Honoring Winona’s Black athletes and their experiences


Carolyn Hauschild

Jaylen Schleicher and Darryl Williams celebrating after a touchdown.

Syerah Mulhern-Allred, Sports Editor

Out of 350 athletes on Winona State University’s campus, only 34 of them are Black. Nine percent.   

This matches closely to Minnesota’s diversity statistic of 7.4 percent and in professional sports, those that are African American make up a mere 6.7 percent, meaning that most kids of color do not have as many role models in sports as their white counterparts.  

Among those 37, 21 are in football, four in men’s basketball, one in women’s basketball and one in track and field.  

Within coaching and administrative staff, there is one football wide receiver coach, Jalen Myrick.  

Myrick joined the coaching staff in June of 2022 after playing for the Minnesota Gophers in college and then being drafted into the NFL, playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings and the Atlanta Falcons before being drafted into the XFL in 2020 by the DC Defenders.  

In basketball, this includes James Kelley, Jordan Wilkins and Devon Fielding.  

Kelley transferred to Winona State from University of Illinois – Springfield and was at Southwestern Community College before that.

The Milwaukee native had quite the debut season with 185 points throughout 24 games, an impressive feat.  

Wilkins is a guard from West Chicago who transferred here from Elgin Community College and had four points throughout four games since he dealt with severe shin splints this season.  

Fielding is a first-year guard from La Crosse with 44 points throughout 19 games. 

In women’s basketball, Vanessa Alexander is a third-year forward from St.Michael, Minn. Who has 69 points across 59 games in her career here so far.  

Kaylee Olson is a third-year from De Pere, Wis. and competes in sprints and jumps for track and field.  

In the 2021 NSIC Outdoor Championships, Olson achieved eighth place in long jump and third place in the 4×100 relay. In 2020, that same relay got second at the NSIC Outdoor Championships and second team All-American.  

This season, Olson has taken sixth in long jump among her other notable achievements. 

“I feel that being a black athlete means I have a different set of beliefs and different culture to bring to the table,” Olson said.  

Notably from football is Darryl Williams, Brian Corbins Jr., Ricky Smalling and Jaylen Schleicher who are all competing in the NFL Combine. 

The other black athletes on the football team this past fall include Jason Michael Young, Sam Santiago-Lloyd, Aarion Lacy, Aaron Adams, Myles Tramill, Noah Carlson, David Munson, Voshon Porte, Jonathan Mann, Cair’ron Hendred, Dominik London, John Schmidt, VJ Herron, Anthony Quinn, Jamon Williams, Vernon Porte, Ikenna Ujuagu, Myles Hawthorne, Corrie King, Patrick Wright Jr., Jauron Hall, John Berry, Kyjuan Vengrowsky, Tyler Walls, Darius Manuel and Nate Wilcher. 

Black History Month is focused on the contributions of African Americans in this country and that is why it is important to honor Winona State’s 7 percent, because while all athletes are important and deserve to be recognized, this is a community that has been marginalized since the 17th century, segregation was not made illegal in the United States until 1964, a mere 59 years ago.  

Keep up on our African American athletes at Winona State on www.winonan.org and in the print copy of The Winonan every other week.