FULL CIRCLE: RC Stevens senior relishes “Spirit of Su” award

Rapid City Stevens senior Bailee Sobczak completed a sixth grade project on SuAnne Big Crow, her role model and six years later, received the award she wanted most.

RAPID CITY, S.D. — We all have our heroes.

For many, SuAnne Big Crow fits that mold.

In fact, Big Crow was possibly the most influential high school basketball player in South Dakota’s history.

A star at Pine Ridge High School from 1987 to 1992, Big Crow passed away in a car accident at the age of 17. But the legend of Big Crow, her athleticism and her impact on her community is commemorated through the “Spirit of Su” award.

The award is given to an outstanding senior athlete every year at the state basketball tournament, and it’s safe to say that the award meant something special to this year’s Class AA Girls recipient, Bailee Sobczak, a senior at Rapid City Stevens High School.

“Just to know the legacy she left behind just makes her moment and like what she did in her time just super special,” Sobczak said.

Bailee learned of SuAnne’s legacy in fifth grade at a state basketball tournament and immediately found her role model. On the way back from the tournament Bailee jokingly said she “bombarded” her mother, who actually played against Big Crow, with questions.

That led to Bailee doing a project in sixth grade on Big Crow, where she even received her heroes jersey from SuAnne’s mother.

“That special moment where you get to wear your hero’s jersey, like the jersey that they wore, the jersey that they sweated in. It was a super surreal moment,” Sobczak said.

When it came to Bailee’s final game, a state title matchup against Sioux Falls O’Gorman, you can imagine her surprise when the award named for her hero was given to her.

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“It was not a normal reaction that you have when you get an award, but just having that backstory and that like super like strong feeling in my heart about like her story and everything. It just made the moment super super sweet,” Sobczak said.

Sobczak became the first female player in Stevens High School history and only the second female west river athlete to receive the award.

The moment coming full circle for the players and coaches who’ve seen Sobczak grow into the player and person she is now.

“That’s the thing that definitely separates her. She’s a fantastic student and basketball player but the community involvement is definitely the piece that puts her above and beyond,” said Adam Dannenbring, the Head Girls Basketball Coach at Stevens High School.

Categories: High School, Local News, South Dakota News