The Saratoga Sun -

McGraw Machine gets two scholarships

Conor and Shane McGraw sign for football and track scholarships from Black Hills State University


February 12, 2020

Mike Armstrong

Left to Right, Russ Wiggam, Conor McGraw, Zach Scott, Jackie Jones, Shane McGraw, Cliff Jones were at HEM to watch the McGraw twins sign for two scholarships from Black Hills State University on February 5.

Twins Conor and Shane McGraw, two seniors at Hanna, Elk Mountain, Medicine Bow (HEM) were both recipients of a track and football scholarship from Black Hills State University (BHSU).

"In a small 1A school this doesn't happen very often," Russ Wiggam, HEM athletic director said. "To have two scholarships come to both boys, this is a very prestigious thing for them and they have earned it. They put in four very hard years of being in sports and academics; it is great to be recognized by any size of school. For them to get a four year school to look at them and say, 'you are good enough', it is an honor."

HEM head track coach Jackie Jones felt the boys were deserving.

"To be quite honest, the boys earning a track scholarship was no surprise to me," Jones said. "There were several schools looking at the boys and I think Black Hills (Black Hills State University) will be a good fit for them, not only with the coaching staff but what the twins want to study."

Jones has known the twins going back to elementary school, where she taught them.

"I would watch them at elementary field days and you could see then, something big was coming," Jones said. "I wasn't wrong."

She is proud of not only their sports accomplishments, but of their character.

"The sports accolades they have gotten over the years have not effected them in a way it does some high school athletes," Jones said. "They are modest, grounded and respectful. Kids of their athletic caliber should be rewarded, but it has been an honor to know them as human beings. It is my privilege to be able to call them my athletes."

She said them winning state contests in track their freshmen was an indicator that they would do well until they graduated.

"You know that when a freshmen wins state in track, it is special although it does happen, but it never went to their head and they always care about the team," Jones said. "What is neat about the boys, they say they want to be on a relay, we want to work with other kids. I admit I am sort of a point hog, so I put them in the individual events so we can get points, but the boys always think of their teammates. "

BHSU is a public four year university in Spearfish, South Dakota. Close to 4,500 students attend classes at its 123 acre campus. The university is organized into three colleges: the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Business and Natural Sciences, and the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences

The athletic teams of BHSU are known as the Yellow Jackets. The university is a member of the NCAA and participates in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC). The men's athletic teams include basketball, cross country, football, and track & field.

"I am super proud about them getting the football scholarship," Zach Scott, HEM head football coach, said. "They deserve all the honors they are getting. They have worked hard and this is the fruits of their labor."

Scott was not shocked the twins got two scholarships a piece.

"I was pleasantly surprised and I am glad to see it happen," Scott said. "They should do very well in college."

Mike Armstrong

Left, Conor McGraw smiles as he takes pen to paper with his football coach Zach Scott and track coach Jackie Jones looking on. Twin brother Shane has already signed.

The boys are grateful for getting both the track and football scholarships.

"It is kind of a weird feeling to get to continue to compete in sports you love at the college level," Conor said. "I am just thankful for all the help and support from everyone to get us to this point. I really am honored for what we received."

The twins said they never thought they would be considered for different sports scholarships.

"We were just going to try and play two sports in college, to see if we could, and then we got a track scholarship which was just great," said Shane. "Then we were going to see if we could play football while being on a track scholarship and they gave us a scholarship in that too; so to get two scholarships in what we both love is just awesome."

The boys signed the papers for both scholarships on February 5 at HEM in front of family and coaches.


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