There were plenty of smiles as the community came together to honor Central South Dakota's top athletes on Thursday night.

The Capital Journal's Best of Preps 2021 recognized 26 student athletes as families and coaches cheered them on in Pierre. Former pro basketball player Sam Willard, the evening's headline speaker, said Central South Dakota's athletes are often overlooked. He told the crowd Thursday was a night to give them, coaches and parents their due credit.

With full bellies and a chorus of applauds, athletes received their 2021 Best of Prep awards from Wegner Auto Company's Bryan Boocock, Willard and the Capital Journal's sports reporter Scott Millard and publisher Jeffrey Hartley.

Here's a few shots from Thursday night's awards at the Ramkota Hotel.

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