2016 Gustavus Athletics Year In Review

Posted on December 30th, 2016 by

Compiled by Laura Johnson ’18, Gustavus Sports Information Intern

ST. PETER, Minn. – 2016 was another year filled with conference championships, national tournament appearances and spectacular individual performances both on and off the field of play for Gustavus athletics. Here’s a look back at numerous highlight events that occurred throughout the year…

To listen to the 2016 Gustavus Athletics Year in Review, tune in to 860 AM KNUJ at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 31 as CJ Siewert joins the voice of the Golden Gusties, Tom Wheeler.

Jan. 19 – The gymnastics team defeated Winona State 180.775-180.200 marking its first victory since 2013 and its highest score since 2004 when the Gusties totaled 187.425 at the NCGA Nationals.

Feb 6. – Gary Cooper (Detroit, Mich.) scored a career-high 39 points against Concordia, marking the most points scored by a Gustavus men’s basketball player in a MIAC game since D.L. Smith scored 41 against Minnesota-Duluth in 1952.

Feb. 20 – The men’s basketball team went out on a high note, defeating Carleton 67-58 in its season finale. The Gusties capped the season with a 12-13 overall record and 9-11 mark in the MIAC, ending the year in eighth place. Gary Cooper was named All-Conference, marking the 54th player to receive All-MIAC recognition under Head Coach Mark Hanson.

Feb. 20 – The women’s hockey team finished its regular season with a tie against the Hamline Pipers at Don Roberts Ice Rink. With the tie, the Gusties finished their season 9-11-5 overall and 8-6-4 in the MIAC. Allison Eder-Zdechlik (Stillwater, Minn.) and Erica Power (Lakeville, Minn.) were named All-Conference.

Feb. 20 – The women’s swimming and diving team concluded its season with a second place finish at the MIAC Championships. Kate Reilly (Hastings, Minn.) was a meet champion, taking the 100 free championship after touching the wall with a time of 51.49. MIAC All-Conference honors was achieved by 15 Gusties.

Feb. 20 – Men’s swimming and diving took fourth at the MIAC Championships. Tanner Sonnek (North Mankato, Minn.) achieved All-Conference with a first place finish in the 200-yard Breaststroke (2:04.06) and took third place finish in the 100-yard Breaststroke (56.69). Zach Holman (Mayer, Minn.), Seth Berry (Bloomington, Minn.), Jeffrey Nelson (Maple Grove, Minn.), and Andrew Peters (Montevideo, Minn.) earned MIAC All-Conference finishing third in 200-yard Freestyle relay (1:25.27). Jacob Stern (Rosemount, Minn.), Nelson, Berry, and Peters also earned All-Conference finishing third in 800-yard Freestyle Relay (7:04.59).

Feb. 21 – Men’s hockey concluded its 2015-16 campaign with a 6-14-5 overall record and 5-8-3 mark in the MIAC. Goalie Chris Amsden (St. Peter, Minn.) was later named to the MIAC All-Rookie Team.

Feb. 26 – In its MIAC record 16th straight conference playoff appearance, the women’s basketball team saw its 2015-16 season come to a close, as it fell to No. 2 seed Saint Mary’s University in the semifinals by a final score of 78-70. Lindsey Johnson (Edina, Minn.) and Mikayla Miller (Goodhue, Minn.) were honored by the league as All-Conference members.

Feb. 28 – Softball Head Coach Jeff Annis claimed his 300th all-time victory in a season-opening 9-1 win against UW-Stevens Point.

March 5 – The men’s and women’s track & field teams wrapped up the indoor season both placing eighth at the MIAC Championships. Marit Sonnesyn (Plymouth, Minn.) set a school record of 10:09.76 in the 3000-meter. Sarah Swanson (Fairbanks, Alaska) became a dual champ by winning the weight throw and shot put. Thomas Knobbe (Decorah, Iowa) took fifth in the 3000-meter with a season-best 8:37.80.

March 11 – Men’s track & field throwing specialist Sam Fischer (Sauk Centre, Minn.) took 15th place in the weight throw at the NCAA Championships. Fischer posted a mark of 53-9.

