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The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

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April 15, 2024

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    Lombard Athletic Hall of Fame inducts four new alumni

    Lombard Athletic Hall of Fame inducts four new alumni

    The four new members of the Lombard Hall of Fame. (Courtesy of the Office of Communications)

    The four new members of the Lombard Hall of Fame. (Courtesy of the Office of Communications)

    The induction for the Hall of Fame takes place on Friday, February 19th virtually at 5:00pm, but can be viewed anytime after as well.

    Four student athlete alumni will be given the highest athletic honor at Knox College by being inducted into the Lombard Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday, February 19th. The alumni who receive this award have proven to be the best of the best during their time as a Prairie Fire Athlete. 

    “These are the most outstanding and the best of the best ever in the athletic history throughout Knox College. So, they are forever going to be enshrined to ever take the field or the court in their respective game,” said Crew Keller, Knox K Club Coordinator.

    Each year, four to five alumni are inducted into the Hall of Fame across different categories: individual, teams, coaches, faculty and staff, along with half century candidates who have to have graduated at least 50 years prior. 

    Nominations for this achievement are made by other alumni, friends, former teammates and colleagues who feel their nominees are outstanding student athletes and representatives for Knox College. Nominations are due on February 1st of each year. 

    This year’s inductees to the Lombard Hall of Fame are all represented under the individual category: Mary Groll ’92, team captain of Knox Volleyball in 1990 and 1991, Joe Metzka ’96 who has proven to be one of the most dominant kickers and all around athletes in Knox football history, Derek Mortensen ’14 who finished his career as the all time leading rusher for Knox football and Michael Smith ’96 who was a dual sport threat for Prairie Fire, still holding records in both Men’s Basketball and Track and Field. 

    Keller just recently joined the committee for the Lombard Hall of Fame and feels optimistic about the event on Friday, hoping to reach more viewers than years prior due to the virtual aspect. 

    “I’m really excited about Friday night. It’s a little bit different… it is a virtual event, and so that’s kind of sad, but at the same time it’s really exciting because you get to reach so many different people, and we are anticipating it being a large audience,” Keller said.

    Although the event has to be virtual this year, Keller put together short interviews with each of the inductees to talk about their experience as athletes at Knox. Groll mentions feeling blown away by the honor of this award.

    “I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for my time at Knox College and the mentorship and the acceptance and the love and the support that I received from Coach Wegner and Mary Lou and my amazing teammates,” Groll said. 

    Keller feels that these interviews offer insight into the background of each inductee, helping them connect with the Knox community at large. 

    “All of the interviews and short clips videos that have been put together really give a sweet background to the people who have won the award or are getting inducted, and so it’s so cool to hear about not only what they did at their time at Knox, but how they are going on after to give back to the college and what they are doing in their community, and what they are up to now,” Keller said.

    Keller hopes to be able to bring the inductees back to campus next Fall Term for Homecoming 2021. Megan Clayton with the Alumni Achievement committee has her fingers crossed for their return. 

    “We know that the Hall of Fame folks will be invited back, hopefully at Homecoming 2021 so they can stand on the field with the other 2021 inductees,” Clayton said.

    To read more about the recipients, click here. To view the induction ceremony and interviews, click here.

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