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2022 Top-10 SD High School Sports and Activities Moments

Bailey Zubke
/
South Dakota Public Broadcasting

It’s that time again where we get ready to turn the calendar to another year and start planning for what the next year will hold. But first, let’s take a look back at some of the best high school sports and activities moments from 2022.

No. 10 – Bailee Sobczak Wins Spirit of Su

Honoring a legend with 2022 a Spirit of Su recipient Bailee Sobczak | In Play

Rapid City Stevens senior Bailee Sobczak grew up admiring the legacy of SuAnne Big Crow. At a younger age, she even did a wax museum project at school where she researched SuAnne, put a speech together, and presented it from SuAnne’s perspective. Throughout the process, she met with Chick Big Crow, SuAnne’s mom.

During the 2022 ‘AA’ girls state basketball tournament, Bailee was chosen as the recipient of the Spirit of Su award. For Bailee, it was an honor that is hard to explain.

No. 9 - Brandon Valley's Indoor Percussion Season

Meet the Brandon Valley Indoor Percussion Ensemble | In Play

Indoor Percussion Ensemble is not a state sanctioned activity but that hasn’t stopped the Brandon Valley squad from making their mark with the activity.

The Lynx competed this past spring at the WGI Scholastic Open Finals in Dayton, Ohio where they not only qualified for finals, but finished in 8th place.

No. 8 – De Smet Boys Go Back-To-Back

South Dakota Public Broadcasting

The De Smet Bulldogs were the preseason favorite to win the ‘B’ boys basketball title in 2022. And while at times it wasn’t always pretty, they always came through when it mattered most.

De Smet was also the top seed going into the 2020 state tournament, which got canceled due to the pandemic. They won it in 2021 in dominating fashion, and then refueled and regrouped to do it again in 2022.

Story – Click Here

No. 7 – Winner’s Kaden Keiser Wins Fourth Straight Wrestling Title

Tim Tushla
/
South Dakota Public Broadcasting

Winner Area’s Kaden Keiser became just the 17th ‘B’ wrestling in state history to win four state wrestling championships in 2022. He won titles in 145 lb weight class as a senior and a junior, won in 126 lb as a sophomore and 120 lb as a freshman.

“I’m a lot more humble than grateful for everything. You know, friends, teammates, all of them. I wouldn’t be here without them.”

Story – Click Here

No. 6 – Pierre Wins First Ever Girls Team Wrestling Title

Brian Gevik
/
South Dakota Public Broadcasting

Girls wrestling continues to grow in South Dakota. In 2022, it was the first time that a team championship award had been handed out for the girls side of the sport. It was Pierre who won the inaugural team title.

As a team, the girls Governor wrestling squad finished with 146 team points. Canton took second with 129, Spearfish in third with 83, Harrisburg at the number four spot with 75, and Brookings rounded out the top-5 with 61.

Story – Click Here

No. 5 – Elk Point-Jefferson wins state football title in first trip to dome

2022 SDHSAA Football Championships Class 11B

Elk Point-Jefferson went to the dome for the first time in school history this fall, and they had to go up against Winner, one of the more decorated football programs in the state.

Not only did the Huskies win their first ever title in their first ever trip, in a David vs Goliath type game, but they also ended Winner’s 34-game win streak.

Story – Click Here

No. 4 – Alea Hardie puts a stamp on a stellar career

Josh Jurgens
/
South Dakota Public Broadcasting

O’Gorman long distance runner Alea Hardie finished her high school career at the 2022 state track championships with three gold medals for the event.

Throughout her career, she had nine gold medals at state track, even though her sophomore state meet was canceled with the pandemic. She’s one of the best female long distance runners in state history.

Story – Click Here

No. 3 – Pierre football wins sixth straight

2022 SDHSAA Football Championships Class 11AA

The Governors have been on top of 11AA football for over half a decade in South Dakota. This November, they won their sixth straight state title.

Part of their recent success has been due to their quarterback Lincoln Kienholz, who is considered by many as one of the top football players in state history. He’ll play college football at THE Ohio State University next fall.

Title game write up – Click Here

No. 2 – Simeon Birnbaum's memorable season

A Record Breaking Year | In Play

One could say, no individual had a better overall season in 2022 than Simeon Birnbaum. He broke the state high school record in the mile and two-mile run, and then in June in Seatttle, Washington, ran a sub-four minute mile.

Throughout the nation’s recorded history, only 17 high school athletes have ever run a mile in under four minutes. And of those 17, only three of them were juniors – Birnbaum included.

Story – Click Here

No. 1 – Viborg-Hurley’s Cinderella Story

Craig Wollman
/
South Dakota Public Broadcasting

Viborg-Hurley entered the ‘B’ girls state basketball tournament in 2022 as the No. 8 seed. They defeated top ranked Aberdeen Roncalli, who was the defending state champion in Class A from 2021, in the quarterfinal round, and then took down Corsica-Stickney in the semifinals. The Cougars topped De Smet in the title game to complete their incredible run.

While an 8 seed running the table has been done before, it’s rare to see it happen in ‘B’ basketball.

Story - Click Here

Honorable Mentions | Harrisburg Freshman Riley Christensen wins ‘AA’ boys golf title, Pierre wins first girls tennis title, Reese Ross’s ‘A’ girls state championship performance, St. Thomas More wins title, Sioux Falls Lincoln places fourth at Bands of American St. Louis Super Regional, and Paige Simon of Deuel wins 12 titles.

Other Great Moments | SF Christian's volleyball dynasty continues, Erin Kuper's memorable week, Sioux Valley and Dakota Valley continue dynasty runs in 'A' cheer and dance, and Bison fights through weather to win state golf title.

What were some of your favorite high school sports and activities moments from 2022? What are you most looking forward to in 2023?

Nate Wek is currently the sports content producer and sports and rec beat reporter for South Dakota Public Broadcasting. He is a graduate of South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism Broadcasting and a minor in Leadership. From 2010-2013 Nate was the Director of Gameday Media for the Sioux Falls Storm (Indoor Football League) football team. He also spent 2012 and 2013 as the News and Sports Director of KSDJ Radio in Brookings, SD. Nate, his wife Sarah, and two kids Braxan and Jordy, live in Canton, SD.