VERMILLION — South Dakota Director of Track and Field/Cross Country Lucky Huber is pleased to announce the signing of Spencer Buley, Kenzie Campbell, Alyssa Gerth, Tristan Gray, Lainey Mally, Jayden McCulskie-Green, Ken-Mark Minkovski, Averi Schmeichel, Julia Shonka, Delaney Smith and Caelyn Valandra-Prue to National Letters of Intent.
In addition, Huber announced that four athletes – Natasha Freiberg, Audrey Neuerburg-Chapman, Wyatt Pruce and Molly Robinson – have accepted an offer of admissions to the University of South Dakota and plan to join the Coyote track and field program.
“I am very excited about this class joining our Coyote family,” said Huber. “Recruiting in these unprecedented times has forced us to adjust and try new ways of doing things. While these athletes were not able to come to campus for official visits as the NCAA extended the dead period, we did our best to show them what being at the University of South Dakota is all about. In spite of the challenges thrown their way, I believe our coaching staff excelled at bringing in athletes who match our values and will make exemplary future Coyotes.”
The class will enroll at and be eligible to compete for South Dakota in the fall of 2021.
Spencer Buley | Pole Vault | McKinney, Texas | McKinney Boyd HS
Spencer Buley, hailing from McKinney, Texas, ranks No. 4 nationally in the pole vault for his signing class. He owns a personal best of 16-5 from his junior season, despite it being shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The height is a McKinney Boyd High School program record. Buley captured back-to-back Texas University Interscholastic League 6A district titles as a freshman and sophomore. He won the Texas UIL 6A area title as a sophomore and qualified for regionals for the second-straight season. Buley was the 2018 AAU Junior Olympics bronze medalist in the pole vault. He also played football for two seasons with the Broncos. A National Honor Society member, Buley plans to major in sports marketing and media at South Dakota.
Kenzie Campbell | Throws | Burford, Ontario | Paris District HS
Kenzie Campbell is a hammer thrower from Burford, Ontario, Canada. She earned the Paris District High School Outstanding Senior award in 2018-19. She also captured the Presidents Trophy for Most Improved Athlete with Brantford Track and Field Club. She also played volleyball for the Panthers. An honor roll student and Ontario Scholar, Campbell plans to enroll in South Dakota’s nursing program.
Natasha Freiberg | High Jump | Sergeant Bluff, Iowa | South Sioux City HS
Natasha Freiberg captured a River Cities Conference title in the high jump as a sophomore in 2019. She also won the Sioux City Relays and leaped a personal best of 5-4 in her sophomore year. Her junior season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Freiberg also competed on the Cardinals’ softball, volleyball, cross country and basketball squads. A three-time academic all-conference honoree and honor roll student, Freiberg plans to major in education at South Dakota.
Alyssa Gerth | Distance| Andover, Minn. | Andover HS
Alyssa Gerth is a five-time all-Northwest Suburban Conference honoree in cross country and three-time all-conference honoree on the track. Gerth captured the 3,200-meter title at the 2019 Northwest Suburban Conference meet and her Husky squad took home team titles at four consecutive NSC meets from 2017-20. She’s a five-time qualifier for the large-class Minnesota State Cross Country Championships, placing as high as 32nd in 2017. She also qualified twice in the 3,200 meters and once in the 1,600 meters at the Minnesota State Track and Field Championships. She clocked a personal best of 11:08 with an eighth-place finish in the 3,200 meters at the 2019 Minnesota meet. Gerth also owns personal bests of 5:14 for 1,600 meters and 18:42 for 5,000 meters on the cross country course. She’s also a four-time letterwinner and an all-conference player on the basketball court for the Huskies. Gerth plans to enroll in USD’s nursing program.
Tristan Gray | Throws | Omaha, Neb. | North HS
Tristan Gray placed second in the shot put at the 2019 Nebraska State Track and Field Championships. He launched the shot 58-10 ½ as a sophomore, a five-foot and one place improvement from his freshman year. Gray also qualified for the state meet in the discus as a sophomore. While the state meet was canceled his junior season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gray threw a personal best 59-7 in the shot put last spring. He also owns personal bests of 173-2 in the discus and 66-11 in the weight throw. Gray is a five-time USATF All-American who also played football for the Vikings. He plans to major in physical education at South Dakota.
Lainey Mally | Jumps | Omaha, Neb. | Millard West HS
Lainey Mally placed fourth in the triple jump at the 2018 Nebraska State Championships. She leaped a personal best 37-2 ¼ in the meet as a freshman, helping the Wildcats to a third-place finish in the team race. She qualified for the state meet again as a sophomore, but her junior season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mally also owns personal bests of 16-5 ½ in the long jump and 5-0 in the high jump. In addition to her accomplishments in track and field, she won a National Championship with Millard West’s cheer squad. A four-time academic letterwinner, Mally plans to major in dental hygiene at South Dakota.
Jayden McCulskie-Green | Jumps | Sandwich, Ill. | Sandwich HS
Jayden McCulskie-Green is a three-time all-state jumper from Sandwich, Illinois. He finished runner-up in the triple jump at the 2019 Illinois State Championships as a sophomore, placing seventh in the long jump at the same meet. McCulskie-Green’s junior season was wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He owns personal bests of 47-4 in the triple jump, 22-5 ½ in the long jump and 6-5 in the high jump. He has twice been named the Indians’ team MVP and was named a team captain. He competes with the Aurora Flyers on the club circuit and swept the triple and long jumps at the 2020 AAU Northern Indoor National Championships back in January. McCulskie-Green also played basketball for Sandwich High School. An honor roll student, he plans to major in kinesiology and sport management at South Dakota.
