Huskies Hall of Fame inducts 2022 class
Former Owatonna baseball assistant coach Dale Timm flashes a smile as he is met by former pitcher John Herrman to accept his hall of fame plaque. Both coach and athlete were recognized along with all other members of Owatonna’s 1974 baseball team that won the school’s first state title in the sport. Staff photo by Johnnie Phillips
The Owatonna Huskies Hall of Fame inducted its 2022 class last week after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Headlining the class were five state-champion teams and two individuals: Tom Freeburg and Roy Koenigsberg.
“It’s just great to be back here in our own auditorium after a two-year hiatus,” said Owatonna High School Activities Director Marc Achterkirch during his introductory speech. “I’m so excited for our teams of distinction. Some of you I know are getting to connect with some teammates, friends and coaches that you haven’t seen for many years, and those are the memories we hold and cherish the most.”
The class of 2022 was the first to induct full teams into the hall of fame, and the Huskies gave the honor to five of their former squads – all of whom hailed by the school’s initial mascot “The Indians.”
Below is the Owatonna Huskies Hall of Fame class of 2022 and some background on their accomplishments.
1950 Boys Track and Field
The 1950 boys track and field squad was Owatonna High School’s first-ever state champion team.
The Indians edged out Minneapolis Washburn High School by two points at 19-17 to take home first place.
Owatonna’s team featured two individual winners at the meet as Peter Prentner won in the 100-yard dash and the 220-yard dash with times of 10.2 and 23.1, and Dick Shradle won the high jump event with a height of five feet and 10.25 inches.
The Indians were led to their first title by head coach Ed Keefe.
1954 Boys Wrestling
Derek Johnson said it best when he spoke honorarily on behalf of the 1954 boys wrestling team: “It provided the benchmark for the program’s success thereafter.”
The 1954 squad was led by three state champions in 138-pounder Sam Bengston, 154-pounder Ron Baker and 165-pounder Roy Minter.
In fact, according to Johnson, the Indians were so deep as a team that the squad even had a future state champion in Charles “Charlie” Peterson as a part of its bench as a freshman.
The Indians were perfect on their road to the championship and finished the 1954 season 11-0.
Owatonna was led by head coach Fred Sotekerstein.
1974 Boys Baseball
Owatonna’s 1974 boys baseball team earned the school its first of just two state championships after completing a 17-4 season to win the title.
According to Huskies’ assistant coach Dale Timm – who spoke on behalf of the team at the ceremony – his squad was successful due to its collection of talented athletes who played the game the right way and worked hard day in and day out.
The Indians defeated Willmar 6-5 in the championship game to accomplish its feat.
1976 Girls Track and Field
Just four years after Title IX was implemented and Owatonna High School fielded its inaugural team, the Indians girls track and field squad brought home its first state title.
Owatonna took first with a team total of 38 and beat Moorehead by five points for the win.
The Indians did not have an individual winner, but the team’s relay squads were the foundation of its success winning both the 880 and 440-yard relay races.
The 440-yard relay team of Patty Clemens, Lisa Yule, Stephanie Paine and Becky Kirchgaster even left their mark on the state record books by setting a new state record time of 49.4 seconds.
Coaching the girls squad to their first state title was head coach Dave Hylla.
1989 Boys Basketball
Owatonna’s final team inducted into the hall of fame was the 1989 boys basketball team.
Known for its staunch defensive play and ability to score from anywhere on the court, the Indians completed a 24-1 season en route to the state title.
However, the championship game was no easy matchup for the Indians.
Owatonna had to grind out a 45-43 double-overtime win against Robbinsdale Armstrong to make its mark in program history.
Much like the 1954 wrestling team, the 1989 boys basketball team was the benchmark for future Owatonna teams, as the Indians went on to win the 1990 state title as well.
Owatonna’s bench-boss for the 1989 and 1990 titles was head coach Len Olson.
The lone athlete to be inducted into the class of 2022 was former Owatonna golf and hockey player Tom Freeburg.
Freeburg was an eight-time letter winner across both sports, taking six letters in golf and earning two for the hockey team.
According to Freeburg’s brother, Jim, who spoke on his late brother’s behalf at the ceremony, Tom would have likely had more letters if it wasn't for the hockey team being formed during his junior year at Owatonna High School.
Equally as important in the eyes of the hall of fame committee as his athletic career at the high school, was Freeburg’s commitment to the community.
Freeburg went on to play hockey and golf at Minnesota State University, Mankato, but ultimately returned to Owatonna to coach his former junior hockey team.
According to Jim, Tom was notified that he would be inducted into the hall of fame prior to his passing – an experience and accomplishment that Jim said he knows his brother is proud of.
Roy “Koenig” Koenigsberg
Commonly referred to as “the voice of Owatonna sports,” Roy Koenigsberg was inducted into the hall of fame as a community member to recognize him for his contributions and loyalty to the Huskies community.
Koenigsberg – who mentioned his passion for broadcast and storytelling in his induction speech – thanked everyone who has ever done so much as answer an interview question for contributing to his journey.
As the hall of fame’s third-ever community member, Koenigsberg joins a select company in Ken Austin and Todd Hale.