Throwback Thursday: Has there been a better multi-sport athlete in South Dakota than Chad Greenway

By Rich Winter

I think most sports fans in South Dakota know the prowess of former Vikings Linebacker Chad Greenway. A standout at Iowa and a ten year career in the NFL are proof that Greenway may be one of the best athletes to ever come out of South Dakota.

While Greenway has been inducted into a number of South Dakota Hall of Fames, did ya know he’s also in the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame.

This man was a load on the low blocks for Mt. Vernon…(Check out some of the stats for the 6-foot-4 forward.

  • Career points scored 1,450

  • Seniors year: 26 points, 11 rebounds - Named to Class B all-state team for the second time.

  • Junior year: 23 points, 13 rebounds per game.

  • Sophomore - 20 points per game.

Can you imagine the number of recruiting letters and phone calls that came to the Greenway house?

As a Mount Vernon High School senior Greenway was heavily recruited by college coaches who coveted his wide-ranging talents on the basketball court.

Known for his strength, speed and agility, Greenway was an adept perimeter shooter and a proven low-post scorer.
The athletic ability that helped Greenway excel in basketball was clearly evident during track season.

Every year I scour the state track meet program, and every year, Greenway’s name pops up next to the Class B state meet record int he triple jump.

47’1.5” - Can you imagine a future NFL linebacker rumbling down the runway and then hop, skip and jump his way farther than any Class B kid, EVER?

The athletic ability that helped Greenway excel in basketball was clearly evident during track season. He was a championship-level hurdler and set the State Class B Meet record of 47-1½ in the triple jump.

Oh yeah, Greenway played high-school football as well.

  • Greenway was a quarterback and safety who led the Stickney/Mount Vernon Knights to back-to-back Class 9AA state football championships during the 1999 and 2000 seasons.

  • He was an all-stater three years and the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior for Coach Myron Steffen.

  • The challenge of major-college football appealed to Greenway. So he turned down a number of basketball offers and accepted a scholarship from Coach Kirk Ferentz and the University of Iowa. With the Hawkeyes he was moved to linebacker and was an important part of teams that went 38-12 over four seasons. Greenway was all-Big Ten Conference three years and earned All-America recognition twice.

  • After being an Iowa captain during his senior season in 2005, he entered the NFL Draft and was selected 17th overall in the first round by Minnesota.

  • What followed was an illustrious 11-year career with the Vikings in which Greenway established himself as an unquestioned team leader. He ranks fourth in franchise history with 1,334 total tackles.

And, the man is respected for his civic involvement as a member of the Minnesota Vikings.

  • He was named the Vikings’ Community Man of the Year multiple times.

  • And in 2015 he was the Byron “Whizzer” White NFL Man of the Year. A

  • After the 2016 season Greenway retired from the Vikings. In 2017 he was presented the Big Ten Conference Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award.

  • Greenway now spends time working with his charitable Lead the Way Foundation and as a speaker. His foundation has raised more than $2 million and assisted those in need in the Twin Cities area through a variety of outreach programs. He and his wife Jennifer live in Wayzata, Minn. Children are Maddyn, Beckett, Blakely and Carsyn.

Dear Class of 2023, Welcome to an OPPORTUNITY of a LIFETIME

By Rich Winter

Wow, feels like you could feel a collective exhale from South Dakota as a bunch of kids just went back to school. Saw a few glum kids faces out there but that’s expected. We at Sacred Hoops wanted to take time to wish all of our STUDENT/Athletes success in the classroom.

For the incoming freshman in South Dakota class-rooms welcome to the next phase of your life. High school if fun, its a great time of life and it is also a proving ground for how successful you might be at the next level. If you are a freshman, we’d really like you to get down to business early and work on those grades.

Like to encourage this freshman class to make academics as strong a love and passion as you have for whatever sport is your favorite.

Sacred Hoops Co-Director Allan Bertram checked in on the subject

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It is so important for students to get a good solid start to their academic studies in their 9th grade year.

So many students fall behind an entire grade level after their first school year due to attendance, failing to turn in school work, etc.

It is all about Effort and Attitude - Get To Class, Participate, and most importantly turn in your school work - If you do those things - You will be guaranteed to pass your classes

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

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If you don’t understand something, raise your hand and ask a question…

As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that a lot of us learn differently. And that’s OK!

