The Knox College swim teams lost a dual meet for the first time since mid-January after dropping three of four matches against Beloit College and Carroll University on Saturday, Feb 4.
The Knox men’s team lost to Beloit 59-48 and fell to Carroll 60-46, while the Prairie Fire women defeated Beloit 77-44 and lost to Carroll 60-58. The loss to Carroll came down the final relay race of the day, which the Pioneers won to take the dual. Knox had not lost since dropping matches to Monmouth College on Saturday Jan. 14.
Two swimmers won multiple races for Knox during the tri-meet; senior Tory Kassabaum placed first in the women’s 100-yard butterfly and the 200-yard backstroke, while senior Tyler O’Neill won the men’s 100-yard backstroke and the 200-yard breaststroke.
Other winners for the women’s team were seniors Laura Blue (1,650-yard freestyle) and Bess Cooley (400-yard medley), and with freshman Susannah Lodge-Rigal (500-yard freestyle). Junior Patrick Inness joined O’Neill as an event winner for the men’s team by taking 200-yard freestyle.
In addition to the wins Knox swimmers set 18 season best times at the meet. Lodge-Rigal shaved ten seconds off her previous best time to gain the victory in the 500-yard freestyle, while freshman Kathleen Magill dropped 15 seconds off her best time in the same event. Junior Zoey Kudla improved by ten seconds in the women’s 400-yard medley, and senior Alan Ning proved to be 19 seconds than his previous best in the men’s 400-yard medley.
“I’m so proud with the effort people have put in. People are stepping up looking to how they can help the team at [the] conference [meet],” Head Coach Jonathan Powers said, with Knox’s regular season now over.
Knox’s prospects are looking up heading into the 2012 Midwest Conference Swimming and Diving Championships, which will be hosted by Lawrence University on Feb. 17-19.
Three Prairie Fire women’s swimmers have a combined 12 top ten MWC times this season, six belong to Kassabaum in the 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle, 1000 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 200 backstroke and the 100 butterfly.
Cooley has five top-ten times, including the third best in the 200 breaststroke and fourth best in both the 100 breaststroke and the 200 IM.
Lodge-Rigal has the eighth fastest time in the 1,650 freestyle.
On the men’s side, O’Neill has turned in the ninth fastest time in the conference in the 100 breaststroke.
Track and field
The Knox College track and field record books saw three new additions after the Prairie Fire competed in the Jim Green Classic Saturday, Feb. 4 at Illinois College.
Sophomore Gabe Moreno’s sixth place finish in the 5000 meter run not only earned three points for the Prairie Fire, but his time of 15:51.41 now ranks seventh on the Knox indoor track and field all-time performance list for the event. Moreno’s previous best time in the 5K was 15:52.12.
Junior Joseph Puntoriero finished in sixth place in the 200 meter dash in a time of 23.03 seconds. The effort ranks third on the all-time performance list. Puntoriero already owns the second fastest time in school history, 22.99 seconds, set earlier this season at the Titan Invitational hosted by Illinois Wesleyan University.
Senior Rayann Parkinson set the third all-time top-ten. She finished in seventh place in the 400 meter dash with a time of 1:03.60, which ranks ninth on the Knox women’s team’s all-time list.
Overall the Knox women’s squad finished 14th out of 19th in the team standings. The Knox men placed 15th overall out of 18 teams. Monmouth College won the women’s team title and Lincoln College was the men’s team champion.
Next up for the teams is the Knox Open, second home meet of the season. The six-team meet at T. Fleming Fieldhouse takes place on Saturday, Feb. 11 and begins at 10 a.m.
The Knox College men’s tennis team kicked off the 2012 season with a split on Saturday Fen. 4 at the University of Dubuque’s Chlapaty Recreation and Wellness Center.
Knox opened with a dominating performance against Edgewood College (WI), winning 9-0 against the Eagles. The Prairie Fire then dropped a match against highly touted University of Dubuque 6-3.
Junior David Ham had an outstanding day for the Prairie Fire. He went undefeated on the day, and team Jonathan Ng to win their two number three doubles matches against Edgewood (0-2) and Dubuque (2-0).
Ham defeated Edwin Mendoza of Edgewood in their singles match 6-1, 6-1. He and Ng beat Mendoza and Eric Gavinski 8-1 in their doubles showdown to lead Knox to the win.
Knox swept every match against the Eagles; receiving wins from senior Erik Hane and Shaun Mulani and freshmen Karolis Ruzgas and Walter Palmer in singles.
Hane and Mulani stopped Edgewood’s number doubles team of Max Divelbliss and Cody Strebig 9-8. Ruzgas and Palmer downed Tim Morgan and Michael Wanta 8-5 in their number two doubles match.
In the second match against Dubuque, Ham had a hand in two of the Prairie Fire’s three wins.
He beat Michael Braden 6-1, 6-1 in their number five singles match then teamed up with Ng to easily defeat Braden and Shawn Iben at number three doubles 8-1. Ham lost just four points in his singles matches and six total points when including his two doubles matches.
Palmer had the other win for Knox against Dubuque, a 6-3, 6-4 triumph against Chris Matteson at number six singles.
Palmer and Ng both had 3-1 records on the day, while Hane, Mulani and Ruzgas were all 2-2.
The Prairie Fire resumes play on February 10 and 11 at the Principia College Tournament in Elsah, Ill. The round robin tournament will also include Greenville College and NCAA Division II Quincy University.