WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Kansas Sports Hall of Fame opened its doors to 12 new inductees on Sunday, Oct. 1. Three of the 12 are Wichita State University Shockers.
Sara Walkup was Sara Lungren when she played volleyball, basketball, softball and ran track at Caldwell High School in the early 2000s. She left her mark on the volleyball court at Wichita State. Now, she’s a new member of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.
Walkup is in her 15th year of teaching and coaching in the Cheney school district. Earlier this week, she boarded another bus for another road volleyball match. Sunday night, Walkup will join the list of Kansas’ all-time great athletes.
“I thought it was a mistake at first when I got the phone call. I was actually out in the country. And the reception wasn’t really that great. I didn’t even understand who I was talking to. I’d never talked to Mr. Dunning from the Hall of Fame before, and Mr. Saal (Wichita State’s AD) was also on the phone as well, and I wasn’t sure why they were calling,” said Walkup.
The 6-4 Walkup was a standout outside hitter for the Shockers volleyball team. She was a two-time Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year and was also an All-American in 2007.
“I just owe a lot of what I’ve been able to do through my sports career. My teammates and coaches, I mean. It’s just like Travis Kelce. He can’t catch his own pass. He’s got to have it from somebody else. It’s kind of the same thing with me,” explained Walkup. “I can’t do my sport without teammates and coaches, and I’ve been blessed with a lot of good people like that around me, whether it be the coaches that coached me. Teammates I’ve played with.”
Two more Shockers will be inducted on Sunday night. Long-time WSU baseball assistant coach and athletic department staffer Brent Kemnitz and three-time all-conference basketball star Lynbert “Cheese” Johnson.
They all received the good news in a phone call from Kansas Sports Hall of Fame Chairman of the Board Jim Dunning.
“I know Sara was, you know, ‘Who is this, and are you serious?’. I’m like, ‘Yeah, I am, you know, we’ll be in touch,'” said Dunning. “Cheese was fun too. He was a lot of fun. And then Coach. Coach Kemnitz, I’ve known for a while. He and I are friends, and he almost got a little emotional on me.”
The three Shockers and the rest of the Class of 2023 will be inducted Sunday night during a ceremony at Kansas Star Casino. The Hall of Fame is located inside the Wichita Boathouse.
“This is just being recognized by your state, and we certainly don’t have them all at this point. But the number of members in the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame that’s a pretty special group. That’s a pretty limited class,” said Dunning.
“I don’t myself love the spotlight, really. But it’s very cool that people still recognize the career that I had,” added Walkup.
Walkup was enshrined in the Shocker Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.
The Kansas Sports Hall of Fame was established 62 years ago. With the addition of the 2023 class, the Hall has a total of 329 inductees.