Induction ceremony and banquet will be held at the Northland Thief River Falls campus on Saturday, Feb 11.
Four individuals and two teams have been selected for induction into the Northland Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2023. This year’s inductees include former Northland Athletic Coordinator Paul Peterson; NJCAA basketball All-American and 2014 Player of the Year Sarah Durand; All-Region XIII football player and former Northland football coach John Hardy; two-time NJCAA volleyball All-American Tori Davidson; the 2014 NJCAA National Champion Northland Women’s Basketball Team; and the 2011 Region XIIIB Champion Northland Volleyball Team.
The 2023 Northland Hall of Fame induction ceremony and banquet will be held Saturday, Feb. 11 at Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls with a social at 6 p.m., followed by the banquet at 7 p.m.
Paul Peterson is a 1996 graduate of Oklee High School and a 2001 graduate of Bemidji State University. He served in the Minnesota National Guard from 1998-2004 and was deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina from August 2003 through April 2004.
Peterson began working at Northland in 2001 and served as the college’s activities coordinator from 2001-2008 and athletic coordinator from 2008-2020. Peterson served as an assistant softball coach in 2002, assistant women’s basketball coach from 2006-08, and he returned to coaching in 2017 when he resurrected the college’s struggling softball program.
Under Peterson’s guidance, the softball program improved each season, winning four games in 2017, six games in 2018 and a school record 26 games in 2019. The 2019 team went 26-17 overall and finished third in the NJCAA Region XIIIB Tournament.
Sarah Durand is a 6’0” center from Warren who played for the Ponies of Warren-Alvarado-Oslo prior to her arrival at Northland in the fall of 2012. Durand was a leader on 2013-14 Northland Women’s Basketball Team that claimed the first national championship in program history. She was named the MCAC Northern Division Player of the Week several times and left the college as its all-time leading scorer with 1,131 points. Durand was also ninth in rebounds with 516 and seventh in blocks with 53.
Durand received numerous honors during her two-year career with the Pioneers. She was an MCAC All-Academic selection during both of her seasons at Northland, and she was named to the All-MCAC Northern Division Second team following her freshman season.
During her sophomore season in 2013-14, Durand was named to the All MCAC Northern Division First Team, All MCAC First Team, All-Region XIII, First Team NJCAA All-American, and the 2014 NJCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Player of the Year.
John Hardy was a two-year member of the Northland football team as a defensive lineman during the 1992 and 1993 seasons. Hardy was a team captain during the 1993 season, during which the Pioneers were co-conference champions and received a berth in the MCCC State Playoffs.
Hardy received All-MCCC and All-Region XIII honors following the 1993 season. During his time at Northland, Hardy served as president of the Northland Student Senate and he was elected homecoming king. Hardy was also a member of the Northland basketball team.
After his time at Northland, Hardy transferred to NCAA Division I Northern Illinois. After suffering an injury at NIU, Hardy transferred to Mayville State to continue his collegiate football career. Hardy was a team captain for the Comets during his senior season.
Hardy returned to Northland in 2000 and served as director of multicultural student services and assistant football coach from 2000-2006.
Tori (Davidson) Miller
Tori (Davidson) Miller, Newfolden (Northern Freeze), was a two-year starter as a middle hitter for the Northland volleyball team during the 2013 and 2014 seasons, and she is the program’s first two-time NJCAA Division III All-American. Miller was a first-team selection in both 2013 and 2014. Miller was also named to the All-Region XIII Team in both 2013 and 2014, the All-MCAC Team in both seasons, and the All-MCAC Northern Division First Team in both 2013 and 2014.
Miller received several MCAC All-Around player of the week awards during her time at Northland. The Pioneer volleyball team went 46-12 during the 2013 and 2014 seasons and qualified for the Region XIIIB Tournament both years with a runner-up finish in 2013.
Miller recorded 444 kills, 159 blocks and 54 service aces during her time with the Pioneers.
2014 Women’s Basketball Team
History was made in March 2014 as the 2013-14 Northland Women’s Basketball Team claimed the college’s first-ever national championship. The Pioneers were no strangers to regular-season success going into the 2013-14 season. The team was coming off four consecutive Region XIIIB championships but national tournament success had alluded the Pioneers who had finished seventh, fifth, seventh and seventh in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, respectively.
The Pioneers were dominant in 2013-14, averaging 81 points per game while allowing 51.4 points per game. They ended the regular season with a 22-1 record and a perfect 12-0 mark against MCAC Northern Division foes.
The Pioneers continued their dominance in the postseason with lopsided wins over Rainy River, 68-35, and Vermilion, 78-37, to claim a fifth straight Region XIIIB crown.
