FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – June 27, 2023 – Minnesota Football Honors and the Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation are pleased to announce this year’s eight Scholar-Athlete Award winners – Ryan Retzer (Belle Plaine High School), Ethan Klimek (Nevis High School), Mason Bauer (Monticello High School), Tate Inniger (Barnesville High School), Rhett Mundt (Deer River High School), Alex Weiss (Becker High School), Nathan Lahr (Sauk Centre High School) and Cole Schminski (Concordia Academy).
“We couldn’t be more excited about the class of Scholar-Athletes that we are honoring this year,” said Todd Fultz, President of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation. “This group of Scholar-Athletes has made an impressive and outstanding impact on the field, in the classroom and within the community. We look forward to following their future journeys and honoring them during this year’s Minnesota Football Honors broadcast.”
The Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation’s annual Scholar-Athlete Award honors Minnesota high school football players for their outstanding athletic, academic and community service accomplishments. All eight players from across the state will be recognized during this summer’s Minnesota Football Honors television broadcast. An official airing time will be announced at a later date on www.minnesotafootballhonors.com.
To view a statewide map of past and present Minnesota Football Honors Award Winners, visit this site.
Here are biographies for each of the Scholar-Athlete award winners:
Ryan Retzer - Belle Plaine High School
Center Ryan Retzer became a key player and leader within Belle Plaine High School’s football program. Retzer, a two-time All-District selection, earned District Lineman of the Year honors in 2022. The star center also played in the Minnesota High School Football All-Star game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Retzer’s excellence extended into the classroom as well. He finished his high school career with a 3.99 GPA and was named an Academic All-State selection. In the Belle Plaine area, Retzer assisted with youth sports camps and Minnesota Honor Society service projects.
Quote from Belle Plaine head coach Dave Frisell: “Ryan Retzer is one of the most hard working, dedicated, and conscientious young men I have had the chance to coach in my 28-year career. He excels in school, on the football field, in his other sports at Belle Plaine, and as a valuable member of the community.”
Ethan Klimek - Nevis High School
Quarterback Ethan Klimek positively influenced every aspect of Nevis High School’s football program. Klimek, a 2022 nine-man All-State selection and team captain, completed 83 of his 135 attempts for 1,568 yards and 20 touchdowns. In addition, Ethan accumulated 44 carries for 262 yards and three rushing scores during the 2022 season. Klimek even made a mark on special teams, kicking 36 extra points and a 33-yard field goal. In the classroom, Klimek posted a 3.99 GPA and was named an Academic All-State selection. He also impacted the local community by volunteering at church activities and youth sports events.
Quote from Nevis High School assistant coach Larry Frank: “Ethan Klimek has proven that he can compete in the classroom, community and on the field. He will continue to compete next year on the field and in the classroom as he heads to college. Ethan is a fun student-athlete that I will miss next year.”
Mason Bauer - Monticello High School
Monticello High School defensive lineman Mason Bauer influenced games in the trenches. Bauer, a two-year starter, consistently used his lateral agility and quickness to make plays in the backfield. He most recently earned All-District Honorable Mention honors for his performance on the field. Not to mention, Bauer shined academically during his high school career. He finished with a 3.97 GPA and was recognized as a four-time Academic All-Conference selection, AAA Award winner and National Honor Society member. In the community, Bauer attended mission trips, volunteered with Feed My Starving Children and coached kids in youth sports programs.
Quote from Monticello head coach Andy Pierskalla: “Mason Bauer has an infectious personality that both his peers and adults cling to. His calm persona in times of peril has been a blessing to our defensive unit. Mason is selfless as to put his teammates before himself. He truly wants to see others succeed. His large smile complements his attributes as a leader and he wears that grin often around the halls of the school.”
Tate Inniger - Barnesville High School
Barnesville High School tight end Tate Inniger is known for his leadership on and off the field. Inniger, a 2022 All-District selection, made a major impact in Barnesville’s offense. During the state finals, Inniger grabbed three receiving touchdowns and added another on the ground. Tate also received the Best Teammate Award at the State Championship. Tate shined in the classroom too, posting a 3.93 GPA and earning District All-Academic honors. Within the community, Inniger served as a vacation bible school teacher and youth football coach. He also assisted local families in need by shopping and wrapping gifts.
