Tigers pick up GPAC honorsThe Dakota Wesleyan University football team was honored on Tuesday, having four players selected to the Great Plains Athletic Conference team.
By: Chris Aarhus, The Daily Republic
The Dakota Wesleyan University football team was honored on Tuesday, having four players selected to the Great Plains Athletic Conference team.
Running back Josh Endres, wide receiver and return specialist Anthony Muilenberg, offensive lineman James Hansen and punter Nick Tolsma were named to the first team after standout seasons. The Tigers had four second-teamers and 10 honorable mentions.
“It’s a quite a statement,” DWU coach Brad Pole said. “We get a good number of those guys back.”
Endres, from Ethan, rushed for 1,001 yards and 15 touchdowns in helping the Tigers to a 5-5 record. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound sophomore broke the school’s single-game rushing mark with 316 yards against Hastings College (Neb.) on Nov. 6.
Muilenberg, a 6-2, 190-pound sophomore out of Sioux Falls, finished with a team-high 59 catches for 638 yards and three touchdowns. He was also dynamic in the return game, averaging 16.8 yards per punt return. Muilenberg was the only player on the entire first team that made it at two different positions.
Hansen, from Rapid City, is a 6-2, 260-pound senior who helped the Tigers rush for more than 1,700 yards from his offensive guard position. He was an honorable-mention All-American as a sophomore and is a repeat selection in the GPAC.
Tolsma, an All-American as a sophomore, is a senior from Rapid City who led the nation in punting average at 44.3 yards. He had 32 punts for 1,419 yards.
“Extremely deserving,” Pole said of his honorees. “We garnished some pretty good awards.”
Making the second team was wide receiver Justin Sydney, who led the team in receiving yards (678) and receiving touchdowns (six) on 50 catches. Also on the second team were Scotland native Steve Bloch (tight end), offensive lineman Nathan Little, from Aberdeen, and Rapid City native Dane Carlson at linebacker.
Honorable mentions for the team were Kevin Calsbeek (OL), Eric Witte (OL), Lucas Sieve (LB), Jesse Holz (DB), Derek Washington (DB), Russell McGuire (KRS), Aaron Rolen (DE), Zach Reker (DE), Tom Jarding (DB) and Raymond Blossom (RB).
Though the Tigers had 18 players honored — 10 returning — Pole said he would have liked to have seen a few more defensive awards.
“I felt like they deserved to be a little higher up on the totem pole,” Pole said of a few of his defensive players. “You have a conference with 11 schools and you’ve got four nationally ranked teams right above you in the league. Some of the teams had tremendous defensive numbers.”
University of Sioux Falls wide receiver Jon Ryan was named offensive player of the year. Morningside College (Iowa) linebacker Marshall Tuttle won the defensive-player-of-the-year award and Midland (Neb.) University’s Casey Thiele earned coach-of-the-year honors.