The Mound Westonka High School football team celebrated another memorable season at an awards banquet on November 19th at Gale Woods Farm.
Head coach Nick David opened the banquet by saying, “I am very proud of and thankful to all of the players, coaches, water boys, student managers, cheerleaders, parents, fans, game workers, and all the others that helped make the 2023 Mound Westonka White Hawks football season a memorable one.”
The varsity team finished 7-2 this year and were the Skyway Bronze Subdistrict Runner-Ups. “It was truly a season to remember with several games that had our fans at the edges of their seats during the entirety of the game,” David said. “The passion and emotion that this team played with was second to none.”
Coach David took time at the banquet to recognize his fellow varsity coaches: Mike Wallace, Jared Chapman, Brian Ibs, Doug Runke, Kyle Ague, Brandon Brakstad, Greg Sullivan, Jack Parker, Greg Kimbrough, Kurt Bowe, Colin Charlson, Mike Schwartz, and Zack Nauert. He also recognized the seventh- and eighth-grade coaching staff of Eric Rodelius, John Wardlow, Travis Swendseid, and Jimmy Kleinsasser, as well as the Westonka Youth Football coaches.
“These coaches did a terrific job of preparing our team for game days and getting our players to understand that there is so much more to football in what it can teach you than just the X’s and O’s,” David said. He also gave special thanks to his wife, Melissa, and the entire “Coaches’ Wives Club.”
White Hawks Earn Skyway All-District Honors
White Hawks student-athletes received several Skyway District Football awards. Seniors Mikey Oftedahl (OL/DL), and juniors Ray Beiningen (RB), Cole Drill (QB), Carter Kleinsasser (TE/LB), and Dylan Sloan (DL) earned All-District honors for their performance on the gridiron this season. Seven other players—Seniors Connor Esposito (OL), Jaaron Konkel (H-Back/LB), Owen McCue (H-Back/DB), Drake Woodruff (OL/DL), and juniors JT Kimbrough (WR/DB), Max Kraay (WR), and John Seemann (OL/DL)—were All-District Honorable Mention selections. Mikey Oftedahl was also selected as the Skyway Bronze Subdistrict Most Valuable Offensive Lineman and Cole Drill was selected as the Skyway Bronze Subdistrict Most Valuable Quarterback.
Pride On Display
In addition to stats recorded under the Friday night lights, the players’ efforts off the field were given equal recognition at the banquet. Individual players were recognized by their coaches for their efforts in practice and in the weight room, for volunteering with the youth football program, and for being positive role models in the community.
Senior Jaaron Konkel was selected to the Individual Class 4A Academic All-State Football Team. He carries a 3.99 cumulative GPA and excelled on the football field this past season.
Senior Drake Woodruff was named to the All-District “Why We Play” Team for exhibiting the following qualities: true love for football; commitment and loyalty to school, team, and community; willingness to sacrifice for the team; integrity; courage of convictions; goal-oriented approach; sharp focus and strong competitive drive; excellent work ethic; willingness to accept challenges; mental toughness; strong football skills; and strong leadership.
The Lifter of the Year Awards, which recognizes hard work in the weight room, went to freshmen Owen Dillon and Anders Mjelstad, sophomores Dawson Leinfelder and Phillip Pisarchuk, juniors Dylan Holappa and Cole Munsterteiger, and seniors Morgan Nester and Mikey Oftedahl. Senior Owen McCue earned the Iron Man Award for the second year in a row.
Among the multiple team awards given out by coaches at the banquet was the White Hawks PRIDE Award. The PRIDE Award is given to the White Hawks Football player who has most exemplified the concept of team, and who, through the behind the scenes dedication, effort, and caring for his teammates, has provided the glue that binds them as one. This player plays with the most Purpose, built strong Relationships, Improved Daily, showed Discipline, and consistently displayed high Effort and Energy throughout the season. This year’s award went to Mikey Oftedahl. “It is players like him why guys like me coach the game of football,” said Coach David.
Junior Running Back Ray Beiningen was chosen as the 2023 MVP, “We couldn’t have asked for much more out of Ray this season on the offensive side of the ball as he had a record setting year at Running Back and was among the leaders in the state in several categories. Ray was first on our team in scoring, first on our team in rushing attempts and yards, and just put up some absolute gaudy stats every week. Ray’s physical style of running helped us be able to do some things on offense that we have never been capable of doing in the past. We are extremely excited that we have Ray back for one more season,” said Coach David.
New Leaders Chosen
The team had 17 seniors who played and managed their final season of White Hawks football this year. This year’s senior class helped win 26 varsity games during their four years and have set a precedent for what is expected out of our White Hawks Football program for years to come!
The coaches gave special recognition to graduating seniors - Axel Anderson, Jack Butler, team manager Andy Ensrud, team captain Connor Esposito, Sam Gaylord, team manager Adika Higgins, Logan Henslin, Jack Hulzebos, team captain Jaaron Konkel, team captain Owen McCue, Jack Nelson, Morgan Nester, team captain Mikey Oftedahl, Isaac Paul, Devon Raskie, team captain Carter Reinbold, and team captain Drake Woodruff.
“I cannot say enough great things about these seniors or thank them enough for their contributions these past four years,” David said of the 2023 senior class.
Next year’s team captains will be announced before winter break as the White Hawks Football program adopted a new, more rigorous process for selecting captains a few years ago. The White Hawks also have ten underclassmen that will be a part of the Leadership Council next year: Sophomores: Andrew Hoisington, Dawson Leinfelder, Cade Newell, Phillip Pisarchuk, and Brandt Tebbs and Freshmen: Owen Dillon, Levi Hays, Carter Holappa, Anders Mjelstad, and Blake Reinbold.
“We will look to these ten players as well as our newly elected team captains to lead us as we continue on with the process of building a section and state championship football program here at Mound Westonka,” said David.
2023 Skyway All-District Selections
2023 Skyway Honorable Mention All-District Selections