Having just returned from Casper, Wyoming, where I was cheering for Blue Hawk athletes in the last competition of the 2021-22 season, the College National Finals Rodeo, this seems like an appropriate time to review a good year for our student-athletes.

In the Classroom Putting first things first, let’s review the year academically.

Each Dickinson State Athletics team finished their studies this spring with a cumulative team grade point average (GPA) over 3.0. The National Intercollegiate Athletic Association (NAIA) named 61 Dickinson State athletes, a record for our campus, as NAIA Scholar-Athletes. Only juniors and seniors with cumulative GPAs of at least 3.5 are eligible for this honor.

Our conference, the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA), named 113 Blue Hawks as NSAA Scholar-Athletes. The conference requires a 3.25 cumulative GPA for this honor.

It is not easy to juggle the demands required in athletics with the workload required in the classroom. In addition to the daily balancing of sports practice, coursework, and weightlifting when they are on campus, our student-athletes also have to keep up with classes while traveling to road games.

Fortunately, many of our athletes are using a valuable new tool available to them—remote access to classes while traveling. We appreciate our staff’s installation and maintenance of cameras and monitors in classrooms, our faculty’s use of this new technology to allow remote access, our coaches’ urging of their team members to keep up with classes while on the road, and, most importantly, our student-athletes’ effort on coursework while traveling.

On the Field The Blue Hawks had another solid year on the field, also. DSU won four conference championships. These victories were earned by women’s cross country, football, women’s indoor track and field, and women’s outdoor track and field.

DSU’s competitive cheer team finished fourth in the nation. This outstanding performance would be a major accomplishment in any year, but it was especially remarkable because this was only the second year that we competed in cheer.

In the Arena Both the men’s and women’s rodeo teams finished second in the Great Plains Region, besting much larger schools like South Dakota State, North Dakota State, the University of Nebraska, and Iowa State. The Blue Hawk reserve championship finishes meant that both teams qualified to compete in the College National Finals Rodeo.

Individual Honors Blue Hawk athletes also achieved high honors as individuals, including All-Americans Tyger Frye (football), Matt Dey (football), Brendan Johnson (cheer), and Courtney Olson (women’s basketball). The NAIA also named Matt Dey the recipient of the Rimington Award as the best center in the nation. The NSAA named Tyger Frye Offensive Player of the Year.

In rodeo, steer wrestler Sterling Lee finished ninth in the nation. Also, Blue Hawks Kelly Bang, Morgan Foss, and Kailyn Groves placed second, third, and fourth, respectively, in the women’s all-around Great Plains Region competition. In the men’s all-around, Landon Sivertsen finished fourth.

Other Great Plains Region honors for DSU included Lacey Forsness’s first, Morgan Foss’s second, and Kelly Bang’s fourth in breakaway roping, Tanner Jarrett’s second in bareback, Jory Boote’s third in tie-down roping, Sterling Lee’s second and Landon Sivertsen’s third in steer wrestling, and Tommy Hall’s third as a team roping heeler.

Making the Fields Thanks to amazing community support, we have begun construction on the Sanford Sports Complex on the northwest part of our campus. When complete, the complex will feature four softball fields and five soccer fields. The fields will be community assets used by youth and high school soccer and softball teams as well as DSU teams.

Bravera Bank Field, which should be fully constructed before the 2023 spring season, will have full lighting and permanent seating. When completed, it will be the finest softball field in the state and probably the best between the Twin Cities and Seattle.

If you have already supported the Sanford Sports Complex, thank you. If you have not yet had the chance to do so, please contact the DSU Heritage Foundation to discuss opportunities to give in support of seats, locker rooms, and trees, as well as other potential ways to contribute.

It is a great time to be a Blue Hawk athlete or fan. Hawks are up!