Five weeks into Fall Term, many amazing feats have been accomplished by Knox athletes. Here both exceptional team performances and individual performances will be recognized, with several different categories bringing awards for each of the different Knox fall sports teams. It is worth noting, however, that elite teams within the Midwest Conference like the women’s and men’s soccer teams dominated the awards process, as both teams are shining in their own seasons.
Top female athlete: Junior Kayla Brown, Women’s Soccer.
Leading Women’s Soccer in both goals and assists, Brown has been an offensive force so far this season. The team is putting up a strong 3.93 goals per game, while only allowing 0.14 goals per game. Combined with a shutdown defense led by juniors Jacqlynn Milligan and Angelica Gamez, the Knox women are currently putting up the best season in their history. They look to win the MWC Championship in the coming weeks, and possibly even advance to the NCAA tournament.
Honorable mention: Junior Rebecca Katz, Women’s Cross Country.
Top male athlete: Sophomore Justin Dunn, Men’s Soccer.
Goalkeeper of the Men’s Soccer team, Dunn has teamed with the strong defenders in front of him to limit opponents to just 0.71 goals per game. Dunn has been the main goalkeeper for this team, which has not lost in their last nine matches. With a record of 10-3-1, Men’s Soccer looks to continue their dominance of the MWC in the upcoming conference tournament.
Honorable mention: Sophomore Duncan Wheeler, Men’s Golf.
Top coach: Paul Lawrence, Women’s Soccer.
Lawrence has guided this star-studded squad to an undefeated season thus far through 14 games. Coming off of the most successful season in Knox Women’s Soccer history, the team has only improved, absolutely thrashing many of their opponents. The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), which releases rankings every week during the season for the eight regions across the DIII nation, just released this week’s rankings. It features the Knox Women’s Soccer team at eighth. This is after debuting two weeks ago at number 10, and rising to number nine a week ago.
Honorable mention: Tyler Sheikh, Men’s Soccer. Sheikh could have easily won this award for keeping the team near the top of the conference standings even after losing several of the best players in team history. He even coached them into the tenth spot of the NSCAA weekly rankings for the third straight week. However, an undefeated season 14 games in is just too impressive to ignore.
Best game: Women’s Soccer 7-1 win vs. Monmouth.
Entering the game against Monmouth College, Women’s Soccer hadn’t defeated their rivals in 15 years. That did not stop them from coming out and trouncing Monmouth 7-1. This was an absolute blowout in which the Knox women flexed their muscles and put the rest of the conference on alert.
Honorable mention: Men’s Football 37-6 victory vs. Grinnell College.
Top female rookie: Freshman Samantha Nichols, Women’s Golf.
Hailing from Waimea, Hawaii, Nichols travelled a long way to dominate the MWC Women’s Golf scene. Along with fellow freshman Kailey Bruns, Nichols has revived the once-defunct Women’s Golf program here at Knox. After winning a couple tournaments during the regular season, Nichols placed fourth at the MWC Championships, an event she seems destined to win in the near future.
Honorable mention: Freshman Maddie Byrne, Volleyball.
Top male rookie: Freshman Samuel Hernandez, Men’s Cross Country.
Consistently leading Men’s Cross Country during practice and meets, Hernandez has exploded onto the scene at Knox. Hernandez has placed impressively well at each of the team’s meets with other schools, even though he is coming off of an injury-plagued summer. With some strong athletes graduating this year, look for Hernandez to continue to grow into a dominant force in his next couple of years here.
Honorable mention: Freshman Charlie Raymond, Soccer.
Top breakthrough seasons: Women’s Tennis’ MWC wins.
Women’s Tennis has gone 4-5 in conference matches thus far, winning the most matches against conference opponents in 20 years. The team has been led this year by strong sophomores Maddie Schacht, Savannah Sailors and Melissa Smith. With a young core in place, this team seems to be ready to set new team records in the next couple of years. Look for them to build off this strong campaign next season.
Honorable mention: Women’s Golf.