VERMILLION — Two national champions, a set of twins and one of the best offensive linemen in Coyote history will comprise the newest members of the Henry Heider Coyote Sports Hall of Fame.
The group includes pole vault champion Sandy (Pelkofer) Fiddler ’02, diving champion Jill Smolczyk ’08, basketball players Jeana (Hoffman) Krome ’09 and Jenna (Hoffman) Kubesh ’08, and football player Brian Alderson ’06. In addition, special recognition will be given to the 1998 women’s track and field team coached by Lucky Huber.
The class will formally be inducted in a ceremony to be held Sept. 13 ahead of Coyote football’s home game against Houston Baptist on Sept. 14.
A closer look at each of the inductees follows:
Fiddler was the first in what is now a lineage of national champion Coyote pole vaulters. She won the 2001 indoor title in Boston, Massachusetts, by winning a jump-off against Jennifer Swanson of UC Davis. Fiddler’s winning mark was 12-feet-3.5-inches, a USD record that tied the all-time NCAA Division II mark. The feat helped USD to a seventh-place finish nationally.
Fiddler, who grew up in Rapid City, South Dakota, was a four-time NCC champion and a five-time All-American. She was named USD’s female scholar athlete of the year as a senior in 2002, and held both USD and NCC records in the pole vault upon graduation (12-7). She currently resides in Minneapolis and works in risk management at U.S. Bank.
Smolczyk is the lone national champion in USD women’s swimming and diving history. She was named 2008 NCAA Division II Women’s Diver of the Year after placing second in the 3-meter diving competition and coming back two days later to win the 1-meter title at the national championship meet in Columbia, Missouri.
Smolczyk, who grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, earned all-America honors all four years on the 1-meter and was a two-time 3-meter All-American. She swept both boards at the 2007 and 2008 NCC championship meet, was named a first-team Academic All-American in 2008, and graduated holding three of four USD diving records. Her 11-dive score of 495.90 on the 3-meter remains atop the USD chart.
Smolczyk resides in Vermillion with her husband, David. The couple has two daughters, Emma and Kora. Smolczyk received an NCAA postgraduate scholarship, attended the University of Nebraska medical center and earned a doctorate of physical therapy. She currently works as a physical therapist at the Sanford Vermillion Medical Center.
Krome and Kubesh starred on South Dakota’s national runner-up basketball team in 2008. The sister tandem grew up two hours away in Mitchell, South Dakota, and competed two years at Texas State before switching to USD. As seniors, they led the Coyotes to a 33-2 record, an NCC regular season and tournament title, and hosted and won an eight-team NCAA regional to reach the finals in Kearney, Nebraska.
Krome averaged a team-high 17.6 points as a senior and earned just about every award possible. She was an All-American, an Academic All-District honoree, the NCC MVP, the NCC Tournament MVP, and was named to the all-region and all-Elite Eight tournament teams. Kubesh averaged 10 points and six boards while leading the Coyotes with 131 assists and 79 steals. She was named NCC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, and was amongst the nation’s leaders in assist-to-turnover ratio. Both were on the 2008 all-NCC squad.
Krome spent a year playing professionally in Holland. The next season, the twins teamed up again for the Rock County Robbins of the Women’s Blue Chip Basketball League (WBCBL) and led the Robbins to the WBCBL championship. Krome was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
Both Krome and Kubesh live near Sioux Falls and both work at Avera Health. Krome and her husband, Ryan, have three kids, Kash, Kruz and Knox. Kubesh and her husband, Justin, have two kids, Grayson and Brookelyn, and are expecting their third near October.
Alderson was a three-year starter, a two-time All-American and a two-time finalist for the Gene Upshaw Award granted to the nation’s top lineman. The Hartford, South Dakota, native served as left tackle for quarterback Wesley Beschorner and lead blocker for running back Stefan Logan from 2003-05. He played a key role in leading the Coyotes to a 9-2 record and an NCC title in 2005. That squad led the nation in both points scored (49.7 ppg) and yards gained (583.2 ypg).
Alderson earned first-team all-NCC honors and first-team all-region accolades as a junior and senior and was Co-NCC Lineman of the Year in 2005. In those two seasons, he was credited with 110 knockdown blocks and allowed just three sacks on a team that threw the ball well over 500 times in that span. Alderson was placed on the AP Little All-America Team in 2005, which combined players from NAIA, Division III and Division II.
Alderson is a fourth generation farmer and cattle feeder who resides in Hartford. He is the son of Larry and Joyce Alderson. He and his wife, Erin, have two kids, Evan and Lincoln.
Huber’s 1998 women’s track and field team is the second track and field team to be inducted into the Hall of Champions, joining the men’s 2000 squad, and the 18th Coyote team overall. This team swept the indoor and outdoor NCC championship meets for the second consecutive season and went on to be the national runner-up at the NCAA Indoor Championships and the fifth-place finisher at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. The second-place finish at the time tied the highest effort for an NCC men’s or women’s team at the national level.
The 1998 roster was led by USD Hall of Famer Elena Swan, the 1998 NCAA Division II National Female Athlete of the Year. Other All-Americans on the roster included Krista Trei (third in the 800 both indoors and outdoors), Stephanie Knight (runner-up in the indoor 400, fifth outdoor), Tonya Kneifl (fifth in the high jump indoors, sixth in the heptathlon outdoors) and Brandy Echternach (sixth in the weight throw indoors, sixth in the discus outdoors).