Beavers land 10 All-NSIC student-athletes
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Beavers land 10 All-NSIC student-athletes

BURNSVILLE, Minn. – Ten Bemidji State University football student-athletes were honored as 2012 all-conference team members Tuesday by the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference as 2012 all-conference team members. Seniors Brett DeLange (OL, Plainfield, Ill.) and Brian Leonhardt (TE, Blaine, Minn.) were named North Division All-NSIC First Team Offense, while senior Cory Crosby (ILB, Cold Spring, Minn.) earned North Division All-NSIC First Team Defense honors.

The first team laurel for Leonhardt is his third consecutive honor and fourth time (Honorable Mention – 2009) on the all-conference list, while it stands as the first season Crosby (Second Team – 2011 and 2010) and DeLange (Honorable Mention – 2011 and 2010) have been named to the first team.

Senior wide receiver Justin Lee (Elgin, Ill.) was named All-NSIC Second Team Offense for the second consecutive season, while first-time all-conference honorees, Charles Hrdlicka (Sr., CB, Wolf Lake, Minn.) and Connor Quinn (Fr.-RS, OLB, Geneva, Ill.) earned All-NSIC Second Team Defense honors. Quinn was one of five freshmen to appear on North Division First or Second Teams and became the first Bemidji State freshman to be named to the league’s top two teams since kicker/punter Paul Potemra garnered All-NSIC First Team honors in 2007.

Named to the All-NSIC Honorable Mention team were seniors Alonzo Melton (OL, Minneapolis, Minn.), Dustin Kroeplin (RB, Withee, Wis.), Lance Rongstad (QB, Eleva, Wis.) and Bryan Syrstad (Thompson, N.D.). Kroeplin appears on an all-conference team for the fourth time in his career after earning second team honors in 2010 and honorable mentions in 2009 and 2011. Rongstad was a 2011 All-NSIC Honorable Mention in 2011, while it stands as the first league award for Melton and Syrstad.

The league named 79 student-athletes from the North Division and 79 from the South Division to All-NSIC First, Second or Honorable Mention Teams. Winona State University running back Rayon Simmons was named NSIC Offensive Player of the Year and Wayne State College’s defensive end Richard Daniel was honored as NSIC Defensive Player of the Year. WSC’s running back Charlie Davidson was named NSIC Offensive Newcomer of the Year, while defensive back Shea DeJong of Minnesota State University Moorhead was awarded NSIC Defensive Newcomer of the Year. Head coach of the undefeated and NSIC champion Minnesota State University, Mankato Mavericks, Aaron Keen, was named NSIC Coach of the Year.

The Beavers started 1-3, but finished the 2012 season 7-4 to record its 14th record of at least .500 in their last 15 seasons. The team’s 5-1 record at Chet Anderson Stadium ties a program-best for home wins in a season and marks the 11th consecutive winning record at home. Bemidji State went 6-1 in the North to share the North Division Title with University of Minnesota Duluth and record its best showing in the five years since beginning divisional play.

Bemidji State All-NSIC Bios

All-NSIC First Team

• DeLange played eight games at center in 2012, missing three games in the middle of the season due to injury.

O-Line Bio: The Beavers finished seventh in the NSIC in rushing after compiling 1,879 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground. The O-Line guided the ground game to four 200-plus yard games, which included the final three games of the season, while two players totaled four games of 100 yards or more. The line protected all-conference quarterback Lance Rongstad. He threw for 2,114 yards, 16 touchdowns and posted six 200-plus yard contests, which included the final three of the season. Rongstad was a dual run/pass threat and finished fifth in the league in total offense with 268.1 yards per game.

• Despite battled injuries all season, Leonhardt started 10 games. A preseason All-American, the tight end posted 25 receptions for 343 yards and three touchdowns. His reception and reception yards numbers were third on the team in 2012, while the three scores put him in a four-way tie for first. He averaged 34.3 yards per game, 13.7 yards per reception and had a season-long reception of 38 yards. He posted a season-high 93 yards on seven receptions at University of Mary Oct. 6. An extension of the offensive line, Leonhardt has helped guide the Beavers to 170.8 rushing yards per game and 20 touchdowns.

He capped his career with 15 touchdowns to rank tied for eighth all-time at Bemidji State and his 112 career receptions are 10th at BSU. Leonhardt finished his career with 1,431 career reception yards to rank second among BSU tight ends since 1971.

• Crosby saved his best season for the last, as he totaled 108 tackles (46 solo), 15.0 tackles for loss (-70 yards) and 5.0 sacks (-50 yards), all of which led the team and established career-highs. He finished tied for second in the NSIC in total tackles (tied for first among linebackers) and fifth in tackles per game, which also stands tied for 39th nationally. He finished fourth in the league and tied for 40th in the nation in tackles for loss per game (1.36 TFL/g) and tied for ninth in the NSIC is sacks per game (.45 sacks/g). He also added two forced fumbles, which was good for a tie for sixth in the conference.

