St. Catherine captures first-ever MIAC Women's Golf Championship

St. Catherine captures first-ever MIAC Women's Golf Championship

COON RAPIDS, Minn. -- In just six years, the St. Catherine University women's golf program has gone from its infant stages, all the way to conference champions.

The Wildcats completed their incredible ascension up the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) standings by winning the 2016 championship – and the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Championships – Monday at Bunker Hills Golf Course in Coon Rapids, Minn. St. Kate's held off a furious charge from Carleton, as the Knights jumped from fifth to second on Sunday, and actually took the lead on Monday's back nine, but the Wildcats regained the lead and held on for their historic win. St. Catherine shot a 319 both Saturday and Monday sandwiched around a 311 on Sunday, with a  three-day, 54-hole total of 949 to claim the title.


The Wildcats first appeared in the MIAC Championships in 2011, and finished either ninth or 10th over their first three seasons, but the last three – culminating in the 2016 title – has shown rapid improvement. The team ascended to sixth in 2014, leapt to third in 2015 and hoisted their first-ever MIAC title in the sport Monday.

Though Carleton's final-day charge came up short, the Knights' Alyssa Akiyama played brilliantly to capture individual medalist honors. After shooting 77 each of the first two days, Akiyama shot a remarkable, MIAC Championsihps 18-hold record of 2-under-par 70 Monday to vault into first place. The first-year golfer shot 224 over the three-day tournament to win by seven shots and tie the MIAC Women's Golf Championships 54-hole scoring record. Akiyama tied the 224 also shot by Gustavus Katie Schenfeld in 2010, and her victory gave Carleton its fourth-straight individual MIAC champion. 

The Knights finished incredibly strong with a 310 Sunday and a 311 Monday, but their 951 total (330-310-311) was just two shots off the Wildcats winning score. However, Carleton did secure its fifth-straight top-two finish. Gustavus moved up from a fourth-place tie into third in the final standings by shooting a 318 Monday and finishing with a total of 965 (328-319-318). Defending champion St. Thomas was fourth with a total of 971 (321-321-329) and Bethel finished fifth with a 54-hole score of 979 (322-325-332).

Saint Benedict carded a total of 999 (338-327-334) to finish in sixth. St. Olaf (355-347-334=1,039) improved each day to finish seventh, Concordia (353-352-356=1,061) came in eight place and Saint Mary's (372-373-382=1,127) and Augsburg (402-381-377=1,160) rounded out the 2016 standings.

After Akiyama atop the individual leader board, Bethel's Christine Piwnica shot a 231 (+15) to finish second, with St. Catherine's Abby Conzemius and St. Thomas' Rachel Morris tied for third at 233 (+17). Gustavus' Mae Meierhenry and Carleton's Ayumi Sakamoto shared fifth place at 236 (+20). St. Kate's Sydney Busker was just a shot behind that duo in seventh at 237 (+21), Saint Benedict's Natalie Amundson shot 238 (+22) to finish eighth, St. Olaf's Melissa Biesmann came in ninth at 239 (+23) and Gustavus' Jessica Nelson and St. Catherine's Kaitlyn Alvarez both finished at 240 (+24) to share 10th place.

There was a short awards ceremony following Monday's final round to honor the top teams and individuals. St. Catherine received the MIAC championship plaque, as well as the conference's automatic bid to the 2016 NCAA Division III Golf Championships. The top 10 individual finishers are named to the All-Championship team, and will be automatically receive All-Conference honors in the spring.

Fans can re-live all the action on the MIAC Golf Championships web site, which includes full results, recaps, photos and more. Fans can discuss the MIAC Championships on social media on the MIAC's Facebook page, Instagram or on Twitter using the hashtag #MIACgolf


Day One
Team Results | Individual Results | Photos |

Day Two
Team Results | Individual Results | Photos |

Day Three
Team Results | Individual Results | Photos |   
  2016 MIAC Women's Golf All-Championship Team  
1. Alyssa Akiyama, Carleton, 224 (+8)
2. Christine Piwnica, Bethel, 231 (+15)
T3. Abby Conzemius, St. Catherine, 233 (+17)
T3. Rachel Morris, St. Thomas, 233 (+17)
T5. Mae Meierhenry, Gustavus, 236 (+20)
T5. Ayumi Sakamoto, Carleton, 236 (+20)
7. Sydney Busker, St. Catherine, 237 (+21)
8. Natalie Amundson, Saint Benedict, 238 (+22)
9. Melissa Biesmann, St. Olaf, 239 (+23)
T10. Jessica Nelson, Gustavus, 240 (+24)
T10. Kaitlyn Alvarez, St. Catherine, 240 (+24)

2016 MIAC Golf Championships Home Page