The 2019 Sports Year in Review for teams covered by the Knoxville Journal-Express were filled with highlights from around the county.
Listed below will be the top 30 highlights for 2019. The list easily can be debated.
It is compiled by Journal-Express Sports Editor Perry Bell.
The list is more for fun than actual debate. It’s a time to reflect back to the 2019 season and enjoy as described below and as depicted by the photos that were selected.
The sports story of the year in 2018 was the new Joel Tonda Tennis Courts.
In 2017 the top sports story went to the Pleasantville Trojan wrestling team.
Only extra-curricular activities normally covered on the sports pages make the list. Thus, cheerleading and dance teams were not included in the highlights, to name a few.
• The No. 1 story for 2019 the Knoxville Boys Soccer Team. This highlight is brought to you by Kevin Wadle, CPA.
Coach Dylan Mick’s Panther squad had the community abuzz after they knocked off the defending state champion Pella Dutch 2-1 on penalty kicks for a trip to State.
It was only the second State trip in school history, the other being in 2010.
At State the Panthers fell to Cedar Rapids, Xavier 5-0 to finish at 14-5 overall.
Cristian Magana was selected for the All Star Game and Magana and Spencer DeJoode were first-team all-state picks.
• The No. 2 story for 2019 the Twin Cedars Softball Team. This highlight is brought to you by Homestead Assisted Living.
The Sabers were a perfect 18-0 in Bluegrass Conference play.
The team knocked off a very talented Pleasantville squad ranked No. 3 at the time 4-1 to improve to 18-2 overall.
The Sabers had only one senior on the team Ainsley Dunkin.
The season was shortened in the postseason when the Melcher-Dallas Saints upended TC 7-2 in Regional play after losing to the Sabers twice during the regular season. The final mark for TC was 29-9.
• The No. 3 story for 2019 the Knoxville Volleyball Team. This highlight is brought to you by Fareway.
Knoxville earned a three-peat as South Central Conference Champions with an unbeaten mark of 6-0. Knoxville was 18-4 in SCC games.
The season was cut short with a loss to Carlisle in the postseason. The final record was 25-8.
The team was 16-0 before losing to Pella Christian at the PC Tourney.
• The No. 4 story for 2019 the Pleasantville Wrestling Team. This highlight is brought to you by PPI.
Pleasantville won the Sectional Wrestling Title for the first time since 2009.
Three Trojans earned trips to State, Cael Lester (160), Cale Anthony (220) and Matthew Kauffman (Hwt.). Pleasantville was the only Marion County school with wrestlers at State.
At the Trojan Duals in January the team wrestled with heavy hearts as it was the first action on the mat since the passing of teammate Nolan Roff.
Trojan Coach Heath DeForest commented, “This ws a night where the scoreboard just didn’t mean much.”
Trojan wrestlers had yellow sholaces for the occasion.
• The No. 5 story for 2019 the Knoxville Girls Basketball Team. This highlight is brought to you by Motor Inn and the Knoxville Dairy Queen.
The 2018-19 Panther girls basketball squad won the SCC crown for the second year in a row with an 11-0 mark.
Katie Keitges scored her 1,000th career point at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines back in January.
In August Keitges committed to play D-I college basketball on scholarship for the University of Nebraska Omaha and the Mavericks.
The Coaches vs. Cancer event was cancelled three times due to the weather, before being held.
• The No. 6 story for 2019 the Pleasantville Softball Team. This highlight is brought to you by Mason Funeral Home.
Pleasantville Coach Jan Haugen had the Trojans humming along until they hit a snag at the end of the season.
PHS was second in the WCAC. The team started 15-1 in league play before finishing at 16-4 in the WCAC losing the title on the final night to Van Meter.
Pleasantville was upset in the Regionals by Pella Christian and finished at 25-12 overall.
• The No. 7 story for 2019 the Knoxville Football Team. This highlight is brought to you by the Coffeee Connection.
The Panthers started the year 4-0 with wins ove Fairfield, Saydel, Centerville and Chariton.
The Panthers were the last unbeaten team in Marion County.
Knoxville went on to finish 6-3 overall. The best mark for Panther football since 2005.
