St. Peter, Minn. - Gustavus Adolphus College swimmer Alissa Tinklenberg (Sr., Willmar, Minn.) and hockey player Carolyn Draayer (Jr., Deephaven, Minn.) have been named to the 2014 Capital One Academic All-America Division III At-Large Teams, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Tinklenberg – a two-time Capital One Academic All-District honoree and a member of the 2013 Capital One Academic All-America Team as a third team recipient – earns a spot on the first team following her final season of collegiate swimming. Draayer earns a place on the third team after being named an Academic All-District honoree for the first time in her career.
“What awesome news for Alissa following what was a tremendous senior year and a career that is destined for the Gustavus Hall of Fame,” said Head Swimming & Diving Coach Jon Carlson. “I’m so proud of all the accomplishments Alissa has earned over her career. This is yet another honor that expresses what a well-rounded student-athlete she is. Simply put, Alissa is the best I have ever coached.”
A public accounting major with a cumulative grade point average of 3.79 and the face of Gustavus swimming & diving, Tinklenberg became the school’s 72nd student-athlete to be named a Capital One Academic All-American in 2013 when she was named to the At-Large Third Team as a junior. Since then, Gustavus has housed five more Academic All-Americans – bringing its total to 77 student-athletes after Carolyn Draayer’s name is added to the list. Draayer is a communication studies major with a near-perfect GPA of 3.98.
Since football player Brad Baker became the first Gustie to take home the honor back in 1979, Gustavus Adolphus College has claimed a total of 100 Academic All-America selections. With 100 Academic All-America awards, Gustavus achieves a milestone reached by only 31 institutions across all divisions of collegiate athletics prior to the start of the 2013-14 school year.
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.
The ability to excel both in the water and in the classroom is a gift Alissa Tinklenberg has taken full advantage of since stepping onto campus in the fall of 2010. “Alissa is the best student-athlete I have ever coached at maximizing her potential both in the pool and in the classroom,” Carlson said. “She has a work ethic that is second to none, and her ability to commit whole-heatedly to her craft, whether it’s swimming or school work, still amazes me.”
Tinkleberg is a four-time College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Scholar All-American and a three-time Academic All-Conference honoree. Earlier this spring, “Tink” was named one of 29 female winter sport student-athletes to earn an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship – one of the most prestigious honors handed out by the NCAA.
In the water, Tinklenberg was the prototypical “lead-by-example” captain. She captained the Gustavus women’s swimming & diving team to a fifth consecutive MIAC Championship, scoring 60 (the maximum amount) of the team’s school-record 886.5 points. At the conference meet, she won the 50 freestyle, and 100 and 200 backstrokes, and contributed to the wins achieved by the 200 and 400-free relays, and 200 and 400-medley relays. When the competition came to a close, Tinklenberg was crowned the MIAC Women’s Swimmer of the Year for the second season in a row, becoming the first Gustie to accomplish such a feat.
Staying true to form, the Willmar, Minnesota product led Gustavus to a program-best seventh place finish (154 points) at the 2014 NCAA Championships held March 19-22 at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis. She achieved All-America marks in the 100 back (8th), 200 back (4th), 200-free relay (4th), 400-medley relay (5th), and 400-free relay (7th), and was an All-America Honorable Mention performer in the 50 free (15th) and 200-medley relay (9th).
According to Carlson, Tinklenberg’s individual honors are a byproduct of the type of athlete, teammate, and student she is. “All the accolades Alissa has received, including being named a Academic All-American, have been earned through hard work and determination. Nothing was ever given to her. She had to work hard and make sacrifices to get to where she is now. To do so in this type of fashion shows how truly special Alissa is.”
A proven leader in her own right, Carolyn Draayer wore a “C” on her chest for the entirety of her junior season. Draayer was named to the All-Conference Team for the first time this season after being awarded All-MIAC Honorable Mention honors her first two years. The first line center played in all 27 games and finished with 14 points off eight goals and six assists. Draayer’s goal breakdown included three game-winners, three on the power play, and three short-handed.
“Carolyn is a sharp, determined, and goal-orientated individual who is a pleasure to coach and I am very proud of her being named an Academic All-American,” said Head Women’s Hockey Coach Mike Carroll. “She is a two-year captain, which is a reflection of her leadership skills and poise. Both on the ice and off, she is a hard worker, a vocal leader, and a model teammate and friend.”
In her first three seasons donning a three-crowned sweater, Draayer has logged ice time in 87-of-89 games. She has scored a total of 61 points off 40 goals and 21 assists and also has netted a total of 15 game-winners. During Draayer’s three-year Gustavus tenure, the Gustie women’s hockey team has won two MIAC titles and carries a record of 68-14-5 overall and 48-5-1 in the MIAC.
Out of her hockey gear, Draayer is a rock star in the communications studies department.
“Carolyn exceeds expectations in the classroom and continually seeks out new ways to challenge herself,” said Assistant Professor in Communication Studies, Pam Conners. “She is a delight to work with, in part because she so thoughtfully applies the knowledge and skills she has learned in the classroom to the world around her. Carolyn is an exceptional student who brings her A-game and a smile to class every day, elevating the learning experience for us all.”
To date, Draayer garnered two major academic awards before being honored by CoSIDA twice this spring. At the 2013 NCAA Championship held in Superior, Wisconsin, Draayer received the NCAA Elite 89 Award given to the player with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s championships. Following Gustavus’s narrow loss to St. Thomas in the 2014 MIAC Playoff Championship, Draayer earned the MIAC Elite 22 Award, which is presented to the individual with the highest GPA on the active roster at the MIAC Playoff championship contest.
The 15 members of the 2013-14 Capital One Academic All-America Division III Women’s At-Large First Team carry an average GPA of 3.799. Tinklenberg is one of 12 repeat selections on this year’s team. Tink and Draayer join fellow Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference peers Courtney Benson of Hamline (1st Team) and Elainna Bier of Augsburg (2nd Team) on the 2014 squad. It is the second year in a row that Gustavus has had two representatives on the Academic All-America Division III At-Large Team. Last season, Lindsey Hjelm ’13 and Tinklenberg earned the distinction.