The rich tradition of the Milbank High School Bulldogs was highlighted during the annual MHS athletic banquet Wednesday, May 10, in the Milbank Armory. The athletes were praised and recognized for a year of excellence for the 2016-2017 school year.
Highlighting the evening was the awarding of the Heart of the Bulldog Award. The award is given to one female and one male who participated in at least two sports and personified what a quality student-athlete entails. The athlete may not have the highest statistics throughout their career, but displayed great leadership, sportsmanship, coachability, team spirit and heart. This year’s winners were Mackayla Schuelke and Tanner Gauer.
Nine seniors were recognized with the Bulldog Award, which is given for participating in three sports for all four years of their high school career. Winners were Jake Anderson, Nate Bien, Cody Dockter, Tanner Gauer, Mikaela Hoeke, Matt Lenards, Karlee Mertens, Mackayla Schuelke and Riley Wollschlager.
Recognition was given to numerous individual Academic All-State individuals and teams. Team awards were given to football, volleyball, boys golf, boys cross country, girls cross country, girls tennis, football cheerleaders, girls basketball, boys basketball, gymnastics, wrestling, girls and boys basketball cheerleaders, girls track, boys track, boys tennis and girls golf.
Individual Academic All-State honorees were Jake Anderson (football, wrestling, track), Jimmie Berkner (boys basketball student manager), Nate Bien (football, boys basketball, track), Brooke Fraasch (gymnastics, track), Tanner Gauer (football, boys basketball, track), Mikaela Hoeke (volleyball, girls basketball), Paige Johnson (tennis), Matt Lenards (football, boys basketball), Karlee Mertens (cross country, girls basketball, track), Caryssa Mielitz (volleyball, girls basketball), Ben Nelson (football, wrestling), Mackayla Schuelke (volleyball, girls basketball, track), Clare Van Dover (girls basketball) and Hallie Van Sambeek (wrestling student manager).
Seniors were presented certificates for participating in a given sport for four years. Earning the honor for football were Jake Anderson, Zach Angerhofer, Nate Bien, Cody Dockter, Riley Folk, Tanner Gauer, Matt Lenards, Taran Mogard, Ben Nelson, Jacob Stinson, Caden Wollschlager and Riley Wollschlager. Volleyball honorees were Mady Hilbrands, Mikaela Hoeke, Caryssa Mielitz, Mackayla Schuelke and Madi Schulte. Earning the award for cross country was Kody Johnson. Girls tennis winners were Jamie DeVaal, Sarah Jarman, Paige Johnson and Tatiana Stemsrud.
Earning a four-year certificate for girls basketball were Mikaela Hoeke, Karlee Mertens, Caryssa Mielitz and Mackayla Schuelke. Boys basketball recipients were Nate Bien, Cody Dockter, Tanner Gauer, Matt Lenards and Riley Wollschlager. Four-year wrestling participants were Jake Anderson, Jose Chen, Riley Folk, Tyler Krause, Taran Mogard and Ben Nelson. Earning the award for gymnastics was Jamie DeVaal and Brooke Fraasch. Honorees for track were Jake Anderson, Nate Bien, Caden Bjordahl, Cody Dockter, Brooke Fraasch, Tanner Gauer, Kody Johnson, Karlee Mertens, Mackayla Schuelke, Caden Wollschlager and Riley Wollschlager. Korinne Roggenbuck earned recognition for girls golf as did Emma VanVooren for cheerleading.
Numerous athletes were recognized for being named to the Northeast Conference All-Conference team. Honorees included Jake Anderson, football; Jonny Ash, football; Nick Batchelor, 5th cross country; Alec Bien, 3rd wrestling; Nate Bien, boys basketball 2nd team; Jose Chen, 2nd wrestling; Gabbi Cummins, girls basketball third team; Cole Dockter, football, 4th wrestling; Alex Farrell, 10th cross country; Brooke Fraasch, gymnastics (6th all-around, 5th bars), Tanner Gauer, football; Jatana Grajczyk, 11th cross country; Mikaela Hoeke, volleyball, 8th golf; Kody Johnson, 19th cross country; Jacob Karges, football; Tanner Kettwig, football honorable mention; Tyler Krause, 2nd wrestling; Caryssa Mielitz, volleyball, girls basketball first team; Taran Mogard, football; Ben Nelson, 4th wrestling; Ethan Paysen, football honorable mention; Tori Quade, 6th golf; Alaina Rausch, 13th golf; Molly Rick, volleyball; Toby Schneck, 4th wrestling; Danica Schulte, 5th cross country; Amaya Street, 8th cross country; Taylor Thue, 7th cross country; Mackenzie Weinkauf, gymnastics (3rd all-around, 8th beam, 2nd floor); Conner VanVooren, 8th golf; Riley Wollschlager, football honorable mention, and Dani Yamaura, gymnastics (6th beam).