The last night of the season the Panthers whipped Newton 41-14 as Keegan Cox set a new school mark for interceptions in a season and Carter Bailey set a single game rushing mark with 321 yards.
• The No. 8 story for 2019 the Knoxville Girls Soccer Team. This highlight is brought to you by Iowa Realty.
Knoxville set a new school record for wins in a season with 14. The season included a 13-game win streak.
The season closed with a loss to Williamsburg in Regional play 3-1. It took two days to play the match, due to weather.
Emma DeJoode had 30 goals during the year.
• The No. 9 story for 2019 the Cross Country Stars. This highlight is brought to you by Knoxville Recreation Center.
Norah Pearson, a freshman was 5th at State for Knoxville while setting the school record during the year. She also won the SCC individual title.
Rylee Dunkin at Twin Cedars was 7th at State in 1A while set set new school marks.
Emery Sage and J’Lyn Knutson qualified for State for Melcher-Dallas. Knutson overcame a hip pointer to make it for the third year in a row. Sage was 23rd at State for the Saints.
• The No. 10 story for 2019 the Melcher-Dallas Softball Team. This highlight is brought to you by Marion County Bank.
The Saints set a new school record for wins in a single season going 27-6 overall.
M-D was runner-up to TC in the league.
After falling to TC twice in league play the Saints beat Twin Cedars in Regional play 7-2.
• The No. 11 story for 2019 the Knoxville Girls Tennis Team. This highlight is brought to you by Knoxville Hy-Vee.
For only the second time in school history the Panthers were conference champions, the last time being in 2015.
Alex Griggs and Anna Sanderson qualified for State in doubles play following a 13-hour day for tennis at the Regionals. The doubles team was 0-2 at State.
• The No. 12 story for 2019 the Knoxville Boys Golf Team. This highlight is brought to you by Pella Golf & Country Club.
Tyler Vaske was the Sectional Golf Champion for Knoxville with a one-under par 71.
Knoxville won the SCC Golf Title by one shot over Albia. Vaske was medalist and Cade McDonald was runner-up.
• The No. 13 story for 2019 Ted Williams. This highlight is brought to you by Knoxville Raceway.
Ted was a 1944 Knoxville Panther graduate who earned a medal at the Drake Relays in 1944.
He joined the Marines and WWII and never got his medal. As he was celebrating his 93rd birthday, He was surprised when the Drake medal he earned 75 years earlier was presented to him at the birthday party.
• The No. 14 story for 2019 Girls State Wrestling. This highlight is brought to you by Ulrich Ford-Lincoln.
Two Pleasantville Trojans earned medals at the first ever girls state tournament in Waverly.
Sayde Mull was 5th at State and Brynn Miller 4th.
• The No. 15 story for 2019 Pleasantville Girls Track. This highlight is brought to you by Pella Motors.
Pleasantville won the Lynnville-Sully Invite. It was the first PHS track title in 24 years.
Kasey Pelzer set a new school record in the long jump going 16’9.5”.
PHS was third at State earning a medal in the 4x100 relay with a strong anchor by Pelzer.
• The No. 16 story for 2019 Pleasantville Football. This highlight is brought to you by Hube’s Garage.
Pleasantville was 5-4 on the gridiron, but what a year it was for Cale Anthony.
He ran for 339 yards in a win against L-Sully and had 25 touchdowns during the year while earning first-team all-state honors by the IPSWA. He led Class 1A in rushing with 1,783 yards.
• The No. 17 story for 2019 Knoxville Girls Track. This highlight is brought to you by Ramaeker Screen Printing.
The Panthers were 3rd in the SCC with 103 points. Katie Keitges won the 3,000, 1,500 and 800 events and was fourth in the 400.
Abbey Jackson was runner-up in the 100 and 200 and ran a 200 leg on the third place Sprint Medley.
Jackson and Keitges both qualified for State.
• The No. 18 story for 2019 Knoxville Boys Track. This highlight is brought to you by Three Seasons Lawn Care.
The KHS boys track team was a notch behind the girls, taking 4th in the SCC Meet in Chariton.
Jordan Bacon won the 800 for Knoxville.
Kieren Nichols and Alex Buckley were also strong for KHS at conference.
