Calls From Home: Sutherland named NSIC player of the week

'Calls From Home' is an occasional feature highlighting alumni from local high school athletic programs competing in college athletics or junior hockey outside the Northland.

112322.S.BP.BSUMBBALL John Sutherland.jpg
Bemidji State junior John Sutherland (23) drives past a defender during the second half against Minnesota Morris on Nov. 18 at the BSU Gymnasium in Bemidji.
Maggi Fellerman / Forum News Service
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John Sutherland (Grand Rapids) was named Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference North Division player of the week on Monday.

The junior forward had 23, 21 and 26 points in a three-game week for the Beavers, at Concordia-St. Paul (nonconference) and vs. both Oak Hills Christian and Minnesota Morris.

Sutherland, the 2020 News Tribune All-Area Player of the Year, is averaging 18.5 points and 8.5 rebounds for the Beavers, who are 5-1 after winning their NSIC opener on Tuesday vs. Minnesota Crookston.

Calls From Home

Calls From Home is an occasional feature that will highlight alumni from local high school athletic programs who are now competing in junior hockey or intercollegiate athletics outside the Northland. If you're aware of a local athlete who should be added to our list, please email with the subject "Calls From Home." A hockey-specific edition of Calls From Home is scheduled for next week.

  • Mason Ackley (Superior) has averaged 12.3 points through four games of his junior season at Bethany Lutheran in Mankato. He had a double-double of 17 points and 10 boards in the season opener at Milwaukee School of Engineering on Nov. 11 and nearly repeated the feat on Nov. 18 vs. Fontbonne, posting 14 points and nine rebounds.

Teammate Xavier Patterson (Superior) has averaged six points and four boards in a reserve role for the Vikings, who were 4-0 going into a game vs. Central College on Tuesday. Both Spartans alumni are in their junior seasons.


  • Monte Mayberry has already seen playing time as a freshman for Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee.

The Northwestern alum had eight points and five boards in an exhibition loss at Division I Milwaukee on Nov. 12 and has played at least 10 minutes in four of his team’s five games thus far.

  • Tre Holmes (Hibbing) has played in four games this season for Iowa Lakes Community College, scoring 15 points in 14 minutes in a win vs. Rock Valley in which he was 4-for-6 from 3-point land.
  • Ethan Youso (Virginia) scored the first two points of his junior season at St. John’s in a Nov. 19 MIAC win at St. Olaf. He’s played in 16 collegiate games over the last two seasons.


NCAA WBB: Utah Utes vs. Oklahoma Sooners
Gianna Kneepkens drives to the basket for two during a Nov. 16 home win over Oklahoma at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Kneepkens is averaging 14.8 points per game as a sophomore for the No. 19-ranked Utes.
Contributed / Utah Athletics

Gianna Kneepkens (Duluth Marshall) has heated up after a slow (for her) start, scoring 24 and 21 points for Utah in wins over Oklahoma and Alabama on Nov. 16 and 21. The Oklahoma game was a 124-78 demolition of the then-No. 16 ranked Sooners. Kneepkens has started every game for the Utes, who are 6-0 and now ranked No. 19 in the country. She's averaging 14.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists.

  • Heaven Hamling (Grand Rapids) continues to be a core starter for North Dakota State. Through three games, the senior is averaging 16 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists.

  • Natalie Mikrot (Moose Lake/Willow River) started her first two collegiate games and has been getting regular minutes as a true freshman at Minnesota Crookston, averaging 7.3 points in 20 minutes per game for the Golden Eagles.

  • Lexiss Trygg (Virginia) had 10 points in seven minutes for Bethany Lutheran in a Nov. 9 win vs. Carleton.

  • Ava Butler (Mountain Iron-Buhl) has a total of nine points and seven rebounds in four games for NAIA Mayville (North Dakota) State.

  • Allie Negen (Mountain Iron-Buhl) has played in seven games for Valley City State in North Dakota, averaging 6.3 points and 2.9 rebounds, both career highs.

