South Dakota seniors: Courtney Menning, Tucker Kraft, Austin Olson, Kuper Heck and Garly Gustafson close like CHAMPIONS

Pictured above are Corsica-Stickney senior Courtney Menning (Mitchell Daily Republic), Tucker Kraft (Timber Lake), Kuper Heck (Timber Lake) and Karly Gustafson (ETHAN/Parkston)

By Rich Winter

A couple of things caught my attention when scrolling through track results this morning was some terrific efforts from kids at small schools that stuck it out to the very end and CAPPED their high-school careers with electric and eye-popping results.

Courtney Menning - Corsica Stickney


So, yesterday C/S senior Courtney Menning delivered one more terrific performance.

She ran a 2:25.20 to finish 3rd in the 800 meters.

What caught my attention was she hadn’t qualified automatically for the 800…Hadn’t seen her name all year and then BOOM, senior year!

Tucker Kraft - Timber Lake


One of our favorites here at Sacred Hoops. This guy was an absolute BEAST in football this fall. Had a great year in basketball as Timber Lake reached the state tournament for the second-year in a row.

Football scholarship to SDSU, in the bag, and yet, Kraft just kept getting better.

So, entering yesterday’s shot-put competition, Kraft had pre-qualified with a 49-foot throw.

On Friday, he UNCORKED a

51’9.25 to finish 5th

Austin Olson (Jones County) and Kuper Keck (Timber Lake)


Great run in the Class B 800 meters yesterday as Hanson jr. Reggie Slaba won with a time of 1:58.46…He knocked off a field loaded with seniors that ran some brilliant times.

2. Kuper Heck - Timber Lake 1:59.16 (kid had a great year, and to get under 2-minutes on the last 800 in high school…SUPERB!

3. Austin Olson - Jones County 2:00.29

What a great career this guy had for the Jones County Coyotes. Quarterback on the JC/WR football team that reached the playoffs.

Helped get Jones County to the Class B state tournament.

This fall, while he was QB’ing the football team he did morning workouts to train for cross-country with a goal of making the podium…He did…Every year this guy got better…He never sat back and relaxed and great time/Personal best in his last 800 in a Coyote uniform.

Karly Gustafson - ETHAN/Parkston


Karly Gustafson placing third in the Class A girls shot was one of Friday’s best stories.

Superb career for Ethan in basketball and volleyball. All kinds of awards and honors after basketball season and her future collegiate basketball and academic career set…

And yet, after not going out for track for a few seasons, she decided to give it one more SHOT.

Heading into the Class A state meet, Gustafson had the 8th best throw…37’2…

On Friday she got out to a lifetime best of 39’2.75” and finished 3rd..WOW!