MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR | South Kitsap’s ‘ultimate team player’ displays all-around excellence

Knowles helped Wolves’ basketball, baseball teams make playoff runs

Male Athlete of the Year past recipients

2013: Bryce Broome

2012: Eddie Meisner

2011: Conner Hartmann

2010: Gordy Anderson

2009: Leon La Deaux

2008: Matt Foxworthy

2007: Renard Williams

2006: Brent Chriswell, Josiah Kipperberg

2005: Brent Chriswell

2004: Pat Kelly

South Kitsap senior Logan Knowles’ collection of athletic equipment is considerable even for a three-sport athlete.

But no matter where he lined up, Knowles found success.

For those reasons — along with his academic portfolio — Knowles is the Port Orchard Independent’s Male Athlete of the Year.

“He’s the ultimate team player,” South baseball coach Marcus Logue said. “He understands the utmost goal of any unit or team is to win. He does it all.”

Consider football. Knowles played quarterback from the time he could hold a ball through his junior season. But with the emergence of Cooper Canton, he volunteered to move to wide receiver. Knowles led the team in receptions (31) and yards (476).

“I had a great time playing wide receiver,” Knowles said. “Receiver was just pure fun for me. You could just go out, make plays and be a pure athlete.”

On the hardwood, Knowles helped the Wolves reach the Class 4A regionals for a second consecutive season even though South graduated most of its players from the previous season. With point guard Ryley Callaghan and wing Caulin Bakalarski doing the bulk of the scoring, Knowles was relied on for his ability to defend multiple positions. Knowles, who was listed at 6 foot 2, even guarded post players at times.

Logue said Knowles is not the type to shy away from a challenge.

“I’ve been privileged to have him as an athlete and as a student,” said Logue, who taught Knowles in Advanced Placement Government & Politics. “He’s one of those human beings everyone enjoys being around. He makes everyone around him better.”

Knowles’ success on the hardwood transferred to the mound. South’s baseball team, which graduated starting pitchers Josh Johnston and Michael Wood from its 4A state runner-up team in 2013, did not experience diminished returns in that facet of the game as Knowles combined with juniors Mac McCarty and Canton to dominate their opponents. The Wolves went 12-0 in 4A Narrows — their first undefeated league record since 2000 — and shut out five of those teams.

“It’s been my most enjoyable season of baseball,” Knowles said. “I can’t even describe how much fun I’ve had this year through the relationships I’ve made.”

He said the only disappointment was a 7-1 loss May 31 against Puyallup in the 4A state championship game in Pasco.

“It’s tough to go that far and just come up a little bit short,” Knowles said.

He played three sports in high school and if it were possible Knowles might have lettered in a fourth. His father, Mark, the former PGA Head Professional at Gold Mountain Golf Club, and the younger Knowles regularly golfed together during the summer.

“I have played with my dad quite a few times,” said Knowles, adding that he can get down to a par average at times. “He always says, ‘You hit it like a 1 handicap and score like a 7.’ I hit it pretty well, I just need more practice.”

That might have to wait. Knowles plans to leave later this month to enroll at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., where he will focus on baseball. Knowles said he is not certain whether he will be a hitter — he played center field and infield for the Wolves when he was not on the mound — or pitcher.

“I’m just waiting for one to overtake the other,” he said. “I might have to make a tough decision at some point.”

Knowles, who maintained a 3.67 grade-point average, arrived at his major much easier. Before his family owned a satellite dish, Knowles had three VCR tapes at his disposal. Among them was the 1986 hit “Top Gun” — a movie that was released a decade before his birth — that helped cultivate his desire to major in aeronautical engineering in hopes of becoming a pilot. Knowles watched intently as the characters depicted by Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer soared through the sky in fighter jets.

“It made it look really cool,” said Knowles, adding that his career choice was solidified when he visited the Naval Academy in sixth grade.

While Knowles is excited for his future, he will not forget elements of his hometown.

“I’m going to miss coming into the locker room on Saturday getting ready for practice and the Friday night football games,” he said. “I’m going to miss the people here. I’ve been blessed.”