Baltic School District Hall of Fame
The Baltic High School recognizes and honors outstanding individuals for their exceptional achievements at, or contributions to, Baltic High School and/or for demonstrating how their accomplishments within society positively reflect upon the educational quality and stature of Baltic High School.
The Hall of Fame Class of 2009 was the inaugural Hall of Fame Class. Nomination petitions may be submitted by citizens of the Baltic School District, current or former Baltic School District staff members, Baltic High School graduates no longer living in the Baltic School District, or by immediate family members defined as parent, child, spouse, or sibling. Nominators may remain anonymous as long as the chairman is able to verify that the nominator meets the criteria listed above.
Hall of Fame Class of 2020
Graduating Class of 1985
Todd Thompson was an outstanding three-sport athlete at Baltic achieving at a high level in football, basketball, and track. In track, Todd held the school record in the 100-yard dash for 20 years until it was broken in 2015. He also broke the school record in the high jump that had stood for 38 years establishing a record that he held for 12 years. He won a total of 43 track medals including 19 first-place finishes, and he placed 4th and 6th in the State Track Meet in the high jump. In basketball, he averaged 22.5 points per game as a senior; he scored 39 points in one game (the highest single-game point totals in boy's basketball school history), and he is 10th in career scoring and 6th in career rebounds. In football, Todd was an outstanding receiver averaging 26.4 yards per catch and catching 8 touchdown passes. He was also an outstanding defensive back who was a key two-way starter on the first Baltic football team to qualify for and win, a state football playoff game vs. Woonsocket in 1983.
Graduating Class of 1971
In the fall of 1969 and 1970, Baltic High School had its own version of the “Monsters of the Midway” compiling a 17-3 record for the two seasons. One opposing coach said that when Baltic ran on the field, the field tipped. In 1970 before there were state football playoffs, Baltic was rated #1 in South Dakota for four consecutive weeks, and the average score over the 10 game season was 42.6-12.6. Scott Seely was an outstanding football player on those teams earning all-conference and all-state honors in 1970 when he led the team in tackles with 103 and fumbles recovered with six. Scott received a scholarship to play football at South Dakota State University where he earned a starting position at offensive center. After college, Scott went on to teach high school math and coach football at Skyline High School in Idaho where he coached two state champion teams and one runner-up team.
State B Boys Cross Country Championship Team
The 2000 Baltic High School Cross Country Team was a dominant force all season winning ten of the fourteen meets in which they competed, and placing second in the other four meets. Two of the four second-place finishes were actually on the same day when they split their squad and competed in two meets including the prestigious Lennox Tri-State Cross Country Meet. The team won a total of 55 medals in the fourteen meets including four medals at both the region and state meets. Individual place winners out of 110 runners at the State Cross Country Meet in Huron were David Faith (2nd), Patrick King (15th), Casey Skatvold (24th), Preston Snow (26th), and Nathan Sterkel (66th). Kurt Schultz, who was named South Dakota Cross Country Coach of the Year for the team’s accomplishments, coached the 2000 team.
Contributor and Employee
Bob Waagmeester is being inducted into the Baltic High School Hall of Fame both as a contributor to the school district and as an employee. For many years, Baltic School was located in a concrete building on 3rd Street, football was played at Nordic Field directly across 3rd Street, and there was no track facility. In 1985, Bob donated 10 acres of land on the east side of Baltic to be used for a new football and track complex, with the complex being dedicated on October 9, 1987. In the spring of 1987, Bob was hired as the caretaker of the new athletic complex during which time he planted trees, cleaned up the area, watered the field, and mowed the grass. Bob’s land donation also played a part in the construction of the new 7th-12th grade school building that opened in 1988, which eventually led to the construction of a new PK-8th grade school building in 2006 that comprises the current PK-12th grade school campus.
Bob was also a long-time valued employee of the Baltic School District serving as a bus mechanic and bus driver from 1980 to 2004. Baltic girls’ basketball coaches Bob Sittig and Marilyn Schmitz-Stadem and the state champion girls’ basketball teams will especially remember Bob for driving the team safely and graciously to and from the state tournament games. Bob also served on the Baltic School Board for 11 years from 1969 to 1980.
