Senior Mike Valesano of Brainerd will start at inside linebacker when the University of St. Thomas plays top-ranked Mount Union for the NCAA Division III championship in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl at 6 p.m. Friday in Salem, Va.
The game is scheduled to be televised on ESPNU and broadcast on 104.1 FM.
Valesano, who has played in 13 of the Tommies’ 14 games, is the team’s second-leading tacker. He has recorded 38 solo stops and 24 assists for 50 total tackles. He has added 6.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and one fumble recovery.
St. Thomas (14-0) is ranked fourth in Division III and will be making its first appearance in the national championship game.
Mount Union (14-0) will be playing in its eighth straight title game, its 12th in 13 years. The Purple Raiders beat Mary Hardin-Baylor 48-35 in the national semifinals while St. Thomas beat Wisconsin-Oshkosh 28-14.
Tommies football set records this year for season wins (14), playoff wins (4) and home victories (9). They tied St. John’s MIAC record for season wins — the 2003 Johnnies went 14-0 to win the national title, capped by a 24-6 upset of Mount Union.
Additional information is at Tommiesports.com.