Athletics Hall of Fame inductees give advice


Kendahl Schlueter

Emily (King) Callender, a former soccer player and the class of 2008, stands with the Athletic Director, Eric Schoh, and President Scott Olson as she is inducted into the Winona State Hall of Fame.

Sydney Mohr, Features Editor

Seven athletics alumni were inducted into the Winona State University Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday, Oct. 20. To honor their time at Winona State and their career in athletics, a few former athletes reflected on their pasts playing sports through childhood and high school and how Winona State has changed since their graduation. Jim Krupke is a football alumnus of 1984. Alumna Christine Charlson was a soccer player who graduated in 2007.

“I started sports at a young age,” Krupke said. “Sports have been a major part of my life, from playing kick the can and wiggle all in the backyard to playing football at Winona State. My dad was a high school athletic director so my childhood involved hanging out at sporting events and then becoming a three-sport athlete in high school.”

Charlson talked about the beginning of her sports career as well.

“I started playing sports when I was three. Soccer was my first sport and the t-shirt was so big I still have it and can fit in it,” Charlson said. “My parents did a great job of letting me try all kinds of sports and picking my favorite ones. I narrowed my sports down to basketball and soccer in high school.”

When Charlson started her college career playing soccer, she was playing for Iowa.

“I started my college soccer at Iowa State University and played Big 12 soccer for two seasons before transferring to Winona State,” Charlson said. “It was a wonderful balance of academics, athletics and a student experience. The soccer staff was so welcoming and the players were too. I have lifelong friendships from Winona State.”

Krupke also said that Winona was a positive experience for him.

“I’ve always told people that attending Winona State was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Turning a struggling program around and winning a championship in 1983 made all the experiences I had while attending Winona State that much better,” Krupke said. “Coach Sawyer has given the program an identity. Kids want to come to Winona State and play here now, it’s much more of a family environment.”

He noted how campus has changed since he attended school, saying that the campus has changed completely from the early 80s.

“Aesthetically, it just looks better. No more roads going through campus,” Krupke said. “New buildings, it just keeps progressing, which is critical for the future.”

Krupke agreed that all the changes that have been made to Winona State have made the campus safer, easier to navigate and even prettier than it already was. He also had advice to share with incoming or current college students. 

“Embrace the experience, do as much as you can,” Krupke advised. “Meet people, take chances. You do not get do overs for college. Winona State is a magical place. Go experience it.”

And for athletes on campus, he said to “live for the moment and savor all your games and moments with your teammates. Time will fly by through college.”

Charlson also commented on the beauty of Winona State, and how there have been some changes even in the decade since she lived in Winona.

“Winona State is located in such a beautiful area. I am always in awe when I drive back down from the cities. The campus has made many improvements with the new wellness center and new dorms,” Charlson said.

Charlson had advice regarding not only athletics, but also education.

“My advice for an incoming player would be to not take any moment for granted. Four years goes by fast and enjoy it,” he said. “Play hard at every practice and game. Study hard because first and foremost you are a student-athlete and the student comes first.”

The alumni were inducted into the Hall of Fame during a banquet on Friday, Oct. 20. Several of the inductees were also featured in their own floats on Saturday in the Winona State University Homecoming Parade.