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Top 10 Storylines of 2012

December 31, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Top 10

It seems like everyone and their dog comes out with some sort of year-end list, so Knights Online feels obligated to follow the crowd. This isn’t necessarily a list of the most popular stories on the website (see chart at bottom) because you won’t find a single coaching change on this list…that’s too easy. Instead, just in time to ring in the New Year, here are the top-10 storylines—the things that caught our attention—on Knights Online during the last 12 months.

No. 1 — Simone Childs-Walker: Top Honoree for NCAA Woman of the Year

Simone Childs-Walker, MIAC nominee for NCAA Woman of the Year

Carleton College distance runner Simone Childs-Walker ’12 (Seattle, Wash./Lakeside) concluded her stellar career as the second-most decorated female athlete in school history with 12 All-America awards. Her career closed in May and by August was a top honoree for the 2012 NCAA Woman of the Year award. Throughout her four years running for the Knights, Childs-Walker was virtually without peer. She was the selected as the top athlete in the conference in each of her three sports - cross country (2011), indoor track and field (2012) and outdoor track and field (2011) - while accumulating a trophy case full of MIAC individual championships and All-Conference honors.

Childs-Walker garnered 25 All-MIAC honors—21 in track, four in cross country—as she was named All-Conference in every event she entered throughout her four seasons. Her success continued at the regional and national level as Childs-Walker earned a dozen All-American honors and was All-Region each season throughout her career.

Success wasn't limited to athletics for Childs-Walker, who graduated this spring with a near-perfect 3.96 grade point average with a degree in Philosophy. She was a two-time first team Academic All-American and received a NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.

No. 2 — Women’s Tennis Stakes Claim as MIAC Champs!

Carleton Women's Tennis, 2012 MIAC Champions 

The Carleton College women’s tennis team defeated 20-time defending champion Gustavus Adolphus in the winner-take-all regular-season finale to earn the MIAC title. It was Carleton’s (19-6 overall, 10-0 MIAC) fourth conference title overall and snapped the Gusties’ win streak of 214 consecutive regular-season conference matches—a streak that dated back to 1991—the same year someone other than Gustavus captured the conference crown. A week later, the Knights proved it was no fluke, defeating the Gusties once again—this time in the MIAC Playoffs—to earn a spot in the NCAA Championships where Carleton advanced to the second round of the 24-team field. In fact this was actually the third time on the year that the Knights topped the Gusties, including a 5-4 non-conference victory in early April at the Midwest Invitational, a gathering of the nine ranked teams. Kathryn Schmidt ’12 (Hopkins, Minn./Hopkins) led the way at No. 1 singles and earned All-American distinction for the fourth consecutive year

No. 3 ­­— Men’s Soccer Claims Fifth Title in Six Seasons

MIAC Champions, men's soccer action 

Led by the play of All-Americans Branden McGarrity ’16 (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) and Neil Bartholomay ’14 (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall), the Carleton College men’s soccer team clinched its fifth regular-season conference title over the last six years. That’s the second-best run in the history of MIAC men’s soccer. McGarrity paced the MIAC in goals (19) and points (42) and shattered the Carleton single-season records in both categories. His goal total was the highest in the conference in since 2001, and McGarrity was the only first-year among top 15 goal scorers in Division III and one of only two rookies across the nation—spanning all three NCAA Divisions—with at least 18 goals this season. The Knights (17-2-2) tied the school record for wins in a season—one off the MIAC record—as they advanced to the NCAA Championships.

No. 4 — Erik Klontz is MIAC’s Fastest and an All-American

Erik Klontz, Men's Swimming and Diving action

Eric Klontz ’13 (Bethesda, Md./Bethesda-Chevy Chase) set a new meet record of 20.18 in the 50-yard freestyle during the preliminary round of the MIAC Swimming and Diving Championships, eclipsing his own Carleton record by 0.47 seconds. He went on to grab the conference title in the event later that evening and also added a second-place finish in the 100-yd freestyle. He also picked up All-MIAC distinction in the 200-yard medley relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay.