But, that also means that sometimes, some of us, need things explained in a way that makes-sense-to-us…

Asking for something to be explained is the brave and right choice in a classroom…Take heart that we can guarantee there is another young person in the class with the same question.

We realize that a lot of young athletes across South Dakota have collegiate dreams. That’s awesome, Dream Big, but while your Dreaming BIG make sure you academic achievements and contributions to your community are something a college wants to add to their family.

A respected coach’s perspective - Division 11 Ladies coach:

“I watch the game first, look at the brochure, then eliminate the kids that have less than a 3.0 because, usually, even the girl who has a 3.0 is including A’s in gym class.  A team’s brochures inflate grades sometimes.  For those reasons, I like to see 3.5 and higher,”  she asserted.

Grades – a link to athletic opportunities

Here’s what we know:  the higher a high school athlete’s GPA and test scores, the more college doors that will open.  And the more doors that open, the more opportunities there can potentially be for the athlete.

Our coach friend said, “We mix athletic with academic money, along with need-based dollars, grants, and loans to come up with financial packages for our recruits.  The better their core GPA and test scores, the more academic money we can throw their way,” she said.  “Our school is expensive, so while we try to reduce the amount families pay, the best way athletes can impact that is to maximize their grades and test scores,” she added.

A shout out to our 12-hour-a-day Student/Athletes and their AMAZING support systems

By Rich Winter

I think as adults sometimes we forget how busy our kids really are.

We have a lot of young people across South Dakota that just completely revamped their lives, and their schedules (yawn) and are now chasing dreams that often have the days beginning at 6:00 a.m.

After an early morning wakeup call, a lot of these athletes are out the doors, on a bus with some of them showing up at the gym, often alone, lifting, working and dreaming that someday all this hard work will pay off. 

A lot of our Sacred Hoops athletes, especially the seniors are taking AP Calculus classes and ACT Prep. Some have their normal core classes, some are dabbling in Chemistry and Physics and still others are immersed in the creation of art and music. 

Start the day at 6:00 a.m., roll through a 30-minute lunch, grind through afternoon school, get after it in respective sports practices and roll in just as the sun is going down. 

Rinse and Repeat, five days in a row. 

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We have some amazing young people in South Dakota. Brilliant minds willing to dream big and work hard, sometimes with a final goal not yet met. 

Couple of guys we wanted to throw a little love at this morning are Flandreau Public junior David Allen and Presentation Colleges Lattrell Terkildsen. 

1. David Allen - Flandreau: A great post from Coach Bertram this morning as he made note of Allen working to get better - 

"Love helping kids get better!! 6:30 a.m. today - this young man is determined to get Better. Love to see this type of mentality and dedication." 

2. Lattrell Terkildsen - Presentation College via Winner

Was really excited to see a few weeks ago that former Winner player Lattrell Terkildsen had rejoined the Presentation Program. Very excited to see him in Chicago last week, in UNIFORM and playing ball and going to school again. 

A few years back Terkildsen was at Presentation and decided school wasn't for him. Bounced around  a bit for a couple of years but now he is back in school and back on the field doing what he loves. 

And that's Awesome!

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Faith's Shanna Selby turned her AAU experience into a National Championship and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy

By Rich Winter

When former Faith standout Shanna Selby was just a sophomore her basketball world changed forever. Part of a Faith squad that made their First-Ever trip to the state tournament, Selby and her teammates finished 3rd in their first-appearance at the Big Show. While Summit was very tough that year, Selby left a magnificent imprint on South Dakota when her last second shot in the 3rd and 4th place game proved to be the game winner. 

"We were tied with 17 seconds to go and coach drew up a play to go against a zone," Selby said. "I had the last second shot, it bounced in and we were pretty happy about going 2-1 that season."

A terrific volleyball and basketball player for the Longhorns, Selby hadn't given college basketball much thought. All she knew was since 8th grade she wanted to be a Physical Therapist. 

The summer before her junior year Selby began playing with an East-River AAU team. Immediately she knew she was behind the other girls she was playing with. 

"Right away I realized I was late to the game and I was like what the heck," Selby noted. 

Her senior year at Faith was a rebuilding year and without college scouts noticing her in post-season play, Selby pondered a future of academics. 