Hall of Fame Class of 2019
Graduating Class of 2002
Patrick King was an outstanding cross-country and track athlete. In 2001, Pat was the State B Cross Country champion while setting the State B Cross Country Meet record of 17:10:63 that stood from 2001-2005. He was a leader on the Baltic State Class B Cross Country Championship teams in 2000 and 2001, and he ran on teams that placed 4th and 5th at State in 1999 and 1998 respectively. He won a total of 50 cross country medals including 10 first-place medals, and he was a four-year letter winner who was Baltic MVP as a senior. In 2002, Pat placed 2nd in the 3200 meter run and 5th in the 1600 meter run at the State Track Meet, and he placed 8th in the 3200-meter run in 2001. He also placed first in the 3200 meter run at the prestigious Dan Lennon Track Meet in 2002. In his four years as a track letter winner, Pat won 80 medals including 30 first place medals, 14-second place medals, and he was twice team MVP. Pat was also active in drama, winning a State One-Act Play Outstanding Performer 3 times, and he was a member of two one-act play casts that received superior awards at State competition. He was the Salutatorian of the Class of 2002, and he was an FFA Star Green Hand and Outstanding Sophomore. Pat is currently a Clinical Pharmacist at Rapid City Regional Health.
Baltic School Staff Member 1984 - 2018
Rita Berg taught 4th grade in the Baltic School District for 34 years from 1984-2018. She was highly respected for having high expectations and producing outstanding student achievement as evidenced by exceptional test scores and student/parent testimonials, and she was named Baltic Teacher of the Year in 2003 and 2018. In 1999, Mrs. Berg was the South Dakota Social Studies Teacher of the Year, and in 2000 she was a finalist for Disney’s American Teacher Award. During her teaching career, Mrs. Berg instituted the Kids Voting Program and was the coordinator for 30 years. She was the cooperating teacher to six student teachers and mentored several new Baltic teachers. Mrs. Berg was also a long-time and highly-respected cheer coach who was the 1997 South Dakota Cheer Coach of the Year. Her cheer squads won Spirit of Six Awards at State Girls Basketball Tournaments in 1995, 2001, 2003, and 2004. Mrs. Berg was a member of the American Legion Joseph A.T. Moe Auxiliary for 29 years, including 22 years as president/treasurer, 22 years as Girls State Committee Chairperson, and 20 years as Education Committee Chairperson.
Hall of Fame Class of 2018
Brian Hefty – Class of 1986
Darren Hefty – Class of 1989
Jannel Hefty – Class of 1992
Brian, Darren, and Jannel Hefty took a single-store agri-business in the early 1990s and grew the business into the 9th largest crop protection retailer in the U.S., the 10th largest seed retailer, and in 2019, they will open their 49th store. Hefty Brand Seeds is one of the fastest-growing seed brands in the country, and Hefty Seed Company is known as an industry leader for agronomic recommendations and training agronomists. Their Ag Ph.D. TV show has been on the air since 1998, their Ag Ph.D. radio show has been on the air daily since 2013, and they are the most-watched and listened to agronomy shows in the U.S. In addition, their Ag Ph.D. Magazine goes out to 100,000 subscribers. Each July they host their annual Field Day that brings 10,000 farmers and agri-businesses from across the U.S and the world to their farm outside of Baltic, and they entered an Ag Ph.D. float in the 2018 Rose Bowl Parade.
Brian, Darren, and Jannel were all 4-year honor roll students at Baltic High School, and they were very active in numerous activities including music, drama, FFA or FHA, athletics, student government, and National Honor Society. Believing in the importance of fine arts activities, they annually award the Kathryn Hefty Memorial Scholarship to a deserving Baltic High School student who is active in fine arts. The success of their business on a national scale and the high regard accorded to Ag Ph.D. both nationally and internationally reflects positively on the education they received at Baltic High School.
Graduating Class of 2004
Jenny Kruthoff was an outstanding athlete who achieved at a high level in three sports, and she was a rare four-time three-sport letter winner.
In basketball, Jenny was a 5-year letter winner and a 4-year starter who started on three State Tournament teams including back-to-back State Championship teams in 2001 and 2003 (there was no state champion in 2002 as girls basketball moved from fall to winter). She was 3rd Team All-State, State B All-Tournament twice, and all-conference three times. In Baltic school history, she is 7th in scoring with 1172 points, 3rd in assists with 367, 4th in steals with 231, and 6th in 3 point shots made with 103.
