota Public Broadcasting

South Dakota is known as a state without a lot of pretension.  It’s a big state with a small population that feels no one is better than anyone else.  The sport of polo, on the other hand, is considered a sport for royalty and the wealthy, so you may not think people from a humble state would have an interest in such an activity.  But a small group of people in Sioux Falls is trying to make polo a popular activity.

Kyle Mork / South Dakota Public Broadcasting

Rapid City resident and professional pool player Shane Van Boening has won both the US Open 8-Ball Championship and the US Open 10-Ball Championship.

As a child, Van Boening was diagnosed with severe hearing loss. Today he uses hearing aids.

Van Boening spoke to SDPB in 2014 at J.J. Billiards in Sioux Falls. He says sometimes when he’s playing pool he’ll turn off the hearing aids to help him concentrate.