"Playing basketball in college was something I hadn't thought about much," Selby said. "I worked pretty hard at AAU basketball and filled out some questionnaires for a few colleges." 

At one of her AAU tournaments Selby visited with a Dakota Wesleyan Assistant Coach and after discussing her academic wants and needs Selby said DWU just felt like the right place to go.

"Health Sciences and Biology were offered and I wanted something where I could go to work right away," Selby said. "So Athletic Training and playing college basketball was the path I chose."

While Selby 'thought' she had worked out fairly hard while prepping at Faith from the moment she arrived on the DWU campus a whole new level caught her attention.  

"It's a whole different ball game," Selby said. "We did weight lifting, open gym and conditioning and nothing can prepare you for that type of work." 

Living in the Mountain time zone, Selby says she was rattled when the team gathered at 5 a.m..

"When we first started at 5, it was 4 a.m. my time and it felt like I had to get up at 3:15 because you have to be there early and ready to go right at 5 a.m. she said. "That transition was pretty tough but it teaches you time management, where you are and what you need to work on."

After not playing her freshman season, Selby saw spot minutes her sophomore and junior years. With a class loaded with terrific athletes, Selby contemplated not playing her senior year. After all the work put in and all of the tough competition raising the level of her game, Selby thought long and hard before she made any decision. 

"I talked to my mom, talked to my teammates that I lived with and I talked to God," Selby said. 

Ultimately Selby decided not to play her senior year, BUT, she didn't and couldn't leave her teammates behind. Selby asked herself how she could help the team and the answer came when she was offered a position to student-coach. 

While Selby didn't play during Dakota Wesleyan's run to the school's first-ever NAIA National Title she was dialed into her team and felt each and every moment as the DWU women won the school's first-ever TITLE. 

"When it happened it was just surreal and we couldn't believe it," Selby said. 

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Three times during the season, DWU lost to Concordia, the team they played for the National Title. 

"It wasn't a surprise that we beat them," Selby said. "We played them tough three times and knew what we had to do." 

As DWU was making their national championship run, Selby soaked in moments that included signs at local schools, signs up at local businesses and the enormous amount to support shown during the Welcome Home. 

"Being the first DWU team to win any National Title was just so special," Selby said. "Seeing all of that support and the energy in the community was just amazing." 

Biggest influences: Parents Jim and Melinda Selby

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My parents have been huge supporters in academics and athletics. They helped pay for my summer basketball and opened the gym for me. They always instilled in me that I had to get good grades and I think I got my work ethic from them - Shanna Selby

Selby has two brothers, Tyson and Caden Selby. Caden is spending this summer working with and playing on Dale Pine Jr.'s West River boys team. Spending some time at home this summer, Selby is pretty fired up to have her younger brother experience Sacred Hoops at such a young age. 

"When I was his age we had nothing like this and I'm super excited about it," Selby said. "I think it's awesome getting these kids exposed to this level of basketball and also getting to play with kids from different towns." 

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NEXT PLAY - Selby started school today at the University of South Dakota where she will start her next journey working towards a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. 

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Barn-Burner 16-U squad feasting on Clark/Willow Lake’s tradition and experience

By Rich Winter

After just missing the Class A state tournament in 2017, Clark/ Willow Lake coach Jerome Nesheim’s Cyclones were moved to Class B for the 2017-2018 season. Returning all five starters from a 19-3 squad, and moving down in classification it was almost assumed the Cyclones would have a great season. 

The move down forced a lot of expectations and with those expectations came pressure. While the Cyclones were in the B ranks they played an A schedule and that A schedule toughened up Nesheim’s squad for a deep run in the state tournament.

“We got beat out early by George-Little Rock of Iowa and then lost to Sioux Falls Christian on Jan. 27,” Nesheim said. “SFC was a great game for us and playing those types of teams made us better.”

Better is a word that is used quite a lot at Clark/Willow Lake. The word isn’t tossed about lightly though, and better comes with a lot of help from the community and the former players. 

When Nesheim first arrived at Clark following his graduation from Dakota Wesleyan he began his teaching and coaching career. While Clark has a history of tremendous high school athletes (Gene Lorenz 1982) when Nesheim arrived, tradition and community support weren’t at their peak. 

“The early years were kind of a struggle,” Nesheim said. 

