The Knox College men’s tennis team earned their first conference win of the season via a 9-0 sweep of Illinois College on April 21 at the Merdian Tennis Courts.
Knox (5-12, 1-3 MWC South) dominated the Blueboys (1-11, 0-4 MWC), including impressive performances from freshman Walter Palmer and junior David Ham, who both won their singles matches 6-0, 6-0. Senior Erik Hane, junior Shaunak Mulani and freshman Karolis Ruzgas and Jonathan Ng also claimed victories individually for the Prairie Fire.
The Prairie Fire rolled in doubles play as well, allowing just one point in the three matches.
In doubles play, the number one team of Hane and Palmer won 8-0, while Ruzgas and Mulani also won 8-0 in number two doubles. The final doubles pair Ng and Ham came away with an 8-1 victory.
Overall, Palmer leads the Prairie Fire with eight wins in singles competition this season. Ham is next with seven victories. On the doubles side Ng and Ham have combined to lead Knox with seven wins, while Palmer and Hane have posted six wins this season.
Knox’s triumph over the Blueboys marked the end of the regular season, and the team looks to use the momentum heading into the Midwest Conference Singles and Doubles Championships on April 28 and 29 in Madison, Wis.
Last season sophomore Maxwell Gatyas was the only member of the Prairie Fire to come away with a win in the singles tournament, while Hane and Mulani teamed up for the team’s lone doubles victory.
Behind the efforts of a combined 21 top-three finishes, the men’s and women’s track teams took second and third respectively at the Beloit Invitational on April 21. It was the first time Beloit had hosted an outdoor meet since 1997.
Senior Emma Swanson led the women’s team by finishing first in the 400-meter hurdles in a time of 1:11.28. She also placed third in the 100-meter hurdles.
Junior Sean Choate placed first in two events for the men, namely the 1500-meter run and the 5K run. Knox’s fourth individual win came from sophomore Weston Chenoweth, who had the top distance in the shot put with a throw of 13.4 meters.
Chenoweth also took second in the javelin throw, joining Choate and juniors Jacob Buddell (second in the 1500-meter and 5000-meter run) and Joe Puntortiero (second in the 400-meter dash, 4×400-meter relay) in having two top-three finishes on the day.
The Prairie Fire men tallied 151 points, placing only behind the 210 scored by the host Buccaneers. Carroll University (122) was third and Rockford College (45) was fourth.
The Knox women scored 83 points for third place, ahead of Rockford College (80). Beloit placed first with 209 points followed by Carroll University with 163.
The Prairie Fire teams travel to Jacksonville, Ill. on April 28 to compete in the I.C. True Blue Open.