Frantic Friday finals session filled with highlights

Frantic Friday finals session filled with highlights

MINNEAPOLIS – The second finals session at the 2017 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Friday wasn't short on action as 15 relay or individual event champions were crowned, and the University of St. Thomas put a little distance between itself and the rest of the field as the Tommies aim for a dual repeat.

There were impressive performances across the board with major highlights for nearly every MIAC team. One MIAC record and two meet records bit the dust Friday night, and MIAC swimmers achieved eight 2016 NCAA Selection Times and 13 NCAA B-cut times. The divers were just as impressive, with two NCAA A Qualifying scores and another six that met the B Qualifying standard.


The Tommie women were locked in a tight battle after Thursday, but surged to a triple-digit lead with 580 points after Friday's session. Gustavus is alone in second at 459.5, with Carleton (329) holding a slim lead on St. Olaf (297) for third. Saint Benedict (189.5) and St. Catherine (177) are engaged in a good battle for fifth, with Macalester (137), Hamline (113), Concordia (101), Saint Mary's (62) and Augsburg (58) rounding out the women's standings following Day 2.

St. Thomas continued to pull away in the men's team battle, with 611 points and more than a 200-point cushion. Gustavus (398) and St. Olaf (388) are locked in a thriller for second, with Saint John's (318) close behind. Carleton (229), Hamline (156), Macalester (129) and Saint Mary's (82) make up the rest of the men's standings following Friday's action.

Just like Thursday night, Friday started with a pair of St. Thomas relay wins, as the Tommies swept the 200-yard medley relay titles. The women – Tiana Molitor, Melissa Rose, Haley Cassens and Emma Paulson – won with a 2016 Selection Time of 1:43.71, and the men – Tom Negaard, Eric Schuld, Bailey Biwer and Mikey Solfelt – had a B-cut time of 1:31.01. Gustavus' women (1:45.56) had a B-cut time in second and Carleton (1:47.09) was third. St. Olaf (1:32.82) and Gustavus men (1:33.96) rounded out the men's top three.

The top individual highlight of the night came in the women's 400-yard individual medley as Carleton senior Maria Wetzel set a new MIAC and meet record with her 2016 Selection Time of 4:28.03. St. Olaf first-year Helen Jensen (4:29.89) was right on her heels with a 2016 Selection Time as well and St. Thomas' Nicole Herrli (4:34.02), Gustavus' Hayley Booher (4:34.17) – the three-time defending champ in the event – and Gustavus' Linnea Rizzo all had B-cut times. The men's 400-IM saw UST sophomore Max Larson win with a B-cut time of 4:06.24, with teammate Jason Tri (4:07.54) in second and Carleton's Alex Mathson in third (4:08.49).

The Ole women got their top moment courtesy of Claire Walters (56.26) and 2016 Selection Time in the 100-yard butterfly, with St. Thomas' Katelyn Strauss (56.69) meeting the B cut and two-time defending champ Kate Reilly of Gustavus (57.12) a close third. The men's 100-fly saw four UST swimmers – and five of the top six – atop the podium, led by Bailey Biwer (49.11, B cut), Nick Cox (49.49, B cut) and Omar Omar (51.16).

The 200-yard freestyle was a St. Thomas sweep, with Alex Howard winning the women's title with a B-cut time of 1:52.81 and Warren Melton successfully defended his men's championship with a B-cut time of 1:40.21. Carleton grabbed second- and third-place finishes in the women's race thanks to Caroline Mather (1:53.76) and Alex Braiedy (1:54.42), while Gustavus' Matt Allison (1:41.30) and UST's Luke Schneeman (1:42.85) added top-three men's finishes.

In the 100-yard breaststroke, Gustavus' Tanner Sonnek delivered another outstanding performance, setting a new meet record with a winning 2016 Selection Time of 55.10. St. Olaf's Nathaniel France also met the 2016 Selection time (55.98) and St. Thomas' Colin Glass (57.10) was third. Carleton rookie Ada Meyer gave the Knights more to cheer about with a win in the women's 100-breast with a time of 1:05.34, with St. Thomas teammates Melissa Rose (1:05.91) and Ashley Christiansen (1:06.01) in second and third.

