June 2, 2014
MADISON, S.D. – History was made during the 2000 indoor track and field when Dakota State had its first national champion in school history. Desa Rae Cleveland (Doyle) was the first-ever female Trojan to win a national event at the NAIA Indoor Track & Field Championships.
Cleveland began her athletic career at De Smet (S.D.) High School where she participated in basketball, volleyball and track. She still holds the high school high jump record of 5 feet, 7 inches. She continued her education and track career at Huron University, earning two NAIA All-American selections before transferring to Dakota State University.
In her first season at Dakota State in the winter of 2000, Cleveland won the high jump at the final South Dakota-Iowa Conference (SDIC) indoor meet with a measurement of five feet, six inches.
Cleveland's memorable and historic day occurred at the 2000 NAIA National Indoor Track & Field meet in Lincoln, Neb. She cleared high jump bar with a jump of five feet, six inches to claim the national women's high jump on her 20th birthday, making her the first-ever female to win a national championship at Dakota State University.
Cleveland produced a DSU school record of 5 feet, 8.5 inches at the annual premier Howard Wood Relays in May 2000. Her outdoor high jump school record stood for eight years.
During her track career at Dakota State University, Cleveland produced five NAIA All-American awards and four All-Conference honors (with two each from the SDIC and the Dakota Athletic Conference (DAC-10).
Cleveland was picked as DSU's Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year in 2000 and 2001. She earned the NAIA Academic Scholar-Athlete award twice for her academic success in the classroom as a junior and senior.
Cleveland graduated from Dakota State University in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in Information Systems. She has been working at Larson Manufacturing in Brookings, S.D. for 12 years where she started as an intern in their computer department and was hired shortly thereafter as an Information Systems Specialist.
Desa Rae currently lives in De Smet, S.D. with her husband Rob and their two children – RJ and Lily.
For further information and so that we may plan appropriately for the banquet Saturday evening (June 7), please RSVP by contacting the Athletic Department at 605-256-5229 or e-mail Carla Sudenga at [email protected]. Tickets are $14 per person and may be purchased at the door. The social begins at 5:30 p.m. with dinner served at 6:15 p.m. The program will begin at approximately 7 p.m. The event is open to the public.
2014 DSU Athletic Hall of Fame Series
Monday, June 2 - Desa Rae Cleveland (Doyle)
Tuesday, June 3 -
Wednesday, June 4 -
Thursday, June 5 -
Friday, June 6 -
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director