Nichols and Buckley were State qualifiers. Nichols in the 400 and Buckley in the shot.
• The No. 19 story for 2019 Pleasantville Volleyball Team. This highlight is brought to you by Knoxville Hospital & Clinics.
After finishing 4-19 on the court a year ago the Trojans had a fabulous turnaround posting a record of 16-9 in 2019.
The team was led by Sam Entinger.
• The No. 20 story for 2019 Knoxville Boys Tennis Team. This highlight is brought to you by Medicap and Summit Realty.
The Panthers won the Ottumwa Tennis Title.
They were second to Chariton in the SCC Tournament played in Knoxville.
Knoxville was 6-2 in duals and they opened the new Joel Tonda Tennis Courts with a 6-5 win in the opener over North Polk.
• The No. 21 story for 2019 Melcher-Dallas Track Team. This highlight is brought to you by Knoxville Farm & Home.
The Melcher-Dallas Saints qualified for State in six events, J’Lyn Knutson in two and Grace Overgaard one.
Emery Sage and Ethan Harrington both were in one event and the 4x800 relay team ran.
Knutson earned a 6th place medal in the 1A 1,500.
• The No. 22 story for 2019 Knoxville Softball. This highlight is brought to you by Knoxville H&R Block and Gibson Jewelry.
The Panther softball squad was 9-3 in league play, good for second place. They were 15-13 overall and Emery Neer was named to the Des Moines Register Elite All-State Team.
• The No. 23 story for 2019 Pleasantville Baseball. This highlight is brought to you by Marion County Auto Body.
It was the first year in the WCAC and the Trojans managed it well fining 13-8 in the league and 18-17 overall.
• The No. 24 story for 2019 Girls Golf. This highlight is brought to you by Jacobsen Travel.
Amy Sullivan, of Knoxville, and Kynser Reed, of Melcher-Dallas each qualified for State.
Reed played in Marshalltown and Sullivan in Ankeny.
• The No. 25 story for 2019 Melcher-Dallas Boys Basketball. This highlight is brought to you by Faux Paws.
Melcher-Dallas finished with a record of 11-8 overall.
A week after losing to Wayne by 20 points the Saints topped the Falcons 44-40 in the postseason in a game played in Moravia.
• The No. 26 story for 2019 Knoxville Boys Basketball. This highlight is brought to you by Mr. C’s Restaurant.
Knoxville was 7-4 in league play, good for second place last winter.
The team suffered through an 8-game losing streak to end the year.
• The No. 27 story for 2019 Knoxville Athletic Hall of Fame. This highlight is brought to you by Bertrand Funeral Homes and Monuments and National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum.
The Knoxville Athletic Hall of Fame inducted John Carle, Ann (Davis) Kuenstling, Derald Swisher and Ben Willetts in the 2019 Hall of Fame.
The 2020 Class will include Brian Hiemstra, Mike Stults, Elizabeeth (Haning) Hadler and Graham Fee.
• The No. 28 story for 2019 Melcher-Dallas Volleyball. This highlight is brought to you by 2 Rivers Coop.
The Saints back three years ago were 0-21 in volleyball.
The 2019 squad had a strong mark of 14-8.
• The No. 29 story for 2019 Girls Swimming This highlight is brought to you by Winfield Funeral Home.
The Indianola girls team was represented at the 2019 State Meet by two Panthers, Kinsli Cram and Jorja Culver.
• The No. 30 story for 2019 Knoxville Basketball (current) This highlight is brought to you by State Farm Insurance (Jay Olson).
The Knoxville girls’ basketball team is off to a quick 7-0 start.
Katie Keitges set the 5-of-5 career scoring record in Osceola earlier in the month.
The Panther boys team is off to a 5-1 start.
Odds and Ends
A few other hightlights for the year include Chris Hudson earning 3A Assistant Football Award at State. Volleyball Coach Mollie Keitges was the District Volleyball Coach of the Year.
The trap shooting team had 350 contestants at a home competition back in April.
In a strange twist of fate Gabe Gordon wrestled for Knoxville at the District Meet when another wrestler was injured following Sectionals.
The Twin Cedars baseball team was 13-13 last season.