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Sesquicentennial Celebration - Top Varsity Highlights

sesquicentennial logoAs part of Carleton’s sesquicentennial celebration, Knights Online invited fans to look back at some of the top varsity sports highlights in the College’s history. During the 2016-17 academic year, fans and alumni were asked to vote for their favorite highlights as well as submit their own suggestions for the list. The polls closed on May 31 (the final day of classes for spring term), and with nearly 800 ballots cast, the vote totals proved to be extremely close. In fact, only six votes separated spot No. 10 from spot No. 17 on the final list.

The No. 1 highlight on this list received the most total votes, with the No. 2 highlight ranking second overall in votes cast, No. 3 was third, etc.

[NOTE: This project simply intended to be an enjoyable way to remember some of the significant moments and performances in Knights athletics. It does not to serve as a definitive list to say that one accomplishment is more important than another.]

No. 1 — Amelia Campbell wins 3 NCAA track and field titles, sets NCAA pentathlon record

Sesquicentennial top-10 highlights

One week after establishing a new NCAA record (3,914 points) in the event at the MIAC Track and Field Championships, Amelia Campbell broke the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships record (3,884 points) en route to winning the pentathlon in 2014. Two months later at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, she trailed heading into the final event of the heptathlon. Campbell posted a new personal best in the 800-meter run and finished with 5,221 points, the third-highest overall total in D-III history, and enough to claim the national title. She was the fifth Carleton student-athlete to win multiple individual national titles during the same academic year and became the fifth woman in NCAA history to win a national title in both the pentathlon and heptathlon in the same year (the second to do so at the Division III level). Campbell posted her third national title with a win in the heptathlon at the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Overall, she captured seven MIAC titles and turned in a whopping 19 All-MIAC performances.


No. 2 — Anna Prineas wins 4 NCAA titles in 15-month span

Sesquicentennial top-10 highlights

Anna Prineas ’89 closed her collegiate career with four Division III national titles in a 15-month span. She started this stretch with the 3,000-meter crown at the 1988 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, continued it with a first-place result at the 1988 national cross country meet, and concluded this period of domination with the 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter titles at the 1989 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. At that time, the D-III individual champ was also invited to compete at the Division I national championships two days later. Prineas took on this challenge and became a D-I All-American in both cross country (21st) and outdoor track (6th in the 10,000 meters) as senior. She won the Honda Award for Division III female athlete-of-the-year in 1989.


No. 3 — Men's Cross Country wins 1980 NCAA Championship, Carleton's first team national title

Sesquicentennial top-10 highlights

After finishing third the previous season, the Knights won the 1980 NCAA Division III Championship. It is the first and, to date, only national team championship in varsity sports history at Carleton. This was obviously the biggest achievement for a program that won 16 conference titles from 1962-82. All-Americans Todd Schafer (17th overall) and Chris Bierman (25th) paced the Knights that day, followed by Bill Nerman (35th), Robert Jacobsen (39th), David Waltz (55th), and Robert Pappas (159th).

1980 NCAA Championships final results

ESPN broadcastpart 1 | part 2 | part 3 (includes interview with Head Coach Bill Huyck at 6:25 mark)


No. 4 — Marie Marsman wins 9 national titles (7 individual, 2 relay) and breaks 2 NCAA records

Sesquicentennial top-10 highlights

From 2002 to 2005, she won seven individual national titles—plus two more relay crowns—and broke the NCAA records in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle. A 14-time MIAC champion—including a perfect 12-for-12 in individual events—she earned an amazing 17 All-America awards in her career and received All-America honorable mention five more times. Marsman was a two-time NCAA Championships "Swimmer of the Meet" recipient, was the only Division III swimmer on the U.S. national team that competed at the 2003 World University Games, and participated in the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.


No. 5 —Women's Tennis wins 2012 MIAC title and breaks Gustavus' 21-year win streak in conference play

Sesquicentennial top-10 highlights

On the last day of the regular season (April 29, 2012), Women’s Tennis defeated 20-time defending MIAC champion Gustavus Adolphus to capture the MIAC regular-season crown, the Knights’ first MIAC title since 1987. Carleton’s win snapped the Gusties’ win streak of 214 consecutive regular-season conference matches (dating back to 1991). The Knights topped the Gusties again in the MIAC Playoffs to earn the first of three straight trips to the NCAA Championships. Overall, Carleton has won a total of seven regular-season or postseason conference titles from 2012-17.


No. 6 — Women's Cross Country wins 5 MIAC titles from 2009-15

Sesquicentennial top-10 highlights

Women’s Cross Country won five team titles at the MIAC Championships from 2009-15, including a three-peat in 2013, 2014, and 2015. On the national scene, 2016 marked the Knights' sixth consecutive trip the NCAA Championships and their 11th in the last 13 seasons.


