Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I need to stay on top of this!

Wow, it's been awhile since I've posted - I really DO need to do a better job of this! As the Senior Women's Administrator for the Blugold Athletic Department, my focus during the "off season" shifts somewhat to more administrative responsibilities, so I guess I could use that as an excuse, if I were into making excuses. But I'm not really into that, so I'll just admit that I've dropped the ball a bit and move on......

Since my last post, the Blugolds have been busy with a lot of "off season" things - on Saturday, October 25th, some of the players participated in community service by helping with the tear down of Eau Claire Women Rock, an event that is held to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness. That is a cause that is near and dear to the hearts of Blugold Fastpitch, as assistant coach, Robin Baker's mother is a survivor. We are planning a Breast Cancer Awareness event associated with one of our games in the spring as well. Our volleyball team held a special event during one of their games this fall to help with raising money for Breast Cancer and they raised over $6,000! Kudos to Blugold Volleyball!

On October 26th some of our players attended the Blugold Marching Band concert, held in Zorn Arena. It was important for us to have representatives there as a "thank you" to the Marching Band. They have been very supportive of Blugold Athletics, so it's important for us to reciprocate that support.

The Blugold Softball Halloween party is always a "hoot" as we anxiously anticipate the costumes that are going to appear. This year was no different as we saw a resurgence of two former players from the 2008 team (although DNA would prove that it wasn't really them), we had Boo from Monsters, Inc., as well as a dresser (as in what you keep your clothes in in your bedroom). When we have team get togethers, the players are all assigned to bring something to eat - and the coaches supply the main course. In the case of the Halloween party, I'm afraid I set a precendent with Buffalo Wild Wings - no one left hungry and "B-dubs" will be the meal of choice in the future!

Other than studying hard as finals week draws near, the team has been out supporting their peers at other sporting events. They were in full force for the WIAC volleyball tournament, joined by athletes from several other sports, giving the Blugolds a great "home court advantage" and tonight they will be supporting the women's basketball team, which includes 2 softball teammates who will don eye black and cleats in the spring (Heidi Arciszewski - senior, and Jess Freagon - freshman). We're all anticipating a great game between the Blugolds and the Knights from St. Norbert!

As I write this I am sitting in "study hall", which we have each semester, one night per week, for 2 hours. Freshmen are required to attend, and then we have other academic requirements that must be met for players to "get out of" study hall after their freshman year. Study hall is supervised by either myself, or asst. coach, Robin Baker. We feel that our players have really benefitted from this opportunity and they actually requested to have study hall during finals week. We do open this opportunity up to anyone who wants to attend also, not just softball players or student-athletes.

I've gotten kind of long-winded tonight, but had a lot to catch up on. Until next time.......

Coach Huntington

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Calling all Alumnae!!

We are in the process of planning a GREAT Blugold Fastpitch Alumnae weekend the weekend of April 4-5, 2009. Our players are also in the process of researching their individual jersey number, so many of you will be contacted by a current Blugold in the near future, hopefully by Christmas. They will have a series of questions they'll be asking you relative to your experience as a Blugold Fastpitch player, and UW Eau Claire student. We are looking forward to their reports, which will be completed by our first day of practice on January 26th!

If you are a Blugold Fastpitch alumnae, we ask that you go to our alumnae information form and submit your current contact information, etc., so we can stay in touch with you! That form can be found here: http://www.uwec.edu/athletics/soft/0809/alumni.htm. We are working hard to update our alumnae database in time for the program's 25th Anniversary this spring! We want you to be a part of it, but we need your contact information!!!

Alumae will also be receiving a mailing from us in the near future, reminding you to save the date for the Alumnae weekend in April, and also asking you to update your information.

There is a proud, rich tradition of fastpitch softball at UW Eau Claire, and our current staff and players are excited to learn more about the history prior to the 2002 season!

We are also working on Jo Ellen Bailey's and Deb Steward's return to Eau Claire to help us with our 25th year celebration!!!

Thank you for your continued support of Blugold Fastpitch Softball!!

Coach Huntington

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Blugold Super Six

I'm proud to announce that on Saturday during the annual Blugold Hall of Fame banquet, our own Jill Janke will receive one of our "Super Six" awards, which is the highest honor a Blugold student-athlete can receive. Jill had a banner career, highlighted in her last at-bat with a walk-off homerun in the National Championship game. She started all but one game in her 4 years in a Blugold uniform, and the only reason she didn't start that game is because she dislocated her shoulder in the previous game. (She DID pinch hit in the game she didn't start)

More information on the Super Six can be found here: http://www.uwec.edu/athletics/general/hof08.htm

Congratulations Jill!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Do you know Casey Blake?

