It was a fall to remember for Knox middle linebacker junior Mike Hendrick, who set the school record for tackles in a season with 157. The number broke the previous best of 141, and Hendrick’s average of 15.7 tackles per game led the nation amongst Division III schools. Hendrick notched a season high of 26 in a 34-20 loss to Beloit and reached the 20-tackle barrier again when he brought down 20 runners in a Homecoming loss to Illinois College. For his efforts, Hendrick was named to the All-Midwest Conference First Team Defense, as well as the Beyond Sports Network’s All-American Second Team Defense.
In a wave of momentum, sophomore Charlotte Garvin claimed second place in the Midwest Conference for third flight singles. Garvin posted victories in each of her last seven matches of the regular season and won the first two matches of the conference tournament before falling in the championship to Grinnell’s Shirlene Luk. Garvin finished the year with a 9-3 record in singles play.
Senior Ben Wetherbee’s career ended on a high note this season as he became Knox’s all-time leader in career three-point baskets made. Wetherbee netted three buckets from beyond the arc during a home game against Grinnell back in January to give him 187 for his career, passing Reggie Bowman’s total of 184 set in 2004. Wetherbee ended with 199 career threes by the end of the season, and was just shy of 1,000 career points, finishing at 965.
When women’s basketball head coach Emily Cline chose to switch to the fast-paced full court press and free shooting “system,” the record books were officially on notice. Things came to a pinnacle in a 114-100 late January victory over Beloit. The 114 points were a school record, as were the 38 free throws the Prairie Fire connected on for the game. At season’s end ,Knox had the second highest scoring average in Division III, putting up 83.5 points per game. The Prairie Fire were also seventh in steals per game with 15.3 and sixth in turnover margin with a 8.17 per game average.
The Knox College baseball team posted the most victories for the program since 1992 and earned their first a to the Midwest Conference tournament for the first time since 2008. The Prairie Fire clinched a spot in the playoffs with a 12-0 demolition of Illinois College. The Prairie scored all 12 runs in the first six innings, and the game was called after seven innings of play.
Knox’s lone conference champion this season came in men’s golf, where senior Bobby Stuebi took the individual Midwest Conference title. Stuebi set the tournament record with a score of 222 in the process and was the first member of the Knox men’s golf team to claim a title since 2008. Stuebi led Knox with a scoring average of 77 and finished the year with three top five and five top 10 finishes.
Knox runners set three new school records this season: senior Kevin Box in the mile run for indoor track, and senior Emma Swanson in the 6K run and steeplechase for cross country and outdoor track, respectively…The Knox Athletic Department launched a new website powered by SIDEARM sports last November…Knox announced the hiring of two head coaches in February. Shayla Chalker and Matt Edwards will take over next season for volleyball and men’s soccer respectively.