As we come to the end of Winter term, many of the Knox athletics teams that have their competitive seasons in the winter are closing out their campaigns. This term has brought many incredible personal performances out of athletes on every team, with some who stand out more than others.
There were fewer active teams this term than fall, with only the basketball programs, track and field and the swimming and diving teams playing the main part of their competitive seasons during this term.
Throughout the term, each team has had players step up to fill leadership roles in practice, as well as during competitions against conference rivals.
The following are the top moments, performers and coaches of the 2016-17 winter season, a term that shows the future of Knox athletics holds great promise.
Top female athlete – Senior Madeline Bruce, Swimming and Diving.
Bruce has continued to get better throughout her years on the Knox Swimming and Diving team, leading to her strong performances this year. Throughout the season, Bruce consistently finished near or at the top of the final leaderboards in her races. Competing in many butterfly events, Bruce also helped her relay teams finish second at several different competitions. The Swimming and Diving team will undoubtedly miss her leadership and performance next year after Bruce graduates.
Honorable mention: Freshman Kyra Huffman, Women’s Basketball.
Top male athlete – Junior Marko Protic, Men’s Basketball.
Leading the team in playing time and rebounds, Protic has been a strong force for the Men’s Basketball team all season. Adding 9.7 points per game, Protic is also second on the team in scoring. While the team was unable to pile up as many wins as they may have wanted this season, going just 2-21, another year of Protic’s strong play will help the team perform better next year as they look to challenge for a spot in the conference tournament.
Honorable mention: Sophomore Jonathan Damota, Men’s Basketball.
Top coach – Emily Cline, Women’s Basketball.
The Women’s Basketball team finished with a record of 13-10 this season, continuing to build on the upward trend from recent years. Just barely missing a chance to play in the MWC Championship tournament for the first time in 20 years, the Women’s Basketball team reached great heights this season. To add to this, the fact that none of the team’s players will graduate this year means that this core will have another year together to reach the MWC Championship tournament next season.
Coach Cline was given an incredibly young roster that had lost several key pieces from previous years, but managed to help guide the team to a historically strong season. This included withstanding an injury to a young star towards the end of the season, which could have easily crippled the team’s performance. The team managed to stay in contention for the final MWC Championship tournament spot until their second to last game, a close home loss to Grinnell College.
The Women’s Basketball team looks poised to earn a spot in the tournament next year, making them a Knox team to watch closely.
Honorable mention: Jonathan Powers, Swimming and Diving.
Top game/performance – Sophomore Jonathan Damota’s 29 point game vs. Grinnell College.
Damota exploded against Grinnell College in one of the last games of the season, pouring in 29 points on 11 for 16 shooting in just 25 minutes. This performance helped Damota close out a strong sophomore season, solidifying his place among the Men’s Basketball team’s building blocks for the future. Next year he will look to continue improving his game, as well as bringing the Men’s Basketball team more wins.
Honorable mention: Women’s Basketball’s 59-53 loss vs. Grinnell College.
Top female rookie – Freshman Kyra Huffman, Women’s Basketball.
Huffman was able to immediately step into the starting lineup for the Women’s Basketball team, fitting into the team’s offensive gameplan seamlessly. Huffman quickly became the focal point of the team’s offense, leading the team in points and rebounds, coming close to averaging a double-double on the season. When Huffman went down for the season with a knee injury, the team struggled to replace her productivity, missing her strong presence on the court in their crucial games down the stretch.
Honorable mention: Freshman Jarrelyn McCall, Women’s Basketball.
Top male rookie – Freshman Joey Auger, Track and Field.
The Men’s Track and Field team added many great young runners this season, with freshmen Samuel Hernandez and Diego Morones both taking on key roles throughout the term. Auger became one of the team’s strongest runners, placing in the top ten in the 400 meter dash more than once, while also taking advantage of the times he was placed on the 4×400 meter relay team. Auger, Hernandez and Morones will quickly become part of the team’s future core in future years.
Honorable mention: Freshman Jacob Kampf, Men’s Basketball.