By Steve Williams

Olivia Rodgers and Ryan Degges had a lot in common when it came to the relationships they had with their teammates in athletics at Christian Academy of Knoxville.

The way they handled themselves and cared about others was highly commendable and probably went a long way in the two being chosen to receive the prestigious Warrior Award at CAK in 2020-21.

Here’s what their coaches had to say about them.

“Olivia is the ideal teammate and track athlete,” said CAK Track and Field Coach Bart Karaken. “She is self-motivated to perform and cares deeply for her teammates. She is always the first to cheer her teammates.”

As for Degges, CAK Head Football Coach Travis Mozingo said: “Ryan is a great representative of the Warrior Award, not only because of his athleticism, but because of who he is as a person. In our locker room he was respected because of how he treated his teammates, how hard he worked, and how intensely he competed.”

By earning the Warrior Awards, Rodgers and Degges also were submitted to The Knoxville Focus as the school’s female and male Student-Athletes of the Year.

“Olivia has worked hard to be one of the top quarter-milers in the state and has a great opportunity to compete for a state championship in multiple events,” said Coach Karaken prior to the recent TSSAA State Track and Field Championships, which were held for the first time this year at Rockvale High School.

Rodgers indeed came away with the state title in the 400-meter event in Division II-A, winning with a time of 58.90 seconds. Olivia also placed eighth in the 200 dash.

“She will be missed around our program next year but has helped to lay a great foundation for our program moving forward here at CAK,” summed up Karaken.

Rodgers, who also competed last fall in soccer, is already working on a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing at UT-Knoxville.

Degges didn’t celebrate a state championship in football, but he was the quarterback on the first CAK team to go 10-0 in the regular season in school history. The Warriors had a super run before falling to Goodpasture 61-43 in the second round of the Division II-A playoffs.

Degges received honorable mention on The Focus / Coaches’ 2020 All-Knox County football team, which includes players from all Division I and II classifications.

Ryan also was a key member of CAK’s baseball team, which made it to the Final Four in Division II-A at the Spring Fling. Degges hit in the No. 3 position of the Warriors’ batting order and played leftfield.

CAK opened with a win over Tipton-Rosemark at the state but lost to Christ Presbyterian Academy and Northpoint Christian School.

Degges, a Columbia State signee, will be playing baseball on the next level.