Ken-Mark Minkovski | Sprints/Jumps | Tallinn, Estonia | Audentese Spordigümnaasium
Ken-Mark Minkovski is a six-time national champion in Estonia, winning age-group titles in the 100 meters, 200 meters and long jump. He holds Estonia’s under-16 and under-18 records in the 200 meters. His personal best of 21.15 seconds came at the 2019 European Championships. Minkovski competed at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He also finished runner-up in the long jump at the 2017 European Youth Olympic Festival in Győr, Hungary. Minkovski has won four Baltic States age-group titles, two each in the 100 meters and the 200 meters.
Audrey Neuerburg-Chapman | Distance | Elk River, Minn. | Elk River HS
Audrey Neuerburg-Chapman, a distance runner out of Elk River, Minnesota, qualified for the Minnesota state meet in cross country and track twice each. She is a six-time all-Northwest Suburban Conference honoree between the two seasons. She owns a personal best of 19:19 for 5,000 meters on the cross country course, 2:23 for 800 meters and 5:24 for 1,600 meters. Neuerburg-Chapman is also a state qualifier in cross country skiing and earned all-Northwest Suburban Conference. She plans to major in health sciences at South Dakota.
Wyatt Pruce | Throws | Pueblo West, Colo. | Pueblo West HS
Wyatt Pruce, a thrower from Pueblo West, Colorado, qualified for the Colorado State Track and Field Championships in the discus as a freshman and sophomore. He finished 10th his sophomore season. Pruce placed second in the discus as the South Central League and participated in the 2018 Oregon Relays. He owns personal bests of 176-4 in the discus and 48-3 in the shot put. An honor roll student, Pruce plans to major in kinesiology and sport management at South Dakota.
Molly Robinson | Distance | Stephens City, Va. | Sherando HS
Molly Robinson, a distance runner hailing from Stephens City, Virginia, placed second in the 1,500 meters and third in the 3,000 meters at the 2019 AAU Indoor Nationals. She’s the team captain of Sherando High School’s cross country and track and field teams, holding school records in the 1,500 meters (5:09) and 3,000 meters (10:48). She clocked a personal best of 19:28 for 5,000 meters on the cross country course this fall. Robinson qualified individually for the Virginia state meet as a sophomore, placing 33rd in the field. Her junior track and field season was canceled and her senior cross country season was moved to the spring of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She also competed in the steeplechase in high school, recording a personal best of 8:15.3 at the 2019 Dogwood Classic held at UVA. Robinson has served as class president at Sherando High School the last two years. An honor roll student and academic letterwinner, Robinson plans to enroll in USD’s nursing program.
Averi Schmeichel | Hurdles/Jumps | Hartford, S.D. | West Central HS
Averi Schmeichel is a three-time South Dakota state champion on the track. She captured her first titles as an eighth-grader in 2017 in the 100-meter hurdles and 4x200-meter relay, winning her third as a sophomore in the long jump. She added four runner-up finishes in the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles as a freshman and sophomore. Her junior season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Schmeichel owns personal bests of 14.64 in the 100-meter hurdles, 45.18 in the 300-meter hurdles and 17-11 in the long jump. She also participated in gymnastics, soccer and cheer at West Central High School. She placed on the all-tournament team three consecutive years in gymnastics and helped the soccer team finish runner-up in 2019. A member of the National Honor Society, Schmeichel plans to major in education at South Dakota.
Julia Shonka | Hurdles | Des Moines, Iowa | Dowling Catholic HS
Julia Shonka qualified for the 2019 Iowa State Track and Field Championships in the 100-meter hurdles as a sophomore where she placed 22nd. Her junior season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Competing with Des Moines Area Youth Track Club, she also qualified for the AAU National Championships in the 100-meter hurdles three years in a row. She owns a personal best of 15.6 for the event. She is also a member of the Maroons’ basketball, softball and cheerleading squads. A member of the National Honor Society and academic letterwinner, Shonka plans to major in business at South Dakota. She also took part in a National Youth Leadership Conference.
Delaney Smith| Throws | Windom, Minn. | Windom HS
Delaney Smith is a three-time state medalist thrower from Windom, Minnesota. She placed third in the shot put at the Minnesota State Championships in back-to-back years as a freshman and sophomore. She added a fifth-place finish in the discus as a sophomore in 2019. She’s also a six-time all-Big South Conference honoree and has earned Windom’s Field MVP award every year. Smith has medaled twice at the New Balance Nationals while competing in the club circuit. She owns personal bests of 44-1 in the shot put, 127-0 in the discus, 154-2 in the hammer throw and 48-2 in the weight throw. Smith is coached by Erin Elder at Windom, the father of current Coyote thrower Kaden Elder. She also played volleyball and basketball for the Eagles. Smith is an honor roll student and member of the National Honor Society.
Caelyn Valandra-Prue | Sprints | Mission, S.D. | White River HS
Caelyn Valandra-Prue is a five-time South Dakota state champion, the MVP of the 2019 South Dakota State Track and Field Championships, and holds the Class A record for the 400 meters (56.54 seconds). Her five state titles have come across four different events ranging from 100 to 800 meters. She owns the Tigers’ school record in every event – clocking 12.15 for 100 meters, 25.23 for 200 meters, 56.54 for 400 meters and 2:19 for 800 meters. Valandra-Prue has won three 400 meter titles at the Howard Wood Dakota Relays. Her junior track and field season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to running, Valandra-Prue participated in choir, was class vice president and was an all-state player on the Tigers’ basketball and volleyball teams. She’s White River’s all-time leading scorer on the basketball court, surpassing 1,500 points during her sophomore season. Valandra-Prue plans to study pre-physical therapy at USD.