No. 7 — Dale Kramer wins 4 national titles in cross country and outdoor track & field

Sesquicentennial top-10 highlights

Dale Kramer became one of Division III’s all-time best distance runners during his time at Carleton, winning four national titles between cross country and track & field and nine Midwest Conference titles, in addition to seven All-America honors. He won back-to-back NCAA D-III cross country individual titles in 1977 and 1978, and consecutive 5000 meters titles in 1976 and 1977. He set school records starting at 1000 meters all the way to 10,000 meters. In 2013, he was inducted into the Division III Track & Field Athlete Hall of Fame by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).


No. 8 — Greg Sampson wins 5 national titles for men's swimming

Sesquicentennial top-10 highlights

Greg Sampson became the most prolific swimmer in the history of the men’s program at Carleton, winning five individual national titles from 1989-91. He became Carleton’s first swimming national champion by winning the 200-yard breaststroke as a sophomore in 1989. He then captured the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke titles in 1990 and 1991. He won nine total All-America awards and received All-America honorable mention for three additional events.


No. 9 — Introduction of the Goat Trophy to Carleton-St. Olaf basketball/football rivalries

Sesquicentennial top-10 highlights

As the story goes, Endre Anderson, a St. Olaf student (and later Oles coach from 1920-27) fashioned a makeshift goat out of a chair and hung it from the rafters of the St. Olaf gymnasium back in 1914, trying to “get the goat” of the Carleton players. Carleton won that contest and claimed the Goat as a symbol of the victory. The two schools have traded the “Goat” ever since. The football version of the Goat Trophy was introduced to the rivalry in 1931.


No. 10 — Second-half surge sends 2009-10 Men's Basketball team to NCAA Championships

Sesquicentennial top-10 highlights

After starting the conference season 3-7, the 2009-10 Men’s Basketball team went 9-1 in the second half, then beat both No. 3 St. Thomas and Gustavus Adolphus on road to earn a bid to the NCAA Championships. In the national tournament, the Knights lost by a single point on the road at No. 5-ranked and eventual national champion UW-Stevens Point.

Honorable Mention (based on vote totals and listed in chronological order):

• The 1916 football team traveled to the University of Chicago and pulled off a 7–0 upset over the Big 9 (precursor to the Big Ten) squad coached by Hall of Famer Alonzo Stagg.

• "Victory Five" dominates men's basketball in the early 1930s. The team went 54-5 from 1930 to 1933 and was undefeated in the Midwest Conference over that span. Meanwhile, Carleton went 4–5 against Big Ten teams, including victories over Chicago, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

• Competing against Division I players, men’s golfer Wally Ulrich ’47 won the 1943 NCAA Championships individual title. He went on to spend 15 seasons on the PGA Tour. The first alumna to be inducted into the Carleton Alumni ‘C’ Club Hall of Fame, Carole Pushing Burch ’61 won the 1958 National Women’s Collegiate Golf Championship. In the same year, she won the Minnesota State Amateur Golf Tournament, an event she would win again two years later.

• The 1954 football team went 8-0 en route to the Midwest Conference title. It was the program’s first—and only—undefeated campaign since 1916. Carleton outscored the opposition 139-59 on the year.

• In 1977, the Carleton-St. Olaf football rivalry had a unique twist with the “Liter Bowl.” The squads tried to usher in the metric system; the playing field was extended nine yards to reach 100 meters in length, and the players were listed in centimeters and kilograms in the game program. It is the only NCAA-sanctioned football game to have been played on a metric field.

• Two key, late-game defensive plays helped the football team win the 1992 MIAC title. Aston Coleman ’93 blocked a short field goal on the final play of the game, allowing Carleton to beat Concordia, 26–24. Then, in the season finale, the Knights stopped a Gustavus’ two-point conversion attempt with 32 seconds left, sealing the conference title with a 21–20 triumph.

• The women’s basketball team put together an amazing run of four consecutive MIAC Playoff titles from 2001 to 2004. The Knights went 96–18 (.842) over that span.

• From 2007-12, men’s soccer won five regular-season and two MIAC Playoff titles, including a thrilling shootout win over Augsburg in 2008. The Knights have advanced to the postseason in 10 consecutive seasons, the longest active streak in MIAC men's and women's soccer.

• The women’s soccer team made three consecutive trips to the national tournament and advanced all the way to the Elite 8 in 2008, the deepest run ever by a Carleton team sport at the NCAA Championships.

• On May 8, 2010, men’s tennis beat Gustavus, 6-3, in the finals of the MIAC Playoffs, snapping the Gusties’ streak of winning every MIAC regular and postseason title since 1989.  The Knights went on to win their opening round match in the NCAA Championships.