Cross Wire

A new addition to Knight Wire in 2020 is Cross Wire, a blog by students, for students.

About the Cross Wire blog & Authors



    The Cedar Valley metal scene welcomed Frontal Assault, a band that combines thrash metal with death metal, in 2016. The band is young and so are its three members, ranging from ages 15 to 20. While there are death metal bands in the area, there is not currently one that plays thrash metal as well, and this is what makes Frontal Assault stand out.

    With a name extracted from the lyrics of Exodus’ famous “Toxic Waltz,” the band is certainly one that has immersed itself fully into the thrash metal sound. The band takes a lot of influence from Exodus as well as other classic thrash metal bands like Metallica, Slayer and newer bands like Havok. As for the death metal side of their music, the band’s guitarist and vocalist, Anthony Thomas, claims to take a lot of influence from Skeletal Remains.

    “We started having more death metal inspirations for some of our songs, but we still try to keep it pretty thrash,” said William Hall, the bassist and vocalist of Frontal Assault.

    Each band member seems dedicated to introducing thrash metal to the local scene.

    In 2019, the band debuted with “Debellatio,” a six-track EP. The EP flexed a heavy Exodus influence as well as a sound similar to bands like Ripper, or at times, Demolition Hammer. Unlike a majority of death/thrash metal bands, Frontal Assault did not have many similarities with Teutonic thrashers like Kreator or Destruction. The EP was released digitally on Bandcamp.

    “Deballatio,” or debellatio, is a Latin term for the end of war caused by total annihilation of the enemy.

    Since 2016, Frontal Assault has made a name for themselves in the Cedar Valley through live performances. According to the band, their audiences typically enjoy “The Bell of Death,” the last track on their 2019 EP as well as “Kill Your Local Congressman,” a track that is currently only played live. Their live performances typically include songs that have yet to be released.

    However, Frontal Assault has not booked very many performances in the near future due to being busy recording a new five-track EP. The band is still in the recording process. According to Hall, they have the drums recorded and are currently working on tracking the guitars. Unlike “Debellatio,” this EP will be released physically, and the physical release will include two bonus tracks.

    “We’ve played every song off the [new] EP live. We like to see if people like it before we actually record and produce it,” said Hall.

    After testing each song on audiences, the band feels prepared to release the new EP soon. For now, “Debellatio” can be streamed on Bandcamp and Spotify.

    Frontal Assault will be playing with Pit Lord and Traffic Death at Gabe’s in Iowa City on Mar. 13.



    As the Knights move into the American Rivers Conference tournament with the No. 1 seed, and nurse NCAA Tournament run hopes for the fourth-straight year, a spotlight is shone not on any one player, but on the entire team.

    It’s not debated often who Wartburg basketball’s best player is. Who else could you point to but reigning conference MVP and local standout Emma Gerdes? But having a de facto star player has never been the Wartburg way, and while there may not be much debate over Wartburg’s best player, there may be a conversation to be had over Wartburg’s most important player: one woman who could propel the Knights to yet another Elite Eight appearance, or home early.

    Enter Amanda Brainerd. The 6’1” stretch forward is in her second, and final season as a Knight, and is the cog in Wartburg’s elusive offense. Not only is Brainerd tied for the tallest player on the Knights’ varsity roster, she is also the best three-point shooter adjusted for volume.

    Brainerd, the Knights’ starting power forward on any typical night, is scorching the nets with a 41.4% clip from beyond the arc this year. Pair that with the fact that Brainerd has attempted the second-most threes this year (111), and the value she brings to the Knights offense becomes undeniable.

    The truth behind Brainerd’s Wartburg career is that it likely never should have happened. Brainerd’s path to the Knights came down to Waverly Shell-Rock graduate Payton Draper’s decision to transfer from Wayne State two years ago to Wartburg. Brainerd had formed a close relationship with Draper, and decided to transfer with her.

    Brainerd (right) alongside A-R-C MVP Emma Gerdes (left)

    This, along with the same-summer transfer that saw Tori Hazard leave the Simpson Storm for the Knights, gave Wartburg three of its five present day starters and provided ball handlers like Gerdes and Ally Conrad weapons to spread out the offense.

    Gerdes will define the last two years of Wartburg’s basketball supremacy, but it’s hard to argue that there was a better possible player to compliment her style of play than Amanda Brainerd. Gerdes, a proficient three-point threat herself, is known more for her ball handling and slashing ability on any given night. When both are on the court opposing defenses find themselves scratching their heads on who to commit to.