Klontz then shined during his first-ever trip to the NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships as he placed eighth in the 50-yard freestyle to secure All-America distinction and recorded a 10th-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle, earning All-America Honorable Mention. He was the first Carleton men’s swimmer to earn All-American distinction in the 50-yard freestyle and is the ninth student-athlete in the history of Carleton men’s swimming to earn All-American status. Although he was Carleton’s only representative, Klontz accumulated 18 points in the team competition, second among MIAC squads. In June, he was named a CSCAA Scholar All-American.

No. 5 — Youth is Served for Women’s Cross Country

Colette Celichowski, Sally Donovan, Rachael Klehm, Haley Johnson, Ahna Weeks, Aly Wisekal, Ruth Steinke, Shira Kaufman, Women's Cross Country

For the second consecutive year and 13th time overall, the women’s cross country team qualified for the NCAA Championships. Despite having one of the youngest teams in the competition, the Knights showed they could run with the nation’s best as Carleton, which entered the weekend ranked No. 28 in the country, finished 17th in the team competition at the national meet. Of the Knights’ seven runners at the competition, three were first-years and two others were sophomores. Rookies Ruth Steinke ’16 (Lima, N.Y./Honeoye Falls-Lima), Shira Kaufman ’16 (Leverett, Mass./Amherst Regional Academy), and Sally Donovan ’16 (Minneapolis, Minn./South) earned All-Region distinction after placing 12th, 17th, and 22nd respectively.           

No. 6 — Women’s Track & Field Shines Indoor and Out

Haley Johnson, Simone Childs-Walker (lo-res) 

Led by four individual conference titles, the women’s track and field team finished second at the MIAC Indoor Championships, the squad’s best performance since 1996. Simone Childs-Walker ’12 completed a four-peat in the 3,000- and 5,000-meter runs. Haley Johnson ’13 (Golden Valley, Minn./Robbinsdale Cooper) took top honors in the 1,000-meter run. Ellie Wilson ’15 (Roseville, Minn./Roseville) won the 400-meter dash and earned All-MIAC honorable mention in the 200-meter dash. Alison Smyth ’12 (Billings, Mont./Billings West) capped the 2012 MIAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships with the victory in the 5,000-meter run, completing the “distance double” as she was also first to the line in the 10,000-meter run. The Knights saw a total of seven All-MIAC performances, including a school-record time of 9:16.81 as Megan Erlandson ’12 (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnehaha Academy), Becca Herd ’15 (Colorado Springs, Colo./Cheyenne Mountain), Colette Celichowski ’15 (Shorewood, Minn./Minnetonka), and Clare Franco ’12 (Brunswick, Maine/Brunswick) won the 4x800 meter relay.

No. 7 — Sophie Pilhofer is Latest to be Fastest

Sophie Pilhofer, women's swimming action (lo-res)

The 50-yard freestyle victory by Sophie Pilhofer ’13 (Inver Grove Heights, Minn./Visitation) was just one of 11 All-MIAC performances turned in by the women’s swimming and diving team at the MIAC Championships, but it was easily the most exciting. Pilhofer was first to the wall with a NCAA ‘B’ cut time of 23.81, besting a Gustavus swimmer by 0.02 second to become the fourth Carleton woman to win the title of fastest female in the conference, joining Emily Peterson (1999), Marie Marsman (2001, ’02, ’03, ‘05) and Jen Gratz (2006) as winners of the 50 free. Pilhofer added a second-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard freestyle. She also swam leadoffs for the Knights all-conference performances in the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays.

No. 8 — Mike Elder Secures All-Region Recognition

Mike Elder, football action 

After turning in one of the top statistical seasons in the nation, safety Mike Elder ’13 (San Antonio, Texas/Central Catholic) was named to the 2012 All-West Region Team as announced by D3football.com. Elder is the ninth Knight tabbed for an All-Region gridiron award over the last five seasons. Elder finished the regular-season with 64 solo tackles, a figure that was tops among Division III defensive backs, ranked second among all NCAA defensive backs—across Division I, II and III—and finished eighth among all D-III players regardless of position. Elder also collected 42 tackle assists to give him 106 total tackles for the year. That sum again paced all Division III defensive backs, ranked fifth among all NCAA defensive backs (across all divisions), and slotted him 21st among all D-III players. He was invited to participate in the fourth annual D3 Senior Classic, a post-season showcase game for some of the top performers in the nation.

