BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) recognized some of its best and brightest spring sport student-athletes on Monday with the announcement of the baseball, softball, tennis and outdoor track and field Elite 22 Awards.
Bethel junior Michael Bohlke earned baseball honors, while the softball Elite 22 award went to St. Thomas sophomore Jaylen Heller. Gustavus swept the tennis accolades, with sophomore Michael O'Neil receiving the men's tennis Elite 22 Award and senior Katie Aney taking the women's tennis honor. Saint John's senior Matthew Burgstahler and Macalester senior Hannah Sonsalla garnered the men's and women's outdoor track and field Elite 22 awards.
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 baseball, softball and tennis, 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 outdoor 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.
Aney (Sr. | Rochester, Minn. | Century) finished her senior season with a 19-7 overall record, including an undefeated 10-0 mark in MIAC play, earning All-Conference honors in both singles and doubles play for the second consecutive season. Majoring in Biochemistry and Mathematics at Gustavus, Aney has accumulated a 3.96 grade-point average and twice been named Academic All-District for her work in the classroom.
Bohlke (Jr. | Maple Grove, Minn. | Wayzata) completed his junior campaign with a 5-1 record and a 2.28 earned-run average in 12 starts for the MIAC Playoff champion Royals. An All-Conference selection as a pitcher in 2018, Bohlke allowed just three earned runs in 30.2 innings against MIAC foes and finished the year with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 56-to-13. In the classroom, Bohlke has logged a 3.90 GPA while majoring in Accounting and Finance at Bethel.
Burgstahler (Sr. | Sandpoint, Idaho) earned All-Conference honors earlier this month with a third-place finish in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2018 MIAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The Integrative Health Science major is a three-time Academic All-Conference recipient and boasts a 4.0 GPA at Saint John's. Burgstahler also received Elite 22 honors for men's cross country last fall.
Heller (So. | Apple Valley, Minn. | Kilkenny) saw action in 13 games this season going 2-for-4 with three stolen bases and eight runs scored on the year for the MIAC champion Tommies. The Apple Valley native has posted a 3.97 GPA as a Secondary Education major in two years at St. Thomas.
O'Neil (So. | Edina, Minn.) finished the 2018 season with a 12-7 record overall in singles play and a 9-4 mark in doubles, ending the year with five straight singles wins for the MIAC champion Gusties. In two years at Gustavus, O'Neil has maintained a 4.0 GPA.
Sonsalla (Sr. | Stoughton, Wis.) earned her 12th career All-MIAC honor earlier this month with a second-place finish in the 200-meter dash at the 2018 MIAC Outdoor Championships. Sonsalla holds program records in three individual outdoor events and a pair of relays while also excelling in the classroom as a Dean's List recipient with a 3.95 GPA.
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 has archived each of the 22 winners throughout the 2017-18 season.