    As the help defender, when you see Emma Gerdes charge past her defender with her lightning-quick first step you naturally drop into the paint to protect against an easy layup. Gerdes knows this, and she whips the pass to Brainerd in the wing for an open three. The result of their one-two punch has left opposing teams on their heels all winter long. Brainerd is hitting close to two three-pointers a game via possessions like this, and almost all of her long range makes come off of the catch.

    Without the reliable 6’1” shooter waiting on the wing or in the corner, slashers like Gerdes and Tori Hazard find their options more limited on the inside, and it sends a ripple effect throughout the offensive efficiency. With Brainerd there, teams have to keep a defender on her by the three-point line, thus leaving the paint open to attack.

    This is, in essence, the pick-your-poison mentality that has led this iteration of the Knights to the past two NCAA tournaments.

    Without Brainerd would Gerdes have ever reached her full potential? Would the Knights have been able to enjoy continued team success to this level after the graduations of Wartburg’s star guards Katie and Kristie Summer two years ago? 

    Thanks to Amanda Brainerd’s Wayne State transfer, the Knights will never have to find out.

    Wartburg will advance to face off against conference rival Loras in the A-R-C championships on Saturday at 4 p.m., with pregame coverage at 3:50 on Knight Vision.




    Do you and your friends crave burritos 24/7? It’s a total mood. To feed your burrito craving, head over to Pablo’s Mexican Grill on Main Street in Cedar Falls. They offer customizable burritos, salads, and tacos that range from only $5.70 to $6, so you are not breaking the bank on expensive eating-out options. The highlight of a Pablo’s eating experience? The fresh, homemade salsas that feature flavors like chipotle tomatillo blend, habanero garlic and lime, as well as specialty salsas that rotate every two weeks.

    As for dessert, there are many options that fall under $9 or less. One of the best is the new creperie called Tata Yaya, which is also located on Main Street in Cedar Falls. It is a locally-owned business with an eclectic atmosphere that provides customers with savory or sweet crepes, waffles, and soon they will be adding pancakes to their menu.

    Photo from Tata Yaya Facebook page

    “I think students should check out the restaurant because it is a great homework spot and an escape from campus,” Jessica Sydnes, a third-year Wartburg major, said. “The food is also great and I have the goal to try every item on their menu.”

    If you are looking at staying in Waverly, most of you know that Dairy Queen and Four Queens is open for the season, even if it is a bit chilly for ice cream. I know, I know, it is never too chilly for ice cream.


    To spice up a boring night, check out this calendar for live music events in cedar falls.

    There will be artists performing at locations like Cup of Joe, SingleSpeed Brewing and so many more. Most shows are free or low cost and you may discover your next favorite study band.


    If you are looking at having a quick shopping trip on Bremer Avenue, check out Frayed Feather, a new store that opened recently. According to Woman Owned Business, the goal of the store is to help maintain a youthful and positive vibe in Waverly and sell refurbished goods that are given a fresh and modern twist.

    Better yet the store offers a 10% discount to college students who show their identification card.

    The last thing you should mark your calendars for is the Winter Waverly’s Farmer Market on Mar. 14. This is a great market to go to meet Waverly community members as well as buy fresh produce and goods that can brighten your mood.

    Photos taken by Courtney Stucker at Waverly Farmer’s Market


    Mila Iushkova hugging the Russian flag at Wartburg College. (Submitted Photo)


    Mila Iushkova is a first-year Wartburg Student from Mykop, Russia. She is an alumni of the United World College (UWC) program in Dilijan, Armenia, and is majoring in Journalism and Communication. In her story, she talks about two of her major experiences in life, her acceptance to the UWC Program and her journey to Wartburg.

    From Mila: I was born in a small city. My city is surrounded by mountains and is two hours away from the beach, it is a very nice location. The name of my city is Mykop and actually next to it there’s another big city called Sochi. I really like Sochi because it’s the place of the Winter Olympics of 2014. I usually go there with my friends to do Snowboarding.

    My story starts like this, in 2018 I had to prepare for my final exams in high school and I had to find an adviser/teacher who would be able to help me in my English exam. When I found the teacher, she told me to try to apply to a United World College. She explained everything to me and I really liked it, so I decided to apply. I was really scared and each round that I passed, I thought I was going to fail and not be able to get to the other stage. Each step of the way, I used to receive emails from the National Committee telling me to prepare for the next stage, I was very excited and thought it was easy. After the final step, the National Committee told me that I’m on the waiting list and I got upset because everything before was easy and I wasn’t prepared for this.

