CANDO, N.D. — Over the course of the past three seasons not many things have been out of the reach of Daniel Grande.
Postseason awards are among those.
Grande, a six-foot, three-inch senior, at North Star, is continuing to prove that after being selected as the Region 3 player of the year in voting done by region coaches. The league announced the selections on Monday after all teams in the region were eliminated from the playoffs over the weekend.
Grande was one of five Bearcats to land a spot on the first-team. Jacob Hagler, Steven Hunt, Brooks Larson and Nolan Reider joined Grande on the squad. All are seniors.
Colton Braun, another senior, was chosen to the honorable mention team for North Star, as were Jaron Dahle and Chrisitan Kvilvang.
Benson County and Four Winds also placed a pair of players on the top squad. The Wildcats were represented by Andrew Pranke and Brady Stoll, while Mitchell Fox and Leonard Richotte were the Four Winds players chosen.
“I was pretty surprised,” Grande said of the region’s top honor that puts him in the running for the state’s nine-man player of the year which will be announced following the conclusion of Friday’s state championship game at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.
“It’s a great honor,” added Grande, who was an all-state selection last season after helping North Star into the Dakota Bowl. “I am blessed to have been chosen.”
Grande, who is among the most sought-after prep football players in North Dakota, has been a staple on the football field and the basketball court for a North Star class that has enjoyed unparalled success in both sports in recent years.
Grande, who joined Hagler on the all-state team in basketball last season after helping the defending state champion Bearcats into the state title game for the second straight season, caught 52 passes this season for 1,010 yards and 13 touchdowns for the Bearcats, who saw their bid for a return to the Dakota Bowl thwarted with a double-overtime loss last week at Divide County.
He also averaged 31.8 yards per kickoff return, including three for touchdowns this season and added another score on a punt return in an area he averaged 22.2 yards per return. A devastating tackler on defense, Grande also tallied 98 tackles on the season and picked off three passes.
“He simply is one of those players who takes control of a game,” Haugen added. “He is a triple threat and can do so much on offense, on defense and on special teams.”
His emergence as one of the top athletes in the state has not gone unnoticed by North Star football coach Bryan Haugen.
“(Grande) is simply a phenomenal athlete,” said Haugen, who also serves as an assistant basketball coach at the school.
Page 2 of 2 - Grande ended his high school football career with 183 catches for 3,165 yards and 46 touchdowns in a nine-man game that is normally predicated on running the football. He also accounted for 334 tackles over his career and added 12 touchdowns by way of kick returns or interceptions.
His athletic prowess, according to Haugen, is not the most impressive attribute Grande brings to the table.
“He is a special kid,” the North Star coach said. “He is a young man with a good head on his shoulders and has always shown great character.”
2013 ALL-REGION 3 HONORS
Benson County — Andrew Pranke, Sr., Brady Stoll, Sr. Drake-Anamoose — Darin McClintock, Jr., Stuart Schneider, Sr., Tanner Volson, Jr. Four Winds — Mitchell Fox, So., Leonard Richotte, Sr. Kenmare-Bowbells-Burke Central — Mason Ankenbauer, Sr., Hunter Harris, So. Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood — Ty Feland, Sr., Adam Undlin, Sr. North Star — Daniel Grande, Sr., Jacob Hagler, Sr., Steven Hunt, Sr., Brooks Larson, Sr., Nolan Rieder, Sr. St. John — Kiefer Langan, Jr., Tanner Langen, Jr., Nick Martin, Jr., Kevin Parisien, Sr. Surrey — Bryan Dye, Jr., Holden Hartley, Sr., Wyatt Kidney, Jr., Tayler Wallstrum, Sr., Wyatt Kidney, Jr. Towner-G-U — Ridge Bachemier, Sr., Luke Bacon, Jr., Kendal Green, Jr., Eli Luna, So. Hunter Schell, So., Kevin Vollmer, Sr.
Benson County — Josh Biegen, Sr., Jaden Kallenbach, Sr. Drake-Anamoose — Patrick Elton, Jr., Tristin Martin, JR. Four Winds — Teddy Fox, Sr. Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood — Jess Asheim, Jr., Sam Carlson, Sr. North Star — Colton Braun, Sr., Jaron Dahle, Sr., Christian Kvilvang, So. St. John — Joe Mikkelson, Jr. Surrey — Laramy Adam, Sr., Garrett Klein, Sr., Reiley Steier, Sr. Towner-G-U — Reed Hermanson, Sr., Tyler Mongeon, Sr., Hunter Thorp, Sr.
Senior Athlete of the Year
Daniel Grande, North Star
Region 3 Coach of the Year
Scott Thorson, Towner-Granville-Upham