PITTSBURG, Kan. – Bemidji State University seniors Zach Pulkinen (K/P, Minot, N.D.) and Avery Walker (RB, Milwaukee, Wis.) were named Don Hansen All-Super Region Three, in an announcement by the Don Hansen Football Committee Dec. 13. Pulkinen was named second team defense, while Walker earned third team offense honors. The pair becomes the 18th and 19th BSU student-athletes to be named all-region by Don Hansen since 2003.
Last season Cory Crosby (ILB) and Brett DeLange (C) were named all-region third team by the publication. Pulkinen became the first player to earn first or second team recognition since Jake Anderson (LB) was named first team in 2009. At least one Bemidji State student-athlete has earned an all-region nod from Don Hansen in every season since 2006.
The first and second team all-region selections advance to a national ballot from which the 2013 Don Hansen NCAA Division II All-America team will be named in January.
In 2013, Pulkinen has been named Daktronics Super Region #3 First Team Defense and earned All-NSIC North Division First Team Special Teams honors as a punter. He was also named the All-NSIC North Division Second Team kicker.
The senior completed his second season as the full-time punter with a 42.5 yards per punt average that set the new record for Bemidji State punting average, ranked second in the NSIC and 14th nationally at the conclusion of the regular season. The previous record at BSU was 41.8 yards per punt set by Rick Van Roekel in 1977. Pulkinen totaled 2,802 yards on 66 punts to rank second all-time at BSU in total punt yards, which led the league in 2013. His 66 punts stands tied for seventh at BSU on the single season list.
He totaled 16 punts of 50 yards or more, which included two punts that traveled 70 or more yards. His 73-yard punt ranks tied for second longest in the NSIC and tied for 11th nationally. Pulkinen placed 15 punts inside the 20-yard line.
Pulkinen was named All-NSIC Second Team for his kicking abilities. He totaled 37 points after going 22-for-24 on point after attempts and 5-for-13 on field goals. His long field goal went for a career-high 40 yards. The former collegiate soccer player recorded 43 kickoffs and totaled 2,606 yards to average 60.6 yards per kick. He posted nine touchbacks.
Pulkinen closed his career with 134 points to finish fourth all-time at BSU in points scored kicking. He went 86-for-97 on point after attempts to rank third all-time on the school’s career point after attempts made. Finally his 16 career field goals (16-of-32) finished third in the history of the Beaver football program.
Walker was named All-NSIC North Division First Team Offense for his first-career league honor. Walker totaled 1,314 rushing yards to average 119.5 yards per game, which finished third in the NSIC. His rushing total was good for 14th in the nation at the conclusion of the regular season. He totaled 263 attempts to average 5.0 yards per game and recorded nine touchdowns. Walker added 189 receiving yards to finish fifth in the NSIC in all-purpose yards with 1,503 (136.6 ypg).
The senior recorded six 100-yard games and four 150-yard games in 2013, which included a 265-yard performance at University of Minnesota Crookston Oct. 5. The mark ranks fourth on BSU’s single-game list and sits 12th this season in NCAA Division II. He carried the ball 46 times against UMC, the most in a game by a BSU running back since 2003 and the second-most in Division II this season. Walker posted four touchdowns in the season finale at Minot State University (Nov. 16) to become the first Beaver to record four touchdowns in a game since 2006.
His 1,314 yards in 2013 ranks sixth all-time at BSU in single-season rushing yards. Walker averaged 119.5 yards per game to mark the 10th time a BSU player has finished a season with 100 or more yards per game since 1971. His total ranks eighth in that same time period. Walker finished his career with 1,586 career yards to rank ninth all-time at Bemidji State. The 1,503 all-purpose yardage is good for ninth on the school’s single-season list
Henderson State’s Kelvin Rodgers was named the Don Hanson Super Region Three Offensive Player of the Year while Northwest Missouri State’s Matt Longacre was selected as the Don Hanson Super Region Three Defensive Player of the Year. Pittsburg State return specialist John Brown garnered Don Hanson Super Region Three Special Teams Player of the Year honors for a second straight year, while Arkansas-Monticello placekicker Jamie McGee received Don Hanson Super Region Three Freshman of the Year recognition. NW Missouri State head coach Adam Dorrel, who has guided the Bearcats to a 14-0 record and a berth in the NCAA Division II national title game was named the Don Hanson Super Region Three Coach of the Year.
The Don Hansen team carries out the legacy of long-time small college football advocate Don Hansen, who passed away at age 75 Aug. 29, 2010. Hansen, from Brookfield, Ill., started and published Don Hansen’s National Weekly Football Gazette for three decades, selecting NCAA Division II All-America teams for the first time in 1988. Don Hansen’s Football Gazette began selecting Division II All-Region squads in 2003.
Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association champion Northwest Missouri State University led the way with nine honorees, while MIAA member Pittsburg State University had eight honorees. Great American Conference champion Henderson State University and Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference champion Minnesota State University, Mankato received seven selections apiece.
A total of 110 players earned some form of Don Hansen All-Super Region Three honors. Players from 38 of the 47 football-playing schools in Super Region Three earned all-region accolades.
Under the guidance of 18-year head coach Jeff Tesch, the Beavers (3-8 overall, 1-6 NSIC North in 2013) have posted a winning record in 14 of the last 16 seasons, which includes a conference championship in 2006 and a share of the NSIC North Division Championship in 2012. Nine student-athletes were named All-NSIC in 2013.
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).