March 12 – Women’s throwing specialist Sarah Swanson took 17th place in the shot put at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships with a toss of 40-0.75.

March 18 – Gymnast Alex Kopp (Wayzata, Minn.) competed at the NCGA Championships placing ninth in the all-around competition to earn All-America honors, becoming the 52nd Gusties to do so, while attaining the 94th All-America award in program history. The following day, she tied for first on the floor with a program record 9.850, claiming the 32nd national event title in program history. Kopp was the first Gustie to win a national event since Alyssa Cox won the vault in 2003, and first to win the floor since Molly Nemes in 2001.

March 19 – Five women’s swimmers represented the College at the NCAA Championships –seniors Leah Anderson (Apple Valley, Minn.) and Tarin Anding (Sartell, Minn.), junior Nicole Lohman (North Mankato, Minn.), sophomore Kate Reilly (Hastings, Minn.), and first-year Maggie Webster (Apple Valley, Minn.). Reilly took 16th (23.51) in the 50 freestyle prelims that qualified her for the finals where she took 15th (23.64).

April 18 – The men’s golf team earned the Bobby Krig Invitational championship. The Gusties scored a three-round total of 873, six strokes ahead of second place Bethel University.

May 1 – Two-time All-America wide receiver Matthew Boyce (Excelsior, Minn.) was invited to the Minnesota Vikings rookie camp, which was held for three days at Winter Park, the team’s headquarters.

May 1 – For the second consecutive season, the women’s tennis team earned the MIAC regular season championship. The win over Macalester pushed the Gusties’ final regular season record to 19-7, including a 9-1 mark in the conference.

May 6 – Graduate assistant athletic trainer Ashley Krug was honored with the Minnesota Athletic Trainers’ Association’s Outstanding Athletic Trainer Recognition Award. Krug was nominated for the honor after the steps she took to provide care to women’s hockey player Kaitlyn Klein who broke her neck during an early season game in Vermont.

May 7 – Softball finished the season 26-12 overall and second in the MIAC standings with a 17-5 league record. Representing Gustavus on the 2016 MIAC All-Conference Team were Nathalee Boissiere (Plymouth, Minn.), Hannah Heacox (Stillwater, Minn.), and Jena Willis (Kalispell, Mt.).

May 7 – The baseball team put together its most impressive MIAC sweep in years against the University of St. Thomas. With the wins, the Gusties improved to 20-18 overall and 9-11 in the MIAC. Gustavus reached the 20-win mark for the first time since 2008, which was also the last time the Gusties finished with at least a .500 record. Jacob Volness (Cokato, Minn.) and Isaiah Welckle (Minneapolis, Minn.) were awarded All-Conference recognition.

May 8 – The men’s tennis team secured its sixth consecutive and ninth overall MIAC Playoff Championship with a 5-0 victory over Carleton College.

May 9 – McKenzie Swenson (Buffalo, Minn.) was named to the MIAC Women’s Golf All-Conference Team.

May 13 – The women’s tennis team concluded its 2015-16 season, suffering a 5-2 loss to No. 9-ranked University of Chicago in the second round of the NCAA Championships. Gustavus finished its season with an overall record of 22-8, its most wins since the 2010 season. Sid Dirks (St. Peter, Minn.) and Lizzy Stanczyk (Plymouth, Wis.),  Michaela Schulz (Elk River, Minn.), Ally Baker (Rosemount, Minn.), and Briana Hartmann (Owatonna, Minn.) were each named to both the All-Conference singles and doubles teams.

May 14 – The men’s and women’s track & field teams competed the MIAC Outdoor Championships. The women took fourth place, while the men took seventh. Mata Agre (Corcoran, Minn.) claimed another All-Conference nod for the Gusties in the 3000-meter steeplechase, taking third place in 11:38.58. On the men’s side, Sam Fischer (Sauk Centre, Minn.) claimed gold in the hammer throw with a toss of 176-6.  All-Conference was awarded to Michael Hensch (North Branch, Minn.), Sam Fischer (Sauk Centre, Minn.), and Ed ReMine, for the men and Marit Sonnesyn (Plymouth, Minn.), Sarah Swanson (Fairbanks, Alaska), and Mata Agre for the women. Hensch, Fischer were later honored as All-Region, along with Mallory Butchko, Sonnesyn, and Swanson for the women.

