Red Cloud athletes represent a nation

posted on July 22, 2011

Five student athletes and one alum from Red Cloud High School spent July 10-14, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with Indigenous people from all over the United States and Canada after being selected to participate in the 2011 US Indigenous Games in the areas of boys’ basketball and golf.

Red Cloud High School students Falcon Albers, Zack Cox, Dallas Greenwald, Tristen Long, and Colton Sierra were among the eighteen student-athletes chosen to represent South Dakota to participate in the event based on their athletic talents.

Accompanying them was ‘07 Red Cloud High School alum and starting guard for Chadron State University, Christian McGhee, after being asked to coach both the Boys 19 and Under and Boys 16 and Under basketball teams from South Dakota.

“Immediately I said yes,” says McGhee. “I played in these games when I was sixteen so I knew what a fun and exciting opportunity this would be.”

Currently majoring in Sports and Recreation Management at Chadron State University, McGhee says that it has been a lifetime goal of his to coach.

“Coaching at this event was an amazing experience for me as it has solidified my decision to want to coach. Even after I’m done playing basketball, I know I’ll never lose the love and passion that I have for the game. I want to continue to be around it and try to be a positive role model for all youth.”

Held every three years since 1990, The U.S. Indigenous Games, formerly known as the North American Indigenous Games, showcases thousands of young adults from across North America as they compete against one another in a variety of individual sporting events and cultural activities.

“It’s a lot bigger then I expected,” says Falcon Albers, a junior at Red Cloud High School. “Seeing all the people and the competition phased me at first but we had a great coach who made us work hard so we did good.”

Albers was joined by Red Cloud basketball teammate Zack Cox and other high school basketball standouts from Eagle Butte, McLaughlin and White River. Representing South Dakota, the boys had a 1-2 record during the week in the 19 and Under category.

“It was a lot of fun getting to play on the same team as some of the guys that we usually play against,” says Zack Cox. “We had the opportunity to learn some different playing styles while also learning to play as a team.”

Dominating the golf course at the U.S. Indigenous Games from Red Cloud High School was Tristen Long, Dallas Greenwald and Colton Sierra; members of the 2010 Red Cloud High School Golf Team who also qualified for South Dakota State Tournament last fall.

“It was an exciting experience and an inspirational one as well,” says Long. “I was never really sure of what effect golf had on the Native American population throughout the U.S. It made me think about the possibilities and potential that Native Americans have to populate the professional sports circuit whether it be in golf, basketball, football, etc.”

Representing South Dakota for the four-day event, Red Cloud High School Golf team members led the country finishing with the highest cumulative scores as a team. Dallas Greenwald finished in second place in the overall competition and Tristen Long finished in fourth place.

“It was nice being around other fellow Native Americans and the competition was consistently strong,” says Long. “It wasn’t like “I’m going to walk away with this one”, because once you passed one golfer, there was one more waiting to challenge you.”

“Our coach was really good too. He followed each of us for awhile and was always there to help us through obstacles if we didn’t play too good. His golf IQ is crazy and it felt great to be coached by someone who had won two gold medals at the same event before.”

Members of the Red Cloud golf team were joined by athletic standouts from Todd County and White River high schools and coached by Corey Jenson of Mission, South Dakota.