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Knights score MIAC-record six all-conference selections

May 10, 2019 at 2:14 pm
Ayumi Sakamoto, Alexis Chan, Ziyi Wang, Alyssa Akiyama, Molly Erickson, Abby Euyang & Kristin Miyagi
Ayumi Sakamoto, Alexis Chan, Ziyi Wang, Alyssa Akiyama, Molly Erickson, Abby Euyang & Kristin Miyagi

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – The amazing season for the Carleton College women’s golf team continued on Friday as the Knights received a conference-record six All-MIAC Awards. Leading the way were seniors Ziyi Wang (Beijing City, China/Lighthouse Christian Academy) and Ayumi Sakamoto (Honolulu, Hawaii/ʻIolani School), who both garnered recognition for the fourth time.

On six previous occasions—three of them by Carleton—a MIAC team has received five all-conference awards, but this marks the first time that a women’s golf program has earned a half-dozen honors. (SEE CHART AT BOTTOM OF RELEASE)

The Knights also swept the conference’s top individual accolades. Wang became just the fourth woman in MIAC history—and the first since her coach Molly Erickson in 2013—to repeat as MIAC Player of the Year. While Wang was also chosen as Senior of the Year, Kristin Miyagi (Fy./Honolulu, Hawaii/'Iolani School) captured Rookie-of-the-Year distinction. Erickson was selected by her peers as the MIAC’s Coach of the Year.

Carleton made conference history in October by becoming the first squad to have its five-player lineup conclude the MIAC Championships in spots 1-5 on the individual leaderboard. In fact, no other team has ever put more than three players inside the top five. The Knights repeated as MIAC champions last fall and did so in record-breaking fashion, smashing their own conference tournament 54-hole scoring record by 20 strokes. Carleton finished with a team score of 904, good for a whopping 66-shot margin of victory.

Erickson, in her first season at the helm of the program, guided the Knights to a 9-0 regular season, the conference tournament title, and an automatic berth in the NCAA Championships to be played on May 14-17 at Bay Oaks Country Club in Houston, Texas. Carleton currently owns a 305.5 team scoring average, which is on pace to set a new team record.

Wang paced MIAC golfers with a 75.5 scoring average in 2018-19, and this marks the fourth time in the last five years that a Knight was voted the conference’s Player of the Year. She finished in the top-10 at every event this season, including nine top-5 results. She was the medalist at four tournaments on the year, including the 2018 MIAC Championships where she broke the conference scoring mark while successfully defending her individual crown, marking the sixth consecutive season that a Carleton player took home that honor.

Sakamoto ranks second in the MIAC with a 76.4 scoring average. Like Wang, she notched 10 top-10 results including five top-2 finishes. She closed the regular season by securing medalist honors at the Carleton Spring Invitational.

Wang, Sakamoto, St. Catherine’s Sydney Busker, and Saint Benedict’s Natalie Amundson are the latest additions to the list of players to earn four career All-MIAC Awards for women’s golf. That chart now totals 14 names and includes two former Knights: Taylor Wells ’15 and Geraldine Tellbuescher ’17.

Alyssa Akiyama (Jr./Terrace Park, Ohio/Seven Hills School) earned her third career all-conference award. She was the runner up at 2018 MIAC Championships and ranks fourth in the MIAC with a scoring average of 77.8 during the 2018-19 campaign. She accumulated eight top-10 results this season, including a victory at the St. Kate’s Fall Invitational.

Sophomores Abby Euyang (Seattle, Wash./Lakeside) and Alexis Chan (Castle Rock, Colo./Rock Canyon) also picked up all-conference honors for the second time and did so for their play at the MIAC Championships where they placed third and fifth, respectively. Euyang is fifth among conference players with a 78.3 scoring average and placed inside the top-10 at nine events this season, including six top-5 finishes. Meanwhile, Chan totaled five top-5 results on the year and ranks seventh among conference players with her 78.6 scoring average.

Because each school is limited to only five players at the MIAC Championships, Miyagi did not have an opportunity to be one of the top-10 finishers at the conference tournament and earn automatic selection to the All-MIAC list. Instead, her steady play throughout the year merited inclusion as one of five at-large picks based .

Miyagi posted six top-10 results en route to a 79.8 scoring average, tops among conference newcomers. Bigger things may be in store for Miyagi down the road as four of the last five MIAC Rookies of the Year have gone on to win conference Player of the Year recognition at some point in their careers, including Miyagi's current teammates Akiyama and Wang.

As part of a conference-wide sportsmanship initiative, the MIAC also announced the 13th annual All-MIAC Sportsmanship team for women's golf. Members of the All-MIAC Sportsmanship team are selected by their coaches and teammates as individuals who demonstrate ideals of positive sportsmanship both on and off the field of competition. Sakamoto was chosen as Carleton’s representative on this team.

CARLETON KNIGHTS VOTED MIAC PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Shannon Holden in 2014-15
Alyssa Akiyama in 2016-17
Zyi Wang in 2017-18
Zyi Wang in 2018-19

CARLETON KNIGHTS VOTED MIAC ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Hope Kearney in 2009-10
Shannon Holden in 2013-14
Ziyi Wang in 2015-16
Alyssa Akiyama in 2016-17
Kristin Miyagi in 2018-19

MOST ALL-MIAC AWARD RECIPIENTS IN A SINGLE SEASON

6 — Carleton — 2018-19
5 — Concordia — 1995-96
5 — Concordia — 1996-97
5 — Concordia — 2000-01
5 — Carleton — 2013-14

5 — Carleton — 2014-15

5 — Carleton — 2017-18

4 — 11 times, including twice by Carleton (2015-16 and 2016-17)