Knights Dominate All-IIAC Team; Ex-Waterloo Prep Standout Also Honored
Four of the teammates received first-team honors: senior pitcher Parker Bolt (Reinbeck), senior third baseman Tanner Johnson (Oak Creek, Wis.), junior pitcher Taylor Gilson (Oelwein) and junior right fielder Jacob Thumann (DeWitt). The number of first-team selections are also the most for Wartburg, equaling a program record that was set last season.
All four of the Knights' starting pitchers -- Bolt, Gilson, Tanner Eckhardt (Monticello, Minn.) and Max Langheinrich (Minnetonka, Minn.) -- earned All-Conference accolades, which tied a Wartburg mark set in 2013. Previously, three Wartburg pitchers were honored in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2015.
Gilson is one of two former area prep athletes to repeat as a first-team all-Iowa Conference selection. The ex-Oelwein star joins former Waterloo Columbus standout Craig Konrardy, a senior who plays shortstop for Coe.
Players weren't the only ones recognized from the Wartburg program.
Head Coach Joel Holst was named Iowa Conference Coach of the Year after taking the Knights to the top of the league standings again in 2016, winning back-to-back titles. Wartburg led the league from start-to-finish after getting off to a 8-0 start, which including six wins on the road. The Knights also strung together a ten-game winning streak from April 19th to May 6th.
This year, Wartburg won or swept every four-game series, winning every regular-season match-up against Simpson, Central, and Loras, and going 3-1 against Buena Vista, Dubuque, Luther, and Coe. The Knights finished Iowa Conference play 24-4. Their 24 wins set a single-season conference record, besting the previous mark of 23 won by Luther in 1985.
Holst has won 15 Iowa Conference (IIAC) regular season championships and nine IIAC tournament titles.