MITCHELL, S.D. – The Dakota Wesleyan University football team landed 14 players on the 2018 All-Conference Team, it was announced by the Great Plains Athletic Conference on Tuesday.
Leading the way for DWU was senior Trevor Wietzema (Worthington, Minn.) and freshman Daniel Libolt (Chambers, Neb.). Wietzema capped off a historic career with the Tigers as this was his second time being tabbed to the All-GPAC First Team, while being named to the Second Team after his sophomore season.
This season, Wietzema led the Tiger offensive line as the offense ranked 20th in the NAIA in total passing offense with 2,643 passing yards. The offense also averaged 240.3 passing yards per game, which ranked 27th in the nation.
In his first season in a Tiger uniform, Libolt made his presence known being named All-GPAC First Team kick returner and All-GPAC Honorable Mention wide receiver. Libolt ranked second nationally in total kickoff return yards with 598 on the season, and ranked fifth in kickoff return yards per attempt with 27.2 yards. He was named GPAC Special Teams Player of the Week following his performance against Briar Cliff University, where he finished with 166 kickoff return yards and a touchdown on the opening kickoff of the game.
At receiver, Libolt finished the season with 43 catches, 673 yards and seven touchdowns. The Chambers, Neb., native got off to a hot start to the season as he tallied six catches for 150 yards and a touchdown against Dakota State University and six catches for 153 yards and two touchdowns against Presentation College the following week.
The lone player on the All-GPAC Second Team for the offense is sophomore receiver Spencer Neugebauer (Mitchell, S.D.). He led the team with 52 catches for 829 yards and three touchdowns, while averaging 15.9 yards receiving per game. Neugebauer finished the regular season ranked 25th nationally in total receiving yards and 30th in the country in total receptions. He has totaled 1,210 receiving yards, 81 catches and 10 total touchdowns in his two seasons with DWU.
Headlining the defense, Tyler Wagner (Webster, S.D.) and Dillon Rork (Grand Island, Neb.) were named to the All-GPAC Second Team Defense. After leading the team in tackles in his sophomore season, Wagner once again led the Tigers with 92 total tackles on the year. The junior linebacker finished with 48 solo tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks on the season. He recorded a season-high 13 tackles, three tackles for loss and 0.5 sacks against Briar Cliff. Through three seasons, Wagner has amassed 171 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss.
In his final season, Rork tallied 53 total tackles and 27 solo tackles, while notching three sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss. He also notched a career-high two interceptions and a pass breakup. Against Dakota State, Rork recorded a season-high eight tackles and five solo tackles. He concludes his career with DWU with 249 total tackles, 140 solo tackles, 13 sacks, 38 tackles for loss and five interceptions.
Members of the DWU football team that were named Honorable Mention include Jonny Withrow (Kimball, Neb.), Sam Naasz (Winner, S.D.), Dawson Grotjohn (Stewartville, Minn.), Emmanuel Christopher (Sioux Falls, S.D.), Eathen Gualke (Kimball, S.D.), Trey DeCroock (Sioux Falls, S.D.), Mitch Johnson (Mitchell, S.D.) and Luke Loudenburg (Canova, S.D.).
Withrow moved from running back to wide receiver this season and finished third on the team in receiving. He tallied 422 receiving yards on 36 catches for a touchdown, while averaging 52.8 receiving yards per game. Grotjohn was another key piece to the offensive line in just his second season. He found his way into a starting role on the offensive line in his second season as he played in nine games throughout the season.
Naasz contributed to the special teams as the punter and also on defense at linebacker. At the punter position, he averaged 38.5 yards per punt and 2,197 total punt yards. His longest punt of the season came against Midland University with a 60-yard punt. He also finished the season with 33 total tackles, eight tackles for loss and a sack on defense.
Christopher played in all 11 games this season as he finished with 44 total tackles, 18 solo tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. Gaulke concluded his junior season third on the team with 76 total tackles and 42 solo tackles. He also notched 9.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. He has totaled 113 total tackles, 22 tackles for loss and 13 sacks in his career.
In his final season, DeCroock finished with 48 total tackles, 26 solo tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions. In his career, DeCroock finished with 177 total tackles and four interceptions. Joining him in the defensive backfield was Johnson who notched 59 total tackles and 29 solo tackles. He also recorded 2.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and two interceptions.
Rounding out the All-Conference Team is junior running back Loudenburg. He finished the season with 865 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, while averaging 78.6 yards per game. With a season remaining, Loudenburg has collected 1,988 rushing yards, 19 touchdowns and 432 receiving yards.