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Sports were an integral and important part

of school activities

While the 'Engineers' did not always find success on the field, there was never a lack of enthusiastic participants for the school sports. And occasionally there were outstanding performances from the track, football, and basketball teams. Here is a brief overview of the school's sports history.

With high school enrollment only 36 the first year and with many students that had never played football or basketball, the first-year athletic program was far less than successful. While the football field and locker room were usable, the football schedule began with very limited practice and the results were not good. Basketball practice was held in the Corps Test Lab building without the benefit of a basket and the season had a dismal start with games played at other schools. The number of boys available to play football and basketball was so limited that seventh and eighth grade boys were allowed to play with the high school team. However, by the early 50’s, the athletic teams had rapidly advanced and won the conference football title in 1952 and the conference basketball title in 1953. The 1952-53 basketball team was ranked fifth in the state in early South Dakota Associated Press poles and was expected to go to the State Class B tournament … unfortunately, that did not happen. The 1967/68 basketball team won the District tournament and advanced to the Reginal tournament.

Jim Fero (53)
Click on photos for individual view.
Cheerleaders (1953-54) who led the "Rah-Rah-Rahs" were an important part
of maintaining team spirit win or lose!
Bob Hegler running low hurdles
1953 basketball
1952 Track Team: Keith Stephens ('54), Art Trautman ('53), Larry Vath ('52),
Don Zoucha ('54)
1953 Track Team: Jim Fero ('53),
Kim Patberg ('53), Keith Stephens ('54), Francis Canfield('53)
1953 State Track Meet: Jim Fero [‘53] qualified for 3 events at the Regional Meet and went on to the State Meet where he won the high jump, tied for first place in the pole vault and placed third in the high hurdles. As a result Pickstown placed 4th in the State Meet.
1954 & 1955 State Track Meet: In 1954, Guy Rhoades ('55) qualified for the high hurdles in the Regional Meet and went on to win the State Meet in the high hurdles. In 1955, Rhoades qualified for the State meet in the high hurdles, low hurdles, high jump and broad jump and went on to the State Meet where he won the high and low hurdles, fourth place in the high jump and fourth place in the broad jump, As a result, Pickstown tied for 2nd place in the State Meet with the town of Hayti. 
Jerry Lihs (67)
1967 State Track Meet: Jerry Lihs (67) qualified for the mile run at the Regional Meet and went on to place fourth at the State Track Meet. As a result Pickstown placed fourteenth in the State Meet. 
1968 State Track Meet: Pat Hatwan (68) qualified for the long jump at the Regional Meet and went on to place fifth at the State Meet. Pickstown again placed fourteenth overall.
Guy Rhoades ('55)
Pat Hatwan (68) High Jumping
1953 Football Team
1960-61 Basketball Team
In the 1958 Pickstown switched from 6-man football to 8-man football. Attached is a picture of the 1967 8-man football team.
1952-53 Conference Champs
1968 Basketball team: This team won the District Tournament and went on to the Regional Tournament where they lost.
If they had won would have gone to the State Tournament. This is the only District Tournament the school ever won. 

Saving the class pictures and trophies 

After the school was closed in 1978, the building was surplussed and put up for sale. The successful bidder, Bristow, Nebraska banker Ed Dennis bought the building to provide summer employment for several college students who lived in the area. His crew arrived to begin demolition of the building.
Local resident, Almon Adam noticed that class photographs, trophies, music awards and other items were being piled on the ground. Inquiring what was going to be their fate, he was told that they were "probably going to the dump." Many of the objects had been damaged in removal.
Almon loaded everything in his car and took them to the American Legion meeting room. There members of the Fort Randall-Castle American Legion Post 282, repaired broken glass, picture frames and trophies. Arnold Larsen built a new trophy case and additional photographs and  town items were displayed in the American Legion room.
When the American Legion moved to the Rainbow Room, the school materials were moved there. By this time, additional school items, including the original school signage, (now restored and part of the museum). and a six foot center section from the gymnasium floor, ( also now a part of the museum), saved by Bob Hegler had been added to the collection by Almon and the other American Legion members.
Without the early efforts of Almon Adam, Arnold Larsen and the members of the Fort Randall- Castle American Legion Post 282 many of the items that contribute to the museum and memories of Pickstown would not have been preserved. For that all shall remain grateful.
Pickstown graduate Bob Hegler   
        saved a 6 foot center section
             from the gym floor that has
                 been autographed by many
                    of the town & school's alumni
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