Kristina (Altepeter) Thelen – Hall of Fame Class of 2017
Kristina was born on March 21st, 1979 in Grand Forks, North Dakota to Darral and Lori Altepeter. She has four brothers – Daniel, John, Andrew, and Steven – all graduates of Sacred Heart High School. Kristina attended Sacred Heart from kindergarten through 12th grade and she graduated in 1997. She attended the University of Minnesota-Crookston where she was a three-sport athlete. After her sophomore year at UMC, Kristina transferred and graduated from Winona State with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications.
Kristina was a multi-sport athlete at Sacred Heart. She participated in volleyball, basketball, track, and softball. In softball, she pitched the Eagles to their first-ever win in a flood-shortened inaugural season at Sacred Heart. Kristina excelled due to her strength, aggression, and fierce competitive nature. Her drive for excellence led her to attend the men’s pick-up basketball games every Sunday. She loved the physicality of contact so much that her legendary aggression earned her the nickname “Clubby.”
On the volleyball court, Kristina was one of the team leaders in kills due to her strength and power. She led the Eagles to an impressive 16-6 overall record during her junior year, which is one of the best records in team history. During her senior season, the team finished with a 7-7 overall record. Kristina was named MVP and made the all-conference team.
In basketball, Kristina led the team in rebounds for three straight years while winning numerous awards. In her final season, she led the team to a 17-7 overall record and was the leading scorer (14.0 ppg) and rebounder (11.0 rpg) on the team. Kristina produced an amazing 15 double-doubles and scored 24, 27, and 33 points down the stretch to help the Eagles earn the #2-seed in the postseason tournament behind powerhouse Red Lake Falls who was ranked #2 in the state polls. Coach Jenny Loeck commented on Kristina’s value: “Her success hasn’t been luck, it’s been hard work. She has been our leading rebounder and scorer, as well as the stopper in the paint on defense. Her intensity intimidated teams.” The Eagles couldn’t get past RLF in the postseason, but Kristina made the all-conference team, was named MVP and the “All-Expo Winter Athlete of the Year,” and was honored on the Grand Forks Herald’s “Minnesota All-Area First Team,” which included all schools in northwestern Minnesota.
The flood of 1997 swept away most of the inaugural fast-pitch softball season, leaving many to wonder what might have been for Kristina as a pitcher. The team got back in time for the postseason tournament where they ended the season with a 1-1 playoff record. That spring, Kristina was named the “Grand Forks Herald Female Athlete of the Year” at Sacred Heart, made the academic all-state team, and was co-salutatorian for the class of 1997.
During her freshman year at the University of Minnesota-Crookston, Kristina made an instant impact in volleyball, basketball, and softball. After her sophomore year, she transferred to Winona State University, walked on to the volleyball team, and started as an outside hitter. As a junior, Kristina was ranked in the top 10 for the conference in service aces per game. She was not able to finish her senior season due to injury.
Kristina’s love of competition and her willingness to face huge challenges head on, along with her impeccable work ethic, made her a great leader in the classroom, on the field, and on the court.