Struggle or not, the Cyclones boys and girls coach (at the time) spoke to a group in Clark and helped breathe some fire into the community. 

“I told them my whole goal was that when people talk about basketball in South Dakota that Clark is in the conversation,” he said. “The whole goal was to get kids to play hard and leave with no regrets.” 

In the late 1990’s Custer and Lennox were the powers in Class A and Nesheim hoped to be in that stratosphere. 

“We’ve had a lot of success in the last 15 years with getting to the state tournament,” he said. “We lost to Chester in the state championship game in 2004 and then to St. Thomas More in 2006.”

During Nesheim’s tenure some terrific players have come from Clark/Willow Lake. Those athletes often come back and speak to the current crop of athletes. Guys like Derek Brown and Skyler Flatten (and others) coming back to work with, and speak to kids happens with regularity. 

“They have a lot of impact,” Nesheim said. “The former players are always talking to the kids about not being that group that struggles or falls below .500. The kids look up to Skyler (SDSU player who just completed his senior year) and he’s such a good guy our kids want to be like him and its just a factor with the program.” 

While former players help with the motivation, the community has helped immeasurably. The gym in Clark is open EVERY day with kids being allowed to come in and play.

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“That’s a huge plus for me that my Administration and Community help make this happen,” Nesheim said. “Dan Whalen works with the kids in the program every day and gets the kids to Watertown for agility drills.” 

This summer, Nesheim is working with the Barn-Burner 16-U team. With just three guys on that squad having significant varsity experience, Coach is maximizing every opportunity to get his summer kids ready for varsity ball. ‘Game-Situation’ moments are taught at every practice. The goal is to put the kids in situations they might see at a varsity level so they are mentally prepared to play at a higher level this winter. 

While there have been practices and several AAU tournaments (two more on the summer schedule), Nesheim says he’s had just one goal with the Barn-Burner squad. 

“Our goal this summer is to get in their minds they have to play hard on every possession,” he said. 

While Nesheim is coming off a Class B state runner-up finish this summer he’s working with just one Cyclone player, Stone Burke. The rest of his players, Hunter Thorpe (Ellendale, North Dakota), Nick Wittler (Sully Buttes), Quinn Jordre (Sully Buttes), Tyler Schumacher (Miller), Zach Clemens (Northwestern), Colton Hanson (Aberdeen Central) and Dawson Phfister (Aberdeen Central), are discovering each other on a new level. 

“I think it really helps to meet and see kids from Class B that meet kids from Class AA. “We’re all the same, we all put our pants on the same way and the AA kids want to learn and get better just like Class B or Class A kids.”

With just two AAU tournaments remaining, Sioux Falls and Kansas City, Nesheim is excited to expose his kids to some big-time basketball in the coming weeks. 

“It is so good for kids to go down to places like Kansas City,” Nesheim said. “That type to competition challenges kids and forces them to play at a higher level and ultimately to get better.” 

As the school year approaches Nesheim is gearing up for another busy year. The Viborg graduate teaches Business Education, Personal Finance, Psychology, Sociology and is an assistant on Joel Huber’s 9AA football team that opens their season against Florence-Henry in about 30 days. 

For just over 20 years Nesheim continually advocates the importance of the classroom and being a good person. 

“At the high school level the basketball court is actually an extension of the classroom,” he said. “How you treat kids that are less fortunate than you is character building and something we talk about a lot.”

One to Watch – Clark/Willow Lake senor Jacob Prouty

First-team Class B All-State player in 2018 with averages of 20.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg and 3.7 apg. 

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Readers Voice - Ninth graders, are you ready to hit the academic year running?

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Well, we are creeping on towards the end of June and while the emphasis so far this summer has been basketball fundamentals and building strength for the fall season, let’s not forget about the academic year that is creeping up on us. 

Last week we tossed out a particular scenario and asked for viewer feedback…

Scenario: I am a soon-to-be senior in South Dakota and I would like to play college sports next year. I think I could play in college but my grades have not been good in high school and I feel like this might hurt my chances of playing in college or even getting accepted to college. 

My G.P.A. is barely north of 2.0
I haven't taken my ACT yet
Can I retake some classes I did poorly in this summer?
Is there anything on-line classes I could take?

What should I do?

The response to this question was terrific and provided some real answers to student/athletes and parents that are looking into playing sports while getting their education at the next level. 

