By Brett Nachtigall
HOT SPRINGS – The Hot Springs Bison Athletics Hall of Fame committee recently announced its fourth class of inductees who will officially be enshrined as the 2019 class during homecoming weekend on Saturday, Sept. 14, at a banquet at the Mueller Civic Center.
This year’s inductees include the back-to-back State Class "A" Champion 1996 and 1997 Girls Track & Field Teams, Don Turbiville (1973), David Tays (1980) and Mickey Dennis (1997).
Previous Hall of Fame inductees, since it was created three years, ago include posthumous members H.R. Woodward, Dave Scott, Chet Bruce and “Duke” Kocer, along with Ralph Sieg, Rick Wass, Jacqueline Dement Melcher, Jim Tays, Barb Donnell Highstreet, Gerald Collogan, Quinten Hofer, Paul Oberpriller, Pat Weiss and Bud Hamilton.
Hall of Fame teams include the 1967 and 1974 Hot Springs Bison football teams and the 2000 and 2001 volleyball teams.
Following is a summary of the 2019 class of inductees:
Don Turbiville graduated in 1973 and was a standout on the Hot Springs Bison boys’ basketball team for three years as he led the team in both scoring and rebounds for each of his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. He was also named All-Black Hills Conference all three years as well.
In addition to basketball, he also competed track for three years for the Bison, which culminated with a fourth place finish at the State Meet in the 440-yard dash his senior year. He was also named All-Black Hills Conference in football his senior season and was the team’s leading receiver.
Named the school’s Outstanding Senior Athlete in 1973, the success in both basketball and track earned him a scholarship to compete in both sports at the South Dakota School of Mines, where he went on to earn an Engineering degree.
A graduate of the Class of 1980, David Tays joins his father Jim as the first father/son tandem thus far inducted into the Hot Springs Bison Athletics Hall of Fame. Jim was inducted into the Hall as an administrator/coach during its inaugural year of 2016.
David will enter the Hall of Fame posthumously, having passed away in 1999, at the age 37, after suffering from cancer.
While mostly known for his prowess on the basketball court and on the track, he was a three-sport letterwinner who also played quarterback for the Bison football team in both his junior and senior years.
David was a state placer in track and is the current school record holder in the 110-meter high hurdles with a time of 14.7 seconds, which he set in his senior year.
He was a starter on the basketball team for three years and is among the top-scorers in the school history, having scored 405 points in his senior year alone, which included 40 points in a single game, which stood as the school record for many years. He was also named All-Black Hills Conference as well as third-team All State. Also during his senior year, he was voted Athlete of the Year by his fellow Bison athletes.
Mickey Dennis is considered by many to be the most spectacular basketball player ever to graduate from Hot Springs High School. Not only was he the leader of one of the winningest Bison boys basketball teams in school history in 1997, but he also went on to be a Junior College All-American at Williston State College (North Dakota), a two-year starter on the Division I James Madison University (Virginia) men’s basketball team and then a six-time All Star in the Danish Professional Basketball League.
As a Hot Springs Bison, Mickey excelled in all sports and was also a member of the football and track teams. In his senior season, he led the Bison to a 19-win season which however ended one win shy of a state tournament berth, with a heartbreaking one-point loss to Douglas in the 1997 Region Championship.
Following high school, Mickey was standout at every level of basketball he ever played – from college to the professional ranks. In 2003, he played briefly for the Black Hills Heat (XBA-MBA) prior to the dissolution of the team that same year. He then went overseas to pursue a professional career in Denmark, where he was a starter from 2006 to 2015 and eventually set the all-time career scoring record for Basket Ligaen of more than 4,200 points, averaging 18.5 points per game and 3.4 assists.
Following his playing career, Mickey became the head coach of Stevnsgade, a team in the highest Danish basketball league, as well as an assistant coach of the Danish Men’s Basketball Team.
1996 & 1997 Girls Track & Field Teams
Winning a state team title is a huge accomplishment, but to do it two years in a row is great testament to the depth of talent found in Hot Springs High during the mid to late 1990s.
The 1996 Hot Springs Lady Bison track & field team tied with Madison for first place at the state tournament that year, in Sioux Falls with 64 points each. Hot Springs was led by a pair of individual championships for Jackie DeMent in both the 200-meters (26.54) and also in the 300-meter hurdles (46.12). She was also the runner-up in the triple jump (35-9.75).
Other individual placewinners that year included third place medals for Valiferee Brechtel in the 3200-meters (11:39) and Lisa Collogan in the 200-meters (26.9), fourth place for Genny DeMent in the triple jump (34-4), and a pair of fifth place medals for Georgia Renz in both the shot put (36-1) and discus (112-9).
In addition, the 4x200m relay also placed second (1:48.23) and the 4x400m relay placed sixth (4:12.66).
Other team members that year included Katie Jones, Lacy Sabo, Sunnie Fish, Cydnie Simunek, Tawnya Doering, Catherine Brechtel, Amanda Sides, Nyla Schroeder and Shirleine Kleppe.
In 1997, the Lady Bison won the state team title outright by scoring a total 63 points, just ahead of Lennox with 60 points. Jackie Dement followed up her two individual state titles from the previous years with three more in 1997, including the triple jump (36-0.5 / school record), 300m hurdles (45.51 / school record) and the 200-meters (26.6).
The 4x400m relay team also struck gold in 1997 with a school record time of 1:46.84. Team members included Genny DeMent, Lisa Collogan, Katie Jones, Tawnya Doering, along with alternate Sunnie Fish.
The 4x100m relay team – with the same team members as the 4x400m – was the state runner-up and also set a school record with a time in 50.88.
Other individual placewinners included Georgia Renz with a fifth place in the discus (113-2) and a seventh place in the shot put (35-10.25). Genny DeMent was fifth in the long jump (16-8.75), while Lisa Collogan placed sixth in the 800-meters (2:22.9). Only a sophomore at the time, Collogan would eventually go on to set three school records of her own in the 100m, 200m and 400m – all in her senior year of 1999.
Other 1997 team members included Amanda Sides, Ashley Barner, Shirleine Kleppe and Vailferee Brechtel.