The Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) hosted a Dome Field Day in the DakotaDome and Sanford Coyote Sports Center Saturday morning.
Student-athletes hosted children from all over southeastern South Dakota, ranging from kindergarteners to sixth graders. The athletes supervised the children as they ran football drills with members of the USD football team, played with a parachute and ran obstacle courses with members of the track and swim teams and played knockout and dodge ball with the basketball teams.
Jamie Oyen, USD’s senior associate athletic director, said children came from schools all over the area.
“We have kids today from Elk Point, Jefferson, Beresford, Irene, Wokonda, Harrisberg, Vermillion schools, Yankton, just a great representation of area kids,” Oyen said “This is just a great opportunity for them to come play with our athletes, and our athletes to have time with them.”
SAAC, the representative body of USD’s student-athletes, puts on the Dome Field Day every year to give back to the community.
The athletic teams volunteer at the event every year, and each team holds a different game. This year, the golf team hosted an event where children tried to hit targets with tennis balls using a plastic club.
“A lot of kids kind of have a hard time having fun with golf,” said sophomore golfer Tommy Vining, who was participating in the event. “I was the same way, I just wanted to hit the ball and mess around. That is pretty much what they are doing right now. It is just a fun thing for them to do.”
The event has been going on for several years and has become popular among the children and athletes alike, Oyen said. Some children have been going to the event for six years in a row, she said.
“Oh, I’ve had so much fun,” said junior swimmer Kassidie Cornell. “It’s basically like a chance to relive my childhood in a sense.”
Cornell said she thinks the focus of the event is to make sure the children enjoy it.
“I’ve done it every year since I’ve been here,” she said. “My favorite part is seeing the joy on the kids’ faces.”