Women’s basketball’s victory against St. Norbert
Knox teams had a lot of memorable moments this year, but the history the women’s basketball team made back in January sticks out in particular. Knox started playing St. Norbert in 1983, and for 30 years the Green Knights had gotten the better of the Prairie Fire, to the tune of 29 consecutive victories. Last season Knox led by as many as nine points with less than 10 minutes to go at home, but was unable to hold the lead and lost 90-75. This season Knox was able to finish the job. The Prairie Fire took a six point lead into halftime and led by a career high 22 points from sophomore Jessica Howard pulled out a 79-68 victory, a historic first for the program.
Runner-up: Knox football ends 19-game losing streak with 35-33 win over Beloit.
Men’s soccer tops Monmouth
When Knox and Monmouth collide, it is always going to be a hard fought battle, and this season’s installment on the men’s soccer field was no different. In front of a raucous crowd, the Prairie Fire opened a 2-0 lead with goals from senior Donald Tchopya and sophomore Jacob Polay but the Fighting Scots would not go away. Monmouth forward Logan Simpson’s tally in the 82 minute brought the Scots to within one, but Knox was able to hold on for their first win in the series since 2008.
Runner-up: 2012 Lincoln Bowl Eureka 62 Knox 55.
Male Athlete of the Year
For me, male athlete of the year comes down to two candidates: senior track sprinter Joe Puntoriero and senior running back Derek Mortensen. Puntoriero set school records in both the 100 and 200 meter dashes during the indoor season before taking 1st in the 200 meter dash in the outdoor season. Puntoriero has been a stalwart on the track team for the last few years, but the sheer numbers leave me no choice but to pick Mortensen. The running back set or tied 10 different school records this season with 1,362 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. He consistently set the tone for the offense and with one year of eligibility remaining will only continue to elevate his legacy.
Runner-up: Joe Puntoriero.
Female Athlete of the Year
For the third consecutive season, junior Amber Eisha was named to the All-Midwest Conference South Division First Team, the only Knox softball player to be on the team over the course of those three years. Eisha has increased her number of hits and batting average every season she has been at Knox, batting .387 with four homeruns and a .608 slugging percentage this season. This season, she set or tied six all-time softball marks. A model of consistency, Eisha has started all 86 games Knox has played in her three years here, and she is more than deserving of the title of female athlete of the year.
Runners-up: Sophomore basketball player Jodi Marver (2nd in MWC in points per game), junior tennis player Charlotte Garvin (3rd in MWC in number two singles).
Bold Prediction for 2013-14
Knox will win the Turkey Bowl
In 2012 the Knox football team entered the fourth quarter against Monmouth with a 35-34 lead. Many thought they would bring an end to a losing streak that extends back to 1998, but the Prairie Fire faded in the final frame and fell 49-35. This season I am going to put it in writing that Knox will win the 125th installment of the Bronze Turkey Bowl at home. Final score 42-35.