The last Bemidji State player to record 100 tackles in a season was Jeremiah Johnson in 2005 (112 tackles). According to available sack records dating back to 1985, Crosby is the only BSU player to ever record 100-plus tackles, 10 or more tackles for loss and at least five sacks in a season. He is the first player since 2008 to lead the team in tackles, tackles for loss and sacks in the same season. His 15.0 tackles for loss ranks 10th on BSU single-season chart, while the 70 yards from tackles for loss is eighth at Bemidji State.

The linebacker totaled 10 or more tackles on six occasions, including a career-high 17 tackles (four solo) in a home victory against Minnesota State University Moorhead Nov. 3. In that game, he also established career marks with 13 assisted tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks (tied career-high). The 2.5 sacks against the Dragons tied his mark set earlier in the season against Northern State University that pushed the Wolves offense back 34 yards and the 4.5 tackles for loss tied an NSIC-high in 2012. He was named NSIC Defensive Player of the Week Nov. 5 after his performance against the MSUM.

Crosby exits Bemidji State fifth all-time in tackles with 326 (133s-193a). His 34.0 tackles for loss ranks sixth at BSU, while is yards from tackles for loss, 131, finishes 10th. The senior’s 193 assisted tackles sits sixth at Bemidji State, while his solo tackle total of 133 ranks 10th. Crosby was named All-NSIC Second-Team in 2010 and 2011.

All-NSIC Second Team

• A running and receiving threat, Lee led the Beavers in all-purpose yards with 831 (75.5 yards per game). He racked up career-highs and team-bests in receiving yards (687) and receptions (45) to finish 12th in the league in receiving yards and tied for 12th in receptions. He tied for the team-high in receiving touchdowns with three, averaged 62.5 yards per game, 15.3 yards per reception and posted a career-long reception of 66 yards. He recorded 60 or more yards in a game on seven occasions, which included a career-high 122 yards on a career-best eight receptions against Wayne State College Sept. 15. His 66-yarder also went for a score in an 86-yard performance against University of Minnesota, Crookston Sept. 29. He also rushed for 12 yards and a touchdown against the Golden Eagles, the first of two games he found the end zone rushing and receiving, with the second coming at St. Cloud State University Oct. 27. He rushed for 144 yards in 2012 on 31 carries and found the end zone three times. He totaled 36 points to finish third on the team.

Lee closed his career with 1,193 receiving, 625 rushing, 105 kick return and six punt return yards to total 1,929 all-purpose yards. He scored eight receiving and five rushing touchdowns. He also threw for a touchdown as a sophomore and along with teammate Lance Rongstad were the only players in the NSIC to throw, catch and run for a touchdown in the season.

• Hrdlicka posted a career-high 53 tackles as a senior and also established career-marks in solo tackles (27), assisted tackles (26), while he doubled his interception numbers from the previous three seasons with four (22 return yards) in 2012. He also tied a career-best with six pass break-ups. His four interceptions led the team and ranked tied for fourth in the NSIC. Hrdlicka’s 53 tackles ranked fourth on the Gang Green defense and his six pass break-ups ranked second. At University of Minnesota Duluth Oct. 20, the Wolf Lake, Minn. native tied his career-high in tackles with nine and in the season-finale posted two interceptions to establish a new career-high.

Hrdlicka finished his career with 151 tackles (78 solo), 20 pass break-ups and six interceptions (52 return yards).

• Quinn was inserted into the starting outside linebacker position in the third game of the season and never gave the coaches a reason to take him out. The redshirt freshman totaled 73 tackles (35 solo) to finish third on the team and first among freshmen linebackers in the NSIC. He recovered three fumbles to rank tied for second in the league. His 12.0 tackles for loss (-35 yards) stacked up second on the Gang Green defense. He posted 1.5 sacks (-11 yards), scored a safety, broke-up one pass, intercepted an errant throw and returned it 29 yards.

He recorded a season-high 14 tackles (eight solo) at nationally-ranked University of Minnesota Duluth Oct. 20, two of which were for loss (-5 yards), and recovered two fumbles. He also tallied double-digit tackles against Minnesota State University Moorhead Nov. 3 with 12 total, four solo and three tackles for loss (-7 yards). At St. Cloud State University Oct. 27, he made seven tackles and recorded his first-collegiate interception and returned it 29 yards. He also added a fumble recovery on special teams. Both his turnovers led to offensive touchdowns in the win. Quinn posted four solo tackles, a pass break-up and a safety at University of Sioux Falls Sept. 22. In his first-career start against Wayne State College Sept. 15, he totaled seven tackles (five solo) and 1.5 tackles for loss (-8 yards).

All-NSIC Honorable Mention

• Melton started all 11 games at left tackle this season after moving from the right side in the offseason.

