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South Dakota School of Mines men’s and women’s basketball team started conference play last Wednesday against their biggest rival --- Black Hills State, while the Hardrocker indoor track teams represented themselves well at an early meet in Spearfish, qualifying two thinclads for the NAIA national meet
By Brad Blume
Sports Information Director
South Dakota School of Mines
RAPID CITY --- The South Dakota School of Mines men’s and women’s basketball team started conference play last Wednesday against their biggest rival --- Black Hills State, while the Hardrocker indoor track teams represented themselves well at an early meet in Spearfish, qualifying two thinclads for the NAIA national meet.
The South Dakota School of Mines track and field team opened the 2006-07 indoor campaign with a meet against Black Hills State and Chadron State last Thursday in Spearfish.
The Hardrockers had several outstanding performances to open the new season with the most notable coming from freshman Shannon Hellman (from Rapid City) and senior Eric Voorhees (Gillette, Wyo). Both earned automatic qualification bids for the NAIA National Indoor Championships which will be held March 9-10, 2007 in Johnson City, Tenn.
Hellman continued her dominance in the 55-meter high hurdles with a time of 8.18 second for top honors of the race and besting the national qualifying standard by almost half a second. Hellman followed her hurdle victory with a close second-place finish in the 200, clocking a time of 26.20, which was just three hundredths of a second behind Chadron’s Barbara Goe who secured first in the event. Hellman’s 200 time was also a national provisional qualifying mark.
In the shot put, Voorhees picked up where he left off during the 2006 outdoor season by throwing 52-feet-1.25-inches for second place at Thursday’s meet and a berth into the Indoor National Championship. His mark exceeded the national standard by over 19 inches. Voorhees’ shot put performance came after he had already thrown a personal best in the 35-pound weight throw (46-2) for a second-place finish earlier in the meet.
Other notable performances came from Colton Reid (sophomore from Colstrip, Mont.) placing second in the 600 (1:25.76) and 800 (2:04.27); Chandler Caldwell’s (junior from Thornton, Colo.) second place in the pole vault at 14-6; and Jenny Strong’s second-place performance in the triple jump at 32-7.75.
“We were very pleased with where most of our athletes are at in their conditioning” said Hardrocker head coach Jerry Schafer. “It’s great to have athletes qualify early so we can concentrate on getting better. We have a lot of freshmen and I saw some real competitiveness from them (Thursday).”
The Rockers will break for the Holidays and resume their indoor schedule in January with the start of the Spring semester.
The Hardrocker men got things rolling in the right direction, earning a important Dakota Athletic Conference victory over Black Hills State last Wednesday at the Young Center in Spearfish.
The Hardrockers have competed in a very tough preseason schedule and that seemed to pay off, defeating the Yellow Jackets on their home floor, 71-59. The game was tightly contested over the first 20 minutes, with BHSU holding a slim 36-33 advantage, but South Dakota Mines went on a run midway through the second period to gain the upper hand and win the contest. Three Hardrockers broke double figures in the bout. North Dakota native Casey Schmitz (senior) led all scorers with 14 points on the night. Fellow senior Matt Lyndoe (Custer) was a key contributor in SDM’s late scoring surge and ended the night with 13 points, while Blake Tideman (senior from Winner) cashed in for 12 points.
On Saturday, the Rockers traveled to Billings, Mont., to rematch with the Rocky Mountain College Bears in a non-conference game. After defeating Rocky Mountain, 79-74, back in late October, the ‘Rockers fell to the Bears in the latest installment, 88-70. Rocky Mountain outscored Mines in the first half, 45-36 and bettered the ‘Rockers in the second period, 43-34.
SDM was led in scoring by Brandon Fredrickson (a senior from Fort Collins, Colo.) who dished in 17 points. Schmitz also came through with a 15-point effort and Lyndoe tacked on 12 points for the visitors.
Schmitz’s totals for the two games earned him DAC Player of the Week honors after averaging 14.5 points, seven rebounds, one block, 0.5 assists and 0.5 steals per game. He also was 6 of 11 from the field and connected on 17 of 22 free throw attempts.
After last week, the Hardrockers are 6-6 on the season and next look to challenge the University of South Dakota Saturday in Vermillion.
The Lady Hardrockers had just one game over the week, but it was probably the biggest one game of the season as it marked the first DAC bout for the year which was against SDM’s biggest rival --- Black Hills State.
It turned out to be a typical BH vs. SDM contest --- physical.
The game also could have gone either way as it proved to be quite a tug-of-war battle between the two squads that both received national recognition for the first NAIA Top 25 poll. But in the end, the Lady Yellow Jackets were able tip the scales in their favor grabbing a small edge down the stretch and hold on for the 75-70 win.
Individually, it was the juniors that shined for the Lady Hardrockers as all three scored in double figures.
Lake Preston native Melanie Vedvei had a double double, scoring 24 points to lead the Rockers and came down with 12 rebounds, which was also a high for the team. Teammate Amber DeWeerd (Rock Valley, Iowa) also had a stellar performance putting up 21 points, while Jennie Malone (Rapid City) who was recovering from an injury, cashed in for 13 points in the game.
The loss dropped SDM to 7-5 on the season and the women will travel to Nebraska this weekend for the Midland Lutheran College Classic.
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