By Steve Williams

Cassie Kuerschen and BJ Edwards have brought a lot of excitement to the sports scene at Knoxville Catholic High School.

Irish fans will miss seeing Kuerschen playing the game of volleyball as she begins her collegiate career at Penn State this fall. They will have Edwards back to enjoy though for one more basketball season.

Not surprisingly, Cassie and BJ were selected as Catholic’s female and male Student-Athletes of the Year for 2020-21.

Kuerschen, a libero or defensive specialist, helped propel the Lady Irish program to new heights over the past four seasons.

“Cassie has impacted our volleyball program tremendously, and will certainly do the same at Penn State next year,” said Catholic Athletic Director Jason Surlas. “She has been a standout player all four years, and has been instrumental in elevating our program to its highest level in the history of our school.

“The team qualified for the TSSAA State Volleyball Tournament in each of Cassie’s four years, including a State Championship, two runners-up, and a semifinal appearance.”

Meanwhile, longtime Catholic basketball coach Mike Hutchens is glad to have Edwards back for one more season.

“BJ is one of the best players in the state and one of the best point guards in the country,” he said. “He is one of the hardest workers I have ever had and is a joy to coach. On top of that he is a winner!”

As the AD, Surlas sees BJ as “a quiet methodical leader on the basketball court. His high level of basketball talent is often overshadowed by his unselfishness and his desire to increase opportunities for his teammates on the court.

“He has solidified himself already as one of the best basketball players to emerge from Knoxville,” added Surlas, “and has a year remaining to watch the long list of suitors grow.”

Edwards told The Focus last week his recruitment status hasn’t changed lately.

“I still don’t have a set date for commitment, but I am building relationships with all six and going on visits to see how it is, and it’s been a good experience,” said Edwards. “I like all equally, so I’m not sure where I will end up yet.”

The schools Edwards is looking at are Tennessee, Florida, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Georgia and Vanderbilt.

“Wherever he decides to continue his career in college they will get a great one,” said Coach Hutchens.