Earlier this week, I said that I would be presenting the First Annual Scotty Awards, honoring the best athletes and moments across the Pierre, Stanley County, Sully Buttes and Lyman athletic landscape in 2021. These are my opinions, and I don’t expect you to agree with all of them. I will try and provide some explanations on why I chose what and whom I chose for these awards. I tried to acknowledge at least one person per school for the main awards. Anyways, here are the awards:

Male Athletes of the Year: Lincoln Kienholz (Pierre), Evan Nordstrom (Stanley County), Griffin Petersen (Sully Buttes) and Colton Collins (Lyman)

I don’t know how much you really need to say about Lincoln Kienholz. The kid is electric to watch perform, whether that be in football, basketball, baseball or track. He had a record breaking football season. If he could have competed at both State Track and State Baseball at the same time, I’m certain he would have.

Evan Nordstrom is the most complete athlete I think that Stanley County had this past year. He was a captain on the football team, where he led the Buffs in rushing yards. He provided solid bench play for the Buffs basketball team. Nordstrom was also a part of a great relay team that qualified for State. It’s unfortunate that he will be unable to compete with his knee injury that sidelined him for the latter part of football season. His inability to play, and how the Buffs played without him against Lyman, proved to me how crucial he was to the Buffs football team.

Griffin Petersen has been one of the better male athletes at Sully Buttes for the past couple of seasons. He was an All-State cross country runner this past fall, and was a State qualifier in track and field in the 1600 medley relay and 1600 meter run.

Colton Collins has been one of the best running backs in 9-man football the past two seasons. He powered the Raiders to a strong season. Defenses keyed in on him, but that didn’t stop him from running for over 1,000 yards. He’s the type of athlete that watching him play on a video stream doesn’t do him justice. You have to see him play in person. He also plays basketball for the Raiders, and is a solid track athlete.

Female Athletes of the Year: Marlee Shorter (Pierre T.F. Riggs), Taylee Stroup (Stanley County), Lydia Hill (Sully Buttes) and Kennadee Shook (Lyman)

Marlee Shorter continues to amaze me. Her talents are on the biggest display on the brightest stage. She placed fourth in her singles flight at State Tennis, as well as third in doubles. She was a solid thrower in track. Shorter, who was a State Champion tennis player in 2020, became one of the first State Champions in girls wrestling for the Govs. She’s more than deserving of this award.

Taylee Stroup is a constant for Stanley County athletics. She’s an emotional leader for the Buffs volleyball and girls basketball teams. Stroup is always encouraging her teammates to do their best, and is one of the first athletes to crash to the floor for a loose ball. In track, she’s a good runner, and has been a part of some good relay teams. To top all of that off, Stroup competes at a high level in rodeo.

Speaking of constants, Lydia Hill has been just that for the Sully Buttes Chargers. She’s a statistical leader for the Chargers in volleyball, and is a ferocious player in basketball. Hill also competes at a high level in track, where she is a state qualifier in the shot put and discus.

Kennadee Shook is a great athlete that I’m not sure gets the credit she deserves. She’s an outstanding cheerleader, and is part of a Raiders competitive cheer team that competed at State. This past year saw Shook place fourth in the State Girls Wrestling Tournament. She was easily the most outstanding Lyman girls wrestler. Her infectious personality is also a great asset for being a good cheerleader.

Moments of the Year: The Pin, The Kick, The Walkoff, SC Ending the Streak, and Lyman Making State

I couldn’t separate these five moments from each other, as I believe they define the year 2021. First came the Stanley County girls basketball team ending their nearly two-year losing streak in January. That moment reached across the ocean to Stanley County legend Sam Ostarello. The impact of that win is still being felt within the Stanley County athletic program to this day. Then comes The Pin, where Hayden Shaffer pulled off the wrestling move of the year to get the Govs the Class A Dual Championship. The Lyman Raiders basketball team made State for the first time since 1996. It was a moment that captivated the small town of Presho unlike anything I’d ever seen. Bennett Dean’s three-run walkoff home run against Watertown was as wild a baseball moment as has been seen in some time in the area. Finally, Cole Peterson’s 40-yard field to win the Govs their fifth straight Class 11AA State Championship still gives me goosebumps. Without these five moments, I don’t think 2021 was nearly as good as it turned out to be.

Inspirational Movements of the Year: Kaiser Strong and Senftner Strong

Everybody loves a good comeback story, and these two happened off the court. Sully Buttes coach Mark Senftner has battled through a brain tumor to come back to the football and girls basketball sidelines. Pierre’s Kim Kaiser battled breast cancer to be back on the sidelines to cheer on her children who play for the Govs. It brings a tear of joy to my eye when I think of these two people. I appreciate them so much, and I thank them for inspiring myself and others through their perseverance in their battles.

Dynamic Duo of the Year: Lincoln Kienholz and Jack Merkwan, Pierre T.F. Riggs

They’re the record setting duo of the Pierre football team. Kienholz and Merkwan both broke team records and challenged for state records. They’re two peas in a pod. You kinda can’t have one without the other. They’ve gone on college scouting trips together. The scary thing for the rest of the state is that they’ve still got one more year left to break even more records.

Non-School Sport Athlete of the Year: Ella Ward-Zeller

Pierre swimmer Ella Ward-Zeller is an incredible athlete for the Pierre Swim Team. She’s usually at or near the top of the leaderboard in every event she swims in. When you attend a Pierre Swim Meet, she’s a highlight. She’s what you remember the most. I look forward to seeing her continue her career at Augie.

They Don’t Go Here Award: Copper Lurz, Philip

I created this award to recognize an opposing team athlete that comes into town, and is an appointment viewing. Copper Lurz is that in multiple sports. The Philip senior played very well for the Scotties in volleyball and basketball in her games against Stanley County at Parkview Gymnasium. She’s ferocious at the net, and plays with an infectious passion. I look forward to seeing if she does anything at the next level, because I think she is more than capable of it.

Referees of the Year: All of Them

Referees everywhere in this state deserve this award. They put up with so much from fans, and they travel a good amount in order to make sure kids can play sports the proper way. Without referees, you don’t have games. There’s a shortage of referees, and I think it’s something that the SDHSAA will address in their meetings this coming year.

Readers of the Year: You

Yes, that’s right. You won this award, you reading this right now. Whether it be physically or digitally, you’re the reason I do what I do. If it wasn’t for the readers, all of this would feel like screaming into the void hoping someone would listen. I’ve had my fair share of physical and mental health issues the past few years, and you’ve been there to comfort me every time. Congratulations to you. To paraphrase my high school basketball coach, let’s make 2022 our masterpiece.

Scott Millard | 605-295-8429

Scott Millard has been the sports reporter for the Capital Journal since 2017. He was previously an intern with the Capital Journal during the summer of 2016.

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