Kamren Bornbach, Tyson Kauffman, Tanner Weinfurtner set to play in NSIC
By Paul Lecker
STRATFORD — Three Stratford High School teammates will now be playing against each other in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference after each signed letters of intent Wednesday — during a ceremony at Stratford High School — to play football at NCAA Division II schools in Minnesota.
Kamren Bornbach will enroll at St. Cloud State University, Tyson Kauffman will play at Concordia University in St. Paul, and Tanner Weinfurtner will go to Winona State University to continue their respective football and academic dreams.
Bornbach, a 5-10, 220-pound running back/linebacker, was a two-time two-way first-team all-Marawood Conference selection, earning Back of the Year honors last season for the Tigers after rushing for 771 yards and leading the conference in scoring with 114 points (16 touchdowns, 13 extra-point kicks, one field goal, and one two-point conversion).
Bornbach, who also is a two-time WIAA Division 3 state wrestling champion, plans on studying biomedical science and entering the prechiropractic program at St. Cloud, which he found to be a great fit for him both on and off the field.
“St. Cloud has been one of my goals now for a while,” said Bornbach, who will play inside linebacker at SCSU. “I went to camp there this summer, put myself in front of the coaches to show what I could do. This season played a big part in it, and they stuck with me.”
Kauffman, a 6-5, 280-pounder, was a first-team all-Marawood Conference selection at offensive line the past two seasons.
Tyson’s older brother Hunter was a redshirt freshman on the Concordia team last season, and his experience played a big role in Tyson choosing to play for the Golden Bears.
“What it was about Concordia that really got me was that their coaches were very personable,” said Kauffman, who plans on studying biology and going into the premed program. “I got a good feel off of them and the team, and I wanted to be a part of that.
“It was nice knowing that (Hunter) sees the coaches on the field and in practice. He couldn’t have a better relationship with his O-line coach, and that’s something I want to have with the guy I’m going to be working with in college, pretty much every day.”
Weinfurtner battled through a knee injury midway through the 2015 season that sidelined him for the rest of that year. He came back to play for the USA Football Under-18 national team in the International Bowl series last February at AT&T Stadium in Texas and was at full strength last season for the Tigers as they finished 9-2, reached the second round of the WIAA Division 6 playoffs, and won the Marawood Conference outright for the first time since 2007.
“It came down to Duluth and Winona, and I took an official visit to Winona and fell in love,” Weinfurtner said. “It’s a family atmosphere, and everybody gets along. Academically, it fits right in to what I need. I plan on majoring in criminal justice and psychology, and they have an amazing department. They work with internships with the Winona County Sheriff’s Department and the Twin Cities.”
After the injury in his junior year, Weinfurtner said his dream of playing college football wavered, but his family helped him through it.
“There were a couple of times where I questioned it and seriously had to take a look at myself to see if it was something I could work through,” Weinfurtner, a 6-4, 305-pound offensive tackle, said. “My parents were instrumental in keeping me going. Every time I felt down, it was my mom (Lisa) or my dad (Kurt) telling me to keep going, that I had it in me. Without them, I wouldn’t have made it through. Working back from that, it helped me shape and build my character. I’m a lot stronger because of it now.”
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)