Mitchell High School Hall of Fame Class of 2023

Mitchell High School and the Mitchell Athletic Booster Club is excited to announce the Mitchell High School Hall of Fame Class of 2023.

An open house will be held at The Scoreboard on Friday, September 15, 2023, from 6:00pm-8:00pm with a program being held at 7:00pm.

Inductees will also be recognized at halftime of the Kernel Bowl football game on Saturday, September 16, 2023. The Class of 2023 inductees are Deb Ackman ’72, Larry Larson, Mark Graham ’73, Ryan Miller ’94 and Sarah (Hoffman) VanLaecken ’99.

Deb Ackman ‘72
Deb Ackman is a 1972 graduate and made her greatest mark at Mitchell High School in track & field where she competed in shot put, discus and softball throw before the event was discontinued following her junior year. She set the school record in the shot put that lasted 37 years. She was also in the pep club for 4 years, serving as the president her senior year. Following graduation she went on to South Dakota State University where she continued to excel in track, qualifying for the national meet 3 years and finishing 16th in shot put, while setting the indoor and outdoor record in 1975. She also competed in discus and javelin. Deb also played on the softball team, making it to the College World Series as a freshman. She was very active in women’s fastpitch in the state into her mid-20s and in 1993 was inducted into the South Dakota Women’s Fastpitch Softball Hall of Fame.

Larry Larson
Larry Larson is a 1968 graduate of Forestburg High School where he was a 3 sport letterwinner in basketball, track and cross country. It was there that he began his nearly half decade of coaching, serving as the 5th and 6th grade boys basketball coach as a senior in high school. After graduating from the University of South Dakota in 1972, he began his teaching career at Mitchell Middle School, being named Middle School Teacher of the Year in 1989. During that time he coached middle school track for 15 years, girls basketball for 17 years including 7 years as the head varsity coach with 4 state tournament appearances and 42 years as the 8th grade boys basketball coach. He was named Assistant Coach of the Year and the Corn Palace Relays Honorary Referee in 2009. He officiated high school volleyball for 25 years and spent 32 years in the South Dakota Army National Guard, retiring as a Master Sergeant. Coach Larson retired from the Mitchell School District in 2016 after 44 years. Larry currently lives in Mitchell with his wife of 47 years, Short.

Mark Graham ‘73
Mark Graham is a 1973 graduate of Mitchell High School where he was a 3 sport letterwinner, participating in Football, Basketball and Track. He set the school record for the 180 yard low hurdles, 120 yard high hurdles and was a part of the record setting Mile Relay Team. He played running back on the 1972 state championship football team and was selected 1st Team All State in basketball both as a junior and senior. Following high school Mark received a full scholarship to play basketball at South Dakota State University where he earned the Jacks Freshman MVP Award. Mark lives in Mitchell with his wife Tami where he is a retired pharmacist and past owner of Graham Pharmacy and Mitchell Clinic.

Ryan Miller ‘94
Ryan Miller is a 1994 graduate of Mitchell High School where he left a lasting impact on the boys basketball program. He was a two-time All State selection and led his teams to a third place finish in 1993 and a state championship in 1994. He was named a Mr. Basketball finalist as a senior. Following graduation Ryan played basketball at Northern State University where he was a two-time Northern Sun All-Conference selection. He led his teams to four conference championships and won the region title in 1998. He finished his career as the 8th leading scorer in Wolves history and was named a Division 2 AllAmerican. He played 2 years of professional basketball for Fargo-Moorhead Beez and the Dakota Gold. He has since become a successful college basketball coach, with stops at Memphis, Pepperdine, New Mexico, Auburn, UNLV and TCU and is currently an Assistant Coach at Creighton. Ryan and his wife Marna currently live in Omaha with their two daughters.

Sarah (Hoffman) VanLaecken ‘99
Sarah (Hoffman) VanLaecken was a 3-sport letterwinner in basketball, gymnastics and track & field. She was a 4 year letterwinner in basketball, a member of 2 state tournament teams in 1995 & 1998, named ESD All Conference 3 years and the winner of the 1999 Hustle Award. She was a 3 year letterwinner in gymnastics and was the 1998 Champion in Vault, Bars, Floor & All-Around. She was a 5 year letterwinner in track and field, competing primarily in the 100m hurdles, 300m hurdles and the 4×400 meter relay. She set 5 school records, won 18 state track medals including 5 1st place medals, earning 4 Gold Medals as the top performance in the State Track Meet regardless of class. She was part of teams that finished 3rd place twice and 4th once in the State Track Meet. She was named the 1999 Daily Republic Female Athlete of the Year and the Jim Myers Kernel Pride and Jill McCormick Award winner and received the Golden ‘M’ Award 3 times. Following graduation she attended University of South Dakota as a part of the Track & Field team, competing in the heptathlon, 100m hurdles, 400m hurdles and various relays. She was the North Central Conference champion in the 100m hurdles and heptathlon and part of the women’s team champions at the 2002 outdoor meet. She finished as runner-up 8 times at NCC indoor and outdoor meets. She was an All American in outdoor track in heptathlon in 2002 and 2003, with her top performance coming in 2003 where she took 3rd place at Nationals. She was named Academic All American in 2002 and 2003. After 15 years as a college professor at Augustana University, Sarah now lives in Tea with her husband Erik and their 4 children, self-employed as a Life, Health & Wellness Coach and also serves as an assistant basketball coach for the Tea Area High School Girls Basketball Team.