SportsStudent Athlete of the Week


Esprit Decor Student-Athlete of the Week: Shelby Knaak

Shelby Knaak
Posted at 12:22 AM, Oct 09, 2021

SUFFOLK, VA (WTKR)- Nansemond River's softball team captured the Class 5 state championship this past spring. Shelby Knaak is a big reason why the Warriors have seen so much success.

Shelby is a senior, do-everything outfielder for head coach Gabe Rogers and the Warriors. At one time, softball was just a hobby for her, but then she found her competitive edge.

"It's always been something I did on the side, had fun with it," she recalled. "As it got more competitive, that's when I really fell in love with it and really started to understand the love for the game."

It's become a sport that's given her lifelong friends and memories.

"We just recently won states our last season for high school and for travel we get to travel to Colorado, California, Florida."

"It's very rare that you find an athlete that has the size, the strength, the speed like Shelby has," Rogers noted.

Recently Shelby found another way she can use those talents when she stumbled upon cross-fit, a series of exercises that test athletes physical abilities using weights and other equipment. She discovered the activity while working out last winter.

"We would go up the street to Burn Fit Athletics," said Shelby. "We would do stuff there and I really grew into it."

She grew into it so much that she started taking part in cross-fit competitions. The senior will take part in her second one this weekend. Not only does cross-fit keep her in shape, but it's something that can last well beyond the time her softball playing days come to an end.

"Softball is a big thing in my life and eventually that day will come, but I did recently fall in love with cross-fit and so I'm really excited to keep doing that."

For now, Shelby's focus is on her senior year. She and her Warrior teammates will go for back-to-back state titles and she'll go into the season not taking any moments for granted.

"Enjoy it, live in the moment and just stay positive," she said of her approach to her senior year.

"There is no ceiling for her," said Rogers. "She can achieve anything she wants to achieve. She just has to believe that she can do it."

Shelby is also a member of Nansemond River's field hockey team and enjoys hiking.

If you have a nominee for Esprit Decor Student-Athlete of the Week, send an e-mail to