Morningside College’s top-ranked National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ football program captured all three of the major honors connected with the announcement of the 2018 all-Great Plains Athletic Conference awards, released Tuesday, Nov. 13.
Head coach Steve Ryan, who guided the Mustangs to an 11-0 overall and 9-0 league record, earned his seventh total and fifth Hauff Mid-America Sports/GPAC Coach of the Year accolade since 2011. Senior quarterback Trent Solsma (SR/Dakota Dunes, SD) (Dakota Dunes, S.D.)was named the program’s seventh Hauff Mid-America Sports/GPAC Offensive Player of the Year in the wake of a season in which he tied his previous single-season touchdown pass record for the league and nationally (55) and added to his career conference passing yardage (12,691) and touchdown pass (148) marks. Junior linebacker Joel Katzer (JR/Wellsville, KS) (Wellsville, Ks.) rounded out the sweep joining Northwestern College’s Bryce Van Beek as co Hauff Mid-America Sports/GPAC Defensive Player of the Year. The eighth Mustang to be lauded with the award, Katzer is ranked among the national top 50 in tackles for losses (12.5 – No. 46) and interceptions (three – No. 49).
The major award recognitions were just part of the remarkable Morningside theme on the overall all-loop lists. Mside had 16 first teamers and three second team recipients to go along with six honorable mention designees. The 19 first and second team slots are the most in program history for a season and continue an amazing stretch of having 10-or-more in each of the last 11 years.
Joining Katzer and Solsma on the first team were sophomore running back Arnijae “AP” Ponder (Omaha, Neb.); senior wide receiver Connor Niles (SR/Sioux City, IA) (Sioux City, Iowa)who was also a second team selection on special teams for kickoff and punt returner; junior wide receiver Bo Els (JR/Erie, CO) (Lincoln, Neb.); senior tight end Riley Rischling (JR/Bennington, NE) (Bennington, Neb.); senior offensive lineman Garrit Shanle (SR/Columbus, NE) (Columbus, Neb.); senior offensive lineman Garrett Temme (SR/Petersburg, NE) (Petersburg, Neb.); senior placekicker Jared Amundson (SR/Sioux City, IA) (Sioux City, Iowa); senior punter Spencer Wyant (SR/Sergeant Bluff, IA) (Sergeant Bluff, Iowa); sophomore defensive lineman Seth Maitlen (SO/Creston, IA) (Creston, Iowa); sophomore defensive lineman Niklas Gustav (SO/Hamburg, Germany) (Hamburg, Germany); junior defensive lineman Alex Paulson (JR/Buffalo Center, IA) (Buffalo Center, Iowa); junior linebacker Jacob Katzer (JR/Wellsville, KS) (Wellsville, Ks.); senior defensive back Xavier Spann (SR/Lakeland, Florida) (Lakeland, Fla.); and junior defensive back Klayton Nordeen (JR/Alliance, NE) (Alliance, Neb.). Second team spots went to junior wide receiver Addison Ross (SR/Carroll, IA) (Carroll, Iowa); senior defensive lineman Chase Reis (SR/Grand Island, NE) (Grand Island, Neb.)and Niles. Morningside was represented on the honorable mention section by sophomore wide receiver Reid Jurgensmeier (SO/Wahoo, NE) (Wahoo, Neb.); sophomore offensive lineman Nathan Nissen (SO/Spencer, IA) (Spencer, Iowa); junior linebacker Chase Nelson (JR/Beatrice, NE) (Beatrice, Neb.); sophomore defensive back Steven Evans (SO/Sunrise, FL) (Sunrise, Fla.); junior defensive back Deion Clayborne (JR/Sioux City, IA) (Sioux City, Iowa); and sophomore wide receiver Jared Meyers (SO/Colfax, IA) (Colfax, Iowa).