Arthur Ashe winner Brian Utz headlines 2016 MIAC Men's Tennis Awards

Arthur Ashe winner Brian Utz headlines 2016 MIAC Men's Tennis Awards

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) announced the 2016 MIAC Men's Tennis Awards Tuesday, and individuals from Macalester College and Gustavus Adolphus College received the top honors in recognition of their outstanding seasons.

Scots' senior Brian Utz was named the winner of the MIAC Arthur Ashe Award, and Gusties' Head Coach Tommy Valentini was voted the winner of the MIAC Steve Wilkinson Coach-of-the-Year award by his peers. In addition, the 2016 MIAC All-Conference Singles and Doubles teams were announced, as was the All-MIAC Sportsmanship Team.

Utz's (Sr., Rochester, Minn. / Lourdes) selection as the Arthur Ashe Award winner was a result of his outstanding career both on and off the court. The award annually recognizes a senior tennis student-athlete with outstanding sportsmanship and exemplary athletic, academic and humanitarian accomplishments.

From his work on the court alone, Utz is certainly deserving of recognition. This season he earned his third-straight All-MIAC Singles honor, and his second career All-MIAC Doubles award. This season he went 12-7 overall at No. 2 singles and 13-6 at No. 1 doubles, with an even better performance in conference play. He was a combined 14-4 - 6-3 in singles play and 8-1 in doubles - in conference matches. He helped Macalester go 10-9 overall, 5-4 in the MIAC, and earn a spot in the MIAC Playoffs.

However, Utz's accomplishments certainly extend beyond the scoreboard and on-court results. He is an outstanding student and Macalester Head Coach Jason Muhl praised his outstanding sportsmanship to teammates, opponents, officials, fans, and everyone involved in collegiate tennis. He was also Macalester's selection for the All-MIAC Sportmanship Team, further evidence of his positive impact on the game, and of his worthy candidacy for the MIAC's Arthur Ashe Award.

Valentini received the MIAC Coach-of-the-Year, named for his college coach and the man he succeeded, for the third time in his seven seasons at the helm of his alma mater. In 2016, the Gustavus coach helped his team continue a remarkable dynasty as they won their 28th-straight MIAC regular-season title, sixth-straight MIAC Playoff championship, and pushed their regular-season conference-match winning streak to 260 in a row and counting.

Valentini's team will enter the NCAA Tournament with a 24-7 overall record, and it went a perfect 9-0 in conference play. Of those nine wins, five were by a 9-0 score, three were 8-1 wins and two were 7-2, as his team lost just a total of seven points in nine conference matches. The Gusties were even better in the Playoffs, winning 9-0 in the semifinals and 5-0 in the championship. The team received an NCAA first-round bye, and will open National Tournament play Friday against Coe College. Valentini coached five players to All-MIAC Singles honors, and four to All-Conference Doubles accolades.

The MIAC Men's Tennis All-Conference Singles and Doubles teams were determined using a point system for conference wins at each position, with the top 18 - including ties - recognized. This season, the All-Conference Singles Team includes 20 players and the Doubles Team includes 21 student-athletes. There were 11 student-athletes that earned both singles and doubles honors in 2016.

The Singles Team includes five seniors, five juniors, seven sophomores and three freshmen. MIAC champion Gustavus led the way with five All-Conference singles players, followed by runner-up Carleton with four All-MIAC singles selections. St. Olaf and Bethel each had three players receive the honor, St. Thomas and Macalester had two singles players honored each, and Saint John's had one player named to the team.

The Doubles Team features nine seniors, four juniors, seven sophomores and one freshman. Three teams - Gustavus, St. Thomas and Saint John's - led the way with four All-MIAC doubles honorees apiece. St. Olaf had three players honored for their doubles work, and Carleton, Macalester and Bethel each had two players named to the MIAC's All-Conference doubles squad.

As part of a conference-wide sportsmanship initiative, the MIAC announced the 10th annual All-MIAC Sportsmanship team for men's tennis. Members of the All-MIAC Sportsmanship team are selected by their coaches and teammates as individuals who demonstrate ideals of positive sportsmanship both on and off the field of competition.


