DARKE COUNTY – A pair of athletes who are raising the bar for their programs are this week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week.
This week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week are Greenville boys soccer player AJ Frens and Bradford girls cross country runner Karmen Knepp.
Frens has helped to lead a resurgence for the Greenville boys soccer program. The Green Wave finished the regular season 7-8-1, which is the team’s best record since joining the Greater Western Ohio Conference in 2010.
This season Frens leads all GWOC goalkeepers with 235 saves in 16 games, which is 51 more saves than the next closest player.
The Green Wave junior has saved 85 percent of the shots against him, which also is among the conference leaders. Additionally he’s posted two shutouts for Greenville.
Frens even has contributed on offense as he scored one goal this season.
Even though she’s only in her first year of running cross country, Knepp already has established herself as one of the top runners in the area. She leads all Darke County girls with a time of 19:47 this season.
“For a freshman I’ve just been impressed with how quick she’s picked up the sport,” Bradford cross country coach Bob Daugherty said.
Knepp started off her cross country career strong by breaking Bradford’s 5K record at the season-opening Bob Schul Invitational at Milton-Union. She broke her own record at Versailles’ Tour de Sewer and broke it again at the Anna Invitational.
“We’re hoping that she breaks the record again over the next couple meets,” Daugherty said.
Knepp has succeeded because she has natural ability, Daugherty said, and she’s also pushed herself to get better.
“I think she’s just got a lot of natural ability,” Daugherty said. “She’s definitely the fastest girl I’ve ever coached.”
While she’s still learning the nuances of the sport, Knepp has shown tremendous ability that will help her compete in the Ohio High School Athletic Association meets, Daugherty said. It’s too early to tell how she’ll do, but she has a chance to earn a spot at state.
“We’re really looking forward to see how far she can go this year,” Daugherty said. “Anything can happen.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports. For more features online go to advocate360.org or ‘like The Daily Advocate’ on Facebook by searching Advocate360.