St. Peter, Minn. – A pair of Gustavus Adolphus student-athletes earned a place on the 2013 Capital One Academic All-America Division III At-Large Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Representing the Black and Gold on this year’s CoSIDA Academic All-America Team is senior hockey player Lindsey Hjelm (North Oaks, Minn.) and junior swimmer Alissa Tinklenberg (Willmar, Minn.).
The Capital One Academic All-America Women’s At-Large team, which is selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), includes athletes from the sports of bowling, crew, fencing, field hockey, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, rifle, skiing, swimming and diving, tennis and water polo.
Although Lindsey Hjelm and Alissa Tinklenberg are a year apart in age, the success of both student-athletes have seemed to be linked to one another over their careers at Gustavus. While one made her impact on the frozen water of Don Roberts Ice Rink, the other prefers a warmer environment in the 75-degree water of the Lund Natatorium. Since stepping onto campus, both were considered impact first-years within their respective programs. As a rookie, the strong-skating Hjelm earned All-Conference accolades and a spot on the All-Rookie Team after scoring 24 points (11G, 13A). In Tink’s rookie year, she won the 1,650 freestyle, placed second in the 500 free, and was a member of the first place 400-free relay team that broke the meet and school record. Both competitors also won an MIAC Championship and competed on the national stage.
Moving ahead to last season – Hjelm now a junior captain, transitioning from forward to defense, and Tinklenberg, a sophomore, settling into a new role as a young team leader. Unfazed by the transition, Hjelm was named an AHCA First Team All-American after finishing ninth in the country in defender scoring 26 points (11G, 15A). Her year, which also included another MIAC Championship and trip to the NCAA Tournament, was capped with an appearance on the CoSIDA Academic All-America Third Team. While Lindsey was dominating the blue line, Tinklenberg was dominating the lanes. The sophomore led Gustavus to a third-straight MIAC title after recording five event wins and accounting for a team-high 57 points. Tink then did something unprecedented by any Gustie swimmer, earning All-America honors in the 200-free relay (6th), 400-medley relay (6th), 100 backstroke (7th), and 200 backstroke (7th) at the NCAA Championships.
During the 2012-13 school year, Hjelm and Tinklenberg were captains and proven veterans within their sport. Neither one took a step back, neither one faltered. Both led their team to an MIAC Championship, both competed under the national spotlight, both earned All-America accolades, and both appeared on the Academic All-America Team. Lindsey is a biology major with a cumulative grade point average of 3.79, and Alissa is an accounting major with a GPA of 3.75.
If a trophy case for Hjelm’s 2012-13 season exists, one would find the following accolades – MIAC Player-of-the-Year, Shelia Brown Award, AHCA First Team All-America, D3hockey.com West Region Player-of-the-Year, D3hockey.com First Team All-America, and Gustavus Female Senior Athlete-of-the-Year. She led the team with 30 points (14G, 16A) and directed the Gusties back to the NCAA Frozen Four for the fourth straight year.
At the 2013 MIAC Championships, Tinklenberg took gold in the 400 IM, 100 backstroke, and 200 backstroke. In the relays, she helped the Gusties to titles in the 200-free relay, 400-free relay, and 400-medley relay, accounting for a school-record 137 points by the end of the meet. Like Hjelm, Tink earned the distinction of top athlete in the conference, being named the 2013 Women’s Swimmer-of-the-Year. She rounded out her junior campaign with All-American performances in the 200 back (6th), 200-free relay (7th), and 400-medley relay (8th) at the NCAA Championships, becoming a career seven-time All-American.
Although the individual accolades are impressive, both Hjelm and Tinklenberg are the first to put the focus back on the success of the team. The Gustavus women’s hockey team has won four MIAC regular season and playoff titles over Hjelm’s tenure, while the Gustavus women’s swimming and diving team has collected three MIAC Championships over Tinklenberg’s career.
Hjelm becomes Gustavus’s first athlete to earn a spot on the Academic All-America First Team since her teammate Sara Yunger did so back in 2011. The North Oaks product and Willmar native are the first two CoSIDA Academic All-Americans from Gustavus this year. Lindsey is one of two hockey players on the first, second, or third teams, while Alissa is one of nine swimmers. Courtney Benson, a gymnast from Hamline, is the only other athlete from the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference to make the list.
The Capital One Division II and III Academic All-America program is being financially supported by the NCAA Division II and III national governance structures, to assist CoSIDA with handling the awards fulfillment aspects for the 2012-13 DII and DIII Academic All-America teams program.
To be eligible for Academic All-America® consideration, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his/her current institution and be nominated by his/her sports information director.
Since the program’s inception in 1952, CoSIDA has bestowed Academic All-America honors on more than 18,000 student-athletes in Divisions I, II, III and NAIA, covering all NCAA championship sports.