Defensive back Andrew Spencer of Winona State and placekicker Casey Bednarski of Minnesota State Mankato were named to American Football Coaches' Division II All-America first team on Wednesday.

Spencer, a senior, had 83 tackles, seven interceptions and seven pass breakups. Bednarski, a junior, made 23 field goals and scored 127 points, both program records for the Mavericks.

Two other NSIC players, offensive lineman Sam Lee of Augustana and linebacker Dennis Gardeck of Sioux Falls, made the second All-America team.

U softball schedule set

The Gophers softball team, which was 56-5 last season, announced its 2018 schedule on Wednesday.

Minnesota will play 22 games against teams that competed in the NCAA tournament. "This is a championship-caliber schedule that will test us each and every weekend," first-year Gophers coach Jamie Trachsel said in a news release.

The Gophers will open the season at the UNLV Sportco Kickoff Classic Feb. 9-11 and face Illinois in their home-opening series March 30-April 1 at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium.

U swimmer honored

Gophers swimmer Mackenzie Padington was named the Big Ten's freshman of the week. She posted three NCAA "B" standard times in the Minnesota Invitational last weekend.

The Campbell River, British Columbia, native set a school record in the 200-yard freestyle (1:44.15). It also ranks eighth on the Big Ten all-time performance list. In the 500 freestyle, her first-place time (4:38.54) is the 10th fastest in the NCAA this season. Padington also captured a second-place finish just behind teammate Zoe Avestruz in the 100 freestyle (48.45).


• Ninety-five athletes competing in fall sports at the University of Minnesota were named to Big Ten academic all-conference teams: 32 in football, 40 in cross-country running (13 men, 27 women), 18 in women's soccer and five in volleyball. Three women's cross-country runners had 4.0 GPAs: Emily Betz, Bethany Hasz and Abby Kohut-Jackson.

• The Gophers men's gymnastics team is ranked No. 4 in the preseason NCAA poll, announced by the College Gymnastics Association. Minnesota took fifth in the NCAA meet last season.