That was the day the Golden Eagle girls’ track and field team won the Eastern South Dakota Conference Meet held at Swisher Field in Aberdeen. That win clinched the ESD All-Sports Award for the girls. Pierre won the ESD All-Sports Award for boys.
The all-sports award accumulates points for each ESD school in all of the conference sports and tabulates the points earned for first through eighth from fall through spring.
“This is really an honor for either boys or girls,” said Central athletic director Gene Brownell. “Our boys have won it once and the girls five times. Generally, to win this award a school has an outstanding group of senior athletes. At our level, seniors are going to win for you or not win for you. You get help from juniors and some underclassmen but the senior class leads the way.”
On the strength of ESD titles in track, volleyball and basketball, the Central girls scored 52½ points to edge Watertown with 47½ points.
“You look at the titles that the girls won and those are not easy ones to win. Volleyball is difficult to win and we’ve only won the basketball twice in the history of the school. Track and field is difficult to win and takes versatility,” said Brownell.
On the boys’ side, Pierre totaled 44½ points and Brandon Valley had 43. Aberdeen Central finished sixth with 30½ points. The top point getter for the Central boys was wrestling with a second place finish.
Three Central girls earned varsity letters in all three ESD champion sports: volleyball in the fall, basketball (tied with Mitchell) in the winter and track and field in the spring. Seniors Kelsey Hannigan and Samantha Knecht along with freshman Brianna Kusler were varsity contributors in all three sports.
ESD All-Sports Award for Girls 2012-13: Aberdeen Central 52½, Watertown 47½, Pierre 42, Brandon Valley 38½, Yankton 38, Brookings 36½, Mitchell 34, Huron 33.
ESD All-Sports Award for Boys 2012-13: Pierre 44½, Brandon Valley 43, Brookings 33½, Watertown 33, Yankton 32½, Aberdeen Central 30½, Huron 20½, Mitchell 14½.
After all the cheers, celebrations and the obligatory ice water shower for the winning coach were completed at the Eastern South Dakota Conference Track and Field Meet on May 11 at Swisher Field, Aberdeen Central head girls’ coach Jim Appl picked out the highlight of the meet for him.
Although his Golden Eagles girls’ team won the meet by 59 points over Pierre, Appl pointed to a pole vaulter who didn’t score a point in the meet. Senior Ariana Arampatzis spent her junior year attending Philip High School and living with her grandmother who was a recent widow. Arampatzis made the one-year move out west to help ease her grandmother’s loss.
As planned, Arampatzis returned to her family in Aberdeen for her senior season. One of the state’s top pole vaulters since her freshman season, she had hoped to turn in a stellar final season of competition.
Unfortunately, Arampatzis was injured before the first meet and was not cleared by the doctors to return to competition until the week before the ESD meet.
“She started practicing but she wasn’t ready,” said Appl. “She only had four or five days of practice.”
Nevertheless, she cleared 10-feet at the meet and hit the automatic qualifying mark for the state meet this week.
“She got a ticket to the state meet,” said Appl. “For a senior to come out and put it together like that says a lot about Ariana. I am so happy for her. I would make that my top highlight.”