BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) recognized some of its best and brightest winter sport student-athletes on Wednesday with the announcement of the swimming and diving, indoor track and field, basketball and hockey Elite 22 Awards.
St. Thomas' sibling swimmers Joe Herrli and Nicole Herrli earned swimming and diving honors, while indoor track and field Elite 22 awards went to St. Thomas' Karl Wachter and Macalester's Hannah Sonsalla. UST's Elsa Anderson and Bethel's Robbie Whitney earned the basketball Elite 22 awards and Gustavus' Paulina Scheid joined Augsburg's Brett Bukowski as the recipients for hockey.
The MIAC Elite 22 Award recognizes the true essence of the term "student-athlete" by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the Conference championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. Modeled after the NCAA Elite 90 Award, the MIAC Elite 22 Award is presented to the student-athlete with the highest grade-point average (GPA) in each sport who has also met similarly high, sport-specific athletic requirements.
In all sports with MIAC team postseason tournaments, including basketball and hockey, the MIAC Elite 22 Award is presented to the individual with the highest GPA on the active roster at the MIAC Playoff championship contest. In swimming and diving and indoor track and field, the winner is the individual with the highest GPA who was named All-Conference. The recipient must be a sophomore, junior or senior and in at least his or her second season of competition with their current team.
Anderson (So. | Des Moines, Iowa | Des Moines Christian) played a key role in the Tommies' latest MIAC Playoff title run. She scored a career-high 15 points to go along with 10 rebounds in her first-ever playoff start to open the postseason. She has a 3.84 GPA at St. Thomas.
Bukowski (Sr. | Superior, Wis.) saw action in 23 games, starting 12 for the MIAC Playoff champion Auggies. He registered two goals and an assist while spending the majority of his time on the ice in defense of the Auggies' goal. A biology major and chemistry minor, Bukowski has accumulated a perfect 4.0 GPA at Augsburg.
Joe Herrli (So. | Rochester, Minn. | Chatfield) received the men's swimming and diving Elite 22 Award for his All-MIAC performance in the pool and his perfect GPA at St. Thomas. Herrli earned All-Conference honors at the MIAC Championships in February thanks to a third-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke.
Nicole Herrli (Sr. | Rochester, Minn. | Chatfield) took home three All-Conference honors at the 2018 MIAC Swimming and Diving Championships, with victories in the 200-yard individual medley and 200-yard breaststroke, to go along with a second-place finish in the 400-yard individual medley. The Biochemistry major is also a standout in the classroom with a 3.98 GPA at St. Thomas.
Scheid (So. | Stillwater, Minn.) appeared in 26 games for the MIAC co-champion Gusties this season. She was credited with a pair of assists on the year while aiding Gustavus' defensive efforts. Scheid has maintained a 3.94 GPA at Gustavus.
Sonsalla (Sr. | Stoughton, Wis.) brought her career All-MIAC total to 11 with top-three finishes in the 400-meter dash and 200-meter dash at last month's Conference meet. One of the most decorated runners in Macalester track history, Sonsalla holds program records in four individual events and two relays while also excelling in the classroom as a Dean's List recipient with a 3.95 GPA.
Wachter (So. | Shakopee, Minn.) earned a pair of All-Conference honors at the 2018 MIAC Indoor Track and Field Championships, placing second in the 1,000-meter run and third in the mile while recording personal bests in both races. The sophomore mechanical engineering student-athlete has a 4.0 GPA at St. Thomas.
Whitney (So. | Saint Francis, Minn.) saw action in 10 games in his second season in Arden Hills, including a pair of MIAC Playoff contests. The sophomore forward and two-time Dean's List recipient has a 3.96 GPA at Bethel.
A physical award will be provided to the winners to commemorate their MIAC Elite 22 Award. The Conference also recognizes the honorees on the MIAC Elite 22 Award website, which will archive each of the 22 winners throughout the 2017-18 season.