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Native Sun News: Oglala athletes ready to shine in college

Filed Under: Education | National | Sports
More on: football, native sun news, oglala sioux, south dakota

The following story was written and reported by David Michaud, Native Sun News Correspondent. All content © Native Sun News.

Eriq Swiftwater

Jesse Trueblood. COURTESY/Susan Kolb

Swiftwater, Trueblood take talent to local colleges
By David Michaud
Native Sun News Correspondent

PINE RIDGE — A lifetime of hard work is paying off for two local athletes as they prepare to sign with area colleges to compete on their football teams.

Eriq Swiftwater and Jesse Trueblood have loved the sport of football since they were little boys, and now thanks to their success in high school colleges have taken notice of them. Both athletes had interest from several schools, but ultimately they narrowed their choices down to what they believe is best for them.

For Swiftwater that choice is Black Hills State University. BHSU, located in Spearfish, S.D., finished their season 3-8 after playing in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference at the Division II.

Swiftwater, who attends Oelrichs High School and played football for the Hot Springs Bison through a co-op, came onto college scouts radars thanks to an almost uncanny athletic ability. At 6'3" and he showed his athleticism on both the football field and the basketball court, making him one of the best high-flying wide receivers in the state. He was a three-time All Black Hills Conference and was an All-State tight end this year, along with Honorable Mention All-State for Class B Basketball last year and leading his Oelrichs Tigers team by scoring his 1,000 point this season.

Those are the talents that Swiftwater will be bring to BHSU, who just completed their second year in the RMAC and first year as a full Division II program. After a lackluster season, Swiftwater will be on the ground floor for what the Yellow Jackets are trying to accomplish, turning the program around.

“The class of 2013 had a really good class,” said Swiftwater, about the recruiting class before him. “We have a good running back and I feel like we are going to be young but we will grow and be something to deal with in the next couple years.”

Ultimately, both young men will eventually be competing against each other in the RMAC, as Jesse Trueblood is signing with the Chadron State Eagles. The Eagles also compete in the RMAC, and have been a force in the Conference for years.

After watching the Eagles go 8-3 last year under second year head coach Jay Long, and getting to know him on a more personal level, Trueblood felt most comfortable with the school only 50 miles away from his hometown.

Trueblood has been one of the most dominant linemen in South Dakota the past two years, earning All-State as a Junior and Senior. At 6'7" and hovering closes to 300 pounds, Trueblood has used his natural talents the best he could and paired them with a monster-sized work ethic so it was no surprise he was also a three-time All West River Conference lineman.

Like Swiftwater, Trueblood does not just do his work on the football field. He also is an accomplished wrestler, placing fifth at State A last year, and currently holding a 26-1 record this year.

As a matter of fact, Trueblood was so impressive as a wrestler that he is in talks with the Chadron State Wrestling coach about possibly competing as a two-sport athlete at Chadron. “I've talked with the wrestling coach Hunter and he and coach Long said if you want to do both sports I can,” said Trueblood. “It's also close to home because I think my family and friends will want to come watch when I'm playing in college”

While both athletes had several schools in mind, Swiftwater's list included CSC, Northern State and Dakota Wesleyan University, while Trueblood has BHSU, Colorado State and University of Sioux Falls in mind; they ultimately chose where they were most comfortable.

“I felt comfortable there. I got good vibes from their players and coaches,” said Swiftwater “the coaches really stress the grades, they want you to do good in school and that was important to me.”

“I have known the coach since my sophomore year when he was at BHSU and got to know all the other coaches at Chadron,” said Trueblood. “They all seemed like cool guys and I felt good with them. I want to go into Sports Medicine also, and they have that.”

With so many similarities between these two athletes it is no surprise that they are both moving on to compete at the next level. They share a work ethic and will to win that few can match and one thing is for sure, BHSU and CSC will be better off for having added them.

(Contact David Michaud at

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