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Sydney Shaw signs a Letter of Intent to attend the University of South Dakota as a walk-on track and field athlete. Back row:  Coach Chris Koletzky, sister Erin Shaw, Grandmother Laura VanDervoort, Coach Blake Proefrock.  Front row: father Jim Shaw, broth
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Sydney Shaw signs a Letter of Intent to attend the University of South Dakota as a walk-on track and field athlete. Back row: Coach Chris Koletzky, sister Erin Shaw, Grandmother Laura VanDervoort, Coach Blake Proefrock. Front row: father Jim Shaw, broth

Sturgis Track Standout Signs Letter of Intent With USD


Terry Anderson - KBHB Sports - December 6, 2019

STURGIS, S.D. - Athletes always talk about ‘putting in the work’, spending hours working on form and technique in order to reach their potential on the track or in the gym.  Sydney Shaw, one of the top hurdlers in the state of South Dakota, has a unique training regimen on her family’s ranch, 60 miles east of Sturgis.

“My middle school coach in Union Center let me take home three or four hurdles so that I could practice my form every day,” she said.  “I would have my hurdles out in the field and we’d have our cows out, and they would be scratching themselves on my hurdles, so I’d always have to move them back into line.”

The challenges of ‘putting in the work’ on a ranch in western South Dakota.

Shaw, a Sturgis Brown High School senior, saw that hard work come to fruition on Wednesday, December 4th when she signed a letter of intent to run track for the University of South Dakota Coyotes.

“I just visited USD a couple of weeks ago and I talked to Lucky Huber, the head coach,” Shaw said.  “He showed me around the Dakota Dome and the weight room and he said he wants me to run the 400 meter hurdles and possibly compete in the Heptathlon . . . I just felt comfortable there.”

Shaw, a three-sport athlete, will be a walk-on for the Coyote track team.  She is one in a long line of former Scooper thin clads to run track in Vermillion, including Brooke Ireland, Jacob Simmons and Holly Gerberding, a former Scooper hurdler.

“Holly was a senior at Sturgis when I was a freshman,” Shaw said.  “I really looked up to her and she helped me with my hurdling form.  She will be a senior at USD when I start my freshman year there, so it will be pretty cool to run with her again.”

Running track and field in Union Center helped mold Shaw into the athlete she is today.

“All of the rural schools had to combine together in order to make one team,” she said.  “We had four 8th grade girls, so that was our relay team.  We didn’t get to pick and choose who we wanted on our relay team.  We would practice for relay handoffs by running around the community center in the gravel.  That kind of gave us the mentality that we had to work hard.”

Sydney’s mother Jodi has a special memory from that eighth grade season from a meet in Spearfish.

“When Syd was getting in her lane, another runner asked, ‘Where is Union Center? I’ve never heard of it. Where do you even practice?’  Syd told her that it was east of Sturgis and that they practice on a gravel road and at the softball fields once a week,” she said. “The girl said something like, ‘Oh, we practice every day.’ Those four girls from Union Center that practiced once a week that had just enough to even make a relay team got first place in that 4 x 100 Relay.”

Family support has played a big role in Shaw’s success.

“My family has gone to almost all my meets,” she quipped.  “They don’t miss a meet east river.  I always want to please them.  I always run my hardest when they are there, and when they are there I always run my hardest.”

Shaw has her name inked in the Scooper track and field record books with the fifth best 4 x 400 meter relay time at 4:07.14 with Gerberding, Loralee Stock and Kylee Bennett, the fifth best 300 meter hurdle time at 47.43, the fourth best 4 x 100 meter relay time at 50.27 with Stock, Olivia Jolley and Carlee Steeves, and the school record in the 4 x 200 meter relay with Stock, Gerberding and Steeves at 1:45.06.  Even with all that success, she’s not ready to rest on her laurels just yet.

“My goal this season is to win the Black Hills Conference 300 meter hurdle title and to get at least top 5 at the state track meet,” she said.  “I also want a new PR (personal record).

Which shouldn’t be too hard for Shaw, as long as there aren’t cows on the track.



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