St. Thomas' Emma Paulson delivered another outstanding performance, as the reigning MIAC and National Swimmer-of-the-Year won her third-straight 100-yard backstroke title in 55:39, which met the 2016 Selection Time. Teammate Kirsten Nelson had a B-cut time of 57.21 in second and St. Olaf's Kelly Punyko (57.61) was third. Youth was served in the men's 100-back as St. Olaf rookie John Loepfe won with a 2016 Selection Time of 49.48, with teammate Abe Eyman Casey in third (51.61) and St. Thomas' Tom Negaard (50.81) splitting the difference in second.

The women's 3-meter diving final was an instant classic between two competitors that own the last three MIAC Diver-of-the-Year awards. St. Catherine's Jenna Nagy and St. Olaf's Courtney Miller dueled to the final dive, with Nagy pulling out a thrilling win, 451.75 to 448.90. Hamline's Kayla Hennum rounded out the top three with her score of 376.00. Nagy and Miller both met the NCAA A Qualification Score, while Hennum and the other five finalists all met the B Qualification Score.

St. Thomas stayed perfect in the relay events with a sweep in the 800-freestyle relay to close Friday's session. The men's team of Bailey Biwer, Brady Anderson, Luke Schneeman, Warren Melton had a B-cut time of 6:47.08, while the women's squad of Katelyn Strauss, Alex Howard, Kate Smarjesse, Molly Vancil won with a time of 7:40.08. St. Olaf (6:59.99) and Gustavus (7:01.24) joined the men's top three, and those two flipped in the women's 800-free relay with the Gusties (7:49.19) second and Oles (7:52.51) third. 

St. Thomas' Emma Paulson and Carleton's Maria Wetzel both delivered
highlights Friday at the MIAC Swimming & Diving Championships.
(Photos by Matt Higgins, MIAC) 

Following each of Friday evening's races, a short awards ceremony was held to honor the top eight finishers. The top three finishers in each event received medals and automatically earn All-Conference honors. Friday's All-Conference honorees are listed below.

The meet will conclude with two more sessions Saturday. The morning sessions will begin at 10:30 a.m. (doors at 9 a.m.) and will feature preliminary races. Saturday's championship doors will open at 2:30 p.m. for preliminary heats of the 1,650-yard freestyle and diving, with the final session beginning at 6:30 p.m. The Session 5 heat sheet is available online.

Tickets are available at either a single-session rate, or all-session passes will also be available for fans who plan to attend the entire event. Single-session passes cost $10 for adults and $5 for students, and all-session passes are $50 for adults and $25 for students. Heat sheets are included in the cost of admission. Children 5 and under are admitted free, and MIAC passes will be honored for all six session. No other passes or discounts will be accepted.

As in years past, all six sessions will be broadcast live online thanks to Webcast America. Fans will also be able to watched archived video of each session following the event and purchase DVDs of the broadcasts via Webcast America's site. MIAC Media's Mike Gallagher will handle play-by-play duties for four of the six sessions. There will also be "live" results available online with results updated shortly after the conclusion of each event for fans following the action from afar.

The MIAC has an exclusive Web site for the 2017 MIAC Swimming & Diving Championships. The site features the complete event schedulepsych sheetticket information and venue information. The site will be constantly updated throughout the event with heat sheets, links to follow the action live, results, recaps, photos and more.

Fans can also monitor MIAC men's swimming and diving on-the-go thanks to the the MIAC mobile app, which is a free download for both Apple and Android devices. Also, connect to the conference on its FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube pages and use the official event hashtag #MIACSD to interact throughout the championships.

2017 MIAC Swimming and Diving Championships - Session 4
Results | Team ScoresPhotos (For sale) | Archived Video | Session 5 Heat SheetEvent Home Page | 


Men's Team Scores (after day two)

1. St. Thomas - 611
2. Gustavus - 398
3. St. Olaf - 388
4. Saint John's - 318
5. Carleton - 229
6. Hamline - 156
7. Macalester - 129
8. Saint Mary's - 82
Women's Team Scores (after day two)

1. St. Thomas - 580
2. Gustavus - 459.5
3. Carleton - 329
4. St. Olaf - 297
5. Saint Benedict - 189.5 
6. St. Catherine - 177
7. Macalester - 137
8. Hamline - 113
9. Concordia - 101
10. Saint Mary's - 62
11. Augsburg - 58

2017 MIAC Men's All-Conference Individuals   

200-yard Medley Relay
1. St. Thomas, 1:31.01, B
    (Tom Negaard, Eric Schuld, Bailey Biwer, Mikey Solfelt)
2. St. Olaf, 1:32.82
    (John Loepfe, Nathaniel France, Andrew France, Matthew Dynneson)  

