While both Jeremy Hoeck and I had plenty of thoughts on 2013 that we shared in the past week, I had a couple of more that I thought I’d pass along.
— Thanks to our new-and-improved website, I was able to put polls with our Athlete of the Year stories to ask you the readers whom you would have chosen. When I checked those results Wednesday afternoon, they reflected how our internal discussions went: the boys’ choice, Yankton’s J.J. Hejna, was a run-away, while the girls’ choice, Elk Point-Jefferson’s Keely Bertram was in a tight race.
We felt Hejna’s football season — one that destroyed the YHS record books — put him well over the top of the other candidates, though Wynot’s Jackson Sudbeck would have won in most years. The girls’ race was tough, with several valid contenders.
— We never put together a top-10 Yankton High School sports stories, so here goes:
1. Alumni Layne Somsen and Colton Iverson both drafted in pro sports drafts.
2. J.J. Hejna tears up football record books.
3. Annie Kruse wins state cross country title.
4. Coaches Leasa Woodward, Ginger Larsen and Angie Luken step down.
5. Football team uses “Buck Spread” three-quarterback set to beat O’Gorman, Pierre, advance to semifinals in new Class 11AA.
6. Megan Mingo places third as Gazelles finish third at state girls’ golf.
7. Jace Guthmiller ties for third at state boys’ golf as Bucks finish fourth.
8. Gazelles finish 7th at state gymnastics, starts 2013-14 season with one of highest scores in program history.
9. Dan Mitchell named South Dakota High School Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year for boys’ sports.
10. Boys’ basketball team starts 2013-14 season with a bang, scoring 82 points in an overtime victory over Watertown.
— My counterpart in Aberdeen, John Papendick, once again did a great job of compiling the interesting goings-on of the past year in S.D. sports. It is the “rare moments” piece that takes up much of today’s sports section.
With that, Happy New Year. We look forward to bringing you another year of great area sports.