In volleyball, Jenny was a three-year starter and four-year letter winner who played on one of the highest achieving volleyball teams in school history that had a record of 22-3 and were region runners-up. She was named volleyball all-conference 3 years, all-state honorable mention, and she is 2nd in school history in digs, 4th in ace serves, and 7th in kills.
In track, she lettered six years and scored 894.5 track and field points in those six years. She was voted Most Valuable Runner by her team members five of her six years, and she won 70 first place medals and 162 total medals during her career including 19 region medals. She won 6 State Track Meet medals including one second and two third-place finishes. Jenny set meet records at four track meets, and she is the school record holder in the 300m hurdles and a member of the group that holds the school record in the 3200m relay.
Graduating Class of 1999
Kassy Hegge was an outstanding basketball player and student. During her four years as a basketball starter, Baltic won three State B Championships, one 3rd place state finish, and accumulated a record of 90-10. Her basketball awards included SDHSBCA Player of the Year nominee, 1st Team All-State in 1998, State B All-Tournament in 1997, and 1998, 5-time letter winner, All-Conference in 1996, 1997, and 1998, and she ended her career 4th in school history in rebounds (618), 5th in school history in scoring (1050), and 4th in assists (250). Kassy was a starter on the 1996 Baltic GBB team that set a national record for team field goal percentage in a season. She was also a National Merit Scholar semi-finalist, and she was co-valedictorian with a 4.0-grade point average. In addition, Kassy was named All-Conference volleyball, and she was active in FFA where she achieved a State FFA Degree.
After high school, Kassy attended SDSU and the University of Sioux Falls where she participated in basketball and was part of a national NAIA semi-final basketball team. Following college, she attended the USD School of Medicine where she was named to Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) honor society, which is one of the top honors for medical students nationally. She completed her pediatrics residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and she currently is a licensed physician in the Sioux Falls area.
Graduating Class of 1974
While a student at Baltic High School, Bob Sittig was valedictorian, all-state basketball, scored over 1,000 points in basketball, 3-time all-conference basketball, all-conference football, a member of track team that placed 2nd at the 1974 State Track Meet, and he was on track relay teams that set four school records with the medley relay record still standing in 2017. He was also active in drama, band, and choir including state one-act play and all-state chorus.
After attending Augustana College, Bob began teaching math and coaching at Baltic in 1979. He became secondary principal/activities director in 1993, superintendent in 1999, and superintendent/elementary principal in 2004, a position he still holds in 2017.
Bob was the head girls’ basketball coach for 17 years during which time his teams had a record of 299-96 making him the winningest basketball coach in school history. He was the coach of SD State B Girls’ Basketball Champions in 1995, 1996, 1998, 2001, and 2003, 3rd place in 1997 and 6th place in 2004, he was SD Girls’ Basketball Coach of the Year in 1995 and 2001, and he was the SD Assistant Boys’ Basketball Coach of the Year in 1993. He coached in the SD High School Girls’ Basketball All-Star Game, the SD vs. Wyoming All-Star Game, the SD vs. Nebraska All-Star Game, and he was the Augustana College Alumni Coach of the Year in 1997.
As superintendent, Bob was the 2012 SD Superintendent of the Year, a member of the American Association of School Administrators (National Superintendent’s Organization) Governing Board, President of the SD Superintendent’s Association, a member of the SD High School Activities Association Board of Directors, President of the SD Beadle Club, and he received an SDHSAA Distinguished Service Award. In addition, he was the principal of the Baltic Elementary 2015 National Blue Ribbon School, and he was superintendent during the construction of the K-8 school, the football/track complex, and the fitness center.
Dave Berg was an outstanding athlete at Baltic in the late 1960s. He was a dominant football player who was named All-State his junior and senior year, and he was named all-conference three years. Berg’s junior year Baltic posted a 5-3 football season record, and his senior year Baltic was 7-1, one of the best season records in Baltic history. Berg also was a 4-year letter winner in track, a 2-year letter winner in basketball, and he was named all-conference basketball his senior year. In high school, he was also a 4-year letter winner in both band and chorus, and he was Student Council President. After high school, he attended South Dakota School of Mines and Technology where he was a rare two-way football player and was named SDIC All-Conference his senior year when SDSM&T won the conference championship. Berg, his wife Bonnie (Schoon) Berg (1968 Baltic HS graduate), and a partner started an engineering firm in Rapid City, SD that grew to a firm of 56 employees with 4 offices in 3 states.