May 15 – The men’s tennis team concluded its 2015-16 season, suffering a 5-2 loss to No. 8-ranked University of Chicago in the third round of the NCAA Championships. Andres Saenz (Cancun, Mexico), and Zach Ekstein (Eagan, Minn.) and Mohanad Alhouni (Tripoli, Libya) were each named to the All-Conference singles and doubles teams, while Mitch Elofson (St. Peter, Minn.) and Gabe Steinwand (Moorhead, Minn.) were named to the singles squad, and Tommy Entwistle (Sioux Falls, S.D.) was named to the doubles team.

May 20 – Jeff Annis announced his retirement as head softball coach. The sixth head coach in Gustavus softball history, Annis finished 325-134-1 overall and 195-44-1 in the MIAC.

May 26 – Long distance runner Marit Sonnesyn (Plymouth, Minn.) capped her impressive Gustie career at the NCAA Division III Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a 13th place finish in the 10k, crossing the line in 38:03.22. The following day, Sarah Swanson (Fairbanks, Alaska) took 20th in the shot put with a toss of 41-1.5.

June 22 – Men’s tennis’ top player Mohanad Alhouni (Tripoli, Libya) was named All-America on the singles team for his performance during the fall season. Alhouni became the 51st Gustavus men’s tennis player to earn All-America status. Alhouni posted an overall record of 26-9 in singles play for the 2015-16 season, including a 15-7 record at No. 1 singles during the spring.

July 5 – Britt Stewart was named the head softball coach. Stewart became the seventh head coach in the 48-year history of Gustavus softball.


July 24 – Legendary men’s hockey coach Don Roberts ’56 died at the age of 83. Recognized as one of the most prominent coaches in college hockey history, Roberts coached the Golden Gusties to an overall record of 532-290-25 in 33 seasons (1964-97) and his teams claimed 13 league titles. Roberts played a key role in the fundraising and construction of the Gustavus ice arena, which was renamed in his honor in 1998.


Aug. 17 – Former Athletic Director James “Moose” Malmquist ’53 died at the age of 85. Malmquist served as Gustavus’s athletic director from 1974-1997.

Sept. 3 – The football team kicked off its 100th season with a 35-6 win at Westminster.

Sept. 6 – Kate Reilly (Hastings, Minn.) was named to the Preseason All-America team in the 50 freestyle. Reilly took second in the 50 free at the MIAC Championships with a time of 23.37 and then took 15th place at the NCAA Championships with a time of 23.64.

Oct. 10 – The men’s golf team wrapped up its fall season with a second place finish at the MIAC Championships, carding a 297-302-298 (897). Chris Captain (Rochester, Minn.) earned his second All-Championship Team award after tying for third place, carding a 72-75-74 (221). Captain, Andrew Krasaway (Hermantown, Minn.) and Max Savini (Anoka, Minn.) were awarded All-Conference for the 2016 season.

Oct. 15 – Mohanad Alhouni (Tripoli, Libya) of the men’s tennis team earned a third place finish at the ITA Oracle Cup singles draw, earning All-America honors.

Oct. 22 – The Athletics Department chose nine individuals for induction into its Athletics Hall of Fame. The 2016 inductees included Ryan Boutwell ’99 (Football), Scott Crowell ’01 (Soccer), Heather Fitch ’96 (Gymnastics), Rick Hjelm ’83 (Hockey), Molly Nemes ’01 (Gymnastics, Track & Field), Bret Newcomb ’92 (Hockey), Dana Peterson ’96 (Cross Country, Track & Field), Rod Swenson ’99 (Baseball), and Larry Zelenz (Coach).

Oct. 29 – The women’s cross country team finished 11th of 12 at the 2016 MIAC Championships. Sadie Novak-Klug (Waseca, Minn.) recorded the top-finish for the Gusties as she ran to a 19th place finish out of 248 competitors with a 6k time of 23:51.3.

