Youth baseball scheme

In the summer of 2010, a man claiming to be establishing a youth traveling baseball team was accused of — and eventually arrested and charged for — grand theft by deception. Total money given to the man ended up being around $30,000. The series of stories was awarded second place in the "Spot Sports" category of the 2011 The Associated Press Great Plains News and Photo contest.

The accusations

The warrant

The arrest

Taygen Schuelke's football injury

This past September, Newell (S.D.) High School senior Taygen Schuelke was left woozy and breathless after a hard football hit. A high school rodeo champion, Schuelke wasn't taken aback by this familiar feeling. What followed, however, was unnerving. Yet Schuelke's faith never wavered. This story was awarded third place in sports reporting in the 2012 South Dakota Newspaper Association contest.

The strength to believe

Reflecting on a coaching legend

After four decades in the high school coaching game, Custer boys basketball leader Larry Luitjens is entering his career's last act. I post this story because of the ability to let several other sources largely tell Luitjens' story for him in what was a confined space for print.

Luitjens contemplates career, retirement

Grand departure

Both Black Hills State and South Dakota Mines' men's basketball teams were finishing on highs in their last year of NAIA basketball. With each school transitioning into NCAA Division II, the two squads met in the Black Hills for the final Dakota Athletic Conference championship in a rivalry environment.

Yellow Jackets take final DAC title


Mandy Willmore's road to recovery

In late December 2010, South Dakota Mines women's basketball player Mandy Willmore suffered a frightening spinal injury in Hawaii and is now battling surfer's myelopathy, from which she remains paralyzed from the waist down. I've written three stories on the situation: one on the incident itself, another three months later on Willmore's recovery efforts and a one-year update on Christmas Day 2011. The series was awarded second place in the "Sports Feature" category of the 2012 The Associated Press Great Plains News and Photo contest.

Reporting of accident

Sensations of hope

One year later

High school soccer saga

In the fall of 2012, South Dakota will finally offer sanctioned soccer, becoming the last state in America to do so. Yet because of financial constrictions, most public schools in the state aren't able to give their athletes the opportunity to compete for a recognized state title. Below are a couple of stories on the subject. My continued coverage of this issue got me an interview and mention on ESPN RISE's high school blog.

State approves first-season rules

Public schools say 'no' to soccer — for now

High school conference realignment

Colleges and universities across the country have been seeking conference stability the past couple of years. High schools in South Dakota were no different. With Sioux Falls schools forming their own conference in a few seasons, several large schools in the Black Hills were left scrambling to the state's oldest league to try and find a new home.

Asking for admittance

Request denied