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Carleton Varsity Athletics: Top eight moments of 2018-2019

The 2018-2019 athletic season has concluded for Carleton Knights Athletics, and it was a year filled with many upsets, elite performances and recordbreaking runs. To sum up the season, I’ve written my top eight moments, in no particular order, in Knights Athletics this year, ranging from a shocking men’s basketball upset victory to our dominant women’s golf squad reaching the No. 1 ranking.

Softball: 24 win season, most in team history

Led by the stellar hitting of Anna Lauko ’19, Natalie Maurice ’20 and Maris Daleo ’21, as well as consistently strong pitching outings from Sam Kile ’19, Maddie Sherwood ’19, and Sarah Ogle ’19, the Knights won 24 games in 2019, an all-time best for the program. During the pre-MIAC spring trip to Florida, the Knights went 10-3, including a statement win over No. 17-ranked UW-Whitewater during the final day of the trip. The Knights reached double-digit wins in the MIAC, going 10-12 in conference, but fell short of playoff contention. Because of their work at the dish, Lauko and Maurice received all-region honors, in addition to their all-conference awards. Daleo and Kile received all-conference honors as well, while Madison Collins ’22 made the MIAC all-sportsmanship team.

Men’s Soccer: Kim’s Finals Heroics Highlight Championship Run

Having just played 111 minutes all season, and none at goalkeeper, Bryan Kim ’20 was thrust into the spotlight during the penalty shootout of the MIAC Championship, and his two penalty saves helped Carleton win their first MIAC title since 2013. Although Kim was the unexpected hero of the championship game, much of the Knights’ success came from their consistency, as the Knights were third in goals against average (.57) while also placing third in goals for average (1.90). Star defender Mark Roth ’19 and speedster striker Marco da Cunha ’22 were named to the United Soccer Coaches (USC) All-America team, the only Carleton team sport athletes to receive all-America honors.

Men’s Basketball: Upset over No. 8 Ranked St. Johns

With strong performances by their star players and solid team defense, Men’s Basketball pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the year in Carleton Athletics. In a mid-season MIAC matchup, the Knights bested a nationallyranked St. John’s team 66-63, handing the Johnnies their first conference loss on the year. AllWest Region player Kent Hanson ’20 led the way with 26 points and 13 rebounds, while the Knights’ defense held the Johnnies to 63 points (22 below their average) and a +1 rebounding differential, despite their foes leading the nation in both shooting percentage and rebounding differential coming into the matchup. The defensive efforts of Joh Farmer ’19 were especially important in securing the victory, as he was able to limit St. John’s leading scorer to a meager eight points.

Men’s Tennis: Vithoontien ’21 Places Second at Nationals

Leo Vithoontien ’21 entered the NCAA tournament as the fourth ranked player in the Central region, losing only one match all season and carrying a 17-match win streak into the tournament. Once there, Vithoontien quickly won both of his first two matches in straight sets, making him the third men’s tennis all-America player in program history. Vithoontien then scored two huge upsets, defeating the No. 4 and No. 2 nationally ranked opponents, including a shocking semifinal victory over last year’s national champion in which he came back from down 2-6, 0-3 to win 2-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2, in the best-of-three match. Although he was unable to prevail in the final, Vithoontien’s incredible performances, in what is only his sophomore season, cement his legacy as a Knights great. Baseball: Sweep of No. 30 St. Johns

Pulling off one big upset is always unlikely, yet Knights baseball was able to complete a two game sweep of a heavily favored St. John’s team who was the only nationally ranked MIAC team this season. Buoyed by stellar pitching performances from Wilson Battle ’20, Blake Anderson ’21 and Peter Hoffman ’22, the Knights kept the prolific Johnnies offense at bay, allowing only three runs over the two games, taking the first game 5-0 and the second 5-3. The Knights found themselves down by two runs in the eighth inning of game two, until a Keenan Moore ’20 homerun and an RBI single from Travis Brown ’21 gave the Knights a 3-2 advantage, a lead that they would not relinquish. The win typified a turnaround season for Knights baseball, who won seven conference games, their highest total since an eight win season in 2016.

Women’s Cross-Country: 10th Place at NCAA Nationals

After cruising to their second consecutive Central Region title in commanding fashion, the Knights Women’s Cross Country squad lived up to their No. 10 ranking, finishing tenth in the nation at the national meet. On the day, the Knights were led by Emma Greenlee ’21, who finished 44th with a time of 22:05.0, as well as Sam Schnirring ’19, who surged from 90th place after a mile-and-a-half to finish in 60th with a time of 22:16.1. This was the Knights’ second consecutive top-ten nationals finish, and with the squad returning four of their top six runners, the Knights will certainly have their eye on another lofty finish in the upcoming season.

Men’s Long Distance Runners: Muller, Wilkinson and Dodge Tune in Top Performances

All season long in men’s long distance contests, Lucas Mueller ’21, Matt Wilkinson ’21, and Tris Dodge ’19 seemed to rise to the top of the leaderboards. At Cross-Country Nationals, Muller and Wilkinson evaded an early race pileup to acquire allAmerica status, racing to 17th and 38th place respectively. All three athletes qualified for Indoor Track Nationals as well, with Wilkinson finishing 6th in the 5000-meter run and Muller 6th in the 3000-meter run, yet again good for all-America status. The trio concluded the season at the Outdoor Track Nationals, with Muller and Dodge receiving all-America honors in the 10,000-meter race, finishing 2nd and 8th respectively. Wilkinson would receive all-America status himself with his 4th place steeplechase finish, while Muller would yet again finish second, this time in the 5000-meter race. With Muller and Wilkinson coming back next year, we may see their dominant reign continue into the new decade.

Women’s Tennis: MIAC Standalone Champions, Sweet Sixteen National Appearance

Led by stellar performances from first-year standouts alongside upperclassmen leadership, Knights women’s tennis won both the MIAC regular season and playoffs outright for the first time since 2014. After triumphing over their rivals Gustavus Adolphus to win the regular season crown, the Knights captured the playoff title over Bethel due in part to a 3-0 sweep of doubles in the contest. After a sweep of Edgewood in the first round, Carleton knocked off UW-Whitewater 5-2, with Kristina Conrad ’19 and Madeline Prins ’20 scoring victories in both singles and doubles, to give the Knights their first Sweet Sixteen appearance since 1996. The squad was led by first-years Sonya Romanenko and Jeanny Zhang, No. 8 and No.18 respectively in the regional rankings, while the Prins and Conrad doubles duo ranked No. 7 regionally.

Women’s Golf: Acquires No. 1 Ranking, Finishes 7th at Nationals

The most accomplished Knights performance this season came from women’s golf, who after a undefeated fall season, climbed to No. 1 in the national rankings. After winning prestigious tournaments, including the Wartburg Spring Invite, the UW-Whitewater Spring Fling, and the MIAC Championships, the Knights entered the NCAA tournament with the top ranking. There, the Knights earned their third consecutive top-ten finish, ending the four day tournament in seventh place. In her final season, Ziyi Wang ’19 placed seventh overall at nationals, equaling her performance last season. Ayumi Sakamoto ’19, Alyssa Akiyama ’20, Abby Euyang ’21, and Alexis Chan ’21 were all named all-MIAC performers, while Wang was also named senior-of-the-year and Kristin Miyagi ’22 rookie-of-the-year.

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