Oct 29 – The men’s cross country team finished in third place of 11 teams at the 2016 MIAC Championships. Thomas Knobbe (Sr., Decorah, Iowa) led the Gusties with an 8k time of 26:16.2, finishing in fourth place out of 208 competitors. Co-captain Evan Jones (Sr., Pella, Iowa) finished in sixth place with a time of 26:18.8. For their performances, Knobbe and Jones were named to the MIAC All-Conference Team.

Oct. 29 – The men’s soccer team secured the No. 3 seed in the MIAC Playoffs with a thrilling 2-1 overtime victory at Hamline.

Nov. 1 – The women’s soccer team’s season ended in a MIAC quarterfinal playoff matchup by a shootout loss at St. Catherine University. With the double overtime tie and shootout loss the Gusties finished the season with an overall record of 10-6-3. Gustavus had two honorees on the All-Conference team in Maddison Ackiss (Fairbanks, Alaska) and Ashley Becker (Farmington, Minn.).

Nov. 1 – In the MIAC quarterfinals, men’s soccer finished its season 7-9-1 overall and 6-3-1 in the league. All-Conference was awarded to Matt Murakami (Eden Prairie, Minn.) and Arthur Parens (Wayzata, Minn.).

Nov. 4 – The men’s hockey team stood tall against No. 1-ranked and defending national champion UW-Stevens Point in the home opener, skating to a 3-3 tie. Van Sullivan (Brentwood, Tenn.) caused a turnover at the blue line with a clean check and then found Erickson at the top of the left circle for the game-tying goal.

Nov. 5 – For the second straight season, the volleyball team claimed the MIAC Playoff Championship after defeating Bethel University in four sets.

Nov. 11 – The volleyball team’s season concluded at the NCAA regional semifinals, dropping a three-set match to defending national champion Cal Lutheran by scores of 25-15, 25-12, 25-23. The Gusties ended their season 24-8 overall. Nora Holtan (Rochester, Minn.) earned MIAC Player-of-the-Year after a stellar season. Lauren Hanson (Redwood Falls, Minn.), Brittany Luethmers (Prior Lake, Minn.), and Taylor Trautman (Hutchinson, Minn.) joined Holtan on the 2016 All-Conference Team, marking the third time in program history that four Gusties were selected.

Nov. 12 – The football team captured a 38-21 victory at Carleton College in the season finale. Holding on to a slim 24-21 advantage midway through the fourth quarter, the Gustie defense stood tall with two interception returns for touchdowns on consecutive Carleton possessions. The Gusties finished the season 5-5 overall and 3-5 in the MIAC. First team All-Conference members include offensive lineman Joe Theiler (Maple Grove, Minn.) and outside linebacker Casey Decker (Mapleton, Minn.).

Nov. 12 – The men’s cross country team turned in a sixth place finish of 30 teams for the second season in a row at the NCAA Central Region Meet.

Nov. 12 – The women’s cross country team turned in a 17th place finish of 32 teams at the NCAA Central Region Meet. Gustavus tallied 438 points and averaged a 6k time of 24:18. Marit Sonnesyn (Plymouth, Minn.) was named All-Conference for the 2016 season.

Nov. 15 – Volleyball star setter Nora Holtan (Rochester, Minn.) became the sixth Gustie to earn All-America honors (First Team), and second in consecutive seasons after Alyssa Taylor earned Third Team honors last year.

Nov. 29 – Mikayla Miller (Goodhue, Minn.) of the women’s basketball team was recognized as the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Division III National Player of the Week.

Dec. 7 – The women’s basketball team improved to 8-0 after earning a 79-61 win over St. Olaf College, backed by a 25-point performance by Mikayla Miller who reached the 1,000-point mark for her career, becoming the fastest Gustavus women’s player to reach the milestone.

Dec. 29 – Women’s basketball defeated UW-River Falls 60-56 for its 11th straight victory to start the season. The 11-0 mark is the second best start in program history.


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