Quote from Barnesville head coach Bryan Strand: “Tate Inniger has been raised to put others first and to treat people the way he would want to be treated. He has done this and so much more over his short 18 years. Tate is an easy man to like and admire. He is going to do great things after high school simply because of his work ethic and how he approaches each and every day.”
Rhett Mundt - Deer River High School
Deer River High School tight end/linebacker Rhett Mundt became one of the most impactful players in his district. Mundt, the team’s leading receiver and tackler, was named Conference Defensive Player of the Year and a Northeast District All-Conference selection. Rhett also led his team to four state tournament appearances while accumulating a 39-5 career record. In the classroom, he posted a 4.09 GPA and received recognition as an Academic All-State selection. Mundt was also elected to both the National and Minnesota Honor Societies. Within the community, Mundt volunteered with the Wounded Warrior Project and local youth sports programs.
Quote from Deer River head coach Brent Schimek: “I have been fortunate to have Rhett Mundt as a student-athlete at Deer River High School for the past six years. Rhett is a perfect example of a student-athlete. He has been a multi-sport three-season athlete and has been involved in various activities since seventh grade. He is a great young man and his character is beyond reproach.”
Alex Weiss - Becker High School
Wide receiver/defensive back Alex Weiss was a dynamic playmaker for Becker High School. Weiss, a senior captain, grabbed 90 receptions for 1,167 yards and 13 touchdowns. As a result of his outstanding play, Alex finished his two-year varsity career with a 19-3 record and was named a two-time All-District team selection. Weiss’ excellence extended into the classroom and community too. He accumulated a 4.0 GPA while earning AAA and Excel Awards. Additionally, Weiss volunteered at youth football youth sports camps and the community cleanup day.
Quote from Becker head coach Dwight Lundeen: “I have coached many student-athletes in my 53 years at Becker High School. What impresses and amazes me most is the fact that Alex Weiss has been able to maintain a high level of excellence in the classroom while being very involved in extracurricular and community activities. Whatever Alex chooses to do, he does it with excellence and commitment.”
Nathan Lahr - Sauk Centre High School
Nathan Lahr’s versatility made a huge mark on Sauk Centre High School’s program. Lahr not only started at linebacker, but played multiple positions on offense, including tight end, wide receiver and h-back. Nathan was also prominently featured within the program’s special teams coverage and return units. During his senior season, Lahr was named a team captain and First Team All-Section selection. He also finished his high school career with a 3.99 GPA while taking rigorous courses. Within the community, Lahr volunteered at church activities and served as youth coach.
Quote from Sauk Centre head coach Charlie Warring: “Nathan has never been the type of student-athlete who would settle for less than he was potentially capable of achieving. He has always worked very hard to achieve excellence both in the classroom and the area of extracurricular activities. He is a student who shows respect for the adults in our school, his peers, and himself.”
Cole Schminski - Concordia Academy
Concordia Academy offensive and defensive lineman Cole Schminski made his presence known up front. Schminski, a team captain, started along the offensive line and became a key special teams player. During the 2022 season, Cole earned All-District honors for his outstanding play. Schminski also finished high school with a 4.17 GPA and was named to the National Honor Society. In the community, Cole coordinated the Tackle Cancer car wash fundraiser, served as a teacher assistant, volunteered at youth sports camps and led Bible study.
Quote from Concordia Academy head coach Robert J. Wolf: “Cole has a great attitude in everything that is asked of him. He goes out of his way to do everything the right way and to the best of his ability. He is willing to play different positions on the field to help the team to succeed. He is a gifted student athlete with a servant’s heart and great work ethic that will take him far in life.”
Minnesota Football Honors is hosting a show to honor this year’s high school, college and Minnesota Vikings award winners. An official broadcast date will be announced at a later date on www.minnesotafootballhonors.com.
About the Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation:
The Minnesota Chapter of The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame is a local nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote amateur football’s ability to develop leadership, sportsmanship, competitive spirit and academic excellence in Minnesota’s young people. The Minnesota Chapter recognizes legendary football icons, college football Hall of Famers and Minnesota’s top high school and college football scholar athletes. For more information, visit www.nffmn.org, or Facebook (@MNFootballHonors) and Twitter (@NFFMN).
Todd Fultz, President - MN Chapter of the National Football Foundation
Daniel House, Director of Media Relations and Content
MN Chapter of The National Football Foundation
Tag(s): 2017 Event