Amanda Brack was an outstanding multi-sport student-athlete at Baltic. In basketball, she was a 4-year starter leading Baltic to State B Championships in 2001 and 2003 and State 6th Place in 2004. In 2004, Brack was South Dakota Class B Player of the Year, an SD Miss Basketball Finalist, Argus Leader “Best of the Best” 2nd Team, and 1st Team Class B All-State. She was also 1st Team All-State in 2003, 2nd Team All-State in 2001, State B All-Tourney in 2001 and 2003, 4-time All Tri-Valley Conference, and 2-time All-Big East Conference. She was a 3-time Baltic MVP, and she held Baltic Girls Basketball Records: 5th career points (1,373), 4th career assists (354), 3rd career steals (254), and 2nd career 3-pt. shots made (185). She participated in several all-star games and was named the SD MVP in the SD vs. NE All-Star Game, and she was named to the SD Class B All-Decade Team for 1995-2005. In volleyball, Brack was a 4-year starter, 3-time Tri-Valley All-Conference, 2-time Big East All-Conference, and 2-time Baltic MVP. In track, she was a 5-year letter winner, ran on two-state second place and one state third-place 3200m relay teams that also set the Baltic school record. Brack was a 4-time 3-sport letter winner who earned a total of 14 varsity letters in her high school career, and she was named to the SD Elite 15 for female athletes. She was also an outstanding student who was named Academic All-State and All-Conference, and she was a member of the National Honor Society.
1996 Girls Basketball Team
While all of Baltic’s state champion teams are special, the 1996 girls’ basketball team achieved a level of success beyond other teams. They compiled a 24-1 season record on their way to the State B Championship with their only loss by 3 points to the State A Champions Wagner. They were dominant on both ends of the floor averaging 66.1 points per game while holding opponents to an average of 37.4 points per game for an average margin of victory of 28.7 points. What sets this team truly above other teams, however, is that they set the national high school record for field goal percentage in a season making 691 of 1,222 field-goal attempts or 56.5%, a record that still stands in 2015.
Steve Gunderson graduated from Baltic High School in 1969 where he earned 11 varsity letters in football, basketball, and track. He scored over 1,200 points in basketball and was an all-conference selection in both basketball and football. Gunderson placed 2nd in the long jump in the state track meet his senior year with a jump of 21’3’. He was also active in band four years and was chosen to represent Baltic at Boys State in his junior year. Gunderson taught and coached at Baltic for 41 years and was twice named Baltic Teacher of the Year. In addition, he is the winningest boys’ basketball coach in the history of the school with 254 wins, and he led the Bulldogs to two state basketball tournament appearances including 1993 state runners-up. He was twice named the region boys’ basketball coach of the year and was selected to coach in the 1993 South Dakota All-Star Basketball Game. As the head football coach, he guided Baltic to the only playoff win in school history in 1982. Gunderson also has been the athletic director for 15 years and was twice selected Region AD of the Year. Gunderson is active in the community and has served on the Baltic Volunteer Fire Department for over 38 years.
Kurt Schultz began teaching and coaching in Baltic in 1973. In 2006, he retired from teaching after 33 years in education. At the time of his HOF induction in 2014, he was still coaching the Baltic cross, country team. During his coaching career, Schultz coached boys’ and girls’ cross country and track and field with his teams winning numerous conference, region, and state championships and runners-up. Most notably, his boys’ cross country team won the State B Championship in 2000 and 2001, they were state runners-up in 1978, 1988, 1996, and 1997, state 3rd place in 1986, state 4th place in 1995 and 1999, and state 5th place in 1987 and 1998. His girls’ track team placed 2nd at the state track meet in 1994 and 3rd in 1992. Schultz’s boys’ and girls’ track teams won a combination of 18 region championships and seven conference championships. Schultz was a finalist for SD Boys’ Cross Country Coach of the Year six times, and he won the award in 1988, 2000, and 2001. In addition, he was a finalist for National High School Coaches Association Boys’ Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2009. Schultz, who served on the SD High School Coaches Association Board of Directors for 15 years, received the NHSACA Circle of Champions SD Coach of the Year in 2000.