    For the entire summer, they didn’t inform me about anything, however in the beginning of August they told me that I got accepted to UWC Dilijan in Armenia and I was like “that’s great” but I needed to be in another country in 25 days. I started preparing for Armenia and I didn’t know what to take with me. I didn’t expect anything and I didn’t know how it was going to be.

    So I packed my luggage and flew to Armenia. I really liked the people in Armenia, they spoke Russian, so I could communicate. However, in the first month I was telling my friends back in Russia that I was going to come back, because I didn’t like it there.

    I couldn’t speak English well, but back in Russia I thought my English was very good. I even thought I was kind of like a professional at speaking English, but when I faced people whose mother tongue was English and they had very pretty accents, I was like no that is not for me because I don’t speak English nicely. I was scared to make a grammar mistake every time I spoke. I struggled with English in my first month. Every Time I communicated with people I used google translate, but then classes started and everything was fine, I actually liked English.

    I’m very grateful I went to UWC and studied there. At the end of my second year, a representative of Wartburg College came to my UWC. As I was signing up for interviews, the representative approached me and I realized “Why didn’t I sign up for an interview about Wartburg College?” So the representative explained everything to me and I ended up liking the college. Especially the journalism and communication department. I really liked how professors were very involved in their areas and how they taught based on their experience. Therefore, I decided to go to Wartburg College with my Davis Scholarship that was offered to me from completing UWC.

    “In Russia we have birds on trees, and in Iowa we have squirrels on them.”

    Mila’s Mom

    I was very excited to come to the U.S. First, I always wanted to be a journalist, my dream came true when I arrived at Wartburg College because now I’m majoring in Journalism and Communication. The trip to Wartburg was very long because it took me two days, and I had to wait in an airport in London for the whole day. I couldn’t move anywhere because I had a really big bag with me and I didn’t want to ask anyone for help, because I didn’t really understand the British accent.

    When I arrived here, it was too dark. I was trying to figure out where the college was, I saw two trees, one building around and nothing else. When everybody asked me why I chose Wartburg, I say that I just felt like it was a place I had known for a long time and in which I was sure that if I would go there, I would feel like it was the right place, It is my place.

    Everyone asked me why I decided to come to Iowa and I always answered that I actually didn’t think a state could be so flat. I’m snowboarding and there are no mountains here. Where are the mountains? I was surprised that there were so many squirrels, I really like them. My mom always joked about how “in Russia we have birds on trees, and in Iowa we have squirrels on them.”

    Photo by Eternal Seconds on Unsplash


    If you look at my Twitter page, just about every other tweet is related to how or why I spilled my coffee.

    Whether it was on my sweats, on my laptop, on a paper I was about to turn in, or on my suit and tie before a job interview, I have found that college has turned me into a klutz.

    I go from having the best day ever, or sometimes the worst day ever, and a simple coffee spill completely redirects my focus on life. Just a simple coffee spill and I lose sight of everything else because something unexpected happened.

    While coffee is the liquid fuel that runs through my veins and keeps me going, my faith is the thing that keeps me driven, even when I spill my coffee. Aside from my alarm clock(s), my faith is what gives me a reason to get out of bed every morning, and every morning, I get another chance to make the world a better place.

    So what really is faith then? Is it a band-aid when a bad day is beginning to cloud my day, and everything is all fine and dandy, or is it more than simply being optimistic?

    Well for me, it’s been a Christian faith, but never a defined Christian faith. It’s something that came from being raised up for the first half of my youth in a church full of people that loved on me and my single mom at the time, regardless of what troubles we faced. My faith was in God, and I trusted that He would work on the future, while I worked on the present and learned from the past.

    We continued to go the distance, and eventually moved from South Carolina to Iowa. My mom married my step-dad and I graduated from a fantastic high school to later enroll at Wartburg College to write this blog about frequent coffee spills and faith.

    “Ain’t that something?” as my southern family would say.

    And for others, faith is something different for them, and something special to them. Some have faith in Allah. Some have faith in Buddha. Some even have faith in things like their team winning the Super Bowl, sorry 49ers fans.

    For college students that grew up without faith or those that left their faith on the shelf, sometimes their faith is in their ability to finish something at the last minute. For those that prefer structure, their faith may have to be in their professors who might not be on top of things, and wait until the last week of the semester to post grades online.

    And that’s just it: we all have faith. We just have to recognize where our faith comes from, what it means to us, and why it is that we have faith.

    If your faith is in your abilities to graduate, or even to persevere through a crazy disorganized Monday after waking up late to your 7:45 a.m. class, then that’s where your faith lies.