2016 MIAC MEN'S TENNIS AWARDS

Arthur Ashe Award: Brian Utz, Macalester (Sr., Rochester, Minn. / Lourdes)
Steve Wilkinson Coach-of-the-Year: Tommy Valentini, Gustavus (7th season)


2016 MIAC MEN'S TENNIS ALL-CONFERENCE SINGLES TEAM

Name School Year   Hometown/Previous School
Mohanad Alhouni    Gustavus So. Tripoli, Libya / West Lutheran
Christian Beck St. Olaf So.  Los Altos, Calif. 
Ben Carlson  St. Olaf  Sr.  Hastings, Minn. 
Josh Doyle Macalester So.  Cologne, Germany / Friedrich Wilhelm Gymnasium   
Zach Ekstein Gustavus So.  Eagan, Minn. 
Luke Elifson St. Thomas Jr.  Minneapolis, Minn. / South 
Mitch Elofson Gustavus Sr.  St. Peter, Minn. 
Hunter Fernelius Bethel Fr.   New Hope, Minn. 
Kolin Kiekhoefer Bethel Jr.  Woodbury, Minn. / New Life Academy 
Joey Kronzer  St. Olaf  Sr.  Duluth, Minn. / Marshall 
Tim Larson Saint John's So.  Bloomington, Minn. / Jefferson 
Patton McClelland Carleton Jr.  Rock Hill, S.C. / Charlotte Latin
Kevin Mei Carleton So.  Ann Arbor, Mich. / Huron 
Jordon O'Kelly Carleton Fr.  Lake Forest, Ill. 
Andrew Qi Carleton Fr.  Auckland, New Zealand / Saint Kentigern 
Andres Saenz Gustavus Sr.  Cancun, Mexico / Gonzalo Guerrero
Matt Schull Bethel  Jr.  Eagan, Minn. / Henry Sibley 
Gabe Steinwand Gustavus So.  Moorhead, Minn. 
Brian Utz  Macalester  Sr.  Rochester, Minn. / Lourdes 
Scott Wall  St. Thomas  Jr.  De Pere, Wis. / Notre Dame Academy 

2016 MIAC MEN'S TENNIS ALL-CONFERENCE DOUBLES TEAM

Name School Year   Hometown/Previous School
Mohanad Alhouni Gustavus So.  Tripoli, Libya / West Lutheran
Christian Beck St. Olaf So.  Los Altos, Calif. 
Josh Doyle Macalester So.  Cologne, Germany / Friedrich Wilhelm Gymnasium   
Zach Ekstein Gustavus So.  Eagan, Minn. 
Luke Elifson St. Thomas Jr.  Minneapolis, Minn. / South 
Tommy Entwistle Gustavus So.  Sioux Falls, S.D. / O'Gorman 
Ezra Frankel Carleton Jr.  Lincoln, Mass. / Belmont Hill 
Aaron Goodman Carleton Fr.  Minneapolis, Minn. / St. Louis Park 
Jack Hansen Saint John's Sr.  Dawson, Minn. / Dawson-Boyd 
Danny Hogan St. Olaf So.  Edina, Minn. / Beinilde-St. Margaret's 
Joey Kronzer  St. Olaf  Sr.  Duluth, Minn. / Marshall 
Ben Lahren Saint John's Sr.  Wausau, Wis. / West 
Tim Larson Saint John's So.  Bloomington, Minn. / Jefferson 
Allen-Michael Muench St. Thomas Sr.  Flower Mound, Texas 
Andrew Nagel Saint John's Sr.  Maple Grove, Minn. 
Luke Palmquist Bethel Sr.  South St. Paul, Minn. 
Brady Radermacher St. Thomas Sr.  Eagan, Minn. 
Andres Saenz Gustavus  Sr.  Cancun, Mexico / Gonzalo Guerrero
Matt Schull Bethel Jr.  Eagan, Minn. / Henry Sibley 
Brian Utz Macalester Sr.  Rochester, Minn. / Lourdes 
Scott Wall St. Thomas Jr.  De Pere, Wis. / Notre Dame Academy 

2016 MEN'S TENNIS ALL-MIAC SPORTSMANSHIP TEAM

Bethel - Matt Schull (Jr., Eagan, Minn. / Henry Sibley)
Carleton - Patton McClelland (Jr., Rock Hill, S.C. / Charlotte Latin)
Concordia - Isaac Toivonen (So., Red Wing, Minn.)
Gustavus - Andres Saenz (Sr., Cancun, Mexico / Gonzalo Guerrero)
Hamline - Cody Jahrig (Jr., Missoula, Mont. / Hellgate)
Macalester - Brian Utz (Sr., Rochester, Minn. / Lourdes)
Saint John's - Andrew Nagel (Sr., Maple Grove, Minn.)
Saint Mary's - Warren Lawrenz (Sr., Rochester, Minn. / Stewartville)
St. Olaf - Joey Kronzer (Sr., Duluth, Minn. / Marshall)
St. Thomas - Ben Wait (So., Germantown, Wis.)


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