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Monday, May 2, 2016

Twelve Knights earn All-WIC honors

Monday, December 2, 2002

One of the biggest thrills I ever experienced in my rather less than noteworthy athletic career was earning an All-Conference nod in college my sophomore year while playing rugby. The recognition to me meant that I had achieved the respect of my peers along with the conference coaches. So I understand how special it is to be noted along with the best your area has to offer.

Northview High School has had an excellent Fall Sports Season this year as noted by the fact that they are leading the Overall All-Sports Conference Standings. That basically means that the overall conference placing of all their girls' and boys' sports teams this Fall is higher than any other school in the Western Indiana Conference.

While the boy's squads had an excellent season, the girl's have been even better. So it is in this column that I recognize the girls' athletic teams and their All-WIC Conference members. In Tuesday's edition of The Brazil Times, recognition will be given to the boy's All-WIC members.

Quite possibly the highlight of the Fall sports season was Northview's girls' golf team advancing to the State Championship Meet.

The Knights came together as a tight knit group as the season progressed. Though the were slightly inconsistent early in the year, they became quite a dominating force as the leaves began to change colors. With just three seniors on the team, the Knights went undefeated through their conference schedule and won a sectional title before advancing to the 30th IHSAA State Championship tournament. While there the team finished higher than they ever had before, taking an eighth place as a team.

Leading that squad was a remarkable group of five girls who each received All-WIC honors.

Seniors Jennifer Dragan and Brittney Halcomb joined juniors Amy Thiemann and Kelsey Smith and sophomore Brittney Cheek to make the team.

Thiemann won conference medalist honors with her round of 76 and finished up the season by finishing in a tie for 16th place in the entire state.

Dragan and Halcomb each fired an 82 to finish tied for second in the WIC match. Dragan would then shoot an excellent two day score of 174 in the state meet. Halcomb would complete her rounds with a 198 to help the Knights to their eighth place finish.

Cheek would take fourth best in the WIC and score a 194 for Northview. Smith earned valuable experience as a sophomore and will be a key part of the Knights' hopes at a return trip to the state meet. She shot a 99 which was good enough for ninth in the conference and gained a berth in the state meet with Northview.

This incredible group of golfers will go down as one of the best ever assembled under coach Teresa Akers and certainly left their mark among the best in the WIC.

Over the last few years, Northview's cross country programs have been one of the mid-state's best. So with the returning talent that the Knight's had this year it was no surprise that the Knights finished near the top of a tough WIC conference.

Though the sport is inherently a team sport because of the importance placed by the scoring system on finishing well as a group, the Knights had several runners who emerged as the cream of a talented crop.

Junior Mary Pugh's return from a one year hiatus was highlighted by a berth in the state cross country championship in Bloomington. Though she wasn't at her best that day because of a lingering illness, Pugh's season was a success from the first time she competed this year. Rarely finishing out of the top spot this year, she celebrated the early part of the post season with a WIC title. Pugh finished with a 15:59 which was five seconds better than the second place runner.

Pugh was not alone in her success as teammates Shandra Kirby and Breanna Tanner each earned -Conference honors this year as the Knights took second in the WIC as a team. Both Tanner and Kirby helped give Northview what is most valuable in cross country, team depth. Both girls finished in the top-10 to earn the WIC recognition. Kirby took seventh place with a time of 16:49 and Tanner was 10th with a 16:58.

The Northview volleyball team had quite a few ups and downs this season but were able to pick up a third place WIC finish with a 3-3 record. The Knights were led by senior Millie Carr and junior Erica Koehler.

Koehler was named the team's Most Valuable Player this season as she led the team with 229 assists and 63 aces. But what might have been the most important of her contributions was her leadership and competitive nature.

Carr finished her Northview career with a team high 146 kills this year and was the team's captain. Carr joined Koehler in picking up their team when they needed a spark, a very valuable component.

Northview's girls' soccer program reached rarefied air this season as the Knights won more games than they ever had in one year. The Knights reached eight victories this year and won their first sectional game as well. Part of that reason was the play of a pair of juniors, Kellyn Andrews and Cecilia Latta.

From her forward/midfielder spot, Andrews was a stalwart defensive forward who disrupted opponents' attacks all season long. She registered 64 steals this season, a mark that shattered the previous Northview record of 52, set last year. Andrews also holds the career mark with 103 and should raise the bar quite a lot more next season. Andrews also played a team high 1418 minutes and already is eighth in career minutes with a season left to play.

While Andrews was a defensive marksman, teammate Cecilia Latta was the gunner.

Latta scored nine of the Knights' 31 goals this season, a total that was the second most in team history (34 goals in 1997) and individually Latta was third in season scoring.

She was second to Andrews in minutes played this season and wasn't too shabby on the defensive either as she tallied 25 steals and is fourth all-time for the Knights with 61 in her career. Latta also already holds the career mark for shots with 197, 20 more than second place. Latta is currently fourth in career goals with 13, seven fewer than teammate Jessica Walden who finished her career with 20.

Next year this pair will anchor a Northview squad that graduates five players from a tough team.

These 12 athletes were recognized for not only their individual accomplishments this season, but their role in their team's success. This honor is bestowed upon a select few each season and these girls each have excelled to reach this level. Congratulations to each of them.

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