    Now, it’s up to you to find others who have a similar faith to you, if you haven’t already done so, and challenge one another to do the above and beyond and to go the distance. Even if you spill coffee, it’s going to be OK.

    One of my favorite Bible verses about faith says this:

    “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see.”

    Hebrews 11:1

    If you’re receiving this message, it’s because you’ve made it through more than a dozen coffee spills, as have I. Some coffee spills are legit coffee spills, and others are when we trip and mess up in an athletic event, we do terrible on a test, or worse.

    Sometimes we get phone calls about a lost a loved one. Other times, we find out our relationships aren’t going to work out or the path we set up for ourselves was not the path you ended up going down.

    But I was recently reminded by my best friend, Blake, that just like Noah and his big ole’ ark of animals: sometimes we experience a major flood before we see the big rainbow at the end of the horizon saying it’s going to be OK.

    Next time you end up spilling coffee or you see me or someone else spilling coffee, remind yourself and others that coffee spills happen to remind us we’re human, and we will always prevail if we just have faith.

    Live, love, and be loved.



    A sense of unity can be felt while taking in this piece. There is a feeling of openness, showing us a place where it is OK to be at ease.

    Angeline Neo, a fourth-year studio art and graphic design student at Wartburg, created the familiar piece that anyone walking into the Den encounters. Entitled “My professor’s office,” the artwork portrays the office of Barbara Fedeler, professor of art at Wartburg. Fedeler serves as Neo’s academic advisor.

    “Barbara Fedeler has helped me find my creativity and become a more confident artist,” Neo said.

    Neo created the piece by drawing inspiration from the comfort she experienced in the art department. Emphasizing a sense of peace and calmness, Neo focused on sharing the way she sees colors as relationships that speak to one another. The contrast between the yellows and blues used in the oil painting draws in a viewer, providing a sense of ease with both comforting warmth and coolness. In total, the piece took Neo about three weeks to create.

    “I learned about my style of creating art and how I interpret a real-life object or scene into art. Art has taught me to accept my imperfections,” Neo said. “Nothing is perfect in this world, just like a piece of art. You can’t make every single line as straight as you intended to be, and it is okay to be imperfect.”

    Neo also shared what art means to her.

    “For me, art means everything. When I was young, whenever I was given a pen and a paper, I could sit in the corner and draw all day,” Neo said. “Art is how I express my emotions, feelings, and thoughts. Art is my escape from the chaos life, stress, and problems.”

    “My Professor’s Office” was selected to be shown at the Cedar Valley Biennial Art Competition in 2017. It was then exhibited at the Waterloo Center for Arts for several months before it was placed permanently as part of the art collection owned by Wartburg College. Donor support was provided by the Virginia Burns Charitable Foundation.



    If you’re an NBA fan in Iowa, it probably isn’t a stretch to say it feels like a ‘no man’s land.’ But despite a lack of an NBA team in the state, Iowans instead show their fandom for a wide variety of teams. Iowa has become a melting pot for fans of different teams for that very reason.

    Personally, as a native of New England and Iowa, and an avid Boston Celtics fan, I’ve had opportunities to meet fans of teams from across the country, which makes me feel less isolated in my own fandom.


    By virtue of not having a team within the state, this gives a sense of freedom for NBA fans based out of Iowa to choose their own team to support based on merit instead of geography. 

    According to data supplied by Vivid Seats, which breaks down the most popular teams in the country by county, Iowa’s breakdown shows majority support for 14 different teams across 99 counties, one of the most varied results of any state, with an overwhelming amount of support shown to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls.

    As with most sports cultures, geography plays a huge role in the shaping of fandoms. The closest NBA team to Wartburg College is the Minnesota Timberwolves, and it is predictably the most popular as well, according to Vivid Seats and the NBA’s self-reported data.

    While the Timberwolves are the closest team to Waverly, at 184 miles of travel according to Google Maps, there are still a variety of other choices that are close to home for NBA fans.

    The Milwaukee Bucks, based in Wisconsin, are estimated to be 284 miles away. Slightly farther still are the Chicago Bulls, which lie 289 miles away

    With only 3 NBA teams within a five-hour drive of Waverly, many Iowans are unable to attend NBA games. However the NBA does have a G-League team housed within Des Moines, IA, the Iowa Wolves.

    Iowa-based NBA fans have never had the opportunity to house their own NBA team, and are left either having to travel several hours to view the nearby teams, or must settle for the G-league Iowa Wolves. Fortunately for us Wartburg fans, we get to enjoy some great basketball from the Knights all season long.