Dakota Valley was well represented in the annual Sioux Falls Argus Leader Sports Awards honoring the state’s best high school athletes, coaches and teams.
Paul Bruns was selected the Boys Athlete of the Year. The nominees included Cooper Mack of Watertown, a Baylor committ, and Connor Libis of Dell Rapids St. Marys, BCU. Bruns is headed to the University of North Dakota to play basketball.
In each sport, 12 were initially nominated and three were selected as finalists. Bruns was selected as the Boys Basketball Player of the Year. The other finalists were Matthew Mors of Yankton, who is heading to Wisconsin and Kalen Gorry of De Smet, a junior.
For Dancer of the Year, Dakota Valley had not only the winner, Ella Graham, but another finalist in Megan Poulsen. The third finalist was Kendyl Bachmann of Winner. Last year Dakota Valley was the team dance winner as a team winner, but no individual was chosen. This year, individual recognition replaced team awards.
Graham credited her team and its success to be able to have the visibility to win the award.
Bruns was also a finalist for Baseball Player of the Year. The winner was Will Simmons of Harrisburg, who will play at North Carolina. The other finalist was Reece Arbogast of O’Gorman, who will go to SDSU.
Other Dakota Valley athletes who were nominated in the top 12 in their sports were Rachel Rosenquist, volleyball, and Rylee Rosenquist, girls basketball.
The Girls Athlete of the Year was Caelyn Valandra-Prue of White River, who will attend USD and participate in track.
The following is a selected list of winners, their high schools and college, if known:
• Volleyball Player of the Year – Bergen Reilly of O’Gorman, Nebraska
• Defensive Football Player of the Year – Randolph Kpai of Washington, Nebraska
• Offensive Football Player of the Year – Tate Johnson of Brandon Valley, Augustana
• Girls Basketball Player of the Year – Sydni Schetnan of Washington, Louisville (also playing volleyball)
• Boys Track and Field Player of the Year – Jaden Peters of Wagner
• Girls Track and Field Player of the Year – Averi Scmeichel of West Central, USD
The level of competition was high; recognition at this level is special.