When awards were presented for the Western Indiana Conference Sports Banquet, the Northview Knights were on the receiving end of quite a large haul of hardware last Wednesday night.
A great deal of that success carried over from the basketball court and the wrestling mats where the Knights had a banner year.
Northview wrestlers Cory Grigsby, Derek Mroczek and Justin Wilson all received All-Conference honors, capping what was a special year for the program.
As a team, the Knights took third place in the WIC conference and a big reason for that success were the titles that the three wrestlers took home.
Grigsby, a sophomore, won the 119 pound title for the Knights while Mroczek won at 140 and Wilson took the championship at 189 pounds. The conference wins were just the beginning for those three as all three advanced through sectionals and experienced regional competition.
Wilson completed his season at the Bloomington South Regional by winning a match before falling in his final two to complete his senior season with a 27-12 mark.
Both Mroczek and Grigsby made their way through a difficult field to advance to semistates. Grigsby won his opening match before ending his season with an impressive 31-8 mark. Mroczek ended his junior season with an excellent 37-9 record.
While records are not always a telltale measuring stick of the success of a team, when a group registers the largest number of wins in the history of the program it's a pretty fair indicator.
The Northview girls' basketball team won more games this year than ever before on the way to a 15-7 record that included a winning streak of eight games and 11-of-12. The squad also went undefeated in a solid WIC slate to take the conference title.
Part of that success can be attributed to a pair of juniors who have lead the Knights through two difficult years before being rewarded this season.
Point guard Amy Thiemann had helped guide the Knights through stormy waters before, but this year she took on the task of distributing the ball both inside and outside with the arrival of freshman center Julie Whitted.
Thiemann's numbers increased across the board in her junior year. After averaging just 4.4 points per game (ppg.) last year, she jumped up to 7.5 ppg. this year while increasing her field goal percentage by 11 percent. Her rebounding numbers jumped as well as her assists.
Teammate Whitney Medworth enjoyed a more balanced scoring load this season but that didn't hold her back from scoring 12 ppg. and averaging over five assists per game and knocking down a team-high 37 3-pointers this year.
With a strong group of juniors leading the way, eyes turned to a talented group of incoming freshman for the Knights in the 2002-03 year.
At 6'5, Whitted made the biggest statistical impact of the frosh. Her team-leading 13.3 ppg. and 9.8 rebounds per contest raised a lot of eyebrows this year. Her progress over the course of the season was remarkable and for that reason she was awarded All-Conference status along with Medworth and Thiemann.
While the girls' program enjoyed the most success they've ever had this year, the boys' team picked up right where they left off last year when they went undefeated and won the WIC title.
This season the Knights put together another unbeaten WIC season while enjoying a 21-3 mark under new Northview coach Mitch Lancaster. That success lead to three Knights making the All-Conference squad.
Senior Travis Hughes was the defensive stopper for a team whose offense was keyed a great deal by their press and by steals.
Though Hughes proved in several games that he had a nose for the hoop, his offensive prowess took a back seat to his knack for eliminating the opponent he was matched against. His ability to guard any position on the court was invaluable for the Knights.
Much of the scoring load was placed on juniors Logan Whitman and Zach Keyes this year. Neither disappointed.
Whitman was second in the WIC with a 22.3 ppg. average on a team who was near the top of the state with a 75.7 ppg. scoring rate. He also led the Wabash Valley with a remarkable 92 3-pointers. He deposited his 1,000th career point with eight games left this season. Whitman also hit nearly 45 percent of his shots beyond the arc and shot 61 percent from the field overall.
The only person in the conference who shot better from the field this year was teammate, and fellow junior, Keyes.
Though he was much smaller than most opponents he faced in the paint, Keyes managed to hit 61.4 percent of his shots while averaging 20.9 ppg. He also led the conference in field goals made by nearly a 2:1 ratio.
Keyes sank 164 2-point fieldgoals while Sullivan's Jeff Moore was second at 86.
All nine of these athletes received a great deal of the spotlight this season as they excelled on the court and mat. But as members of their respective teams they have led Northview to the Winter All-Sports title with their conference finishes.
Even more important is the fact that both the boys' and girls' have moved out front in the chase for the All-Sports trophy that is inclusive of the Fall, Winter and Spring sports' seasons.
Currently the Northview boys are out front with a total of 64 points that are determined by their conference finish. The highest number of points (14) going to the team that wins the conference title and the fewest (2) to the last place school. West Vigo is currently second with 56 points.
The girls' teams have moved out to a solid eight point lead over Edgewood. The Knights have 52 points while the Mustangs have 44.
The Spring sports season begins on March 29 when the Northview baseball squad faces Crawfordsville on the road.