Abraham Lincoln once said a house divided cannot stand, but two families in South Dakota aren’t letting one of the longest-standing sports rivalries in the state get between them.
While a rivalry can be common between siblings, Jack and Quinn Mortenson, brothers from Pierre, S.D., entered a new rivalry altogether when they decided to attend opposing universities – the University of South Dakota and South Dakota State University.
Jack is a junior at USD majoring in media and journalism with a specialization in journalism and is minoring history. He said he chose USD for multiple reasons.
“Well, most of the family goes here and I was really impressed by the programs offered,” Jack said.
His mother, both of his uncles and his cousins are all graduates of USD.
Quinn, who chose to go to SDSU for the agricultural science degree offered, said it was the right choice for him.
“It had the best ag degree and it’s close to home. We have a family ranch and I wanted to stay close to home,” Quinn said.
Although the brothers go to different schools, they don’t let the rivalry get in the way of their time together.
The brothers said they visit each other when they can, most recently when Jack went to Brookings for Hobo Day last month.
With Quinn being outnumbered in the family, he said he gets made fun of in a light-hearted way by the rest of the family for going to SDSU.
“Him (Jack), my cousin and even our neighbors went to USD, so when I’m on my own I kind of get shot down, basically,” Quinn said.
But he said he dishes it right back.
While the Mortenson brothers will always have a rivalry between long after graduation, it’s all in friendly fun.
The Heine family are no strangers to the long-time rivalry between USD and SDSU.
Luke, a farmer for his family’s farm near Vermillion, and Katie, who works in the media and journalism department at USD, both have family members that attended each university.
For Luke, almost every family member went to SDSU so they could continue the family business of farming.
“Everyone from my family graduated from SDSU, and my grandparents got Family of the Year about six years ago (at SDSU),” Luke said.
Out of 10 uncles, only two did not attend SDSU, and chose USD instead.
When Luke and his brothers were young they attended football games and visited the campus many times.
When it came time to choose a school, Luke said he chose SDSU because it had a good agriculture program, and said he had no pressure from his family.
Katie and her family, on the other hand, are more diverse in their collegiate background.
Her father is a USD alum and her mother is a SDSU alumna.
Growing up in Vermillion, Katie said she enjoyed the town. She was involved in 4-H and met Luke through the program showing hogs when she was eight years old. Katie attended Morningside College in Sioux City but moved back to the area when she later married Luke.
While she said the rivalry was never huge in her family, her mother found a way to poke fun.
“When my brother went to SDSU my mom kind of brought out the whole ‘You chose the right school,’ “ she said.
Katie said she is glad she chose to stay close to home, and the university and the rivalry creates a fun environment.
“Each college is proud of their accomplishments, and rightly so. All the faculty come together,” she said. “My pride is new for the school, but you got to be a part of something you know and you’re a part of the USD family. It is kind of easy to cheer for USD and be a fan. I don’t see it (the rivalry) going away any time soon.”
Although the couple likes to poke fun at each other, it’s all in good fun. Katie said she got both Luke and herself seats in the USD section for this Saturday’s rivalry game.
“I have no control who Luke is cheering for and what colors he wears that day,” she said.
Naturally, Luke will be cheering on his alma mater.
“This is the first time I’ve heard of that, but I can guarantee I will be wearing blue,” Luke said. “It’s a surprise having to sit on that side.”