South Dakota State University entered the 2021 calendar year looking to build further on a successful decade that saw the Jackrabbits accomplish the following:
- Won 43 regular season or postseason conference titles in eight sports.
- Claimed five Summit League Commissioner’s Cup titles, an award given annually to the institution with the most combined points in relationship to league placement between its men’s and women’s athletic programs.
- Qualified for NCAA Championship events 28 times.
- Had its football and men’s and women’s basketball programs all reach the postseason eight straight years, the only Division I program to claim such a distinction.
- Nearly 950 student-athletes earned all-conference honors, with 54 being named All-America selections.
- Individually, SDSU student-athletes also excelled in the classroom during the 10-year period by accumulating approximately 2,500 academic all-conference awards, with 38 earning Academic All-America.
Academic success continued during the 2021 calendar year with another 218 student-athletes earning Summit League Academic Honor Roll recognition in 14 sports. The women’s track and field team placed 57 on the list, while the men’s team had 35. The softball and women’s soccer teams each had 21 earn the award.
Competitively in 2021, the football team finished the spring season with a trip to Frisco, Texas, and a runner-up finish in the national championship game. The team returned during the fall season to earn a spot in the semifinals of the NCAA Division I Football Championship. During the calendar year, the team earned 19 wins in 25 games.
The softball team earned its first Summit League Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The Jackrabbits defeated Stanford, 7-1, in the opening game before having its season come to an end with losses to No. 6 Arkansas, 4-0, and Stanford, 2-1 in 10 innings. The Jacks finished 43-8 overall and set dozens of team and individual records.
The women’s soccer team advanced to the NCAA Division I soccer championship for the sixth time since 2008. The Jacks finished the year with a 17-4-1 record.
Two other teams earned conference championships in the fall, as the men’s cross country team recorded its sixth consecutive conference championship, placing six runners on the All-Summit League First Team. The women’s team captured its second consecutive conference championship, while sophomore Leah Hansen won the individual conference title. Hansen, along with Gabe Peters, were selected women’s and men’s Summit League Athletes of the Year, respectively. The championships marked the second consecutive title for each team in nine months as the previous championship was held in spring 2021 due to COVID-19.
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