PIERRE — A plan to rotate dance and cross-country meets between Sioux Falls and Rapid City was canceled Wednesday by the South Dakota High School Activities Association board of directors.

The plan, as presented to board members, called for the 2022 dance and dance tournament to be held in Watertown. In 2023 it would be held at the Premier Center in Sioux Falls and in 2024 at the Rapid City Monument Center. Beginning in 2025, it would rotate between Sioux Falls and Rapid City, depending on the availability of a facility in either of those cities.

A similar plan for cross country called for the state meet to be held in Huron in 2022, Sioux Falls in 2023, and Rapid City in 2024. Beginning in 2025, the meet would rotate between Sioux Falls and Rapid City depending availability of facilities. .

SDHSAA executive director Dan Swartos said moving the cross-country meet out of Huron was likely due to hotel availability. He also said it is convenient to have joy, dance and cross country in the same community at the same time because this year there were four athletes who competed in both.

Board member Terry Rotert of Huron said events don’t need to be scheduled in the same cities to accommodate fewer than five athletes. Rotert said he finds it “offensive” that smaller communities are “crowded out” from hosting state events.

“When we organize these events, we roll out the red carpet,” Rotert said. To make the change was like saying “now Huron is not good enough”.

Board member Mark Murphy said the cross-country coaches he spoke with prefer the Huron course.

“The Huron course is by far the best,” Murphy said. “It’s the best setup for cross-country.”

The board approved a rotation starting in 2025 that alternates between Sioux Falls, Rapid City and Watertown for joy and dancing and between Sioux Falls, Rapid City and Huron for cross country. When Huron hosts cross country, Watertown will host cheers and dancing.

Female golfers warm up at the driving range ahead of the 2016 Class AA Girls Golf Tournament at Lakeview Golf Course. (File photo)

Rule Changes Approved for High School Golf, Track

In the future, the South Dakota High School Activities Association may seek some consistency in how state golfers qualify for state tournaments. The suggestion was made on Wednesday as SDHSAA board members approved annual changes to the organization’s sports handbook.

Prior to last year, 60% of Class A golfers qualified for the state tournament. Last April, the board approved a rule change reducing the field to 50%. At the time, SDHSAA staff said tournament days took upwards of six hours with some golfers on the course who were not in a state tournament.

This year, a request from Class A athletic directors called for a 60% return to the number or, failing that, a redistribution of athletes if a region does not send a full complement of golfers to the state tournament.

SDHSAA Executive Director Dan Swartos cautioned the board against approving the return to the 60% qualifying field because there was not yet a full year of data on the change. The Boys A and AA golf tournaments were held in October while the Boys and Girls B and Girls A and AA will play theirs in June.

“We’re not even in year one,” Swartos said.

Board member Terry Rotert of Huron said coaches were upset because the group of Class A golfers at the state tournament was “significantly smaller than it could have been.”

Swartos said last year’s change was approved by sporting directors but golf coaches didn’t like it. “Once the A-coaches got wind of it this fall, it all went wild.”

Rotert explained that if the field is not increased to 60% golfers, athletic directors would like to be able to add golfers to their region if one of the regions does not send all 50% of its golfers. Rotert said a region with 100 golfers would be allowed to send 50 to the state tournament. If he didn’t send them all, the other regions would add golfers equally among themselves in order to send as many golfers as possible to the state tournament.

This change was approved by the Board of Directors on a 7-1 vote with Marty Weismantel of Groton dissenting.

During the discussion, Elk Point-Jefferson Board Member Derek Barrios asked if there was a way to ensure continuity between classes. He asked if the association could examine “how golf is run in our state as a whole.”

Swartos said each class uses a different formula. Class B welcomes 40% of golfers. AA calculates golfers who are within 75% of the state average tournament score to determine tournament qualifiers.

In track and field, the board has approved the use of fully automatic timing at all state AA qualifying track and field competitions. The AA athletic directors’ vote was 16 to 3 on this change. SDHSAA deputy director of operations Randy Soma said schools that voted against the change were likely concerned about hiring more people to run the competition and spending on the FAT system.

“There’s so much inconsistency with pocket time,” said Avon Board Chairman Tom Culver, noting that his school district leases its FAT system for $600. “I know there are others who charge a lot more.”

Board member Kelly Messmer of Harding County said he used a handheld device to time runs during track competitions. “It’s a disservice to the kids,” Messmer said. “I’m not very good at that.”

SDHSAA will do more research on automatic timing systems.

“We need to know how many systems we have across the state,” said SDHSAA Deputy Executive Director Jo Auch.

At the urging of Swartos, the Board of Directors filed a request from the Athletic Directors to change the out of bounds rule in wrestling. Under the proposed rule, if any part of the wrestler is in the circle, the wrestler would be considered in bounds.

Swartos said the proposed rule departs from rules set by the National Federation of State High School Associations. The NFHS is considering changes to its rule review process. Swartos said the proposed rule will be back on the board’s agenda for its June meeting.

SDHSAA: Bad Sportsmanship Displayed in State Basketball

Lack of sportsmanship was a common theme when staffers from the South Dakota High School Activities Association reported on the state’s recent basketball tournaments. They reported to the SDHSAA board on Wednesday.

SDHSAA Deputy Chief Executive Jo Auch told the council that she had attended the Class B boys’ and girls’ tournaments.

“Our sportsmanship is becoming pathetic,” Auch said, noting that she included players, coaches and fans in that statement. “A handful of people can make it miserable.”

Auch said a fan was kicked out of a Class B tournament, taken in handcuffs.

SDHSAA staffers Randy Soma, who attended AA tournaments and Dan Swartos, who attended A tournaments, agreed with Auch’s assessment.

“There’s a lot of work we need to do in this area,” said Swartos, the organization’s executive director.

Board member Mark Murphy said he had watched coaches giving officials a hard time during games and that attitude was being adopted by the players.

“They take inspiration from the coaches,” Murphy said. “I really think coaches need to help us in that area of ​​sportsmanship.”

The statements were made during a part of the board meeting set aside for staff reports. No action has been taken.

Watertown Superintendent to Join SDHSAA Board of Directors

At the South Dakota High School Activities Association’s annual meeting on Tuesday, nominations were proposed for the Division II representative on the board of directors. This position must be filled by a superintendent.

The only nominee was Watertown Superintendent Jeff Danielsen. He will serve a five-year term and is not eligible for re-election.

Danielsen will replace current board member Terry Rotert. Rotert, the operations director at Huron, is completing the final year of former Brookings operations director Randy Soma, who resigned from the board when he was hired as assistant executive director at SDHSAA.

Division II includes the largest schools in the state except for Sioux Falls and Rapid City which are in Division I. These schools include Brandon Valley, Aberdeen Central, Watertown, Brookings, Mitchell, Yankton, Sturgis, Pierre, Douglas, Huron, Spearfish and Sioux Falls O’Gorman.

The board will have another opening soon as Derek Barrios of Elk Point-Jefferson will be leaving that school for a position in Watertown. A replacement for Barrios, who will represent the interests of the state’s smaller high schools, will be named at the June board meeting.