It was another year to remember for the South Dakota sports scene. From Jackrabbits dancing to rivalries renewed and high school dynasties continued, 2012 was full of just about everything you could imagine.
It was a great year for hoopsters in KELOLAND and South Dakota State University got it all started back in March.
Both the men's and women's teams made us wait for it, but after two overtime victories, South Dakota State had two teams headed to the big dance for the first time in history.
“I haven't had very many times in my life where you just felt like you were dreaming. But yeah that was surreal,” SDSU head men’s basketball coach Scott Nagy said. “I was looking for my wife and my dad because they went through it with me and it was hard on them. To watch them I'm so pleased for them too. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my wife and my kids and my dad.”
After capturing the men's and women's Summit League championships, each team bowed out of their respective NCAA tournaments in the first round.
At the high school level, another team has enjoyed a reign of success similar to the Jackrabbit women. The O'Gorman boys once again cut down the nets at the AA state tourney, for a record third consecutive year. It was the second straight title victory over Mitchell.
Legendary Kernel head coach Gary Munsen retired after the game following nearly 50 years on the bench. During his time as boys coach in Mitchell, Munsen racked up more than 600 victories to go along with nine state titles.
With plenty of time on his hands, Munsen got to witness one of his former players become an NBA champ that summer. Mike Miller hit seven three-pointers in the Miami Heat's title-clinching win over Oklahoma City.
2012 was home to several top performances on the track and off it. Washington's Kari Heck finished a stellar high school career with 10 gold medals. Meanwhile ORR's Carly Carper, for a sixth time in a row, captured the Class B 100 meter dash.
Parker's Duane Jongeling continued his cross country dominance taking home a fourth straight Class B championship.
Taking things indoors, the Sioux Falls Storm ended a perfect season with another IFL championship.
Speaking of indoors, athletes from across the state began using the new Sanford Fieldhouse at the Sanford Sports Complex with more venues to come for hockey, tennis and basketball.
A few college athletic departments saw some changeover this year. Northern State hired Joshua Moon to be its athletic director while USF saw Willie Sanchez step down. And recently, USD Athletic Director David Sayler left the Coyotes for Miami (Ohio).
The Yotes football team struggled in its first year under head coach Joe Glenn. Their biggest rival SDSU had no such problems picking up its first playoff victory before falling to North Dakota State.
Down in Division II, USF's first season as a member of the Northern Sun saw them topple rival Augustana in the first ever Key to the City game.
After a 5-6 season, Vikings head coach Mike Aldrich was fired. He was replaced by Jerry Olszewski in early December.
And finally at the high school level, can anyone stop Canistota? Not in 2012. The Hawks have won 36 football games in a row, including three state championships.
The 11AA Washington Warriors also made it to the DakotaDome, for a record sixth straight time. This time around they went home with the hardware, picking up their third title in four years.
These are just a few of the top stories of 2012. If 2013 is anything like it, we should be in for another great year for South Dakota sports.