SIOUX FALLS, SD -
South Dakota State University's men's and women's basketball team are heading to the NCAA Division 1 Tournament. It's a big day for the state's sporting history and an even bigger day for those who were on the court.
Both SDSU Jacks basketball teams secured their spots in the big dance with overtime wins in the Summit League Championship games Tuesday night.
The Jacks' women's team was the first to take the stage. Pushing it into overtime, it came down to a game-ending free throw from senior and Mitchell native Jill Young.
"Every year is special and every team is different. So this one definitely means just as much as the other three. And to be able to do it as a senior and be able to end my career in South Dakota just playing here my whole life, it was a really fun game to be a part of," Young said.
It's the women's fourth Summit League Championship. Two years ago, they also won in overtime against Oral Roberts. Senior Jenny Sunnarborg says it’s years of practice and confidence that's carried them to where they are today.
"Our program has enhanced every single year since I’ve been here, since I was a freshmen and its just exciting to see what the future has in store for South Dakota State," Sunnarborg said.
While the women have some experience under their belt, this is fairly new water for the men's team. It will be their first time playing in the D1 championship tourney.
"Yeah, I mean, it's still soaking in. We'll probably enjoy it for a couple of days. It should be a lot of fun. First in school history and looking forward to Sunday; find out who we play," SDSU men’s basketball player Nate Wolters said.
Senior Griffan Callahan says he's ecstatic to be moving on to the next step. But, the moment really belongs to his coach.
"I’m thrilled for him. You know, he's always believed in us, stayed confident in us. He's a great coach. We love him very much; just extremely happy for him. He deserves it," Callahan said.
The men will find out their seed on Sunday and the women on Monday.
An interesting fact, South Dakota was the 48th state to send a team to a D1 tournament. Maine and Alaska are still waiting for their break.
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