Jackrabbit seniors honored at yearly banquet
Basketball players Jordan Dykstra and Steph Paluch were honored with the 2014 Outstanding Jackrabbit Award during the South Dakota State University Athletics Senior Banquet Thursday night at the Swiftel Center.
Dykstra put together one of the top all-around careers in Jackrabbit men’s basketball history. A forward, his 1,661 career points rank fifth all-time at SDSU, while his 835 career rank fourth. Dykstra’s .445 career three-point shooting percentage is a Jackrabbit school record and his 193 career three-pointers rank sixth. During his senior season, Dykstra helped lead the Jackrabbits to their third consecutive postseason appearance by turning in team-best averages of 16.0 points and 7.6 rebounds per game
A native of Rock Valley, Iowa, Dykstra was honored on the Capital One Academic All-America Second Team, compiling a 3.71 grade-point average while majoring in biology and pre-dentistry. He also became the first Jackrabbit to be honored with a Senior Class Award, earning second-team All-America honors for his achievements in four areas of excellence — classroom, community, character and competition.
A Pierre native, Paluch helped lead the Jackrabbit women’s basketball team to the semifinals of the WNIT during her senior season, earning all-tournament honors. A second-team all-Summit League selection at guard during the regular season, she finished second on the team in both scoring (10.8 ppg) and assists (81) while starting all 36 of the team’s games.
An entrepreneurial studies major, Paluch also excelled in the classroom by turning in a 3.95 grade-point average. She was honored multiple times on the Summit League Academic Honor Roll and Summit League Commissioner’s List of Academic Excellence. She also served as an officer for the SDSU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
More than 80 senior student-athletes were honored at the event, including 15 who were honored as recipients of the Jackrabbit Impact Award for their contributions to SDSU Athletics:
• Shelby Assmus, women’s track and field;
• Andrea Budahl, women’s swimming;
• Brayden Carlson, men’s basketball;
• Caylee Costello, women’s soccer;
• Laura Dunlavy, equestrian;
• Erin Hargens, women’s cross country/track and field;
• Marcus Heemstra, men’s basketball;
• Brandon Hubert, football;
• Clark Kocourek, men’s diving;
• Aaron Machbitz, baseball;
• Amy Paulzine, women’s track and field;
• Hannah Strop, women’s basketball;
• Bryan Witzmann, football;
• Santana Wright, equestrian;
• Winston Wright, football.
The Jackrabbit Scholar-Athlete Award was presented to Kali Olson of the women’s track and field team and men’s swimmer Phil Albu. Olson has maintained a perfect 4.0 grade-point average while majoring in psychology, while Albu has compiled a 3.96 GPA as a computer science major. In all, 18 Jackrabbit senior student-athletes were recognized for compiling cumulative GPAs of 3.7 or higher.
The Jackrabbit women’s basketball squad received the Team Scholar Award with a cumulative team GPA of 3.56 through the fall semester.
Three other student-athletes were honored with the Jackrabbit Courage Award for overcoming hardships during their careers. Recipients included men’s cross country and track and field performer Anthony Bongard, football player Alex Parker and men’s basketball player Chad White.