O-Line Bio: The Beavers finished seventh in the NSIC in rushing after compiling 1,879 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground. The O-Line guided the ground game to four 200-plus yard games, which included the final three games of the season, while two players totaled four games of 100 yards or more. The line protected all-conference quarterback Lance Rongstad. He threw for 2,114 yards, 16 touchdowns and posted six 200-plus yard contests, which included the final three of the season. Rongstad was a dual run/pass threat and finished fifth in the league in total offense with 268.1 yards per game.

• Kroeplin played in seven games and missed the final three contests of the season due to injury, but still managed to lead the team in rushing yards per game with 60.7 yards per game. He finished second on the team in rushing with 425 yards on 97 attempts for a 4.4 yards per rush mark. The senior back posted three touchdowns to tie for second on the squad. He also added five receptions for 71 yards (14.2 yards per reception) to total 496 all-purpose yards. Kroeplin posted his 10th and 11th career 100-yard games in back-to-back contests. He rushed for 113 and a touchdown at University of Mary Oct. 6, then followed that with a 112 yards and a score Oct. 13 against Northern State University. Prior to the U-Mary contest, he went for 93 yards and a score, which included a season-long 27-yard rush.

Kroeplin exits Bemidji State as one of the all-time rushing leaders, as he made his mark on nine BSU charts, which include third in rushing touchdowns (31 touchdowns), fourth in rushing yardage (2,849 yards), rushing attempts (578 attempts), points scored (210 points) and overall touchdowns scored (34 – three receiving) and fifth in 100-yard rushing games (11 100+ rushing games).

• A weapon with his arm or legs, Rongstad earned his second consecutive all-conference honor after totaling 2,681 yards of offense (268.1 yds/g) to finish fifth in the NSIC and 35th in the nation. He threw for a career-high 2,114 yards (211.4 yds/g) to finish ninth in the league, while his 134.9 passing efficiency rating ranked seventh in the conference and 47th nationally. Through the air he went 158-for-279 (56.6%) for 16 touchdowns. On the ground he led the Beavers for the second straight year, compiling 567 yards on 124 carries and seven touchdowns. He averaged 56.7 yards per game, 4.6 yards per carry and posted a career-long rush of 78 yards that went all the way to the end zone and set the BSU record for longest rush by a quarterback. He hit a dozen different receivers, six of which brought in 10 or more receptions for 99 or more yards.

Recorded 300 or more total yards on four occasions, which included a career-high 404 total yard game against Wayne State College Sept. 15. In the game against the Wildcats he threw for a career-best 348 yards (24-for-41) and a touchdown and rushed 14 times for 56 yards and a score. Rongstad passed for 228 yards and fourth touchdowns in the season opener against Upper Iowa University and added 58 yards rushing. For his efforts, he earned NSIC Offensive Player of the Week honors. He recorded back-to-back 300-plus yard games and back-to-back 100-plus rushing efforts Oct. 27-Nov. 3. In a victory at St. Cloud State University he posted 226 yards and a score through the air and 115 yards and a career high-water mark three touchdowns. Rongstad followed that with 202 yards and a touchdown passing and 127 yards and the 78-yard score rushing against Minnesota State University Moorhead.

He threw and ran himself into eight BSU single-season record books, including second in total offense per game (268.1 yds/g) and eighth in passing yardage (2,114 passing yards). All-time, Rongstad’s name appears in 15 different top 10 lists at Bemidji State, most notably, first in rushing yards per carry (5.87 yards per rush), fourth in total offensive yards (5,687 offensive yards) and fifth in touchdowns responsible for (48 touchdowns – 26 passing, 21 rushing, 1 receiving). Also, his 21 rushing touchdowns established a new record for career rushing touchdowns by a quarterback, as did his 2,074 rushing yards.

• Syrstad started in place of injured junior Matthew Shaver (St. Cloud, Minn.) against University of Minnesota, Crookston Sept. 29 and went on to start the final seven games of the season in whitch the Beavers posted a 6-1 record. He played in all 11 games and finished the season with 30 tackles (10 solo), tied for fourth on the team with 6.5 tackles for loss (-16 yards) and one fumble recovery. Syrstad racked-up a career-high six tackles (two solo) and a tackle for loss at then-No. 7 University of Minnesota Duluth Oct. 20. A career-high two of his three total tackles at St. Cloud State University Oct. 27 went for loss and pushed the Huskies back nine yards. He recovered his first-career fumble against Northern State University Oct. 13. In the final four games of his career, Syrstad totaled 17 tackles (seven solo) and 3.5 tackles for loss (-10 yards).

For more information on the Bemidji State football program, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BemidjiStateFB or @BSUBeavers), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/bsubeaverfootball or facebook.com/BSUBeavers) or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Mulitmedia" pull down menu on the main page of BSUBeavers.com.

Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).

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