Sjerven and Kopp named Sportsman of the Year in South Dakota


VERMILLION, SD – Senior basketball player Hannah Sjerven and second swimmer Zachary Kopp were named South Dakota Athlete of the Year on Friday in a digital version of The Charlies, the athletics division’s annual awards ceremony.

It is the second year in a row that Catie Tobin Sportswoman of the Year comes from Dawn Plitzuweit‘s program. Sjerven led the Coyotes to a 19-6 record that was crowned by a Summit League tournament title and the program’s third NCAA tournament appearance. She led the team with an average of 17.1 points and 9.8 rebounds while shooting better than 52 percent from the field.

Sjerven, who hails from Rogers, Minnesota, was named Summit League Defensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row after leading the league in blocks and finishing fourth on Steals. She was recognized for the second time in as many first-team seasons across the Summit League and was a finalist for Mid-Major Player of the Year. A highlight on her résumé was an achievement of 31 points and 21 rebounds in a road win in Bradley in mid-December.

Kopp is named the John Van Why Male Athlete of the Year as the first notable representative of the swimming and diving program, an award first presented in 2001. Kopp was named Summit League Men’s Swimmer of the Year and Men’s Swimmer of the Championships after leading the Coyotes to their first Summit League title in April. He won five gold medals – two singles and three as a season member – at the meeting in Fargo, North Dakota.

Kopp won the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke at the Summit League Championship Meet. He was also a member of the first-placed 200-yard freestyle relay, 200-yard medley relay, and 400-yard freestyle relay. He added further points to the team standings with a fourth place in the 100-yard freestyle.

Kopp is from Otsego, Minnesota. He is one of three brothers who started as coaches Jason Mahowald‘s program.

The Women’s Athlete of the Year award is named after Catie Tobin, who was one of the first female athletes to run for the University of South Dakota. According to Dr. John Van Why, the university’s former physical education chair who advocated the importance of athletics and physical activity in the 1950s.

The previous recipients of the Catie Tobin and Dr. John Van Why prices are listed below:

Catie Tobin Sportswoman of the Year

2021: Hannah Sjerven, Basketball
2020: Ciara Duffy, basketball
2019: Hayley Dotseth, volleyball
2018: Shanice Cannigan, athletics
2017: Audrey Reeg, volleyball
2016: Nicole Seekamp, ​​basketball
2015: Nicole Seekamp, ​​basketball
2014: Kendall Kritenbrink, volleyball
2013: Bethany Buell, athletics
2012: Amber Hegge, basketball
2011: Amber Hegge, basketball
2010: Ramsey Fitzsimmons, Cross Country / Athletics
2009: Stacy Bjorlie, swimming and diving
2008: Unknown
2007: Heidi Müllenberg, athletics
2006: Aimee Nielsen, cross-country skiing / athletics
2005: Lindsey Soukup, volleyball
2004: Becky Olson, volleyball
2003: Molly Wedel, cross-country skiing / athletics
2002: Sandy Pelkofer, athletics
2001: Tiffany Davis, softball

Dr. John Van Why Male Athlete of the Year

2021: Zachary Kopp, swimming and diving
2020: Chris Nilsen, Athletics
2019: Chris Nilsen, Athletics
2018: Chris Streveler, football
2017: Chris Nilsen, Athletics
2016: Teivaskie Lewin, Athletics
2015: Teivaskie Lewin, Athletics
2014: Tyler Starr, soccer
2013: Jeff Mettler, cross-country skiing / athletics
2012: Tom Compton, soccer
2011: Will Powell, soccer
2010: Noah Shepard, soccer; Tyler Cain, basketball
2009: Dylan Grimsley, basketball
2008: Unknown
2007: Stefan Logan, football / athletics
2006: Wesley Beschorner, soccer
2005: Josh Mueller, basketball
2004: Tommie King, basketball
2003: Bill Gassen, football
2002: Tom Green, athletics
2001: Nate Tibbetts, basketball

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