NINTH GRADERS – You need to hear and UNDERSTAND this…

“This starts in grade 9 and you must be taking care of grades and classes then. As soon as you set foot in school in Grade 9 your clock starts and you have four years to complete 16 core courses if we talking d1 or d2.  (DI and D11 are Just a bit different in what your gpa can be and a bit different in what classes are mandatory.” – Trevor

Discussion: If you really want to play sports in college while pursuing a degree there is nothing better you can do to aid your chances than pay attention to your academics, right from the day 9th-grade starts. Are you going to hit that classroom with your mind focused and ready to do the very best you can? One of the biggest things about staying academically sounds is to stay on top of things. There are no dumb questions: If you fall behind, ask questions. If you fall behind, ask for help. Developing solid study habits early in your academic career will help set the tone for four years of solid classroom work. 

(Back to the scenario: Grades suck, what do I do)

You can go to Junior College if you’re grades aren’t good enough. It does help to have a good ACT OR SAT. If you do, your GPA is basically irrelevant there. 

Can I retake classes: 

As far as D1 you can NOT retake more then 1 core course. So you can fix one class online or the following year, or summer. 

NAIA rules are different: 

If you’re talking NAIA their rules are all different and you may still be able to fix a few classes. 

(Thoughts from Trevor)

 What to do if you find yourself in an academic hole: 

Unfortunately, you have placed yourself in a hole.  Not a hole that can't be climbed out of but non the less a hole. Options: junior college, prep school.  The odds are slim if any that a college will give a scholarship.  If accepted to a college you will probably have to walk on and be red shirted to prove your academic focus – Mike

My grades stink and I haven’t taken the ACT and I’m a senior: 

(What are you doing about this? Have you thought about it this summer and are you studying or are you going to wait until the ACT test is given this fall and hope for the best?)

There are resources: 

Go to Khan academy they have free videos. Take the ACT as early as you can that way you know what it’s like and you can study for ACT, SAT. They have youtube vids, and from Khan academy, resources at book stores. Work on that ACT or SAT score. If not there is always junior college - Joel 

 

Khan Academy is GREAT - Jessica

Khan Academy is FREE: They have vids for ACT, SAT, LSAT, MCAT, GRE, GMAT, CPA, Nursing, elementary math, algebra, calculus, everything. Youtube has vids too. I would concentrate on the ACT, SAT, because if you have a low GPA but strong score they (colleges) would prefer the stronger score – Joel 

 

GO TO a Junior College: Go to a JUCO to build your grades up then transfer to 4 year school - Dalton 

Visit your School Counselor: 

I would highly recommend this student meeting with their school counselor to go over options for improving your GPA. They will be in the know to share if retaking classes for a higher grade is an option, online classes available, whether dual credit is an option or other options not thought of. I will say as a school counselor at the middle level myself, that many academic minded students on the east and west coasts do a second senior year in hopes of getting into their desired college. This means they are taking more electives and move past the required credits...but it delays graduation for a better chance at regular or early decision at top tier schools. Caution with athletics added onto this, as SDHSAA or the equivalent could have rules and/or restrictions on # of seasons competing – Jules

Thank you to our readers for some tremendously enlightening and thoughtful responses. 

If you have additional thoughts, comments or suggestions, please feel free to share in the comments section below. We'd love to hear from you...

 

 

 

From Oglala to MEGATRON WR/TE at Black Hills - Eriq 'JET' Swiftwater taking a road seldom traveled

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By Rich Winter

By all accounts 2017 was a season to forget for former Oelrich’s prep and current Black Hills State junior Eriq Swiftwater. After starting his freshman and sophomore years for the Yellow Jackets, Swiftwater suffered a dislocated elbow early last season. 

The injury forced Swiftwater to miss the entire football season. He was given a Medical Redshirt year by the NCAA, meaning he would be allowed to have a 6th-season of eligibility. While some might coast through their extra year of school, Swiftwater paid a visit to his Academic Counselor

“She said I had enough credits to double-major in Psychology and Sociology,” Swiftwater said. 

And so, with two more years to hone is craft playing football, a double-major waits for a young man who continues to defy the odds.

What Odds?

I asked Mr. Swiftwater how many Native Americans are on the Black Hills State Football team?

After a momentary pause, he responded, “ONE”. 

