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Former sprinting quartet still holds relay record fifteen years later
June 28, 2012
MADISON, S.D. - Rachelle DeBeer, Michelle Butash, Amy Hansen and Miranda Reese just wanted to win the 1600-meter relay that cool, gray early May night at the 1997 Howard Wood Relays in Sioux Falls.
Setting a school record was not a part of the mix.
By the time Reese broke the tape, however, at the four minutes and 3.98 seconds mark in that college-division race, Dakota State's sprinting quartet had the school record. The 4:03.98 has stood the test of the time.
"Those four women were not afraid to go out there and lay it on the line," smiled Buzz Stevenson, long-time head track coach at Dakota State. "I have high regards for all four of these women."
Reese, who is now Mrs. Tim Sylliassen and the new marketing officer at First Premier Bank in Sioux Falls, added, "Rachelle, Michelle and Amy were all fierce competitors. We all had a strong desire to win."
The Madison native definitely did not want to lose the race at the end.
"I just wanted to maintain the lead that Amy gave me," she said.
For DeBeer, the win and record gave the Volga native retribution for an almost-lost senior outdoor track season.
"I was coming off a year in which some sort of weird 'bug' left me 25 pounds lighter," said DeBeer, who started the first leg of the event. "It was the first time all year that I had run the mile relay. I really did not want the girl next to me get by me."
They were all very good runners in their individuals' events, according to Stevenson.
"Rachelle was a very good hurdler. Amy was an outstanding middle-distance runner. As for Michelle, she was flat out a very good multiple-events performer, and Miranda was one of my hardest-working runners."
Now Michelle Butash-Daniels (married to one of the other Charlie Daniels), she had a lot on her plate in the 1997 season, doing both hurdle events, the three jumps and the 100- and 200-meter sprints.
But, there was Stevenson putting her into the 1600-meter relay that Friday.
"Running the event is pretty much a blur to me," admitted Butash-Daniels, who is the office manager of Perry Physical Therapy of Morrice, Mich. "I loved being coached by Buzz, and whenever he wanted me to go, I would go!"
Rachelle and Amy are both married to DSU former student-athletes. They are, respectively Brad DeBeer and Brian Tvedt.
The DeBeers have a daughter, Shaylee, while the Tvedts have three children - two sons, Gannon and Tague, and a daughter, Shyla.
Educationally speaking, DeBeer and Tvedt are both math instructors, respectively for the Deubrook and Deuel school systems here in South Dakota.
Sports-wise, DeBeer is the head girls' volleyball and track coach. She assists her husband as his assistant coach for the girls' varsity basketball squad (which is a trade-off, with Brad assisting her on the volleyball court).
Tvedt will be entering her 15th year as part of the Deuel coaching staff. She had coached girls' volleyball, basketball and track on many levels.
The Sylliassens have two children - a son Cole and a daughter Kelsi. The Daniels have two children, too - a daughter Amanda and a son Cole.
Finally, there is one thing Butash-Daniels remembers about that late-Friday night record-setter.
"All of us, I think, had this thought running through our brains - take off fast, stride it out on the straightaway, hit the curve and give it all I've got!"
Dan Holsworth, Dakota State University Athletics Assistant
Edited by Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director