The winter sports include women’s basketball, men’s basketball, indoor track, swimming and diving, and a partial season for men’s tennis. All of the Knox teams have seen individual successes, whether as a team or individually.
We’ve seen many changes to athletics in the past term: the hiring of new head volleyball coach Pat Berry, the announcement that head soccer coach Chris Haught-Thompson has decided to return to his old school, and the resignation of head basketball coach Kevin Walden. Athletic director Daniella Irle has had her hands full with decisions and job searches. However, athletics is prepared for change and the athletes play on.
Over 10 records have been broken in track and field, men’s tennis achieved their first win since 2017 and are sending freshman high jumper Austin Rauch to track and field nationals.
Let’s take a look back at the various sports we were able to enjoy this past term.
Senior Kyle Yang hits a ball in a practice. The men’s tennis team has historically struggled, but achieved their first team win at Lakeland University in their season opening meet. This was their first win since April 2017. The tennis team has competed in two more meets since the opener. On March 2 and 3, the Fire competed against University of Dubuque and Buena Vista University. The men lost 4-5 at Dubuque but Yang was able to pick up his first collegiate win in his #3 doubles match, 8-3. The team has five freshmen on the roster that have been able to contribute several wins. The team has one senior, Yang, one junior, Jared Schwarz, and one sophomore, Brad Newland. Last season, the men had an overall 0-16 record. In the 2016-17 season, the record was 1-16 overall. The team is already greatly improved and has been able to pick up many individual wins, as well as the early-season win against Lakeland. (Katy Coseglia/TKS)
Sophomore Corey McKnight throws the shot in a practice. The track and field team has set many school records this season and look to break more as they head into outdoor season. Freshman Takira Koonce set the record for the 60m dash with a time of 7.82 seconds and the 200m dash at 25.69 seconds. Senior Alice Lee set the shot put record with a throw of 37 feet and 8 inches. Freshman Derrick Jackson set the 60m dash record at 6.98 seconds. Freshman Austin Rauch holds the first place high jump record at 6 feet and 9.75 inches. The track and field teams begin their outdoor seasons on March 22 and 23 at Southern Illinois University. (Katy Coseglia/TKS)
Senior Julia Steen practices a backstroke. The swimming and diving teams had a great season. Achieving many individual wins and accolades. The women will graduate six seniors while the men will only graduate one. Junior Melissa Wood had a great performance on Jan. 19 when the team competed against Monmouth College. She placed first in the women’s 50 freestyle with a time of 27.56. Wood also finished in the top eight in the 200 backstroke at the conference meet, the first finalist since 2017. (Katy Coseglia/TKS)
Junior Jarrelyn McCall goes up for a basket in a game against Monmouth College on Jan. 8. The women won 51-47. Their overall record was 13-12, with a 10-8 in conference record. The women were one win away from making the Conference Tournament but weren’t able to pull out. The team had an overall field goal percentage of .387 and averaged 61.5 points per game. Top scorers included McCall, with 366 points on the season, averaging 14.6 per game. Senior Karlie Thorn scored 278 total, averaging 11.1 per game. Senior Morgan Potter accumulated 257 points, with 10.7 per game. The team will graduate three seniors: Potter, Thorne and Taliah Ellis. Ellis had a field goal percentage of .253 and a .225 three point percentage. McCall was named to the women’s all-conference second team for the third season in a row. She tied for fifth in conference with 14.6 points per game and 2.5 assists per game. She also added 137 rebounds, 366 total points and 63 assists. McCall has 938 career points which is sixth in school history. (Katy Coseglia/TKS)
swimming and diving
track and field
Freshman Jordan Rayner makes a break for the key in a game against Beloit on Jan. 25. They lost 42-58. The Fire’s overall record was 1-24 and 0-18 in conference. Rayner was the top scorer for the Fire, with 273 points overall and 10.9 per game on average. Junior transfer Justin Windt was the next highest scorer, with 242 points and averaging 11 points per game. Junior Deryk Ruple was just after Windt with 177 points on the season and 7.1 points per game. The men’s downfall in the season was turnovers, of which they averaged 17.8 per game, whereas their competitors only averaged 13 per game. The men had a .415 field goal percentage and a .301 three-point percentage. The men averaged 23.4 field goals per game while opponents averaged 31.2 per game. The Fire had no seniors on the team this year. Freshman Wes Jolly had an impressive field goal percentage, sitting at .581 on the season. Sophomore Blake Godbold had a .411 field goal percentage and a .353 field goal percentage. After the season ended, head coach Kevin Walden made the decision to resign from the program. The search for a coach has been in progress and athletic director Daniella Irle hopes to hire a new coach by April 1. (Katy Coseglia/TKS)