SLIAC; Looking Back is a weekly interview series each Thursday this summer with former players and coaches who made an impact during their time in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC). We hope you enjoy a look back through time and how the SLIAC played a role in who they are today. Today we speak with former Iowa Wesleyan University women's basketball star Karla Vietinghoff (Class of 2015).
Although Iowa Wesleyan has been a member of the SLIAC for just three years, Karla Vietinghoff helped make her mark quickly in conference history. Vietinghoff took home Women's Basketball Player of the Year honors in the school's first season in the SLIAC (2013-14) and followed by becoming just the third player in conference history to win multiple Player of the Year awards when she won in 2014-15 as a senior. Vietinghoff averged 17.0 points per game during her two season in the SLIAC, knocking down 82 of her 107 three-pointers during conference play. In addition Vietinghoff helped the Tigers win the 2013-14 SLIAC regular season title with a 17-1 conference record.
As a brand new member of the SLIAC in 2013-14, what was it like stepping in and competing on the court as a team right away?
"I think as a team it was a great challenge for us. We knew that being the new kids in town we were going to have to make a name for ourselves and get the respect that we wanted since no one really know much about us. I think we accepted that challenge and took it head on and paved a path for the next year as well."
You are just one of three players in conference history to win Player of the Year multiple times in their career, what does that mean to you?
"Receiving an accomplishment like Player of the Year was my goal when I got to Iowa Wesleyan and to have the honor of receiving it twice means so much to me. I worked hard to get better and I am so grateful for my teammates and coaches while at Iowa Wesleyan because without them none of that would have been possible."
Speaking of working hard to get better; you missed about a month during your senior season due to a knee injury. How important, and tough, was it for you to get back on the court for the final couple of games that season?
"It was very important to me to get back on the court for our final couple of games. I wanted to be at nationals (United States Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament) playing with my teammates and not sidelined because of an injury, especially since it was my last year of playing the sport I love so much. It was tough to get back into playing after being out for a little bit but the training staff at Iowa Wesleyan was a big help and so were my teammates and coaches encouraging me and letting me know I could do it."
What are your most memorable moments at Iowa Wesleyan?
"My most memorable moments would have to be playing in the USCAA National Tournament both years I was there. It was an experience I hadn't been a part of before and I am so grateful to have had the chance to do it twice. I would also say a memorable moment for me was my senior year when we were playing Spalding University at home. It was a must win game for us, and we had the gym filled with fans that night. It was our spirit that night and it was such a unforgettable game to have so many people there cheering us on throughout the whole game."
What did competing on the college level mean to you? Did it provide you any lessons you are able to apply today after your playing career?
"Competing at the college level meant so much to me. Ever since I was little, basketball had always been my favorite sport and as I got older I was able to focus more on that to improve my skills. I worked hard because I wanted to play at the college level. It didn't matter which level, I just wanted to play and I wanted to be a starter; that was always my goal. After suffering an ACL injury while at Waubonsee Community College my sophomore year it meant everything to me to have the opportunity to be able to play again at the next level and I wasn't going to waste that. I learned a lot of lessons from playing college ball, but I think the biggest lesson that I learned was team work. That is something that I can take with me in lief anywhere I go and I don't think I would have learned it if I didn't get the chance to play college ball. Being a part of a team is so much more than just wins and losses, it is about finding a way to come together through adversity, and being able to trust in each other that no matter what we are going to give our full efforts."
What are you doing today and what do you have planned for the future?
"Today I am currently an Assistant Women's Basketball coach at Waubonsee Community College, where I attended my first two years of college. It is great to be back there and to be helping coach these girls. It is definitely a new experience being on the other side of things this time around but I love it. In the future I hope to continue coaching here and learning all that I can from the coaching staff so that I can some day coach a team of my own."
- #SLIACtion -