Behind the quiet persona of this senior athlete lies a strong leader. She is making an impact on and off of the court, all while maintaining a humble demeanor. Krystal Stoneking (sr) is that leader.
The Newark, Ohio native developed a talent for basketball at a young age and began to translate that talent into a passion during her early years of high school. After playing ball throughout high school, she developed as an athlete and Indiana Wesleyan University took notice, recruiting her to play for the Wildcats. Even then, head coach Steve Brooks saw her talent as a potential key role for the team’s future.
“She’s played at a high level from day one,” Brooks said. “I think she’s come in, she’s been incredibly motivated. Teams are setting up to stop her and she’s still finding ways to help our team, whether it’s through her rebounding, through scoring or defending. She’s finding ways to help the team win games.”
Stoneking has improved each year on the court. Freshman year, she averaged 4.9 points per game and 6.2 as a sophomore, but kept working.
In her third season, Stoneking averaged 12.3 points and now, two-thirds into her final year, that number is up to 17.7.
According to some of her teammates, Stoneking’s statistics have improved because of her dedication in the hardest time for some athletes to find motivation: the offseason. Working behind the scenes has become a secret advantage for Stoneking’s success.
But the most noticeable trait about her might be her humility amid success. In her Wildcat career, Stoneking has scored more than 1,000 points, collected more than 500 rebounds and is currently ranked third highest in the NCCAA Division II in field goal percentage (61 percent).
Along with her impressive statistics, Stoneking’s selfless attitude has made an impact on the team.
Wildcats team manager, Jordan Brown (sr), echoed this idea.
“She’s not about herself,” Brown said. “She couldn’t care less about her. It blows me away. She really is a servant on the team. It doesn’t matter if [Brooks] sees it or if anybody else sees it, it shows in her game.”
The leadership that is influenced by coach Brooks and carried out through the team comes from on and off the court. Off the court, Stoneking has formed strong friendships with her teammates.
“Everyone just gels really well,” Stoneking said. “We’re all just kind of close and it’s fun; I love it.”
Along with the encouragement of her teammates, Stoneking was also impacted by Leah Whittaker. The Wildcats’ teammate lived by Deuteronomy 31:6, the “be strong and courageous” verse that is now well known throughout IWU athletics and the university as a whole.
Stoneking uses that same verse as a life goal to pursue. The friendship she had inspires Stoneking to do the best she can for her team and make the Wildcats better.
“She’s been that type of person … that builds that bond as a team that you really want,” said Brooks.