QB Switches Commitment To USD


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Tyler Tsagalis.

A month ago, Tyler Tsagalis was certain he would be going to college at Western Illinois University. Then, as tends to happen in the world of college football, a coaching change led to a tough decision.

Stay committed? Or look elsewhere?

Ultimately, Tsagalis, a 6-foot-3 quarterback from suburban Chicago, choose to follow that departed coach – Bob Nielson – to the University of South Dakota.

After previously committing to WIU last June, Tsagalis – who played at Notre Dame College Prep in Niles, Illinois – flipped his commitment to USD during a visit to the Vermillion campus last weekend.

His final decision was left up in the air after Nielson left Western Illinois to take the USD job on Dec. 15.

“The first two weeks right after Coach Nielson left were pretty stressful,” Tsagalis said by phone Friday. “I never knew where people were going.”

It wasn’t until Jan. 1 that Nielson announced his coaching staff, which included seven WIU coaches.

“That relieved a little bit of the stress, because they recruited me,” Tsagalis said. “It was stressful in the beginning, but it’s all worked out for the best.”

He said he was especially anxious to follow Ted Schlafke, who had been on Nielson’s staff at Western Illinois and was then hired as USD’s pass game coordinator/quarterbacks coach.

“The connection you make with coaches really means a lot,” Tsagalis said. “Them being at Western was a big reason why I committed; I liked coach Nielson and the offensive coordinator.”

As a senior last fall, Tsagalis passed for 1,970 yards and 18 touchdowns, and also ran for 667 yards and nine touchdowns for Notre Dame College Prep.

When he made his official visit to Vermillion last weekend, Tsagalis got an up-close view of USD’s ongoing construction projects – which will eventually include football-related renovations inside the DakotaDome.

Much like Nielson said in his introductory press conference last month, the vision of what’s to come in Vermillion played a big role in Tsagalis’ decision.

“Seeing everything at South Dakota and sitting down him (Nielson), I can see what he saw,” Tsagalis said. “They’re putting a lot into football, and that’s something I really like.”

Points and a calculator



Mount Marty College senior Raquel Sutera stands at 997 career points after Wednesday’s game in Kansas. (P&D File Photo)

Partly because my afternoon was quiet (but mostly because I’m a stat nerd), I went on a little research adventure on Wednesday.

Sports editor James Cimburek and I were talking about the Mount Marty College women’s basketball team’s 79-66 victory over McPherson, and while on the subject of who scored how many points, it got me thinking.

Raquel Sutera has to be close to 1,000 career points, doesn’t she?

She played right away as a freshman, and now as a senior she’s got to be close, right?

Well, it turns out, after her 19-point output Wednesday, Sutera – the post player from Tabor – stands at 997 career points. She’ll reach the 1,000-point mark in Saturday’s game at Nebraska Wesleyan.

Impressive, right?

As soon as I figured that out – and shared that little tidbit on social media – it got me wondering about another Mount Marty senior, Alex Kneeland. She was a 2,000-plus point scorer in high school at Summit, and after a 3-year stint at Augustana (where she was injured two of those seasons), Kneeland has resumed her offensive exploits in Yankton.

With that in mind, I also went did the math on where she currently stands for her basketball career (high school and college): 3,206 points.

Three-thousand points. Think about that for a second. That is a LOT of shots and a TON of points.

It was at this point where I really went deep into the research.

When I told James about Kneeland’s 3,206 points, he asked me, “I wonder what Louie Krogman finished with?”

Good question.

Krogman scored 3,521 points in his high school career for White River – becoming the state’s all-time leader – and then went on to score 1,644 points at the University of South Dakota. That’s a grand total of 5,165 points.

And while on the topic of South Dakota high school leaders, let’s examine what former Mitchell Christian standout Jill Young amassed in her hoops career: 3,317 points in high school and 1,356 points in college at South Dakota State. That’s a grand total of 4,673.

All of these numbers aren’t to say that reaching 1,000 points in a career is somehow less impressive, but it goes to show you that our state has seen some pretty prolific scorers.

Will we ever see another 2,000 point scorer in high school?

Yes, no question. Perhaps the closest to that mark would be Viborg-Hurley senior Abby Hora, who stands at 1,752 points after Tuesday night’s game.

Seventeen-hundred is even a lot.

But three-thousand? Four-thousand? Five-thousand?

We’re talking about some serious scoring.

My Top Instagram Photos/Videos Of 2015

If you follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, you have already figured out that I take (and post) a lot of photos, probably more than I should. I thank all of you who are patient enough to still follow me despite that shortcoming.

Since it is nearing the end of 2015 (3 days, 7 hours, 48 minutes as I type this), I wanted to share my most-liked photos, as well as those that were among my favorites of the past year. I didn’t include many family shots in my “favorites” out of fairness.

Here are my most-liked photos and videos of the past year: 10 (86 likes), 9 (87), 8 (88), 7 (90), 6 (91), 5 (94), 4 (98), 3 (99), 2 (118) and 1 (122).

Soph6828No. 2 on my most-like list is also on my “favorites” list. When your niece is named homecoming princess, it tends to rank pretty high on your personal list.

Here are some of my other favorites (in chronological order):

Young wrestler chasing his opponent. Little kids sports tend to up the “cuteness factor.”

Frustration. When you work your butt off and the ref won’t give your opponent an obvious stalling call, it’s a little annoying.

Happy drummer. Because, drummers.

I can’t look. More basketball fans in goofy outfits, but this one can’t bear to see the game.

Softball in the snow. Because, South Dakota.

Rally cap on steroids. Don’t knock it, it worked.

Abbey VanDenBerg Hits The Pit. Nothing beats shooting long jump in a good pit.

Dive Into A Base. Might want to put a little water on the field in between games if a dive kicks up this much dust.

Morgan Hancock Home Run. USD had plenty to celebrate on that day, including clinching second in the league’s regular season standings.

High Jump. My good friend and colleague Jeremy likes to tease me about all the reflection shots I post. This would have to rank as the best of them.

Little Goalkeeper. Great diving stop by a little girl on her toes.

Marriage Proposal. I haven’t been present for too many marriage proposals – besides my own. For this one, I was given a heads-up to make sure I could get a shot.

Flipping For Competitive Cheer. First Yankton Invitational with our new camera equipment (acquired earlier in 2015). Amazing the difference it makes.

Courtney True. Hard to put together a list of my favorites without including the best keeper I’ve ever covered.

Oh, My. This cheerleader’s reaction says it all.

Poster. Gayville-Volin School should have bought the rights to this one for a recruitment poster: one of its best athletes of all time lined up perfectly with the school logo mural on the wall.

Touchdown, Bucks. I only have one football shot on the list, so I’d better make it count. A lot of things played into this one, mainly: 1) the Yankton student section moving from the sideline to the east stands at halftime. 2) Rayden Terca (24) getting a pick-6. (This one is also on the top-10 list.)

And finally, “Come On, Man.” A Cal State Bakersfield player looks up in disgust as USD’s D.J. Davis erases his layup. (Unfortunately for the ‘Yotes, the block was called goaltending.)

Hope you’ve enjoyed my photos (and the events they came from) as much as I have the past year. I look forward to shooting more photos and seeing more great events in 2016.