Earning a Northeast Conference individual title were Jake Anderson (triple jump 2016), Eli Fischer (106 pound wrestling), Riley Folk (195 pound wrestling), Tanner Gauer (200 meter dash 2016), Jacob Karges (long jump 2016) and Taylor Thue (300 meter hurdles 2016). The MHS volleyball team and girls cross country team were also crowned conference champions for the 2016-2017 season.
All-State performers were also recognized. The MHS volleyball team was the first ever Sweet 16 qualifier and went on to capture seventh place at the State Class A tournament. The gymnastics team placed fourth overall in the team standings at the state tourney. The cross country team earned an 11th place state finish, and the girls golf team placed 13th at state.
Individual state performers included Eli Fischer (wrestling – 5th place at 106 pound), Brooke Fraasch (gymnastics – 13th vault, 15th bars, Sarah Nitz Award), Mikaela Hoeke (all-state tournament team, volleyball second team), Halli Essington (tennis – consolation champion), Caryssa Mielitz (volleyball second team, girls basketball third team) and Mackenzie Weinkauf (gymnastics – 11th all-around, 9th vault, 13th floor).
Also earning a trip to a state event were Jake Anderson (wrestling), Alec Bien (wrestling), Jodi DeVaal (gymnastics), Cole Dockter (wrestling), Riley Folk (wrestling), Brooke Fraasch (gymnastics), Maddie Gustafson (gymnastics), Mikaela Hoeke (golf), Kylie Kasuske (golf), JD Lusk (wrestling), Tori Quade (golf), Clare Van Dover (golf), Mackenzie Weinkauf (gymnastics) and Dani Yamaura (gymnastics).
Several athletes have also qualified for the state track meet which will take place May 26-27. Earning a spot thus far this season are Jonny Ash (long jump), Cody Dockter (long jump), Matt Lenards (100 meter dash), Taylor Thue (100 and 300 meter hurdles), boys 400 and 800 relays and the girls 1,600 and 1,600 sprint medley relays.
Several coaches were honored and recognized for their service to Bulldog athletics. MHS junior varsity boys basketball coach Ryan Scoular was recognized for being named the Region Assistant Boys Basketball Coach of the Year. Longtime coach for the Bulldogs, Rick Swenson, was also recognized for his many years of service to the athletic department. He has resigned all his coaching duties but will continue teaching next year. Bulldog boys basketball coach, Matt Bastian, was thanked and recognized for his years of dedication to MHS. He has taken a position as the K-12 principal in Florence next year. MHS athletic director Boyd Sussex was also recognized and honored for his years of dedication to Bulldog athletics. He will retire at the conclusion of the school year.
Volunteer coaches, workers and sponsors were thanked for their involvement in MHS athletics. Being recognized for boys basketball were Joel Foster, Tyler Gall, Monte Robinson, Tom Aho, S&D One Stop; girls basketball – Todd Yerdon, Joel Foster, Tyler Gall, State Farm, Annelies Seffrood; cross country – Heidi Mischel, Christine Townsend, Chuck Foss, Laura Foss, Hardees, Tobacco Coalition, Sara Snaza; football – Joel Foster, Jason Kettwig, Keith Weber, Terry McCulloch, Scott Jackson, Ron Waletich, Dennis Krause, Paul Tostenson; golf – Randy Patnoe, POET; gymnastics – Karla DeVaal, Lewis Drug, Millstone Family Restaurant; boys and girls tennis – Valley Office Products, MACTA, Steve and Robin Stemsrud, Kevin Cantine, Ron Waletich, Boyd and Annette VanVooren, Audra Johnson, Abbey Trapp; track – Amy Thue, Valley Queen Cheese, Annelies Seffrood, South Dakota National Guard, Christine Townsend, Chuck Foss, Laura Foss, Adam Cummins, Tracy Upton, Carl Larson, Heidi Mischel, Nancy Kreutner, Wade Van Dover; volleyball – Joel Foster, Amanda Engebretson; wrestling – Joel Foster, Tracy Upton, Big Stone Therapies.
Milbank alum and South Dakota State University football player, Nick Mears, was the guest speaker for the banquet. Jimmie Berkner sang the National Anthem while Paige Johnson provided the prayer. The meal was catered by the Millstone Family Restaurant.
Bulldog award winners pictured, back row, left to right, Jake Anderson, Cody Dockter, Nate Bien, Tanner Gauer and Matt Lenards. Front row, Mackayla Schuelke, Mikaela Hoeke, Karlee Mertens and Riley Wollschlager.