No. 9 — Volleyball Returns to the MIAC Playoffs.

Sarah Nielsen and Jessa Youso, volleyball action

Carleton went 18-10 on the season—the fourth-highest win total over the last 24 years—and returned to the postseason for the first time since 2007. The Knights defeated rival St. Olaf, 3-2, in the opening round of the MIAC Playoffs before falling to eventual national champion St. Thomas to five sets in the semifinals. Seniors Jessa Youso ’13 (Virginia, Minn./Virginia) and Sarah Nielsen (Altoona, Wis./Altoona) were both voted to the All-MIAC squad as the duo provided the Knights with a prolific 1-2 punch at the net, ranked fourth and fifth respectively in kills per set during conference matches. Youso also received All-Region Honorable Mention.

No. 10 — Record Year for Women’s Golf

2012-13 Carleton Women's Golf Team

The women’s golf team actually had two solid seasons during parts of 2012. The squad concluded the spring portion of its 2011-12 campaign with the youthful squad—which started four first-year players and was nationally-ranked for nearly the entire season—obliterating the school scoring mark by more than 11 shots to finish at 332.44. Gina Kabasakalis ’15 (Alameda, Calif./College Prep) and Taylor Wells ’15 (Rochester, Minn./Century) becoming two of only five first-year players nationwide to earn spots on the National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) all-region team. Kabasakalis added MIAC’s co-freshman of the year honors as she set the single-season scoring record with an 80.3 average.

The strong play continued in the fall with the start the 2012-13 season. Carleton finished a program-best second at the MIAC Championships in October as the squad set a new 18-hole team record with a second-round 315 and broke the 54-hole school scoring mark, posting a 977. Kabasakalis and Wells repeated as All-MIAC performers and Kelsey Moede ’15 (Lake Oswego, Ore.) finished second to secure her first all-conference award. The team concluded the fall season with a ninth-place at the Golfweek Preview, a 14-team invitation event for some of the nation’s top programs.

All told, 2012 saw the Knights post a dozen of their top seventeen 18-hole team scores in school history, seven of the top fifteen 36-round team scores, and two of the top three 54-hole team results. Individually, the last 12 months saw Carleton players tally seven of the top dozen 18-hole rounds (in relation to par) as well as five of the top ten 36- and 54-hole scores.

No. 11 — As it Should, Academics Come First at Carleton

Every top-10 list leaves someone or something off, and inevitably, this chart probably does too because each year this task proves harder than we initially expect. It is interesting to note that in spite of all the fantastic storylines listed above, two of the top three viewed stories on Knights Online during 2012 focused on the Academic All-MIAC lists that were released following the winter and spring seasons.

Top 10 viewed stories on Knights Online in 2012 (number of page views)
#1 Fall 2011/Winter 2012 Academic All-MIAC list (Feb. 15)
#2 Former Ohio State Assistant Dick Tressel Joins Football Staff (March 27)
#3 Spring 2012 Academic All-MIAC list (June 21)
#4 Football Coach Kurt Ramler Resigns (Jan. 5)
#5 Jocelyn Keller Named Women’s Soccer Coach (May 10)
#6 Bob Pagel Tabbed Interim Football Coach (Jan. 6)
#7 Men’ Soccer to Host NCAA First/Second Round Games (Nov. 5)
#8 Women’s Soccer Coach Keren Gudeman Announces Resignation (Feb. 21)
#9 Track & Field Hosts Carleton Relays (April 21)
#10 Men’s Basketball’s Rosenow & Sawatzke Tabbed to All-MIAC Team, Three Others Honored (Feb. 29)