In his two seasons as a Dickinson State University Blue Hawk, Shane Sommerfeld earned a reputation as a bona fide ball hawk.
Sommerfeld’s propensity for picking off passes and his overall impact on the DSU football program will both be acknowledged this fall when he is inducted into the Blue Hawks Athletic Hall of Fame.
A former player with the Okanagan Sun, and current head coach of the Kelowna Owls’ high school program, Sommerfeld played free safety and returned kicks for the Hawks in 1994 and 1995.
He will officially enter the DSU Hall at a special ceremony this October at the North Dakota school.
Joining him in the Hall will be the Blue Hawks’ team from 1995 which posted a unbeaten record.
“Getting inducted along with the team in the same year, and being Canadian, it’s going to be a pretty special day,” said Sommerfeld. “It’s going to be kind of like a reunion seeing all those guys. There’ll be a lot of memories, I’m sure.”
After red-shirting with the Blue Hawks in 1993, Sommerfeld stepped into a starting role the following season and earned all-conference honours at safety.
In 1995, Sommerfeld capped a stellar two-year stint at DSU with a nation-best eight interceptions and was named an NAIA All-American.
Blue Hawks head coach Hank Biesiot said Sommerfeld’s contribution to the program over two seasons was significant.
“Shane seemed to save his best for the big games,” said Biesiot who has seen many players come and go in his 36 years at DSU. “He had a nose for the ball and had outstanding anticipation. He read the play well and understood the game.
“He was a talented kid, not the fastest, but the kind of player you wanted on your side. He’s very deserving of this honour.”
Biesiot recalls one game in particular where Sommerfeld’s opportunism paid off in a big way for the Blue Hawks.
“There was one game where we had maybe 40 yards of total offense and really didn’t deserve to be in it,” Biesiot added. “But thanks to one big play by Shane, we ended up winning it. It was late in the game, he made a break on the ball, intercepted and ran it back for a touchdown to give us the game. You always expected Shane to make plays.”
In addition to his personal accomplishments on the field, one of Sommerfeld’s best memories is the success the Blue Hawks enjoyed as a team in 1995.
Against the odds, DSU went a perfect 10-0.
“We didn’t have the most athletic or the fastest team that year but we found a way to win,” said Sommerfeld. “We were underdogs going in, it was a real Cinderella team that year. We were called overachievers, that’s why that team did so well because of the kinds of players we had. It was a great year all around.”
Sommerfeld was one of several former Okanagan Sun players who were key members of the Blue Hawks program in the 1990s. Among ex-Sun players who played alongside Sommerfeld at DSU were Mike Crumb, Jason Crumb, Peter McCall and Tony Lindsay.
Sommerfeld will be inducted into the DSU Hall of Fame Friday, Oct. 5.
The following day, he’ll be honoured at the school’s annual Homecoming Game as the Blue Hawks take on Montana Tech College.