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BEAVERS: Six athletes sign with BSU teams during spring period

BEMIDJI -- The NCAA's spring signing period began Wednesday, and three BSU teams received commitments from athletes around the country to come play in Bemidji for the 2014-15 school year.

The BSU women's basketball, men's golf and volleyball teams each had commitments from two athletes who signed their National Letters of Intent. Senior athletes in many sports -- everything besides football, soccer, field hockey, cross country, track and field and water polo -- can sign anytime between Wednesday and Aug. 1.


The BSU volleyball team announced two additions to the 2014 class Thursday, signing outside hitter Angela Gareri of Grand Rapids and setter Jordyn Koehn of Mukwonago, Wis., to NLI's.

BSU head coach Wayne Chadwick said in a press release he thinks both could play early.

"I think both players have the potential to be solid players for us," Chadwick said. "Also I think both will push for playing time as true freshman."

Gareri, a 6-2 outside hitter, played a Grand Rapids High School and was a three-year starter for the Thunderhawks. She had 244 kills during her senior campaign, while leading the Thunderhawks to a 29-4 record and a berth into the state tournament. Gareri also played on the Bemidji Black Ice club team that coached by Chadwick.

"Angela is a relatively local kid from Grand Rapids, which I feel is always a good thing," Chadwick said. "She is 6-2 and left handed, so she will play right side hitter for us. Angela is a kid that instantly brings size to that side of the court we have not had the past few seasons."

Koehn joins the Beavers after four years as starting setter at Mukonago High School's. She was named First Team All-Classic 8 Conference as a senior and received honorable mention honors as a junior in the Classic 8 conference. Koehn helped lead the Indians to the state finals as a senior. She also played on the very successful Milwaukee Sting club team.

Women's basketball

The BSU basketball team also announced two NLI signings Thursday, as guards Afton Kuehndorf and Mikayla Larson will play for the Beavers beginning in 2014-15 season.

Kuehndorf and Larson make three total players to sign NLIs for next season, joining Mountain Iron forward Allie Knuti, who signed during the early period in November.

Kuehndorf, of Barron, Wis., averaged 12.8 points per game as a senior at Barron High School and was a First-Team All-Heart O'North Conference member as a senior and junior.

BSU head coach Mike Curfman said in a press release that Kuehndorf is an athlete who can score in many ways.

"With the addition of Afton we are adding someone who is very athletic," Curfman said. "She can score in multiple ways, including from the 3-point line and is a very strong defender on the perimeter. One of the reasons she is fundamentally sound is because of her time in coach Jim Bartlett's program and we look forward to having her be a part of our program at Bemidji State."

Also signed Thursday was Larson, a Des Moines, Iowa, native who had 13.9 points and 8.8 rebounds a game this past season for Hoover High School.

She was named to the 2013-14 Iowa Newspaper Association Class 4A All-State Third Team and finished tied for sixth in Class 4A in rebounding and 14th in scoring, which was good for second in each category in Central Iowa Metro League.

"Mikayla is someone we are very excited about because she can be a difference maker on both ends of the floor," Curfman said. "She is a very athletic guard that is going to help us create mismatches on the offensive end because of her many ways to score, which includes driving to the basket and 3-point shooting. With her length on the perimeter, we believe she can help us to deflect passes and get steals on the defensive end."

Men's golf

In addition to volleyball and basketball the BSU men's golf team also announced two signings for 2014-15. Samuel Otto of Hastings and Trevor Martensson of Calgary will join the Beavers next season along with Jeffrey Shermoen of International Falls, who signed during the NCAA's early signing period in November.

"I am quite confident in our roster for next year," BSU head coach Ekren Miller said in a press release. "I like the group of guys we have and we've got really good team chemistry. I am excited to see how these guys fit in and play together."

Otto qualified for the Class 3A state tournament in 2013 and helped Hastings finish fourth as a team. He tied for 17th individually and was named all-state last season.

"Sam is an accomplished high school player. He finished 17th at the state tournament last year. I followed him for nine holes, so I know he is a good player and can play well under pressure," Miller said. "Sam is an example of the guy who was waiting for a Division I offer, but decided to come here, play Division II and have a chance to contribute right away."

Martensson, a 2013 graduate of Bishop Carroll High School in Calgary, Alberta, has been active on the Canadian Junior Golf circuit as he prepared for collegiate golf.

In 2013 he competed in the Canadian Junior Boys' Championship as well as the Alberta Amateur. He also posted an 11-over-par (224) in the MJT-PGA of Alberta Junior Championship, to finish 12 stokes off the lead to take eighth place in the junior boys' division.

"Trevor is a year older than a traditional freshman, so he has that much more maturity and he is a guy that really wants to play college golf—it's his dream—so he's worked hard to get here," Miller said. "He loved the school and what we are doing here and wants to be a part of it."

Jack Hittinger

Jack Hittinger is the sports editor of the Bemidji Pioneer. He is also the Bemidji State beat writer. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.

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