Kevin Costain was an outstanding basketball player and a four-year starter who led Baltic to two State B Basketball Tournament appearances placing 2nd in 1993 and 7th in 1990. The 6’10” Costain, blending size, strength, and agility, was a dominant force on both ends of the basketball court. Costain ended his career ranked first in Baltic boys’ basketball history in points scored with 1686, first in rebounds with 969, and first in blocked shots with 356. For his efforts, he was named 1st Team Class B All-State Basketball in 1993, he was a finalist for South Dakota Mr. Basketball, he was named to the State B All-Tournament Team in 1993, and he was All-Big East Conference four years. In addition, Costain played in the SDHSCA All-Star Game and the Three Class Shootout All-Star Game where he was the Class B MVP and the slam dunk champion.
While at Baltic, John Nyhaug was an outstanding football player, earning all-state honors his senior year, selected all-conference for two years, and a key member of Baltic’s undefeated football team in 1971. After graduating from Baltic, John went to Dakota State University and played football for four years, was named team captain, and was a student coach for one year. He was the head football coach at Viborg High School for 34 years during which time his football team won the state championship in 2000 and was state runner-up in 2011. John also coached track for 31 years, and his 2012 boys track team won the state championship. John was named to the SD Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the SD High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame, and he received a Distinguished Service Award from the SD High School Activities Association. In addition, John was named SD Football Coach of the Year in 2000, SD Boys Track Coach of the Year in 2012, SD Girls Track Coach of the Year in 1988, and a finalist for 2013 National Track Coach of the Year.
Becky Larson, Deb Sittig, Jim Stoeckman, Jr., and Larry Underberg
In the early 1970s, Baltic had one of the best debate programs in South Dakota. In 1971 and 1972, the four-person team of Becky Larson, Deb Sittig, Jim Stoeckman, Jr., and Larry Underberg won the South Dakota State B Debate Championship. In addition, as a two-person team, Larson and Sittig won the 1972 South Dakota National Forensic League (NFL) State Championship (the NFL Tournament included all South Dakota schools regardless of size), which qualified them to compete in the National NFL tournament at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In 1973 after Larson and Sittig graduated, Stoeckman, Jr., and Underberg as a two-person team won Baltic’s third consecutive State B Debate Championship.
Mark Mier was an outstanding cross country and track participant at Baltic in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He earned five varsity letters in cross country and four varsity letters in track, and he was cross country MVP three times and track MVP twice. In the state cross country meet, Mark, placed 8th as a junior and 3rd as a senior, and during his career, he won a total of 45 cross country medals. In track, Mark is still the school record holder in the 800 meter run with a time of 2:01.0 and the 3200 meter run with a time of 9:48.2. In 1993 at the state track meet, he placed 1st in the 1600 meter run, 3rd in the 3200 meter run, and 4th in the 800-meter run; and in 1992 he placed 3rd at state in the 1600 meter run. During his high school track career, Mark won a total of 86 medals including 35 first place medals and 17-second place medals.
Jonny Reynolds was an outstanding student who was valedictorian of his class completing his Baltic High School career with a 4.0-grade point average. Jonny received an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. While at the Air Force Academy, he was selected as Cadet Wing Commander, the first South Dakotan ever to be selected for this prestigious position. The Cadet Wing Commander holds the rank of Cadet Colonel and is the ranking cadet at the Academy. The Cadet Wing Commander reflects a composite of the ideal cadet and consistently ranks in the top 5% of his/her class in military, academic, and athletic evaluations. While at the Academy, Jonny was the first of twenty-five cadets selected to the Wings of Blue Parachute Team, he was the top-ranked cadet athletically in his class of 1024, and he was one of only two cadets to be named to the Academy Superintendent’s List all eight semesters.
