• Ellie Sevigny

Knox, Monmouth to Begin Play in the MWC

GALESBURG - The Midwest Conference (MWC) announced today that it will resume competition for the spring sports of baseball, softball, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, men’s outdoor track & field and women’s outdoor track & field. Member institutions, based upon campus and local realities of the pandemic, retain ultimate authority over the decision as to whether or not to participate in intercollegiate athletics this spring. At this time, Knox College is optimistic that Prairie Fire student-athletes will be able to participate this spring under the MWC umbrella. “We are thrilled that we have this opportunity to get our student-athletes back into MWC competition,” said Knox College Director of Athletics Daniella Irle. “This is a great day for our Fire family. While the seasons will not be normal, I know that our spring sport student-athletes are looking forward to championship competition after losing that opportunity last spring. As always, Knox College and the Midwest Conference are moving forward with COVID-19 protocols and the health of our student-athletes and staff in mind.” “Our student-athletes have been through so much in the last year and have had to adapt, improvise, and overcome,” said Knox College Head Baseball Coach Jami Isaacson. “This is a great day for Prairie Fire and MWC student-athletes because it means that all the work they have been putting in over the last year will come to fruition in MWC competition.” “It will feel good to get back on the field after only playing four games in the last 22 months,” added Knox College Head Softball Coach Erin Rutledge. “The team is very excited to show what they can do on the field of play. It is critical that our student-athletes are able to compete against someone outside of our own team.” MWC schools are allowed to engage in spring competition against non-league opponents as long as they adhere to the league’s COVID-19 return-to-play protocol and end competition against non-MWC institutions 15 days prior to the start of league play in each respective sport. MWC competition in most spring sports is expected to start between late March and mid-April and will conclude by mid-May. Conference schedules will be posted online in the coming weeks but are subject to change due to the current health circumstances. “It’s been nearly eleven months since our student-athletes have played against each other due to COVID-19,” said Ripon College President Zach Messitte, the MWC Executive Committee Chair. “While we are excited to resume league play later this spring, the Conference will continue to adhere to best practices in order to maximize the safety and health of our students, coaches, officials and spectators. ” The MWC will closely monitor the COVID-19 environment on MWC campuses, local communities and at the regional and national levels as the ten member schools prepare for the upcoming spring season. At this time, no decision about spectators has been made so current guidance (no spectators at MWC events) remains in place and will be reviewed at a later date. The Prairie Fire men’s and women’s golf teams compete in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC). At this time, the SLIAC is committed to pursuing competition in the spring.

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