It’s not only what you do on the field, but also in the community that matters.

That was the theme of the 2022 Best of Preps awards banquet that was held at the Ramkota Convention Center in Pierre on Monday.

The event is put on by the Capital Journal thanks to a host of sponsors. Capital Journal Publisher Jeffrey Hartley said he was excited about the event after holding a similar event last year.

“Last year went great, so it’s hard to repeat that kind of success,” Hartley said. “When we started this, I was a little nervous, but we’ve got the right amount of sponsors and a great set of winners. We’re to honor these athletes not just for what they do in athletics, but for what they do in the classroom and community. The criteria for this is a little bit different than a lot of sport awards in that it’s not just about athletic ability. It’s about honesty, integrity, community involvement and team leadership.”

After food was served, the speaker of the night was Chris Maxwell of Maxwell Strategies. He spoke about inspiration and persevering through adversity. Maxwell said he was honored to be asked to speak at the event.

“It’s an honor to speak to these successful athletes, their parents, grandparents, guardians and family members that have been there for them along the way,” Maxwell said. “It’s great to talk to these kids about what matters most as they celebrate their success and look forward to their future.”

Other featured speakers included Pierre Mayor Steve Harding, Fort Pierre Mayor Gloria Hanson, Representatives Mike Weisgram and Will Mortenson, former Nebraska Cornhusker Demoine Adams and “Tom Cruise.”

Stanley County senior Evan Nordstrom said he felt lucky to be there, since he only played one sport this year due to injury.

“It feels great,” Nordstrom said. “I’m glad people are starting to notice that I excelled in the classroom as well as the field.”

Sully Buttes junior Saige Heath said the Best of Preps event was really nice.

“It’s well put together,” Heath said. “I love getting to see people in the community getting awards for things that they do.”

Heath was a little taken aback when she was alerted that she was being honored as a part of Best of Preps.

“At first I asked myself if I really deserved this,” Heath said. “I’ve put in a lot of hard work this past year. A lot of people have noticed it, and I’m glad for that, I guess.”

23 athletes in total were honored at the event. Those athletes were Jordan Schall, Caitlin Birney, Lydia Hill, Landon Hepker and Saige Heath from Sully Buttes; Colton Collins, Tance Wagner, Shilo Mowry, Skyler Volmer and Ellie Erikson from Lyman; Cormac Duffy, Evan Nordstrom, Aleeyah Schilling, Chase Hanson and Stran Scott from Stanley County; Ayvrie Kaiser, Blake Judson, Cole Peterson, Gianna Stangeland, Hayden Shaffer, Lily Sanchez, Lincoln Kienholz and Sydney Tedrow from Pierre.

The Capital Journal's second annual Best of Preps awards night honoring student athletes from central South Dakota.

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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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