South Sioux City’s Dylan Arens makes an unforgettable first varsity start on senior day

Published: Feb. 5, 2023 at 4:58 PM CST
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SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (KTIV) - Senior day is a special day for South Sioux City High School athletes, as it is typically a day where every senior starts in the lineup.

The Cardinal’s varsity girl’s basketball team called upon a very important teammate to make their first-ever varsity start in a game that left an impact on everyone’s hearts.

Dylan Arens is a senior at South Sioux City High School who has developed a deep love for sports and being a part of a team.

“She’s in cross country, track, basketball, but basketball is by far her favorite,” said Alyssa Arens, Dylan’s Mom.

“She’s so sweet, and she always has a smile on her face. She always makes little jokes. It’s so funny, and I love her so much,” said Addie Wendte, Dylan’s Friend.

Dylan’s life has been impacted by autism, but she still lives each day to the fullest. She’s been a part of the basketball team since her freshman year, but everyone had a special surprise in store for senior day on Saturday.

“We’ve always had our seniors start on senior day. The coaches have been thinking about it as she’s a special player to us. Once the girls kind of figured it out, like, ‘Hey, is Dylan going to start on senior day or not?’ I knew we had really had to push for it,” said Steve Selk, South Sioux Girls Basketball Head Coach.

So on Saturday against Roncalli Catholic High School, Dylan made her first-ever varsity start. The announcer called her name in the starting lineup bringing a standing ovation in the gym.

“For her to get out and do that also shows how comfortable she is with the girls. And so just seeing her grow and the team grow around her has just been tremendous,” said Selk.

Her teammates have always had her back, and wanted to do even more making the day all about raising awareness for autism. Teammates, coaches and fans rocked special shirts designed by Dylan’s parents. They also raised money for the Miracle League of Sioux City.

“They’re just kids like everybody else. They want to play basketball, they want to play baseball. And having them donate to something that allows them to do that is really powerful,” said Todd Arens, Dylan’s Dad.

“You can just see her eyes light up. In the morning if she doesn’t want to get ready, if we talk about it being game day, like it just changes her whole attitude. She loves being part of a team and she loves being around these girls and it’s just a really neat thing that they’ve done for her,” said Alyssa Arens.

The start of the girls varsity basketball game was a moment everyone in the stands was so eager to see. Dylan started off the game taking the first basket to sink in her first varsity points.

It was a moment Dylan, her family, and her team will cherish forever.

South Sioux City basketball fans packed the gym with signs to support Dylan Arens in her first...
South Sioux City basketball fans packed the gym with signs to support Dylan Arens in her first varsity basketball start.(KTIV)