The Free Press
MANKATO — Minnesota State football coach Todd Hoffner has been named the American Football Coaches Association coach of the year for Region 5.
The AFCA recognizes five regional coaches in each of the Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III and NAIA.
This is the third time that Hoffner has been named the region coach of the year He also received the honor in 2014 and 2018. Hoffner has led Minnesota State to its third consecutive Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference championship and their fourth appearance in the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament.
His record in 10 seasons is 105-21, including 39-2 in the last three seasons.
The AFCA will announce the national winners for all divisions on Jan. 14.
Minnesota State takes on Slippery Rock in the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania.
Goettl, Zylstra cited
Minnesota State senior football players Alex Goettl and Shane Zylstra have both received CoSIDA Academic All-American honors for the second time in their careers.
To be eligible for the CoSIDA Academic All-American Teams, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative grade-point average of 3.30 or higher on a scale of 4.00, and have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at their respected institution.
Zylstra has been named to the CoSIDA Academic All-American first team, while Goettl has been named to the second team. Goettl and Zylstra represent the eighth and ninth Mavericks in program history who have received two CoSIDA Academic All-American honors.
Zylstra leads the Mavericks receivers with 66 catches for 1,379 yards and 15 touchdown catches. His 1,379 receiving yards are the most in a season in team history, and his 15 touchdowns match the team’s single season record.
Zylstra is MSU’s all-time leader in receiving yards (4,000) and touchdown catches (51). He also ranks second in career catches at MSU with 212.
He owns a 3.44 GPA in biomedical sciences.
Goettl, a linebacker, 42 tackles, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries this season. He returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown in Saturday’s playoff victory against Texas A&M Commerce.
Goettl was a finalist for the William V. Campbell Award with a 3.93 GPA in biology.
Minnesota State senior volleyball player Ashton Lee has been named to the CoSIDA Academic All-American third team for her performance in the classroom and on the court.
Lee, a middle blocker, recorded the second-most blocks for the Mavericks this season with 66, while adding 136 kills, the fourth most on the team, with a .324 attack percentage. During her career, Lee had 438 kills and 214 blocks.
Lee is majoring in communications disorders and boasts a 4.0 GPA.
Hoops recruit signs
Zumbrota-Mazeppa’s Ali Hunstad, a 6-foot-0 wing signed with the Minnesota State women’s basketball team, coach Emilee Thiesse announced on Tuesday.
Hunstad averaged 18.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists during her junior season. A varsity player since her eighth-grade year, she also reached the 1,000-point milestone that season and holds school rcords for points in a season (508) and 3-pointers made in a season (65).
She is the daughter of Minnesota State alumni Dan and Angie Hunstad. Dan Hunstad played football for the Mavericks from 1988 to 1991.
Hunstad joins three recruits who signed in November: Emily Russo of New Prague; Taylor Theusch of Fountain City, Wisconsin; and Grace Mueller of Mequon, Wisconsin.