Senior cross country and track runner Derek Knabe was awarded the Berea Boots Award at this year’s hall of fame induction ceremony during homecoming week.
This yearly award, which is voted upon by the Alumni Association, is presented to a student who excelled in athletic competition in more than one sport here at Capital during their junior year.
“Of all the people that are two sport athletes, they picked me as the individual who’s made the most impact on my sports,” Knabe said. “It was a pretty awesome experience. I got to dress up, go to the Alumni dinner at homecoming weekend and give a speech. I was a little bit overwhelmed, because I’m not great at public speaking, but it was nice.”
Success is nothing new for Knabe, as he has racked up the awards on and off the course over his career not only here at Capital, but in high school as well.
Knabe was a three-time letter winner in cross country and track from Oak Hill High School in Cincinnati, OH; there, he was also a member of the National Honor Society and a three-time winner of the Highlander academic award and recipient of the Greater Miami academic award. In 2014, he was named freshman of the year for Capital’s track team, and he has also been named Crusader of the week twice and OAC runner of the week once in his time here at Capital.
The three-year letter winner and 2016 cross country MVP may excel at both cross country and track, but he does have a preference.
“I’d have to say track. It’s a bigger team, you get to hang out with the field event kids, and we get two seasons, an indoor one and an outdoor one,” Knabe said. “Cross [country] is nice because you get to train all summer and you run in the fall when the weather is nice, but it also nice with track where we run indoor and you don’t have to worry about rain or cold, it’s just a fixed climate. It’s one less factor to worry about while you’re racing.”
Perhaps another reason why Knabe tends to lean more towards track over cross country is due to the change in events. While he still participates in the distance events for the track team, the winter and spring bring him a new challenge: steeplechase.
“In the spring I get to do steeplechase, which is a 3k over hurdles and barriers and stuff,” Knabe said. “So training-wise I do a lot more hurdle work, whereas cross country is just regular running.”
The senior captain serves as a great example of hard work and dedication for all other two sport athletes here on campus, especially the athletes who run cross country and track.
“I know that cross country and track, we’re kind of a smaller team. We don’t always get a whole lot of recognition and whatnot. But we are successful as individuals,” Knabe said. “We have great individual performers, but we haven’t had the strongest team, so I think we tend to get overlooked. So it was nice to get recognized for putting in a lot of hard work over the years.”
Knabe and the rest of the track team look forward to the winter and spring seasons. They are already hard at work, showing up each morning for 6 a.m. practices in hopes that they will improve upon their performances from last year.
“We lost a couple guys through graduation this past year,” Knabe said. “But we’ve got some fresh legs this year that have been doing well so far. I’m excited. I think we’ll finish better than we did last year and continue building up the program.”