When Corie Roberts first walked the campus of Pacific Lutheran University, she was a student-athlete from Oregon determined to earn a teaching degree while competing for the Lutes.
Friday, the Buckley resident returned to campus to be celebrated as one of this year’s inductees into the PLU Athletic Hall of Fame.
It was something of a family affair for Roberts, who was inducted alongside her twin sister, Jenni. They were honored inside PLU’s Chris Knutzen Hall as part of the Lutes’ 29th induction class. Also enshrined were Geoff Loomis (baseball), Jon Kral (football), Brody Loy (football) and Becky Hoddevik-Callahan (softball).
Roberts (then Corie Krueger) had graduated from Molalla High School and made the trip north in the fall of 1993 to play soccer for PLU. She and Jenni were enticed by both the soccer program – which was boasting three national championships in very recent memory – and the institution itself.
“We fell in love with the (PLU) community,” Roberts said, emphasizing the small-school feel and its Christian orientation.
She made the most of her soccer opportunity, winding up as a two-time NAIA All-American Scholar Athlete.
But it was chance encounter with some track and field athletes that led to her greatest athletic successes. The road to greatness in the hammer throw began when she and her sister noticed a group of people headed toward the track. Members of the team invited the Krueger sisters to check out the track and field scene. The duo spent a year observing practice, helping at meets and gaining an understanding of the sport.
The following year, they were members of the track and field team, both competing in the hammer throw. They swapped wins in the event at what seemed like every meet through 1996 and 1997.
“Jenni and I went back and forth throughout the year,” Roberts said. “Who won this meet, who won that meet. We brought out the best in each other. We really, truly had fun.”
By the time she received her degree, Roberts was a two-time All-American, finishing third in the hammer throw at the 1996 NAIA Championships before winning the 1997 NAIA national title in that event. Her winning effort was, at the time, a PLU and NAIA national meet record toss of 171 feet, 7 inches.The school record stood until the 2009 season.
Rounding out her athletic resumé, Roberts had also lettered one season as a member of the PLU women’s basketball team. She and Jenni had helped Molalla High to an Oregon state hoop championship during their prep careers.
Roberts cherishes the friendships she made at PLU. She met her husband, Jon, who was a member of the Lutes’ football and track and field teams. They live in rural Buckley with children Eli, 5, and Faith, 3.
“The biggest thing from college sports was the friendship,” Roberts said. “We loved the small college feel. It was a couple hours from home. Our family was able to watch our games. To have competition in the Northwest was a lot of fun.”
Armed with a degree and her teaching credentials, Roberts spent five years at Sumner High, where she coached three sports. That was followed by a position at Enumclaw High School, where she taught and coached soccer.