Speaking of the Hall of Fame class, it’s got three people I remember covering during my first stint as the USI beat writer in the late 1990s. Amy Henkhaus is the athlete I remember best. She was an extremely physical defender on a women’s soccer team that made it all the way to the NCAA Division II Tournament quarterfinals (no USI team has come close to doing that since). She also was a second team all-American. And she was short, I recall barely over 5 feet tall. But that probably helped her — I think teams took one look at her and figured they could run right over her. Then she’d cut their legs out from under them.
I remember Shannon Wells was a teammate of current USI volleyball coach Leah Mercer. Wells was an athletically-built player — more like a basketball player, I guess — who had this whip-like arm that slammed spikes into the floorboards, but only if the ball didn’t bounce off an opponent’s forehead first. She may be the most versatile volleyball player ever. She still ranks first at USI in career kills (1,866) and service aces (319), a combination that’s like a pitcher leading a baseball team in victories and home runs hit. Oh, and she’s second all-time at USI in digs, so she could play defense better than anybody else, too. She must have been exhausted by the end of a match — why would she ever leave the court?
Katie Roberts Wilson was just Katie Roberts when I covered the softball team. I recall she threw hard, but smart. She still ranks No. 1 at USI in victories (71), innings pitched (729 2/3) and strikeouts (514) for her career. And she’s No. 2 in complete games and shutouts and No. 3 in earned-run average.