Four Gusties Named MIAC Football First Team All-Conference

Posted on November 20th, 2018 by

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference released its football postseason awards Tuesday and four Gustavus student-athletes were named First Team All-Conference – Matt Berkner (Sr., Sleepy Eye, Minn.), Brayton Finch (Jr., Mount Morris, Ill.), Brice Panning (Jr., Hamburg, Minn.), and Michael Veldman (Jr., Becker, Minn.).

Matt Berkner

Michael Veldman

Second Team honors went to Jordan Kahlow (Sr., Le Sueur, Minn.), Brady Miller (Sr., Delano, Minn.), and Blake Sikes (Jr., Valrico, Fla.). Dutch Claybaugh (Sr., Kaneohe, Hawaii), Zeke Erickson (Jr., Clarks Grove, Minn.), and Josh Kirk (Jr., Garvin, Minn.) were named honorable mention.

Berkner, a senior captain, led the Gustie defense all season as an inside linebacker. Berkner started all 10 games, amassing a team-high 75 tackles (18 solo) with 6.0 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, three passes broken up, and three passes defended. The Sleepy Eye product finished his career having played in 39 of 40 possible games with 192 total tackles.

Finch makes the First Team as the league’s top tight end, accumulating 533 all-purpose yards. Finch rushed 47 times for 171 yards and three touchdowns, and caught 39 passes for 362 yards and five touchdowns. He also served as the team’s punter with 43 boots, averaging 33.2 yards per punt, a long of 64, and 11 inside the 20-yard line.

Brayton Finch

Brice Panning

Panning proved to be the Gusties’ big-play receiver all season with a team-high 48 catches for 992 yards and three touchdowns. Panning’s 992 receiving yards are the fifth most in a single season in Gustavus history, while his 20.7 yards per reception is the sixth highest mark in a single season in program history. Panning was twice named MIAC Player of the Week, first on Oct. 15 after recording 120 all-purpose yards at Hamline, including a 58-yard punt return touchdown. His second MIAC Weekly honor came after posting a career-high 158 receiving yards against St. Thomas on Nov. 3.

Veldman was the MIAC’s second best quarterback this season with his numbers only trailing MIAC Player of the Year Jackson Erdmann. Veldman completed 195-of-335 passes (58.2 percent) for 2,615 yards (fifth most in program history), 19 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. He averaged 261.5 yards per game with a 137.1 quarterback efficiency. The Becker product was named MIAC Player of the Week after passing for 417 yards and accounting for five touchdowns at Carleton on Oct. 27. Veldman, with one season of eligibility remaining, has already proven himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the 102-season history of Gustavus football. He ranks second in career completion percentage (61.2), seventh in career passing yards (4,896), eighth in career touchdown passes (39), and eighth in career completions (365).

Kahlow earns Second Team honors after posting a team-best 27 solo tackles (44 total) along with 1.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions, four passes broken up, and seven passes defended. Miller was also a strong defensive back with 51 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions, two passes broken up, six passes defended, and one fumble recovery. Sikes joins the Second Team after blocking for an offense that averaged 358.7 yards of total offense per game, which included 265.1 yards through the air and 93.6 yards on the ground.

As part of a conference-wide sportsmanship initiative, the MIAC also announced the 13th annual All-MIAC Sportsmanship team for football. Members of the All-MIAC Sportsmanship team are selected by their coaches and teammates as individuals who demonstrate ideals of positive sportsmanship both on and off the field of competition. Gustavus’s representative is Tommy Jech (Sr., Chatfield, Minn.).

MIAC Release



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