Top Sports Stories Of 2015
The Top Headlines From The Local Year In Sports
In a college basketball season that was successful for many teams in the region, the men at Dakota Wesleyan that made the deepest run of all.
Under second year coach Matt Wilbur the Tigers rolled through the NAIA national tournament all the way to the championship game. Their magical run ended with a 66-45 loss to Cornerstone. At 32-5 it was the greatest season in DWU history.
Sioux Falls native Dusty Coleman spent eight seasons grinding in the minor leagues for a chance to play in the big leagues. On July 2nd, the Kansas City Royals made his dream a reality.
“My manager called and told me that I messed up, that I wasn’t going to get to go to the PAN-AM games anymore. And I was like why, what did I do? And he said you can’t go to Canada anymore because you’re going to Kansas City. And I just was like speechless!” Dusty said.
Coleman made his major league debut as a pinch runner against the Minnesota Twins the following day, where the dream would become a national nightmare.
Dusty spent three more weeks with the Royals before going back to Triple-A.
“You’re at a big stage, you make a mistake, you’re going to get talked about. So it’s just part of the business. You got to handle it.” Coleman said.
History was made in South Dakota prep football. Steve Kueter broke Max Hawk’s all time wins record on October 9th, picking up his 285th career victory in a win at Rapid City Stevens.
“For a team, it’s a really cool chance for us together to leave a legacy for coach.” Former O’Gorman Quarterback Luke Fritsch said.
Kueter would win four more games as the Knights advanced to the 11AAA championship where they lost to Washington. That would be his final game. In December, after 38 years coaching football at O’Gorman, 33 as head coach, Kueter stepped down.
“I didn’t want it to be any kind of, you know, farewell tour here. I just wanted to get through this year and the seniors don’t deserve that. We had a good football team, lets make it about them.” Kueter said.
The game of the year came on October 17th.. In Joe Glenn’s three previous seasons the USD football team went 0-3 against four time defending national champion NDSU, losing by a combined score of of 143-7. They hadn’t won it Fargo since 1978, and tt appeared to be heading toward another blowout when the Bison quickly built a 14-0 lead. But the Coyotes fought their way back, tying the game in the fourth quarter, with a chance to win it at the end of regulation.
It would be the finest moment of the Joe Glenn era. After narrowly missing the playoffs at 5-6, Glenn retired at season’s end and was replaced by Western Illinois’ Bob Nielson.
And our top story of 2015 was the championship first year at the Denny Sanford Premier Center. The new facility provided fans everything they’d been promised in it’s first year, and the buildings tenants added to the entertainment.
The Sioux Falls Storm went 16-0, winning their fifth straight United Bowl and ninth championship on July 12th.
But no team had a more dramatic season than the Stampede. After a slow start the Herd picked up steam around new year and got the last playoff spot in the west. From there they upset Sioux City, winning a decisive game five 6-1 on their rival’s home ice.
“Well I think right off the drop of the puck there you could just tell, everyone in the building could tell that we wanted it more than them.” Former Stampede Forward Cooper Marody said.
After a four game victory over Tri-City in the conference finals, the Herd swept Muskegon in the Clark Cup Finals, bringing home the second championship in team history on May 15th in front of more than 8,000 fans.
“We know we had to come back and do it for the fans that have been coming out all year, and just a story book ending! Couldn’t have asked for anything more.” Former Stampede Forward Dakota Joshua said.