The Milbank Area girls basketball team concluded their season with an awards night March 27. Lady Bulldog Head Coach Brian Pauli gave special recognition to the five seniors on the team – Karlee Mertens, Mikaela Hoeke, Caryssa Mielitz, Mackayla Schuelke, and Clare Van Dover.
“These seniors will be extremely tough to replace,” he said. “Each one of them played an important role that contributed to the success of this team. But more importantly, these seniors are good people. The future is bright for these Lady Bulldogs. You all made us proud!”
“Karlee is the ultimate team player. She has a heart of gold and just wants her team to win. She is a role model for all young Lady Bulldogs. Mikaela H. is very competitive. She was the outspoken one on the team. Her feistyness will be missed. Caryssa carried the load for the Lady Bulldogs many times this year. Her inside presence will be tough to replace. Mackayla was extremely coachable and the ultimate team player. She did whatever was best for the team. Clare couldn’t play because of injury, but helped with keeping stats and ran the clock at practice. She was very dependable.”
All five seniors were also named to the Academic All-State team by the South Dakota High School Activities Association for their work in the classroom. To receive the award, a player must participate in the sport for at least three years and have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or above.
Two players were named to the All-Northeast Conference team, as voted on by the conference coaches. Mielitz was named to the first team and Gabbi Cummins to the third team.
Several awards were voted on by the players. Mielitz, who scored her 1,000th career point this season, was named the Most Valuable Player. Cummins was named the Most Improved Varsity Player. Kellie Christians earned that honor for the C team and Shea Hooth for the junior varsity team.
Taylor Thue received the defensive award. M. Hoeke earned the toughness award. Schuelke won the Spirit of the Bulldog award.
Athletes who received a Major M for the season were: Karlee Mertens, Katie Vander Wal, Gabbi Cummins, Molly Rick, Mackayla Schuelke, Kylie Kasuske, LaChasity Finley, Taylor Thue, Sophia Seffrood, Shea Hooth, Mikaela Hoeke, Jaecy Engebretson, Caryssa Mielitz, Ashley Wollschlager, Clare Van Dover, and Tori Quade.
Participant certificates were given to: Tonya Meyer, Katie Wollschlager, Elisabeth Schwenn, Lindsey Mertens, Makayla Johnson, Chloe Bender, Jaden Hoeke, Kellie Christians, Jatana Grajczyk, Morgan Schafer, Taylor Hartman, Cassidy Christians, and Tracy Pillatzki.
Seniors and Academic All-State winners are: (l. to r.) Clare Van Dover, Mackayla Schuelke, Karlee Mertens, Caryssa Mielitz, and Mikaela Hoeke.
Award winners are: (l. to r.) Mackayla Schuelke, Taylor Thue, Gabbi Cummins, Caryssa Mielitz, Kellie Christians, Shea Hooth, and Mikaela Hoeke.