Emily Roynesdal was a six-year letter winner in track from 1991-1996. She still holds five Baltic school records including the 100-meter dash in 12.1 sec., the 200-meter dash in 26.0 sec., the 400-meter dash in 59.4 sec., and the 800 meter and medley relays. In 1994 Emily was the state champion in the 100 meter and 400-meter dashes, held the state meet record of 12.4 sec. in the 100-meter dash, and set the 100-meter dash region record of 12.1 sec.; and in 1992, she ran on the state champion medley relay team. Emily won 83 track medals during her career, including 13 state track meet medals. After high school, Emily competed for two years in Division I track at Drake University. Emily is currently a professional artist living in Chicago, Illinois.
Nicky Sittig was a four-year starter in basketball during which time Baltic’s record was 68-26. She was an SD Miss Basketball finalist in 1989, 2nd Team All-State in 1988 and 1989, 3rd Team All-State in 1987, all-conference 4 years, and played in the SDHSCA All-Star Game. She is second in Baltic basketball career scoring with 1825 points. Nicky ranks first in Baltic girls basketball history with 41 points in a single game, and second with 40 points. In addition, she has five of the top ten performances for points scored in a game. Twice she scored 536 points in a season and averaged 23.3 points per game, both first place in Baltic girls’ basketball history. Nicky was also an outstanding student who was named Academic All-State, and she was Baltic’s valedictorian with a 3.95 GPA. Nicky went on to play basketball at Southwest Minnesota State where she was named All-NSIC twice and finished her career scoring 1026 points, ranking her in the top 15 in SMSU women’s basketball history.
Karly Hegge was a four-year starter in basketball during which time Baltic was 90-10 winning three State B Championships and one State B 3rd place. Karly was an SD Miss Basketball finalist, an SDHSCA Player of the Year nominee, 1st Team All-State in 1998 and 2nd Team All-State in 1997, Argus Leader 2nd Five in 1998, State B All-Tournament in 1996, 1997, and 1998, a 5-time basketball letter winner, and all-conference for 3 years. In 1998 she set the State B semifinal scoring record with 38 points, and she ended her career 2nd in school history with 754 rebounds and 3rd in scoring with 1312 points. Karly went on to play basketball at SDSU where she was a member of the 2003 NCAA Division II National Basketball Championship Team. Karly was also an outstanding student with a 4.0 GPA, and she was a National Merit Scholar.
Eugene Christopherson was an artist who began his career at an early age when in high school he created the section divider and end pages for the 1958 Baltic Yearbook. After studying art at Augustana College he became a commercial artist, illustrator and sculptor. Christopherson painted the official portraits of five SD governors which hang in the capital building, as well as the official portrait of the family of Korczak Ziolkowski, creator of the Crazy Horse Monument. Several of his paintings, including “The Dandelions” and “Old Fashioned Persuasion,” were featured on calendars and nationwide collector plate series. Also a master wood carver and sculptor, Christopherson passed away on November 13, 2007.
Brad Seely was all-state in football, all-conference in football and basketball, and a state meet qualifier in track while at Baltic. He went on to play football at SDSU where he was named all-conference, academic all-conference, and team captain. Seely began coaching Division I college football and then became a National Football League assistant coach. In the NFL, he coached in 6 NFC/AFC championship games, 4 Super Bowls, and he won three Super Bowl championships with the New England Patriots. Named NFL Special Teams Coach of the Year in 1996 and 2009, Seely is currently the assistant head coach and specials teams coach with the Cleveland Browns.
Sherri Brende is the all-time leading scorer in Baltic boys’ and girls’ basketball history. She led Baltic to back-to-back state basketball championships in 1995 and 1996. Sherri was named SD Miss Basketball in 1996, USA Today SD Basketball Player of the Year in 1996, Argus Leader Elite 5 Basketball Team Captain in 1996, 1st Team All-State Basketball in 1995 and 1996, 3rd Team All-State in 1994, and she was named State B Basketball All-Tourney in 1995 and 1996. Sherri, who is the school record holder in track and field shot put and discus, was a two-time state champion in the shot put and one-time state champion in the discus.
Bill Doyle, Jr.
Bill Doyle, Jr. was a four-year letter winner in football, basketball, and track. Bill was named to the 1979 Argus Leader Elite 45 All-State Football Team, he led Baltic to its first district basketball championship in 38 years, and he was named to an all-state basketball team. Bill is second in Baltic boys’ basketball history in career rebounds and third in career scoring, and in track and field, Bill is the school record holder in the discus.