Caelyn Valandra Prue: Proud, strong, beautiful....Lakota!

At left, Caelyn Valandra Prue wearing a ‘plume’ during the South Dakota State track meet. At right, Valandra-Prue edges Chester Area’s MaKenna Larson for the Class B 100 meter state title.

By Rich Winter

At the beginning of the state track meet Friday in Sioux Falls, meet officials came over to investigate the plume that was tethered in Caelyn Valandra Prue’s hair.

“One ref said, ‘I have no idea why you’d even wanna wear that’” Valandra Prue said Friday.

Her reply to the official was, “Why not because it is who I am and what I’m representing.”

The personal statement was allowed, and so following the initial inspection, CVP went out and kicked some butt.

On Friday, she ran the 100 prelims and the 400 prelims…And then, for only the fourth time in her illustrious track career, she ran the open 800 final. Sitting in third, she contemplated settling, but, settling is not in her nature and she took off, burying the field with a lifetime best of 2:21

1 - CVP - 2:21.93

2 Josie Olson - (Duebrook Area) 2:22.64

CVP went into the meet attempting to win four events. The 100, 200, 400 and 800. One problem with that schedule is the girls 200 meters is right after the 800. Another issue was that CVP was in the first heat of the 200 prelims.

Seven minutes after she won the 800 meter state title, CVP settled into the blocks for the 200 prelims.

Undaunted by her fatigue, undeterred by legs still screaming at her from the 800, CVP still won her heat and made Saturday’s finals.

On Saturday morning, CVP settled into the blocks for the 100 meter final. Trailing Chester Area’s Makenna Larson at the 50-meter mark, the White River sophomore dug down, lunged at the line for what looked like a win. Both runners were credited with a 12.39, but after looking more closely, it was determined that CVP ran 12.382…Larson a 12.387….

5/1000th of a second…(.005) separated the pair.

400 meters: Having won the Class A 400 meters each of the last two seasons, CVP finished second to New Underwood sophomore Cerington Jones, by .02

400 meter final

1 Jones, Cerington (10) New Underwood 58.31

2 Valandra-Prue, Caelyn (10), White River 58.33

About an hour later she settled into the blocks for the final of the 200 meters. Trailing a good share of the race, CVP found another gear and rocketed to the finish to edge Chester Area’s Larson.

  1. CVP - 25.6

  2. Makenna Larson - 25.64

Three state titles and a runner-up finish in the 400, CVP talked about the state meet, her friend Tonya Whirlwind Soldier and what the plume in her hair meant to her.

Some thoughts from the Prue family as to what this plume means to CVP and the family.


It works together because Caelyn understands herself and where she comes from. And, being proud of that the plume is about wearing it because she has earned it. She has achieved a certain level of tasks and it carries a history of her nation and understanding who her family is and where she comes from and who we are.

She wore it that day because she set a goal for herself that day she wore it with pride it wasn’t about boasting it was about achieving a goal and reminding herself and her people what she is working toward. She wanted to share what she is proud of to everyone who was watching and supporting her.

It shows Caelyns honesty of who she is and her pride of being Lakota. She is not afraid to step on the track of people who question it, or those who show ignorance, but to educate those around her who don’t understand what it takes to show leadership as a young Lakota athlete who is daring to accomplish more.


CVP was named the outstanding Class B track athlete.

As the only White River girl competing in the state meet, CVP racked up 38 points to finish in fourth place as a TEAM.

All season long, CVP dedicated her seasons to former TC coach, Tonya Whirlwind Soldier who lost her battle with cancer last fall.

“Seeing her win that like we planned all year, and her saying she wanted to do it for Tonya means the world!! Her placing 4th as a team made me think about her drive and her personal definition of team “(T)onya (E)xists (A)round (M)e”