Three-straight MIAC S&D titles for St. Thomas men

Three-straight MIAC S&D titles for St. Thomas men

MINNEAPOLIS – For the third-straight season, the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Men's Swimming and Diving Championships concluded with the University of St. Thomas hoisting the championship trophy. Saturday's final session at the University of Minnesota's Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center saw UST put the finishing touches on a dominant performance, as well as impressive times and scores from around the MIAC.

The convincing win resulted in the St. Thomas men's three-peat, and the Tommies have now won five titles since 2010. UST's latest title saw them steadily build and increase their lead over the field throughout the championships. Head Coach Scott Blanchard's team finished with 910 points and won by a margin of 257 points. It's the 14th overall men's swimming and diving conference title for the Tommies, which is the fourth-best total in the MIAC. 


UST diver Andrew Grabowski added more hardware to the Tommie trophy case, as the junior was named MIAC Men's Diver-of-the-Year for the third-straight season. Thursday he captured his second-straight MIAC title on the 1-meter board with an NCAA A Qualifying Score of 472.05, and he was even better Saturday. Grabowski put the finishing touches on a remarkable performance with a score of 522.10 to claim his third-straight MIAC title on the 3-meter board by more than 100 points, and cement another overall diving honor. Both met the NCAA A Qualifying standard.

Men's Swimmer-of-the-Year honors went to Gustavus sophomore Tanner Sonnek, who had a brilliant individual performance throughout the three days. Sonnek set a new meet record with a 2016 NCAA Selection Time of 55.10 to win the 100-yard breaststroke, he added another win in the 200-yard individual medley (1:53.06) and Saturday he repeated as the 100-yard breaststroke champ with a 2016 Selection Time of 2:02.12. Sonnek also led a quartet of Gustie relay teams to All-Conference (top three) honors – the 200- (second place, 1:23.01) and 400-yard (3:07.39) freestyle relays (second place, 1:23.01) and the 200- (1:33.96) and 400-yard (3:25.40) medley relays.

Sonnek's Gusties were the runner-up to St. Thomas with 653 points. St. Olaf joined the top three with a score of 589, and Saint John's (456 points) and Carleton (346 points) rounded out the top five. Hamline finished sixth with a score of 223, Macalester (186) was seventh and Saint Mary's (104) finished eighth.

In addition to the Swimmer- and Diver-of-the-Year awards, coaches and the All-MIAC Sportsmanship Team were also recognized. Blanchard received the Men's Swimming Coach-of-the-Year honor for his role in the Tommies' third-straight title, and St. Catherine's Jake Dunn was awarded the MIAC Diving Coach-of-the-Year award.

Macalester's top highlight of the Championships came early Saturday as sophomore Paul Reischmann won the MIAC title in the 1,650-yard freestyle. His time of 16:05.02 met the NCAA B cut. Runner-up Bobby Schultze of St. Olaf also met the B cut with a time of 1:52.80, and the defending champ in the event – St. Thomas' Warren Melton – was third with a time of 16:27.46.

St. Olaf rookie John Loepfe continued a breakout performance in his first MIAC Championships with a win in the 200-yard backstroke. His winning time of 1:49.44 met the NCAA B cut. St. Thomas' Tom Negaard was second with a time of 1:52.80 and St. Olaf's Abe Eyman Casey put another Ole in the top three with his time of 1:53.76.

The men's 100-yard freestyle was one of the most entertaining events of the night, and a fitting conclusion to the MIAC career of Saint John's Kenny Bergman. The senior won his third-straight MIAC 100-free title with a B-cut time of 45.36, holding off Gustavus rookie Matt Allison (45.43, B cut) and a quartet of talented St. Thomas swimmers, led by Nick Cox (46.19) and Bailey Biwer (46.48) to complete the three-peat.

The men's 200-yard breaststroke saw Gustavus sophomore Tanner Sonnek continue his outstanding meet with his third win of the weekend. He repeated in the event with a 2016 NCAA Selection Time of 2:02.12. A pair of Oles joined Sonnek atop the podium, as Gus Reynolds (2:07.10) was second and Nathaniel France (2:07.34) was third. UST occupied three of the next four spots on the leader board.

The men's 200-yard butterfly finals helped serve as a coronation for St. Thomas, as the Tommies swept the top three spots and four of the top five. Brady Anderson won with a time of 1:55.30, with teammates Omar Omar (1:55.80) and Max Larson (1:56.03) close behind in second and third, respectively.