Just him!

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For a young man that grew up in Oglala, spent some time in foster care while being separated from his siblings, graduated from Oelrich’s and only got serious about football after Oelrich’s Co-Oped with Hot Springs, Swiftwater is blazing a trail as football ambassador / role model. 

“Ever since I came to college I feel like I’ve embraced the ‘Role Model’ role,” Swiftwater said. “Kids message me and ask about tips on what they can do and how they can get stronger.” 

Walking in the rarified air of a Native American athlete playing at the Division 11 level, Swiftwater wants to be part of the mechanism that helps youth in South Dakota go after their dreams. 

“I want to be a positive influence because I know what its like to be around so much negative,” Swiftwater said. 

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So, how did a kid from basketball crazed Oglala find his way towards two-degrees and potentially being a four-year starter and potential All-Conference and All-American football player? 

Swiftwater describes himself as being a super-active kid with interests in playing whatever sports was available. In the 6thgrade he was introduced to football and immediately fell in love with the game.

“There was something about the physicality of it,” Swiftwater recalls. 

When Oelrich’s decided to CO-OP with Hot Springs in football Swiftwater’s sophomore year the speed and TUFFness of the game accelerated and a light bulb clicked on.

And the nick-name JET was born. 

“One of my first games as a sophomore and we were playing St. Thomas More who had Jake Sullivan at quarterback,” he said. 

Sullivan broke through the line on a quarterback keeper with Swiftwater on the opposite side of the field away from the QB draw. 

“He had like a 20-yard head start but I caught him and brought him down at the ten and one of my teammates said, ‘You were flying so fast you looked like a jet.’”

Later in the game Swiftwater caught a touchdown pass in the back of the end zone and the Hot Springs coach came up and said, ‘Wow, I guess you really are the JET.’

After three years of playing football for Hot Springs, leading the Oelrich’s Tigers to the brink of the State B basketball tournament and qualifying for the state track meet, Swiftwater set his sites on playing college football. 

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“I wasn’t getting a lot of football attention until mid-way through my senior basketball season and then I started getting interest from Black Hills State, Chadron State, Northern State, South Dakota State and Dickinson,” Swiftwater said. 

After visiting Black Hills State in the heart of the Black Hills, Swiftwater knew he’d found a home. 

“I came out for a visit and just loved the Black Hills,” Swiftwater said. 

Black Hills State was going through the switch from NAIA program to Division 11 and the chance to be part of a new foundation was too much of a challenge for the JET to pass on. 

“What really sold me was coach ‘John’ Reiners talking about the amount of focus on academics in the program,” Swiftwater said. 

For a young man that was shocked about the size, physicality and the elevated speed of the college game, Swiftwater never became discouraged. 

“It was so much faster,” Swiftwater recalls. “The older guys had instincts to be able to time things out and they were so much more comfortable with the plays.”

Coming from high-school where he had to know 19 plays to suddenly having to memorize 64 routes, having to know both TE and WR routes and having to know every facet of the running game, Swiftwater sat and learned. 

“There was never a down moment and I just took it as a learning experience and a chance to get better while playing against the first-team defense,” Swiftwater said. “I didn’t think of it as why am I not good enough and why can’t I play right away. I just told myself I need to get better and this is preparing me to get ready.” 

Were there some challenges that first year?

Absolutely!

School was hard, practices were hard and life was different. But, Swiftwater had a lot of support from home, including his rock, mother Jonna Swiftwater. 

“It was a mentality thing and I can thank my family for being there for me and keeping me humble,” he said. 

During that first year, Swiftwater found himself maturing mentally. 

“I tend to think a lot and it took a lot of maturing to let go of the little things,” he said. “I used to let every dropped pass bother me but I’ve learned to let that kind of stuff go immediately.” 

Being on his own for the first time, Swiftwater had to contend with having so much free time on his hands. 

“The biggest thing was staying disciplined,” Swiftwater said. “No one is telling you to get stuff done and you have to hold yourself accountable.”

Swiftwater did call that first semester, ‘Iffy’ but with phone calls home, support from home and his Yellow Jacket family behind him, his time management skills improved. 

“I have great friends and coaches, like a family that help pull you through those difficult moments,” he said.

