The Fire pulled off many feats this year as an athletic department. From school records being broken to underdog wins, the athletics at Knox College surprised many this past year. This means that there is a lot to look back on.
For cross country, senior Rho Katz is a name to remember. At the Midwest Conference Championships on October 28, Katz ran the second fastest race in school history, finishing in 23:29, only three seconds shy of shattering the school record completely. Freshman Arthur Santoro finished in 30th overall at the MWC Championships with a time of 26:58 and placed 21st on the Knox all-time list.
Softball also had an amazing season. They achieved 10 wins, the best season for Knox softball since 2005. Many key players helped contribute to this success, including senior Emily Stevenson. She hit .317 on the year and contributed eight doubles and 14 RBI. In conference, Stevenson achieved a .396 batting average and .467 on-base percentage. Senior Kristen Koviekis also helped the Fire greatly. With a .312 batting average and starting in all 36 of the women’s games, she was a huge contributor to the team. Koviekis also had a .986 fielding percentage, one of the highest for the team.
Baseball also had a memorable season. Their overall record ended up being 11-24 and 3-16 in the conference. Junior Dalton James had the highest batting average with a .396. Freshman Adam Brown had a great first season with the Fire. He achieved a .339 batting average, the fourth best on the team, and also had a .875 fielding percentage.
Men’s basketball finished with their most wins since the 2007-08 season, working hard to achieve their seven wins. Leading the team in field goals with 124 on the season was junior Jonathan Damota. Second was freshman Blake Godbold with 111 and sophomore Deryk Ruple came in third overall with 85. Freshman Ikenna Ozor led the team by shooting 72 percent from the field. Junior Jeremiah Horton followed with 57.9 percent shooting. The men ended with a record of 7-18.
Women’s basketball achieved the most total wins in team history and since the 1989-90 season. The Fire managed to get to the Midwest Conference Tournament but lost to Cornell. Junior Morgan Potter led the team with 54 percent shooting. Sophomores Kyra Huffman and Shaprice Hunt tied for second with 50 percent. Sophomore Jarrelyn McCall made 112 field goals of her 312 attempts, good for 35.9 percent, with 14.3 points per game. McCall was a season leader and big name on the board, being named to All-Midwest Conference for the second season in a row.
The golf teams both saw success. The men placed second overall at the Midwest Conference Championships in early May. In three days of competition, freshman Tijn De Jong shot a 226 overall and earned a tie for third place. Junior Duncan Wheeler shot 227 overall and tied for sixth. The women, made up of sophomore Sam Nichols and freshman Shelby Keen, competed at the MWC Championships in early October. Nichols placed third after shooting a 257, moving up a spot from her performance last season. Keen was able to tie for 11th place with a score of 266.
Women’s soccer was successful, finishing 14-6-2 overall. The women made it into the NCAA tournament after winning the Midwest Conference Tournament. However, they were unable to clinch a win against Wheaton College. Overall, senior Kayla Brown led the team with 12 goals and junior Corina Leyva followed with eight goals. The women look to continue their conference success next season.
Men’s soccer did well this season, too. They finished 13-3-4 overall after losing to Grinnell College in the opening round of the Midwest Conference Tournament. Junior Erick Karkut led the men with nine goals, senior Lucas Sanchez following close behind with eight. The men worked hard for their success this season and are looking forward to the fall.
Swimming and diving also did well. At the Midwest Conference Championships, the men and women both clinched eighth place. The women finished with 150 points overall and the men finished with 134. Sophomore Meredith Beck placed fourth in the women’s 1m dive and set a new school record with a score of 364.55. The team looks to improve again for next season.
Women’s tennis finished with a 7-11 overall record. At the Midwest Conference Championships, the women were placed in the consolation bracket. Junior Emily Miller won her singles match against St. Norbert 6-3, 2-6 and 6-1 but then fell to Grinnell. The women had a good season overall and look to improve next year.
Men’s tennis earned the sportsmanship award at the Midwest Conference Championships. After this honor was given, junior Jeffrey Xue and freshman Brad Newland won their first round doubles match against Ripon College 8-5, then fell to Grinnell College in the quarterfinals and couldn’t win the meet. The men finished with an overall record of 0-16.
Track and field broke a myriad of records this season. The women finished eighth overall in the Midwest Conference and the men finished seventh, both out of ten teams. Junior Val Varanese set a school record and placed second in the women’s 200m dash with a time of 25.57 seconds. Junior Malik Hamilton finished in fourth place in the men’s 100m with a time of 10.95 seconds. The track and field team as a whole broke many records and made great strides for Knox this season.
The volleyball team finished 11-19 overall. Senior Rose Griffin led the team with 400 points and averaged 3.34 kills per set. Freshman Jeanette Peebles followed close behind with 249 points and 1.82 kills per set. The women will graduate two seniors and look forward to next year.
Football finished with an overall record of 5-5. Senior quarterback Matt McCaffrey was perhaps the most notable player for Knox. He had another memorable season, completing 143 passes in 238 attempts, with only 3 interceptions, helping the Fire achieve their five wins. Football will resume in the fall.
With all of the incredible feats of Knox athletics this season, fans can only be excited for the next year in athletics and look forward to seeing what all of our teams are able to achieve.