In addition to Grabowski's brilliance on the 3-meter diving board, each of the other seven divers in the finals met the NCAA B Qualifying standard. St. Olaf sophomore Leif Jorgensen Duus finished second with a score of 421.95, and Gustavus rookie Josh Theis led a quartet of Gusties in the top seven with a score of 394.20.

St. Thomas finished off its title by completing a sweep of all five relays. UST won the final event of the meet – the 400-yard freestyle relay – as Nick Cox, Tom Negaard, Bailey Biwer and Mike Solfelt finished with a B-cut time of 3:03.92. Saint John's was second with a time of 3:05.97 and Gustavus was third with a time of 3:07.39.

Following each of Saturday 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. Saturday's All-Conference honorees are listed below. Following the conclusion of the meet, there was an awards ceremony to honor the All-Sportsmanship Team, individual award-winners and team champions. The MIAC will have a full breakdown of the 2017 MIAC Swimming and Diving awards on its web site next week.

Fans can re-live all the action from an incredible three days via the 2017 MIAC Swimming & Diving Championships home page, which includes results, recaps, photos and more. Fans can also watch all six sessions on demand or order DVDs of the video webcast courtesy of Webcast America. Fans can continue the conversation on social media via the MIAC's FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube pages and the official event hashtag #MIACSD.

The MIAC thanks its gracious host, the University of Minnesota and the entire staff at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center. The MIAC also thanks host schools Augsburg and Carleton, The Commons Hotel, Elsmore Swim Shop, Webcast America, Meet Manager Dave Luedtke and all the officials, announcers, timers and volunteers.

2017 MIAC Swimming and Diving Championships - Session 6
Results | Team ScoresPhotos (For sale) | Archived VideoEvent Home Page | 


Men's Team Scores (final)

1. St. Thomas - 910
2. Gustavus - 653
3. St. Olaf - 589
4. Saint John's - 456
5. Carleton - 346
6. Hamline - 223
7. Macalester - 186
8. Saint Mary's - 104
Men's Awards

Men's Swimmer-of-the-Year:
Tanner Sonnek, Gustavus

Men's Diver-of-the-Year:
Andrew Grabowski, St. Thomas

Men's Swimming Coach-of-the-Year:
Scott Blanchard, St. Thomas  

Diving Coach-of-the-Year:
 Jake Dunn, St. Catherine
2017 MIAC Men's All-Conference Individuals   

1,650-yard Freestyle
1. Paul Reischmann, Macalester, So., 16:05.02, B     
2. Bobby Schultze, St. Olaf, Sr., 16:12.96, B
3. Warren Melton, St. Thomas, Jr., 16:27.46

200-yard Backstroke
1. John Loepfe, St. Olaf, Fr., 1:49.44, B
2. Tom Negaard, St. Thomas, So., 1:52.80
3. Abe Eyman Casey, St. Olaf, So., 1:53.76

100-yard Freestyle
1. Kenny Bergman, Saint John's, Sr., 45.36, R3, B     
2. Matt Allison, Gustavus, Fr., 45.43, B
3. Nick Cox, St. Thomas, 46.19

200-yard Breaststroke
1. Tanner Sonnek, Gustavus, So., 2:02.12, R, ST16
2. Gus Reynolds, St. Olaf, So., 2:07.10
3. Nathaniel France, St. Olaf, Sr., 2:07.34

200-yard Butterfly

1. Brady Anderson, St. Thomas, Jr., 1:55.30   
2. Omar Omar, St. Thomas, Fr., 1:55.80
3. Max Larson, St. Thomas, So., 1:56.03

3-meter Diving
1. Andrew Grabowski, St. Thomas, Jr., 522.10, R3, A  
2. Leif Jorgensen Duus, St. Olaf, So., 421.95, B
3. Josh Theis, Gustavus, Fy., 394.20, B

400-yard Freestyle Relay
1. St. Thomas, 3:03.92, B
    (Nick Cox, Tom Negaard, Bailey Biwer, Mikey Solfelt)
2. Saint John's, 3:05.97
    (Sam Konsor, Andrew Urness, Luke Heller, Kenny Bergman)
3. Gustavus, 3:07.39
    (Tanner Sonnek, Andrew Peters, Matt Allison, Adam Peters)

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

2017 MIAC Swimming and Diving Championships Home Page |