Awards plentiful at champs banquet
The reception hall at KB's in Ghent was filled Sunday night with football players, families and fans for the annual Minneota Football Banquet.
The full house was there to honor the players on the 14-0 Vikings team that captured the 2017 Minnesota State Class A Championship, and to recognize the effort that these young men had put into another successful season.
After enjoying a build your own burger buffet, the crowd settled in to listen to the coaches and players talk about the football program. The program, was the resounding theme of the evening, as coaches were recognized for the work they do building the program from fifth grade through graduation.
That concept was echoed when Head Coach Chad Johnston was announced as the Southwest District Coach of the Year.
Coach Johnston humbly stressed, that the award should be called Program of the Year. He stated that it is truly a team effort by the players, coaches and community that have enabled the success that this group has achieved.
After the coaches spoke about what the team had accomplished, and provided an update on how the junior varsity had performed, it was time to hand out some individual awards. Players on the team were presented their varsity letters, state certificates and championship medals.
In addition, and more importantly, 34 members of the varsity team were recognized as Spotlight on Scholarship recipients. To earn this distinction, these athletes needed to earn a 3.0 Grade Point Average or higher.
In addition to the football team letter winners, another student also received his varsity letter during the program.
Senior Ross Abraham was presented his varsity letter for his school spirit, and his participation in the Special Olympics Program.
Ross has competed in a number of events in the Special Olympics over the past few years, and this year was on a championship football team as well.
Next, awards that had been voted on by the team were presented. Including the following:
Most Improved - Ethan Krier
Hardest Worker - Ty Lipinski
Offensive Most Valuable Player - Isaac Hennen
Defensive Most Valuable Player - Shawn Buysse
Most Valuable Teammate - Isaac Hennen
Awards voted on by coaches included:
JV Most Valuable Teammate - Jacob Hennen
Viking Award - Tanner Sterzinger and Landon Rolbiecki
Sub District Awards were presented as well. Academic All District awards are presented to Juniors and Seniors that achieve a 3.75 GPA or better, receiving the awards this year were Mitchell Rost, Thomas Hennen, Tanner Sterzinger, Ty Lipinski, Landon Abraham, Alex Pohlen, and Isaac Hennen.
Honorable Mention All District were Cole Sanow and Cole VanOvebeke All District Players were Ethan Krier, Shawn Buysse, Thomas Hennen, Ty Lipinski, Alex Pohlen and Isaac Hennen.
Krier was named Sub District Most Valuable Defensive Lineman, Pohlen was named Sub District Most Valuable Offensive Back, Isaac Hennen was named Sub District Most Valuable Defensive Back and Most Valuable Player. Coach Johnston was named Southwest District Coach of the Year.
The team was recognized as a Minnesota Academic Gold Award winner for having a cumulative GPA of at least 3.26.
Alex Pohlen was an Academic All State winner and Isaac Hennen will represent Minneota in the All-Star Game.
Hennen is also a finalist for the Mr. Football Minnesota award.
Finally, single season and career milestones were recognized and the night concluded with the naming of the 2018 team captains.
Representing the Vikings as team captains next season will be Thomas Hennen, Shawn Buysse, Ty Lipinski, and Cole Sanow.