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Spotlight: Karissa Harle

Karissa Harle

"Being in a team sport teaches important life lessons like how to get along with others, how to help each other out, how to get through disagreements and time management."

- Karissa Harle, WVC Alumna of 2001

Karissa Harle will be inducted into the Wenatchee Valley College Athletics Hall of Fame on Jan. 31, 2020, at the WVC Athletics Hall of Fame and Scholarship Auction. Karissa played for the Knight Women’s Basketball Team from 1999-2001 and was a regional MVP and two-time all Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) women’s basketball athlete.

“I worked really hard, got good grades, worked hard on the court and got some recognition for that,” Karissa said. “The team and the bonds we built alongside the coaches was incredible. It was something we were all passionate about. We loved it and we were there on the court every day working really hard.”

Karissa graduated from Eastmont High School in 1999, when she was recruited by coach Marco Azurdia to play for WVC.

“The program was amazing at the time and they were going to playoffs every year so I knew it was excellent, plus I was able to stay local which allowed me to save some money,” she said.

Karissa graduated from WVC in 2001 and went on to play basketball at Central Washington University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in teaching.

“Coach Marco was intense. He expected us to do our best every day and we wanted to fulfill that and just go. It definitely prepared me for my future. I learned more in the two years of playing basketball at WVC than I had ever learned before and I was able to take that with me when I played at Central. Different techniques, strategies and ways to run plays – it definitely was amazing.”

Karissa also has a degree in English and a masters degree in school counseling. Now, she is a teacher at Pioneer Middle School in Wenatchee.

“I was nationally board certified 2 years ago,” she said. “I keep learning and keep advancing – because teaching is constantly changing.”

As a teacher and girls basketball and track coach at Pioneer Middle School, Karissa said she puts the lessons she learned at WVC into practice.

“It definitely taught me organizational skills that I need in my job today,” she said. “Being in a team sport teaches important life lessons like how to get along with others, how to help each other out, how to get through disagreements and time management.”

Karissa said that her coaches at WVC made a lasting impact on her, and made her time there memorable.

“Marco Azurdia was a coach and a teacher and it was nice to have him there to help us with class selection. Jim Cannon was the assistant coach and a long time history professor at WVC. He would bring his dry sense of humor to a difficult situation and it made a difference. He could give us crap and make us feel comfortable,” she said. “Those two men had a big impact on me and the whole team. They believed in us and they pushed us. It was two of the best years of my life. Our team had such an amazing bond, had such success, that it was hard to leave. We wished it was a four-year program.”