After four years at Black Hills State, Swiftwater is no longer a promising 190 lb. high-school athlete. He’s a 6-foot-3, 220 lbs. of chiseled TUFFNESS that runs the 40 in 4.6, benches 315, squats 485 and cleans 285 lbs. 

A two-year starter, Swiftwater expects some serious use in the Yellow Jackets offensive scheme this season. 

“I play some TE and some WR,” Swiftwater said. “Sometimes my hand is in the dirt, sometimes I’m in the backfield, sometimes in the slot and sometimes I’m outside.” 

Goals?

U bet, team and personal. 

“First of all I want to win this conference,” Swiftwater said. “Ryan Hommel (QB) and I came to Black Hills at the same time, we have good running backs and I’m excited to see what we can do.”

“Every since I came here I’ve wanted to be an all-conference player,” Swiftwater said. “My Offensive Coordinator is talking All-American so I guess my goals are to lead the conference in receptions and keep working until I capture All-Conference and All-American honors.” 

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Culture: Being the only Native American on a college team, Swiftwater says he regularly fields questions from teammates, many who are curious having never met a Native American. 

Culture: “I participate in ceremonies and embrace my culture,” Swiftwater said. “My uncle was chairman during the Dakota Access Pipeline protests and my family was really into it.” 

He adds: “I embrace it and keep my cultural side intact and that keeps my health intact.” 

Swiftwater’s sister keeps pestering her brother about Graduate School. For now, he just wants to focus on his football playing and see what he can do there or in a coaching career.”

Why is football not so popular among Native Americans and what would the JET have done differently. 

“I think its because football is not as glamorized or as popular as basketball,” he said “We see a lot of tremendous athletes from these Reservation schools and we’re just not as enthused about the sport.

·      I would have been in the weight room more. I weighed 190 and not a lot of muscle, so I would have worked a lot harder. 

·     Not be tentative in my academics: College coaches are looking at your academics and asking themselves if you are going to be a liability off the field. 

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STM state champion, Ty Trainor shares a message that all soon to-be 9th-graders need to hear

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By Rich Winter

Recently graduated St. Thomas More senior, Ty Trainor has had himself a heck of a senior season. Fourth at the Class A state cross-country meet, two individual state titles in track (400/800), a team title in track and a walk across the St. Thomas More stage to receive a diploma. 

Prior to graduating, Trainor intended to sit down with what he calls a very talented STM 8th-grade class that includes younger brother Trace, and give them a little heads-up on having priorities in order for the first day of high school. 

“My big idea going into ninth grade was it was going to be all about athletics and that was all that mattered,” Trainor said. 

Having completed four years at St. Thomas More, Trainor’s tune has changed a bit.

“You can’t be an athlete if you don’t have the grades,” he said. “Grades are where it is at.” 

Things got hectic coming down the stretch of May for Trainor and his family. While he didn’t get to speak with the STM 8th-graders this is Ty Trainor’s take on what’s really important in high school. 

“I would have told them sports comes second and grades first,” Trainor said. “Kids need to be focused on school (academics), sports, family and faith.” 

Ty Trainor an unlikely 400-meter state champion

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At the start of the 2018 track season, Ty Trainor didn’t ever envision himself running an open 400. That 4thplace finish at the state cross country meet (5000 meters) gave a pretty good indication that Trainor would run the 800/1600, an occasional 3200 with a relay mixed in somewhere. 

But, at a meet in Sturgis in late April the coaches asked him if he’d like to TRY the 400. 

“Sturgis had this special 400 meters and the coaches said if you want you can try the event,” Trainor said. 

Well, after cranking out a sub-51 on a horribly windy day, Trainor found himself in a new event. 

“I ran it and had the 3rdfastest time in the state so I ended up running the 400,” Trainor said. “I ran 400’s in middle-school and I ended up winning an event at state I never thought I’d be competing in.” 

That 400 title didn’t come easy though. 

About 30 minutes before the 400 final, Trainor stepped on the track to compete in what many thought was his best event, the 1600 meters. 

On the first lap of that race, Trainor took a look back to check where West Central Phenom, Derick Peters was, and he inadvertently stepped on the rail of the track, twisting his ankle. 

Trainor took a few steps to gather himself, felt an abnormal pain and slowly dropped back, eventually, on the advice of his coach, shutting it down on the last lap and coasting in with a pedestrian (for him) time of 4:49. 

