First, they stole our breath, reawakened our reality, shattered our illusions. And when their accomplishments turned into history, they brought progress.
The eight inductees into the Minnesota Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2021 — all women — changed our understanding of sports on a local, national and global level. We still adapt to their advances, which are ever-present and ever-evolving. They keep showing us new facets of themselves, as their stories continue to light the way.
Staff members of the Star Tribune, owner of the Hall of Fame, chose these eight women for induction in a March ceremony in concert with coverage of the 50th anniversary of Title IX:
Annie Adamczak-Glavan redefined dominance in high school athletics in Minnesota during her career at Moose Lake. She won five state titles in basketball, volleyball and softball. During the 1981-82 school year she didn't lose a game — in any sport. She was an All-America pick in volleyball at Nebraska. And then she started sharing her knowledge, and fight, through coaching. She currently serves as the director of CLUB 43 Volleyball in Hopkins. In 2006, Glavan stood outside a church parking lot where her team was practicing in Edina and told the Star Tribune that she still had to fight for such basics as equal practice time for girls' teams. "We need to take sports back," she said. "We need to grab it by the horns and make radical change."
From the moment she was selected No. 1 overall in the 2006 WNBA draft, Seimone Augustus was synonymous with the most dominant franchise in state history, helping the Lynx to four WNBA titles over 14 seasons. Her career is impossible to encase, but you can do worse than Game 2 of the 2011 WNBA Finals, when she scored 36 points in a win over the Atlanta Dream en route to being named the unanimous Finals MVP. Rebecca Lobo, calling the broadcast in front of 15,000 fans at Target Center, took one look at Augustus sashaying through the lane before bouncing off a defender and tossing a shot in off the glass and said, "I don't know if there's a better player just rocking you back and forth, going side to side, than Seimone Augustus."
Two images explain Maya Moore's impact. The first is from Game 3 of the 2015 WNBA Finals in Indiana. She's at rest atop the three-point line, the ball has nestled into the hoop with 0.0 seconds left on the clock. Moore has just given the Lynx a 2-1 series lead on their way to a fourth WNBA title with maybe the most iconic shot in league history. She leaves her right arm extended, as gently as if rested on a shoulder. The other is from July 2020. Moore, who left the WNBA to pursue criminal justice reform, is outside the Jefferson City Correctional Center in Missouri with Jonathan Irons — a wrongfully convicted man who was just released from prison after Moore helped exonerate him. The two, who would eventually marry, stand side by side, Moore's hand resting gently on Irons' shoulder.
Anoka's Briana Scurry was the key to one of the most famous moments in sports history, the 1999 U.S. World Cup victory over China. She made the lone stop for either team during penalty kicks — a confident, surging attack on the attempt that left the crowd at the Rose Bowl in hysterics and Scurry pumping her arms in euphoria. "I'm in awe of the fact that people I never met were affected by something I was a part of," she told the Star Tribune in 2009. "I cherish that, and I'm grateful to be part of it." Scurry has only sharpened her role in the national conversation since as a public speaker on topics essential to her life and crucial to the future of athletics, ranging from mental health effects of concussions to equal pay in women's sports.
Carrie Tollefson made it look like destiny as she ran from Dawson, Minn., to the top of the NCAA record books. She won a record 13 individual cross-country and track state titles at Dawson-Boyd/Lac qui Parle Valley and won the 1997 NCAA women's Division I cross-country title at Villanova as a junior. Then doctors found a hole in her left heel. It required surgery and for Tollefson to find a new way to run. Six years later, she ran five 1,500-meter races over 12 days to land a spot at the 2004 Athens Games. She reached the semifinals and left as one of the most visible runners in the world. And she's still running. Last October, she was the eighth women's finisher in the Twin Cities Marathon. She told the Star Tribune, "I'm just so thankful we were able to race."
No Minnesotan fought harder for the rights of women in sports, or came under more fire for that fight, than Chris Voelz. She was the longest-serving University of Minnesota women's athletics director — holding the position from 1988 to 2002 — and positioned herself as a leader and an advocate. "What I'm doing is social justice," she told the Star Tribune in 1993. The push for rights that Voelz sought still hasn't transcended the national landscape, 20 years after her position was erased by the Gophers. USA Today ran a statistic last year that indicated only five of 65 athletic directors in Power 5 conferences were women. Voelz told the Star Tribune why that is in 2012. "What happens is, university presidents hire males because they look like football players," she said. "Not on purpose, it just culturally happens."
Lindsey Vonn showed us how to live without a net. Four World Cup overall titles, three Olympic medals, an unparalleled American career in downhill skiing that all started on Buck Hill in Burnsville. You can glimpse what she gave of herself — her life in the public eye, her physical endurance — in one moment: Hurtling through the Fran's Run downhill course at the 2010 Vancouver Games after a vicious shin injury, the slope a wintry sheen in the morning sun, snowpack spraying behind her skis on a perfect, gold medal run. When she hits the bottom of the hill her joyous scream echoes. "To be able to come back and fight hard and win this gold medal — it's everything I've worked my whole life for,'' she told the Star Tribune.
What could you even do with Krissy Wendell-Pohl? She broke onto the national sports scene out of Park Center when she decided to move from playing high school boys' hockey to high school girls' hockey ahead of her junior year. Wendell proceeded to score 100 goals in 22 games, a mark never before accomplished in high school hockey by anyone, anywhere. She became the first Gopher to win the Patty Kazmaier Award as the country's best woman player. A captain for the U.S. women's team, she played in two Olympics. Last year she became the third woman to be named an NHL scout when she was hired by the Penguins. A U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer, she told the Star Tribune in 2019, "I just played because I love the game. ... I could have never dreamed then the opportunities this sport would provide."
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Editor's note: Star Tribune journalists selected the Class of 2021 in December. We're announcing our choices today while plans to honor this group, virtual or in-person in March, are still being formed.