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Tessa Knapp named Ohio 2023-24 Gatorade Player of the Year – Morning Journal

Tessa Knapp named Ohio 2023-24 Gatorade Player of the Year – Morning Journal

Tessa Knapp of Bay. (Aimee Bielozer – for The Morning Journal)

Tessa Knapp, a senior at Bay University, has an impressive resume that most high school soccer players can only hope to achieve in their four-year college career.

The two-time All-American and 2022 district player of the year has scored 148 career goals, which ranks 10th on the OHSAA career list. In 2023, Knapp set career highs in both goals scored (58) and assists (16) en route to a second straight state semifinal. The Bay star also holds the school’s all-time goals record.

The Notre Dame soccer prospect added another major award to her growing list of accomplishments. On June 21, the Bay Athletics X account — formerly Twitter — announced that the forward had been named the 2023-24 Ohio Girls Soccer Gatorade Player of the Year.

Back home from a travel club trip to Seattle, Knapp modestly accepted another honorable mention in her already successful career.

“I was absolutely thrilled to receive this award,” Knapp said upon hearing the news. “It’s nice to see my hard work pay off. It’s a great reward to receive and I feel very honored and blessed to receive it.”

Knapp’s teammates and coaches will tell you how much work Knapp has put in to excel on the field, or on the court this past spring. That effort has driven her to continue to strive for more against the competition she faces on the court.

“I always like to compete, work hard and keep my mind on my goals,” Knapp said. “I just work hard and push myself, always try to do my best. Whether it’s in soccer (or track), I keep moving forward to achieve my goals.”

Knapp knew she was eligible for the award, but didn’t know when it would be presented. She received an email notifying her of the honor just before the announcement on June 21. It’s a satisfying feeling, but also a huge motivator.

“This gives me more motivation to keep pushing and working hard to achieve my goals for the upcoming season,” she said, noting that an elusive state title is a big goal this fall in the newly expanded Division III. “I couldn’t have done this without my amazing teammates, coaches and family who have always helped and supported me.”

Moving away from the award to a potential milestone in her senior year, Knapp sits 44 goals shy of tying St. Clairsville’s Jaclyn Dutton for the all-time state goals record of 192 and 45 goals shy of topping the list. Her three-year average of just over 49 goals per season puts her on pace to easily break the record, and she’s looking forward to the challenge ahead.

“That would definitely be a great experience to break that record,” Knapp said. “But we’re also striving to get a state championship and have a great upcoming season, those are our main priorities.”