BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) recognized some of its best and brightest fall sport student-athletes on Monday with the announcement of the golf, cross country, soccer, volleyball, and football Elite 22 Awards.
Augsburg's Brett Buckingham and Carleton's Abby Euyang were the recipients of the men's and women's golf Elite 22 awards, with St. Thomas runners Parker Rosenau and Becca Wilkin earning cross country honors. Soccer's Elite 22 awards went to Carleton's David Rubin and St. Thomas' McKenna Peplinski, while Saint Benedict's Hunter Weiss was awarded in volleyball and Chris Backes of Saint John's was honored in football.
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 meets similarly high, sport-specific athletic requirements.
In all sports with MIAC team postseason tournaments, including volleyball and soccer, the MIAC Elite 22 Award is presented to the individual with the highest GPA on the active postseason roster of one of the two Playoff championship teams. The MIAC Elite 22 Football Award is presented to the individual nominated for the honor with the highest GPA who helped his team finish in the top two in the MIAC standings. For cross country, the honor is bestowed upon the individual with the highest GPA among the top-15 individual finishers at the Conference championship meet, while the accolade in golf is presented to the individual with the highest GPA among the top-10 individual finishers at the MIAC Championships. Each winner must be a sophomore, junior or senior and in at least his or her second season of competition with their current team.
Backes (So. | St. Cloud, Minn. | Tech) saw action in 11 games for the MIAC champion Johnnies, completing 4-of-9 passes with one touchdown throw. He has a 4.0 GPA as an Economics major at Saint John's.
Buckingham (Jr. | Glenwood, Minn. | Minnewaska) averaged 73.6 strokes over six tournaments this fall, including his second-straight top-four finish at the 2018 MIAC Men's Golf Championships in October. This is also Buckingham's second consecutive Elite 22 Award, as the junior Marketing and Management major has maintained a 4.0 GPA during his three years as an Auggie.
Euyang (So. | Seattle, Wash. | Lakeside) is also coming off a second-straight top-four finish at the MIAC Women's Golf Championships, having finished third as part of the Knights' historic victory earlier this season. A standout on the course and in the classroom, Euyang has logged a 3.96 GPA in two years at Carleton.
Peplinski (Sr. | Maple Grove, Minn.) was a 22-game starter for the MIAC women's soccer regular season and Playoff champs, contributing four goals and four assists overall, with eight of her 12 points coming against conference opponents. Peplinski is a Mechanical Engineering major with a 3.99 GPA at UST.
Rosenau (Sr. | West Fargo, N.D.) earned All-MIAC honors in October after placing 11th overall at the 2018 Men's Cross Country Championships with a time of 26:11 on the 8K course. A neuroscience major at St. Thomas, Rosenau has achieved a GPA of 3.97 during his UST career.
Rubin (So. | Ann Arbor, Mich. | Greenhills) started 19 games for the MIAC Men's Soccer Playoff champion Knights, scoring one goal and assisting on two more from his midfielder position. He has maintained a 4.0 GPA in two years at Carleton.
Weiss (So. | Shakopee, Minn.) finished her sophomore campaign at Saint Ben's as a First Team American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America selection, leading the MIAC with 425 total kills and ranking second in the nation - behind only her sister, Madison - with 142 total blocks. Weiss is majoring in Biology at CSB and has totaled a 4.0 GPA during her time in St. Joseph.
Wilkin (Jr. | Eagan, Minn. | Trinity) placed 14th overall at the 2018 MIAC Women's Cross Country Championships, clocking in at 23:18 to become an All-Conference honoree. The junior runner has a 3.98 GPA while majoring in Actuarial Science at St. Thomas.
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 2018-19 season.