Beaver Football trio selected to Don Hansen All-Super Region Four Team

Beaver Football trio selected to Don Hansen All-Super Region Four Team
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Beaver Football trio selected to Don Hansen All-Super Region Four Team

BROOKFIELD, Ill. -- The Bemidji State University football program continued its standard with four selections of three student-athletes to the 2018 Don Hansen All-Super Region Four Team, which was released Tuesday. Senior defensive back Gunner Olszewski earned two spots on the list, a first-team selection as a safety and a third team selection as a kick return specialist, while senior center Parker Blakeslee and junior offensive guard Nick Niemi each landed on the third team offense.

BSU has now earned four selections to the Don Hansen NCAA DII All-Super Region Four Team each of the last three seasons, the most for the program in a single season since the publication began selecting all-region squads in 2003.

Olszewski, a senior defensive back from Alvin, Texas, was named to the list for the second time in his career after being selected to the second team defense following the 2017 season. Earlier this off-season, he accumulated three All-American awards to tie himself for the most by a BSU football student-athlete in program history. Olszewski was named the 2018 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Defensive Player of the Year while also being named All-NSIC North Division First Team on both defense and special teams. He finished third on BSU with 63 tackles, including 36 solo tackles, and ranked third with three interceptions in nine games played. Olszewski totaled four pass breakups and 1.5 tackles for a loss of seven yards. As a punt return specialist, Olszewski led the NSIC with 269 punt return yards and 16.8 yards per return, which ranked fifth nationally.

Blakeslee, a senior offensive lineman from Claremont, Calif., and Niemi, a junior offensive lineman from Cloquet, Minn., are two of six BSU offensive linemen to be selected to the Don Hansen All-Super Region team since 2015 and two of 11 since the team began in 2003. BSU continued its third season with at least two offensive linemen on the All-NSIC First Team behind the guidance of Blakeslee and Niemi. The Beavers offense ranked third in the NSIC this past season with 38.2 points per game, fourth with 214.7 rushing yards per game and fifth with 393.9 total yards per game. The offensive line also accounted for the sixth fewest sacks in the league.

University of Sioux Falls junior running back Gabriel Watson was named the Don Hansen Super Region Four Offensive Player of the Year, Angelo State University senior defensive end Markus Jones earned Defensive Player of the Year, Texas A&M-Commerce sophomore placekicker Kristov Martinez received Special Teams Player of the Year, Concordia University-St. Paul cornerback Marcus Haskins was selected as Freshman of the Year, and Minnesota State University Moorhead head coach Steve Laqua was tabbed 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 on 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. The first-team and second-team All-Region selections, including Olszewski, advance to a national ballot from which the 2018 Don Hansen NCAA DII All-America team will be selected.

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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).