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NEW RICHLAND, Minn. (KTTC) – The legend of Carlie Wagner still rings throughout the NRHEG community, evidenced Friday night by a packed house at the high school gymnasium.
All eyes on Wagner for the retirement of her number 3 Panthers jersey.
Wagner, perhaps one of the greatest scorer’s in Minnesota women’s basketball history, made her mark at the University of Minnesota, where she ranks third on the U’s all time scoring list with 2,215 points.
“I don’t think if I wouldn’t have had this kind of group and people behind me that I would have been as successful as I would have been, because they’re my foundation and pushed me and believed in me and gave me the confidence to be the player that I was,” said Wagner.
But before she starred for the Gophers, she shot the lights out of the NRHEG gym.
“It’s just good memories, everything about the state tournament and being back in this gym, just it’s good memories,” continued Wagner.
Normally jersey retirements don’t happen until many years after a player moves on, but it only took four years for the Panthers to decide to retire the famed number 3 Wagner jersey.
“It’s really special to be home and have the opportunity to be home, instead of being overseas, and doing that right now is really special, and to be surrounded by everybody who got me to this point is awesome,” stated Wagner.
The number 3 jersey that Wagner wore en route to nearly 4,000 career points, two state championships and being crowned Minnesota’s Miss Basketball in 2014.
“She wouldn’t shoot enough, her role was to score. We had rebounders who would throw it down the floor and her job was to score, because if she didn’t, I would bench her, that wasn’t even her choice,” said former NRHEG head coach, John Schultz at Friday’s ceremony.
On a night all about her and her teammates accomplishments, Carlie couldn’t help but reminisce on her crazy basketball journey.
“The crazy part is I still feel like I should be in college and yeah I mean high school flew by and then college was a great experience. Then get to get drafted and get to tryout for the Lynx and then get to go overseas. It’s a lot and it’s really special and I’m glad I got the opportunity to do it, because without basketball I never would have got the opportunity to do anything like, so it’s really special,” said Wagner.
While it’s difficult to stop her on the court, it’s easy to see why she’s enshrined in NRHEG lore for years and years to come.