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Top 10 Carleton Varsity Athletic Stories of 2011

December 30, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Top 10
The calendar once again is preparing to begin a new year but before it does, Knights Online is taking one last look back at the previous 12 months to reflect on the highlights turned in by the Carleton College varsity athletic programs. There were several newsmakers that grabbed our attention, but Knights Online has whittled its list down to the Top 10 Carleton College sport stories of 2011. Let the debate begin! (Click on a story for more information.)

1)  Kelly Lovett national champ in javelin
2)  Simone Childs-Walker dominates again
3)  MIAC Title Easy as 1-2-3 for Women's Cross Country
4)  Men's Basketball beats St. Olaf in OT, Captures MIAC Crown
5)  Both soccer teams secure MIAC regular-season titles
6)  Tim Wills breaks goal-scoring record
7)  Kale Zicafoose All-American twice over
8)  Kathryn Schmidt three-peats as All-American
9)  Jon Lien’s school-record 259 rushing yards, 3 TD’s give Knights OT win at Macalester
10) Rookies Gina Kabasakalis and Taylor Wells break scoring marks


1) Kelly Lovett national champ in javelin

Kelly Lovett, women's track & field
The pantheon of Carleton College women’s track and field greats welcomed a new member into its club, as Kelly Lovett ’11 (Portland, Ore./Lincoln) captured the national title in the javelin throw at the NCAA Division III Women’s Track and Field Championships on Saturday. Lovett is only the fourth Carleton female track and field athlete to win a national outdoor title. She also picked up some academic hardware, too, earning a NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and USTFCCCA Scholar Athlete of the Year distinction.


2) Simone Childs-Walker dominates again

Simone Childs-Walker, Women's Cross Country
On the course, the track, or in the classroom, Simone Childs-Walker ’12 (Seattle, Wash./Lakeside) did what she does best… dominate. Because she could have filled much of this list by herself, we decided to try to lump her accomplishments into one spot. During the indoor season, she completed an unprecedented trifecta by becoming the first MIAC woman known to win the three longest races (mile, 3K and 5K) contested at the same conference indoor meet. She added 5K and 10K titles at the MIAC outdoor championships, picked up three more All-America awards (indoor 5K, outdoor 5K and 10K), and earned Academic All-America distinction. This fall, she helped cross country have another tremendous season (SEE #3).


3) MIAC Title Easy as 1-2-3 for Women's Cross Country

Women's Cross Country
The Carleton Women's Cross Country squad likes to pack up when they run. The 2011 conference championships were no different, except this time they carried the plan all the way across the finish line as a trio of Knights—Simone Childs-Walker ’12, Alison Smyth ’12 (Billings, Mont./West) and Rachael Klehm ’13 (Wellesley, Mass)—finished 1-2-3 to spark Carleton to its fifth conference crown. The Knights, placed five runners in the top 20 and bested cross-town rival St. Olaf to earn the team title. The Knights went on to finish second at regionals and tied for eighth at the NCAA Championships.


4) Men's Basketball Beats St. Olaf in OT, Captures MIAC Crown

Jeremy Sutherland, Men's Basketball action
The Knights rallied from an eight-point deficit with four minutes left in regulation, then finished off rival St. Olaf College in an instant classic, 84-73 in overtime, claiming their second MIAC regular-season crown in six years to the delight of a beyond-capacity crowd. Seth Jonker ’11 (Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) matched his career high with 26 points, and All-Region pick Jeremy Sutherland ’11 (Apple Valley, Minn./St. Bernard’s) added 21 points.


5) Both soccer teams secure MIAC regular-season titles on final day

MIAC co-champs, women's soccer action
On October 29, Carleton won a three MIAC team titles: women's cross country and both soccer teams. Seniors Niki Tomita (Redwood City, Calif./Woodside), Abby Wills (Portland, Ore./St. Mary’s) and Linnea Carlson (Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township) tallied goals in the first 45 minutes as the Knights cruised past rival St. Olaf College, 3-0, and earned a share of their second consecutive MIAC regular-season crown and the third overall in program history.

Men's Soccer 2011 MIAC Champs
Meanwhile, the men’s team claimed its fourth MIAC title in the last five years.


6) Tim Wills breaks goal-scoring record

Tim Wills, men's soccer action
Already the program’s all-time leader in assists and points, all-region performer Tim Wills ’12 (Portland, Ore./Central Catholic) broke the Knights’ career goal-scoring mark. With his two-score effort against Cornell College, Wills first tied then surpassed Bobby Phillips ’08 for the top spot. Wills eventually concluded his career with 35 goals, 33 assists, and 103 points.


7) Kale Zicafoose All-American twice over

Kale Zicafoose, women's swimming and diving action
Kale Zicafoose ’11
(Omaha, Neb./Westside) capped off her fantastic senior year by finishing third in the 100-yard backstroke and sixth in the 200-yard backstroke at the 2011 NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships. She went to nationals all four years and ended her career as a four-time individual All-American, having earning All-America finishes in the 2009 NCAA Championships in the 200-yard backstroke and at the 2010 NCAA Championships in the 100-yard backstroke. She also earned distinction as the “Swimmer of the Meet” at the 2011 MIAC Championships.


8) Kathryn Schmidt three-peats as All-American

Kathryn Schmidt, Women's Tennis action
Kathryn Schmidt ’11
(Minnetonka, Minn.) earned All-America honors for the third straight year and became the first Knight in nearly 20 years to be selected to the NCAA Division III Women’s Tennis Championships three times as an individual. Each time Schmidt has drawn elite talent. In 2011, she lost in the opening round to the eventual national champ. Schmidt plays in a program guided by ITA National Coach of the Year Luciano Battaglini.


9) Jon Lien’s school-record 259 rushing yards, 3 TD’s give Knights OT win at Macalester

Jon Lien, football action
Actions speak louder than words. And sometimes the stats back it up. Jon Lien ’11 (Lindstrom, Minn./Chisago Lakes) ran for three long touchdowns and a school-record 259 yards—including a game-winning 25-yard rumble in overtime—as the Carleton College football team rallied to defeat Macalester College, 23-17 in overtime. On the day Lien had scoring rushes of 46, 58 and 25 yards, making this only the 10th recorded time in Carleton history that a Knight had three or more touchdown runs in the same game, and the first since the 2004 season. He was named to the Team of the Week. Lien also became only the seventh Knight to surpass 2,000 rushing yards for his career.


10) Rookies Gina Kabasakalis and Taylor Wells break scoring marks

Gina Kabasakalis, women's golf
It didn’t take long for first-years Taylor Wells (Rochester, Minn./Century) and Gina Kabasakalis (Alameda, Calif./College Prep) to re-write the history books. In her collegiate debut, Wells broke the program’s 18- and 36-hole scoring marks. Not to be outdone, one week later Kabasakalis recorded the two lowest rounds in school history. For good measure, the pair fired the Knights’ two best 54-hole totals at the MIAC Championships.


11) Special Recognition: Three national titles for club sports

It's typical for Carleton students to exceed expectations. Since you're still reading, so does this Top 10 list. Although it doesn't fall under the varsity athletics umbrella, it's not fair to discuss athletic success without mentioning Carleton's three club sports teams that captured national championships in 2011.

In May, Carleton Ultimate Team (C.U.T.) won the Division I national title for the third time. On the women's side, Eclipse won the Division III title for the first time. In November, the women’s rugby team captured its first national title, pulling away from Lock Haven University (Pa.) 59-7 in the title game of the National Small College Rugby Organization's (NSCRO) Division 3 Women's Collegiate Championships to cap an undefeated season.