With the 400 final coming up in just a few minutes, Trainor limped over to the training table. 

“I was scared they were going to shut me down for the rest of the day,” he said.

Eventually Trainor was told there was some swelling and his mobility wasn’t good, but, he wouldn’t do any further damage by running the 400 final. 

Hindered by that ankle, Trainor still managed to win the race, slipping by Sioux Falls Christian’s Mitchell Oostra.

400-meter final:

1.   Ty Trainor 50.08

2.   Mitchell Oostra 50.29

Still not done, Trainor ran a leg on the STM, 4x400 squad that finished 2ndto SFC. 

Inspiration comes from the unlikely and most likely sources

 

When Ty Trainor was a freshman at a meet in Pierre he watched as meet officials came up and said hello and shook hands with former Sturgis runner Jacob Simmons. At the time, Simmons was a senior, an accomplished runner soon to be headed to the University of South Dakota. 

That small moment stuck with Trainor and gave him something to chase over the last three seasons. 

“I told myself one day I wanted to be good enough so officials would come up and say hello to me,” Trainor said. 

And then there was that guy, teammate Luke Julian. One year older than Trainor, Julian was the more accomplished runner and it drove Trainor to dig deep. 

“I’m a pretty competitive guy and I hate to lose,” Trainor said. “Luke Julian pushed me my entire career and I’ve been trying to beat him my entire life.” 

At this year’s Howard Wood Dakota Relays, Trainor participated in the Special Event, 800 meters. Coming into the meet the senior hadn’t broken the 2-minute barrier this season, BUT, as he crossed the line at Howard Wood, two years to the exact hundredth of a second, Ty Trainor tied Luke Julian’s school record in the 800 at 1:56.06. 

“I guess if I couldn’t break Luke’s record I’m happy to share it with him,” Trainor said. 

STM track team is one big Happy, Hard-working family

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In case you did not notice, St. Thomas More won both the boys and girls Class A team titles at the recently concluded state track meet. 

Relay after relay, podium after podium the Cavaliers hard work showed itself all over the track & field. 

That said, the STM kids circled the wagons after one of their athletes, senior Kale Landguth struggled in the triple jump.

Langduth had the top jump coming into the meet (44’1.25”) but struggled in that event Friday jumping 41’7 and finishing out of the points with a 13thplace effort. 

“One of our jumpers struggled and it just killed all of us,” Trainor said. “That just made us all want to perform better.”

As Trainor heads to his next level he looked back on the team that has meant everything over the last four years. 

“I guess the only word to describe my teammates is family,” Trainor said. “We all care about each other, we want to make each other better and we push each other.” 

Ty Trainor and Joe Rush (Custer)

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Trainor and Joe Rush of Custer have been competing against one another for each of the last three years. While Trainor won a lot of those head-to-head matchups, Rush improved a ton his senior year and will now take his talents to South Dakota State University next fall. 

Despite competing against one another, the pair developed a solid friendship built on mutual respect and appreciation for being quality people. 

Shortly after winning the 800 meters, Trainor limped over to talk to his coach while the 3200 meters was going on. When Rush, the Custer senior held off Wisconsin bound, West Central’s Derick Peters to capture the two-mile crown, the limp disappeared. 

Trainor sprinted across the field to give his buddy a hug!

“There are a lot of good runners in the state but Joe is the best runner/person you are ever going to meet,” Trainor said. 

After winning the race, Rush shook the hands of every 3200-meter competitor in the field. 

“Joe had a 30-second PR in the 3200 this year and I’m just so proud of him,” Trainor said. “SDSU is going to be a great fit for him.” 

What lies ahead for Ty Trainor

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After a summer of working outside, landscaping, Ty Trainor will head to the University of Mary. After a brilliant career at St. Thomas More, Trainor the freshman, will have to start all over. 

“I’ve never told anyone this but I’m really nervous,” he said. “I’ve been the second runner on our team, first this year, and I really just want to go up there and be a contributor on the cross-country and track teams.” 

There will be one more high-school run for Trainor as he and his More teammates qualified for the New Balance Nationals in the Medley relay. That event will take place in Greensboro North Carolina and STM distance coach Royce Wuertzer says with the pressure of state meets off, his South Dakota guys are going to go down loose and ready to run fast!