Wayne Sparks entered Carleton from Waverly, Iowa, where he had won letters in basketball and football.

Basketball was his sport at Carleton, and Sparks eventually set scoring records which endured for years. The teams he played on won 41 and lost 19. He was one of a handful of Carls of that era named Little All-American. In 1937, he was named to Chuck Foster’s Converse Rubber Company All-American team. In his senior year, he was awarded the Matteson Trophy, presented annually to the cager who has demonstrated outstanding basketball skills, high scholarship, sportsmanship and character. He captained the 1936-37 team which won 13 and lost three, and it was that year he set a new Carleton scoring record of 191 points.