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The new sign over the track in Burke hold a special meeting to folks in south-central South Dakota
Kernit Grimshaw

Tolstedt field conjures up memories of greatness
May 12, 2017

By Rich Winter

Had kind of an interesting moment at the Howard Wood Dakota Relays. Wanting to say hello to Burke/South Central coach Erik Person but not having a clue what he looked like, I asked some of the relay girls if they could point him out.


"Does he have the same hair as Kray," I asked?


I got a pretty good laugh from the girls, one of them his daughter...We looked for him, couldn't see him, so I asked the girls if when they saw him if they could have him come visit. 


So, I'm sitting on the infield near the finish line and the public address guy gets on the horn and announces the Class B meet record holder for the 1600 Meter medley relay team being Burke from 1978 with the team of Bailey, Ulmer, Heyden and Tolstedt.


About that time Mr. Person taps me on the shoulder and we proceed to have a great first visit. 


I asked him about the sign hanging over the new track in Burke and wondering just who the sign and the name Tolstedt.


Mr Person explained a bit about Mr. Tolstedt's community involvement and how a youngish Mr. Tolstedt passed away, way before his time.


His daughter though, Julie Tolstedt anchored that Medley relay record that still stands from 1978 - Burke, 1978 (Bailey, Ulmer, Heyden, Tolstedt) ......................................4:14.44


Next year it will be 40 years since that record was set.


That team must have been something back in the day....

Noticed this morning the 1978 relay quarter of Smizer, Bailey, Ulmer and Heyden still hold the Howard Wood mile-relay record.


That's awesome!


As one that is always interested in the athletic history of some of these small towns I casually tossed out the question of who the greatest athlete in the history of Bonesteel is...


Without flinching he said - Karen Czwack (may not be spelled correctly). Hmmmm, I'd like to know more.


If anyone has any old pictures or stories or rememberences from some of those great athletes in the area, I'd love to see them....

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