3. Gustavus, 1:33.96
    (Frankie Zobitz, Tanner Sonnek, Zach Holman, Adam Peters)

400-yard Individual Medley
1. Max Larson, St. Thomas, So., 4:06.24, B
2. Jason Tri, St. Thomas, So., 4:07.54
3. Alex Mathson, Carleton, Sr., 4:08.49

100-yard Butterfly
1. Bailey Biwer, St. Thomas, Jr., 49.11, B
2. Nick Cox, St. Thomas, Sr., 49.49, B
3. Omar Omar, St. Thomas, Fr., 51.16

200-yard Freestyle
1. Warren Melton, St. Thomas, Jr., 1:40.21, B
2. Matt Allison, Gustavus, Fr., 1:41.30
3. Luke Schneeman, St. Thomas, Sr., 1:42.85

100-yard Breaststroke
1. Tanner Sonnek, Gustavus, So., 55.10, M, ST16
2. Nathaniel France, St. Olaf, Sr., 55.98, ST16
3. Colin Glass, St. Thomas, 57.10

100-yard Backstroke
1. John Loepfe, St. Olaf, Fy., 49.48, ST16
2. Tom Negaard, St. Thomas, So., 50.81
3. Abe Casey Eyman, St. Olaf, So., 51.61

800-yard Freestyle Relay
1. St. Thomas, 6:47.08, B
    (Bailey Biwer, Brady Anderson, Luke Schneeman, Warren Melton)

2. St. Olaf, 6:59.99
    (Abe Eyman Casey, John Loepfe, Gus Reynolds, Bobby Schultze)

3. Gustavus, 7:01.24
    (Zach Dawson, Matt Allison, Andrew Peters, Adam Peters)
2017 MIAC Women's All-Conference Individuals   

200-yard Medley Relay
1. St. Thomas, 1:43.71, ST16
    (Tiana Molitor, Melissa Rose, Haley Cassens, Emma Paulson)
2. Gustavus, 1:45.56, B
    (Hayley Booher, Madline Westendorp, Kate Reilly, Maggie Webster)
3. Carleton, 1:47.09
    (Allie Clark, Ada Meyer, Alex Braiedy, Caroline Mather)

400-yard Individual Medley
1. Maria Wetzel, Carleton, Sr., 4:28.03, M*, ST16
2. Helen Jensen, St. Olaf, Fy., 4:29.89, ST16
3. Nicole Herrli, St. Thomas, Jr., 4:34.02, B

100-yard Butterfly
1. Claire Walters, St. Olaf, Sr., 56.26, ST16
2. Katelyn Strauss, St. Thomas, So., 56.69, B
3. Kate Reilly, Gustavus, Jr., 57.12

200-yard Freestyle
1. Alex Howard, St. Thomas, So., 1:52.81
2. Caroline Mather, Carleton, So., 1:53.76
3. Alex Braiedy, Carleton, Sr., 1:54.42

100-yard Breaststroke
1. Ada Meyer, Carleton, Fy., 1:05.34
2. Melissa Rose, St. Thomas, So., 1:05.91
3. Ashley Christiansen, St. Thomas, Fy., 1:06.01

100-yard Backstroke
1. Emma Paulson, St. Thomas, Sr., 55.39, ST16
2. Kirsten Nelson, St. Thomas, Fy., 57.21, B
3. Kelly Punyko, St. Olaf, So., 57.61

3-meter Diving
1. Jenna Nagy, St. Catherine, Sr., 451.75, A
2. Courtney Miller, St. Olaf, Sr., 448.90, A
3. Kayla Hennum, Hamline, Sr., 376.00, B

800-yard Freestyle Relay
1. St. Thomas, 7:40.08
    (Katelyn Strauss, Alex Howard, Kate Smarjesse, Molly Vancil)
2. Gustavus, 7:49.19
    (Nicole Lohman, Sydney Hallmark, Haley Pesik, Maggie Webster)
3. St. Olaf, 7:52.51
    (Helen Jensen, Claire Walters, Caitlin Croasdell, Zoe Barlow)

Key: M - Meet Record; M* - MIAC Record; R - Repeat Champion; R3 - Three-time Champion, R4 - Four-time Champion; A - NCAA 'A' Qualifying Standard; B - NCAA 'B' Qualifying Standard; ST16 - 2016 NCAA Selection Time; NCAA 11 - NCAA Diving Zone 11-Dive Qualifying Score.

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