Male Athlete of the Year
James Fenner – Men’s golf
The senior golfer capped his career on a high note by taking the MWC Conference title as well as finishing with a career best 77.7 scoring average. Fenner was in contention going into the final day of the tournament and fired the low round of the day en route to capturing the title. Honorable mentions go out to soccer sophomore Nathaniel Logie, whose team-leading 16 goals helped propel the Prairie Fire to the semi-finals of the conference tournament, and football senior Derek Mortensen who finished with 1380 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Runners-up: Mortensen, Logie
Female Athlete of the Year
Madeline Bruce – Women’s swimming
Knox’s breakout freshman swimmer easily qualifies not only as the female athlete of the year, but also the most inspirational story of the 2013-14 athletic campaign. Bruce’s swim career was put in jeopardy due to repeated breakdowns caused by her anemia, but after she got her condition under control there was no stopping her improvement starting the fall. She broke four school records at the MWC Championships in February and set a foundation for what could be a historic Knox career.
Runner up: Amber Eisha
Coach of the Year
Matt Edwards – Men’s soccer
Coach Edwards reinvigorated the men’s soccer program last season, and his continued intensity helped the Prairie Fire clinch their first berth in the MWC Tournament. His recruiting efforts have shaped a roster with talent from across not only the country but also the world, and his ability to keep the team disciplined defensively made them one of the tougher sides in the conference. Knox men’s soccer was struggling to win games just three years ago; now there are championship level expectations going into every season.
Runner up: Miriam Skrade
Game of the year
Men’s soccer’s 2-1 OT win over Grinnell
Not only was the game simply exciting (as practically any overtime game has a right to be), but the victory secured a new school record for consecutive wins in a season at 11, was Knox’s first win against Grinnell since 2005 and ended just seven seconds before the end of overtime by the foot of Nathaniel Logie, who netted his 14th goal on the year. The win also kept junior keeper Sean Dockrell undefeated on the year, and was truly a statement game for the Prairie Fire, who had been glossed over in MWC championship talk but appeared more than ready to compete for a title as the year went on.
Runners-up: Women’s basketball defeats Grinnell 91-89, Men’s soccer defeats Lake Forest 2-1
Moment of the year
Gatyas’ game-winning tally on senior day
The implications of a win were tremendous: in knocking off Lake Forest College, the Prairie Fire would take down the only undefeated team in the MWC, thereby earning themselves a share of third place in the conference (and thus a spot in the MWC tournament), the win would be the team’s first against Lake Forest since the ‘90s and the team would have the chance to properly honor their seniors in their last home contest. In fitting and near fairytale form, senior and captain Max Gatyas would knock home the game-winning goal 60 minutes into an intense, chippy battle for the MWC crown.
Runner up: Nathaniel Logie’s game-winner against Grinnell
Surprise of the year
Baseball going 4-12 in conference, failing to make MWC tournament
Picked to win the MWC South, the Prairie Fire’s 2-8 start in conference play came as a shock to everyone. Undefeated against both Monmouth and Illinois College last year, it looked like a totally different team that took 23-8 and 8-0 losses to IC in the same day.
While the team hit and pitched at nearly the same clip as they did in 2013, the team committed nearly 40 more errors over the course of the season. Such are the inconsistencies associated with youth, and are issues Knox is certain to address going into next year.
Runner up: Nathaniel Logie’s emergence on to the soccer scene