The Pioneers were seeded seventh at the 2014 NJCAA Division IIII Tournament and they quickly wrecked the bracket with a 58-57 win over second-seeded Onondaga in the first round. From there, the Pioneers seemed to get stronger and more confident each round, with wins over Anoka-Ramsey, 77-72 in the semifinals, and Rock Valley, 69-60 in the championship, to claim the national championship.
Members of the 2013-14 Northland Women’s Basketball Team include Jenna (Lundon) McGill, 5’6” guard, So., Waubun, MN (Waubun HS); Shammara Christian, 5’4” guard, Fr., South Saint Paul, MN (South Saint Paul HS); Crystal Amundson, 6’0” forward/center, Fr., Thief River Falls, MN (Lincoln HS); Michele (Green) Berg, 5’7” guard/forward, Fr., Greenbush, MN (Badger/Greenbush-Middle River); Megan Weiland, 5’6” guard, Fr., Warren, MN (Warren-Alvarado-Oslo HS); Bailey (Jenkins) Marcotte, 5’6” guard, Fr., Warren, MN (Warren-Alvarado-Oslo HS); Ashley Lindgren, 5’5” guard, So., Argyle, MN (Stephen-Argyle); Danielle Hernandez, 5’10” forward, Fr., West Saint Paul, MN (Saint Paul Humboldt HS); Sarah Durand, 6’0” center, So., Warren, MN (Warren-Alvarado-Oslo HS); Head Coach Shannon Nelson; Assistant Coach Mandy Crittenden; Volunteer Assistant Coach Beth Tvedt.
2011 Volleyball Team
The 2011 Northland volleyball team was the college’s first volleyball team to qualify for the NJCAA National Tournament, while also beginning a four-year stretch where the Pioneers would go 98-24.
The 2011 Pioneers dropped their season opener to Mesabi Range before reeling off 21 consecutive wins. They fell to Itasca on the road in their second-to-last regular season game but still earned the top-seed and hosting rights for the Region 13B Tournament with a 13-1 record against MCAC Northern Division competition and 22-2 record overall.
Northland defeated Rainy River 3-0 and Itasca 3-1 to claim the Region 13B crown while also remaining unbeaten on their home court.
The third-seeded Pioneers opened the 2011 NJCAA Division III National Tournament with a three-set win over the Fashion Institute of Technology (NY), before falling to Brookhaven College (TX) 3-1 in the semifinals; and Rock Valley (Ill) 3-1 in the 3rd/5th place match.
The Pioneers finished the season 25-4, tying what was a record for most wins in a season. As a team, the Pioneers tallied 1,007 kills, 970 assists, 898 digs, 516 blocks and 153 service aces in 2011.
Team members include: Jessica Fontes, 5’10” MH, So., Grand Forks, ND (Sacred Heart HS); Michaela (Peterson) Meunier, 5’2” S, Fr., Thief River Falls, MN (Lincoln HS); Ashley Lindgren, 5’4” S/LH, Fr., Argyle, MN (Stephen-Argyle HS); Eiley (Berg) Sundby, 5’8” OH, So., Middle River, MN (Badger/Greenbush-Middle River); Brianna (Spong) Trontvedt, 6’0” MH, Fr., Oklee, MN (Red Lake County Central); Tia (Klein) Frison, 5’5” DS/L, Fr., Grand Forks, ND (Sacred Heart HS); Brenna Stone, 5’8” RH, Fr., Leeds, ND (Leeds HS); Courtney (Moulds) Davis, 5’4” DS, Fr., Fisher, MN (Fisher HS); Bailee (Walker) Holenski, 5’10” RH, Fr., Thief River Falls, MN (Lincoln High School); Hailee (McMillin) Page, 5’6” S/LH, Fr., Grygla, MN (Grygla HS); Whitney (Schulz) Gangl, 5’7” OH, Fr. Grygla, MN (Grygla HS); Catherine (Whetzel) Wagner, 5’9” S, So., Morson, Ontario, (Rainy River HS); Tori (Schmitz) Borka, 5'8", S/LH, Fr., Crookston, MN (Crookston High School); Head Coach Abdul Chamma; Assistant Coach Courtney (Halvorson) Nordby.
Northland offers eight athletic programs, including men's baseball, men's and women's basketball, co-ed clay target, women's softball, women's volleyball, men's wrestling, and new for 2022-23, co-ed eSports. For the latest news, updates, and information about the Northland Pioneers athletics program, visit northlandpioneers.com. Stay connected and don't miss any of the action by following the Pioneers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and PioneersTV.