Division III Championship Preview: The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference


Championship season is officially in full swing. With NCAA Division III teams competing in over 30 different conference championship meets, it’s tough to keep track of them all, but Swimming World will offer a preview of the action at the country’s fastest and deepest meets. Here’s a glimpse at what to expect at the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships.

Teams: Augsburg (W), Carleton, Concordia (W), Gustavus Adolphus, Hamline, Macalester, Saint Benedict (W), Saint John’s (M), St. Catherine (W), Saint Mary’s, St. Olaf, St. Thomas

Location: University of Minnesota

Dates: February 14-17

An overview: In 2018 St. Thomas won the women’s meet 210 points ahead of Gustavus. Another 300 points behind them was a nearly unheard of fifth place team- St. Catherine University (St. Kate’s). After bringing in an impressive freshman class and seeing development across the team, St. Kate’s is in a position to challenge for the title this year. The Wildcats have the top seed in all five relays. On the men’s side, St. Thomas will seek to repeat their team title.

View the psych sheet here.

Here’s six of the swimmers to keep an eye on this weekend.

Maggie Menso

St. Kate’s freshman Maggie Menso is the top seed in the 200, 500, and 1650 freestyles. She’s already gone NCAA-Invite worthy times and is seeded four seconds ahead of the next best athlete in the 200 and 500 freestyles, and nearly a minute ahead in the mile. Any race in her events will be for second.

Jordyn Wentzel

Menso’s teammate Jordyn Wentzel has established herself as one of Division III’s most versatile dominant forces. She has NCAA final worthy times in a number of events. Her entries this weekend offer some insight into what she may choose to race come March. The Wildcat freshman is entered in the 200 IM and 100 and 200 breaststrokes.

Behind Wentzel in the 100 breaststroke is a close race for second. Her own teammate Franceska Hernandez-Nietling is the third seed (1:05.83) just behind St. Thomas’ Ashley Christensen (1:05.74). They’re followed by a duo of 1:06s.

Mikayla Von Wahlde

St. Kate’s isn’t the only team with impact freshman. Mikayla Von Wahlde is the top seed in the 100 back and third seed in the 200 back. Her seed time in the 100 back (59.32) is a full second shy of her lifetime best in that event, suggesting she should have room to out-swim the three other sub-minute entries.

Nolan Larson

Gustavus’ Nolan Larson is so versatile he hasn’t even yet chosen what to race this week. He’s entered in five events, with his highest seeds coming in the 200 IM (first), 200 free (1st), and 200 fly (third). That event spread would give him one event per day. St. Thomas’ Nate Stone and Lucas Manke are the first and second seeds in the 200 fly, just one and two seconds, respectively, ahead of Larson.

Tanner Sonnek

Gustavus senior Tanner Sonnek is the most likely male NCAA qualifier from this meet. Sonnek is the fastest seed in the 100 (55.83) and 200 (2:04.98) breaststrokes. He is also second to Larson in the 200 IM. Those times rank Sonnek 10th and 35th in the country. That 100 breaststroke is a B cut time.

John Loepfe

St. Olaf junior John Loepfe has the definite potential to win three events this weekend. Loepfe is the top seed in the 100 fly (50.04) and 100 (50.18) and 200 (1:52.95) backstroke.

He’s the defending champion in both backstrokes, and this year has made the smart move to the 100 fly from the 200 IM where he finished fifth in 2018.