Local-grown Wartburg Knights making history, hosting NCAA tournament quarterfinal

Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 6:42 PM CST
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WAVERLY, Iowa (KCRG) - The Wartburg Knights are tough and selfless.

“They’re not in it for the flash. They’re in it because they love playing football. They love their teammates,” said Wartburg head coach Chris Winter. “I think when people look back on this team, that’s what they’re gonna think about is a team that was tough and together.”

Winter has been able to instill that alliteration - tough and together - into his undefeated team. The Knights are hosting an NCAA tournament quarterfinal game for the first time ever.

“It’s special,” Winter said. “To be able to do something that’s a first is a big deal.”

The Wartburg roster has over 100 Iowans, including Beckman Catholic graduate Owen Grover. The defensive player of the year in the American Rivers Conference means more to the Knights than just an award.

“Owen Grover, if I could pick any guy on our team to stand up and say this is going to be our representative of Wartburg College he’d be the guy,” Winter said.

“That means a lot,” Grover said. “I also have a lot of teammates that I would say the same thing about as well.”

Grover leads a ballhawking defense that ranks first in Division III in turnovers and third in scoring, giving up just 7.3 points per game.

“It means a lot to have (Winter) say that I’m a representative of this program that I think embodies all the right things.”

Wartburg has been on playoff runs before, but Coach Winter says this Knights team is different.

“We’ve had talented teams and we’ve had close-knit teams and I think these guys combined both those things.”