Rapid City student athletes take advantage of early signing period

RAPID CITY, S.D. – It was another busy early signing period for student-athletes in Rapid City.

As a matter of fact, six student-athletes signed National Letters of Intent on Wednesday including four seniors from St. Thomas More.


Jacob Hyde, St. Thomas More

Jacob Hyde signed a letter of intent to compete in track and field next year at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

Hyde won the 100, 200 and 400 last year at the state track meet.

Overall, he’s placed individually at the state track meet six times and has placed five times in relays.

“It was a good decision,” Jacob Hyde said. “They have everything I’d want there. They have great facilities. Great programs. Academically, they have a great program. They have all the competition you’d want there. Overall, it was an easy decision for me.” 


Kaci Cooper, St. Thomas More

STM senior Kaci Cooper will also compete in track and field next year at North Dakota State University.

Cooper is the state defending champion in the 400 and 800.

She also competes in cross country, volleyball and basketball.

“When I went to North Dakota State, it just felt right for me,” Kaci Cooper said. “Kind of just felt like home to me. And the coaching staff for the track team really welcomed me in and just made me feel at home.”



Ciara Benson, St. Thomas More

Meanwhile, Ciara Benson will also compete in track and field at the Division I level.

Benson signed a letter of intent to attend South Dakota State University.

Benson placed fifth last year at the state track meet in both the 100 and 200 and she’s been a part of three championship relay teams.

Despite all of her success, track and field wasn’t Benson’s first choice.

“I always wanted to be a volleyball player,” Ciara Benson said. “I was never really tall enough. Then in my junior season, I kind of fell in love with track. I got to actually be a part of the team.



Ryder Kirsch, St. Thomas More

Ryder Kirsch put pen to paper on Wednesday and plans to play basketball at Black Hills State University in Spearfish

Kirsch is a three year starter for St. Thomas More and led the Cavaliers in scoring the last two seasons.

Kirsch is excited about competing at the next level.

“It was a pretty tough decision,” Ryder Kirsch said. “But Black Hills State was the first basketball program to get in contact with me. I just felt like they truly wanted me and I felt like it would be a great fit for me and my family.”




Alyssa Burke, Rapid City Central

Rapid City Central senior Alyssa Burke plans to play softball next year for Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell.

Burke led the Cobblers this past season with a .605 batting average including four triples and 43 runs scored.

She also led central with 64 strikeouts.

Alyssa Burke will play softball next year at Dakota Wesleyan University.

Burke will more than likely pitch and play outfield for the Tigers.

“I really like the community and the coaches and the players,” Alyssa Burke said. “It’s a very awesome program to be a part of and I’m very excited to go there. I just love the atmosphere and it’s very nice.”



Chris Bauer, Rapid City Stevens

Rapid City Stevens senior, Chris Bauer, announced on Wednesday that he plans to play men’s soccer at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming.

Chris Bauer plans to play soccer at Northwest College.

The Stevens defender was voted the most valuable player for the Raiders this past season.

Bauer is looking forward to playing for the Trappers who recently revamped their program and hired a new coach.

“The last coach didn’t help them much and stuff,” Chris Bauer said. “So this new coach his new plan is to revamp the whole program. So it’s pretty much new in his eyes.

Categories: High School, Sports