The South Dakota Mines Hardrockers had a bit of a rebuilding season on the gridiron in 2019 as they had to replace four all-conference performers on the offensive side of the ball in quarterback Jake Sullivan, running back Connor Silveria, wide receiver Isiah Manley and offensive lineman Robert Schrock.
That rebuild resulted in a 3-8 record this fall but the Hardrockers ended the 2019 campaign on a high note with a 21-17 win at Fort Lewis on Saturday. Running back Ahmad Lewis showed that he will be a factor next season as he ran for 131 yards and two scores to run his season total to 1,385 yards on the ground and nine touchdowns. Head coach Zach Tinker was impressed with his team's spirit even if the win total may not have been all that was expected.
"Well this team has stuck together, this team hasn't backed down from each other, stayed engaged in the process. There's been chances for us to go into a mode where there hasn't been the same kind of energy. I've been pleased that this came back a week ago and competed in the last 3 quarters of that football game the way we are used to."
Lewis ended the season as the RMAC's leading rusher, edging out Colorado School of Mines running back Michael Zeman.
Rapid City will be the site of the 2019 South Dakota State Volleyball Championships beginning Thursday afternoon and running through the crowning of three different classes of state champions on Saturday ...
The Stevens Raiders enter the Class AA tournament as the defending state champion ... and were the runner-up back in 2017, which was also at the civic center ... Stevens enters this year's eight-team tournament as the No. 7 seed and will have to reverse a three-set sweep at the hands of O'Gorman back in September to reach Friday night's semifinals. Raider head coach Kylie Voorhees sounds confident heading into Thursday's match with the Knights, knowing that her team has steadily been improving and that the higher-seeded team could feel some pressure.
Voorhees said, "You know we were a different team back then. We were still trying to put things together and they obviously already had everything put together. I just think that the way we've grown this season that this will be a different game for us. The other beauty of things is that the weight is on their back, it's not on our back. We have nothing to lose and that's the one message I keep giving to my girls is leave it on the court, play with everything you've got, take it to them because there's nothing that should be holding us back."
The Raiders will have to overcome the tough loss of senior Grace Martin, who suffered a meniscus injury in the team's SoDak 16 win over Brandon Valley.
The Class AA state tournament opens with top-seeded Watertown facing No. 9 seed Harrisburg in the first game at 1 o'clock Thursday ... Roosevelt and Washington will meet in the 4-5 game ... Huron takes on Lincoln in the 3-6 matchup and Stevens and No. 2 seed O'Gorman will play in the nightcap on the opening day.
The Class A tournament opens with top-seeded Miller taking on Elk Point-Jefferson ... Winner gets Sioux Falls Christian in the 4-5 match ... McCook Central Montrose faces Groton and Dakota Valley meets Madison in the late match ...
Top-seeded Northwestern opens the B tourney against Bridgewater-Emery ... Faith and Warner meet in the 4-5 showdown ... Ethan and Burke are your B 3-6 matchup and Chester and Faulkton meet in the nightcap ...
South Dakota School of Mines sophomore Dana Thomson was named to the Rocky Mountain All-Conference Second Team along with Chadron State defensive specialist/libero Ashton Burditt, a Spearfish High School graduate, and Black Hills State's Haedyn Rhoades.
Mines freshman Anna Thomas, Belle Fourche High School grad Sierra Ward of Black Hills State; Ward's teammate Laurel Lech and Chadron State's Shelby Schouten were also named honorable mention. Thomson, a 6-foot-1-inch outside hitter from Fruita, Colorado, finished the season leading the conference in kills (459), kills per set (4.21), total points (494.5) and was third in points per set (4.54 while also setting an RMAC record for most kills ever in a five-set match with 35 on Oct. 25 against Fort Lewis.
And in RMAC volleyball playoff action tonight, the Metro State Roadrunners swept Black Hills State in three sets to advance to face Dixie State on Friday. Black Hills ends its season with a 12-15 record overall ...
The South Dakota State men's basketball team bounced back from an ugly loss to Nebraska with a 78 to 73 win over North Alabama tonight ... guard Brandon Key led four Jackrabbits in double figures with 18 points ... Matt Dentlinger added 17 and Noah Freidel and Dougla Wilson each had 13. The Jacks travel to Tucson, Arizona to play the 14th ranked Arizona Wildcats on Thursday.