  • Paris FierkeLepp (South Ridge) scored her first collegiate basket on Nov. 17 for Minnesota Morris in a loss at St. Olaf.

  • Maddie Young (Cloquet) made her collegiate debut for St. Catherine on Nov. 19, posting five points and four rebounds in a 56-43 loss at Hamline.


Spencer Wehr (Cloquet), a junior linebacker, made a significant contribution to the Bemidji State football team’s defense, accumulating 37 solo tackles and 25 assists through 12 games with the Beavers still due to play on Saturday in the second round of the NCAA playoffs at No. 2 Angelo (Texas) State.

Wehr had an interception on Oct. 15 at Minnesota State Moorhead and has broken up four passes.

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Bemidji State sophomore and Superior native Jarrett Gronski (25) scores a touchdown during the second quarter vs. Minnesota Duluth on Saturday, Oct. 22 in Bemidji.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Jarrett Gronski (Superior) has run for 455 yards on 103 carries in his sophomore season. His season high came close to home, with 90 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries Oct. 22 vs. Minnesota Duluth.

Gronski has scored a total of six touchdowns this season.

  • Offensive lineman Dylan Lauer (Cloquet) was named a team captain for Southwest Minnesota State for the 2022 season. Lauer played in all 11 games for SMSU, which went 4-7.
  • Nathan Wangensteen (Chisholm) was the starting kicker for Augsburg’s football team. He made 34 of 38 PATs, including 6-of-6 in back to back games at Macalester and Hamline and 22 of his last 23 attempts of the season.

Wangensteen made seven of nine field-goal attempts, including three Sept. 24 vs. St. Scholastica, and had a season long of 42 yards (Sept. 17 at Martin Luther).

  • Greg Ohman jumped right in at linebacker for Minnesota Morris, posting 18 solo tackles and 17 assists in his freshman season. The Northwestern product had two sacks and two pass breakups.
  • Connery Wiecks (Duluth East) played in three games as a freshman at St. Olaf, recording his first collegiate catch on Sept. 3 at Central (Iowa) for 10 yards.
  • Eli Werner (Moose Lake/Willow River) returned five kickoffs for 80 yards for Northwestern (St. Paul) in early-season games vs. Augsburg and Wisconsin-River Falls. He had four returns for 60 yards on the Augsburg game on Sept. 3. He played in six games this season for the Eagles.
  • Dawson Kriske (Northwestern) handled kickoffs in his freshman season at Wisconsin-River Falls, hitting 20 of his 73 attempts for touchbacks and averaging 59.2 yards per attempt.
  • Gervase Thompson (Northwestern) was given honorable mention in the all-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football team for Wisconsin-Stout.

Thompson, a junior linebacker, was second on the Blue Devils with 58 tackles, and had six tackles for loss, three sacks and a forced fumble.
Carter Fonger (Superior) had 259 yards on 22 carries for the Blue Devils. He scored five touchdowns, including three in one quarter of a monster game vs. Wisconsin-Eau Claire in which he had 150 yards on six attempts. He scored from 4, 55 and 67 yards out in the 73-29 win.



Payton Rodberg (Proctor) made an immediate impact for Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania, starting 18 of 26 matches as a true freshman for the Division II Griffins.

Rodberg was third on the team in kills with 182, second with 2.07 per set. She had a run of five straight matches with double-digit kills, including 14 and a .353 hitting percentage in a match Sept. 3 vs. West Liberty.

  • Kirstin Cotter (Duluth East) went out with a bang during her senior season on the Bethel volleyball team, as she led her team with 368 kills for an average of 3.79 per set.

Cotter also had 209 digs (2.15 per set) and had a hand in 59 blocks (six solo).

  • Destiny Hering (Superior) had 171 kills in 19 matches for Vermilion Community College, including a .341 hitting percentage. Her best match of the season was a 17-kill effort in a 3-0 sweep of Hibbing CC on Oct. 19.
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