Tonight was my big claim to fame - I just watched Indianola, Iowa, native, Casey Blake hit the go-ahead homer for the Dodgers in the bottom of the 6th inning. Why is that exciting for me? Well, way back when I coached and was the head athletic trainer at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, Casey was in the minor leagues. One year during the off-season, he came into the athletic training room and I helped him with a little rehab on his arm - can't recall if it was an elbow or what exactly it was, but I saw him on a regular basis. His dad, Joe, has been a long-time coach for the Simpson baseball team, and now his brother, Ben, is the head coach at Simpson. Casey also has a younger brother, Pete, whom I got to know when he was playing high school ball, as I was the athletic trainer that covered several Indianola High School baseball games during Pete's career. That high school baseball team was VERY good, and I always looked forward to covering their games. Not only did I get to know Casey a little, but his wife, Abby (then Archibald), played softball and basketball for Simpson during my coaching years there as well. Abby was an amazing athlete, and to say that the Blake family is a "baseball family" is an understatement. Best of luck in the rest of the post-season, Casey!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head……

Well, it wouldn't have been Blugold softball without rain and cold today. We actually DID go through with our annual intrasquad game, but it was in the rain and cold as our players' parents faithfully watched under umbrellas and dressed for December! I was proud of our players, as I pretty much left the decision to them whether or not they wanted to play today. They said, "We've played in worse, Coach," so we went ahead with a 5-inning game under occasional steady rain. The "worse" I think they were referring to was a doubleheader vs. UW Stevens Point last spring with a wind chill of below 30 degress, and snow that, at times, was coming down pretty heavily. I guess that's what you have to be prepared for when you play spring softball in Wisconsin......it's not all that much fun at times, but it is what it is. All day today everyone kept talking about how beautiful the day was YESTERDAY (it was the PERFECT fall day yesterday), and I wish I could have ordered up another day just like it today, but oh well.

After the intrasquad game was over, the players and coaches then got to enjoy all the great food that the parents brought for our annual potluck that we have each year on our intrasquad day. I thank the parents wholeheartedly for their efforts and all the great food! We had quite a spread today!

Congrats go out this weekend to all of the Blugold teams! Our fall sports are off to a great start and we're gaining a lot of momentum as we get closer to the start of winter sports. Our volleyball team defeated UW Oshkosh on Saturday 3-0 in their home opener. Coming into Saturday's game, Oshkosh was 19-1 overall. It was a great win with a great crowd! Our women's golf team was sitting in 1st place at the conference meet, as of this writing. Our football team also defeated UW Oshkosh 34-0 in their Homecoming game, and our women's soccer team also won their conference match-up vs. UW Whitewater on Saturday afternoon. On Friday, both our men's and women's cross country teams finished in 3rd place at the Blugold Open. It's a great time to be a Blugold!

We finish up fall practice this week, and then it's on to all the off-season preparation for the spring.

Our clinic information is all online now, including our brochure and online registration. We're looking forward to a series of great clinics during the winter this year! Hopefully some of you reading this will register to attend one or more of our clinics. We'd love to help you become a better softball player.

Until next time.......hit 'em hard!

Coach Huntington

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Quick post tonight - see, I promised I'd try to do this more often......

The Blugold Fastpitch family is looking forward to a fun day on Sunday - lots of great homecooked food, which is what the players enjoy the most - but we'll have our intrasquad game at 12:00 noon at Carson Park, then our parents and players will partake in devouring the wonderful food that the parents always seem to conjour up out of their kitchens. I know the hard thing is for the parents to resist eating it all, as they wait for the game to be done so the team actually gets some of the food, but we never seem to run out.......isn't that just typical softball? We're always eating....... :)

Oh, and if you're keeping track of my postings that are NOT on the topic of softball, Bogey had a GREAT swim last night! I think he would have continued to jump in that pool until he was dead, but we have to work him back into exercise with moderation - he IS 8 - so it's not like he's a spring chicken!

Until next time.......

Coach Huntington

Monday, September 29, 2008

My how time flies

Ok, so I said I was going to write often here, but it's been 2 months since I've done it......how time flies. I was reminded today about posting here by a friend who likes to stay up-to-date with the softball program and I promised I would make a better effort to do so, so here I am.

Our fall season is winding down - 3 practices and our intrasquad scrimmage are left on the schedule. We got to play 3 games on Saturday in Duluth, MN, at the St. Scholastica Fall Classic and it was a very fun day. We rotated our lineup every 2 innings so everyone got a lot of playing time, and our pitchers got several innings each. I am pleased with our improvement since we started our fall practices, and if the team is willing to make sacrifices and work hard during the winter, who knows what could happen in 2009?

We are currently at 23 players on our roster, and I anticipate that is where we'll stay. We are open with our players about where they stand, so if they are fighting for a spot, they know it, and they also are told what they need to do to secure their roster spot, if that's what they want to do. We emphasize the choices that each of our players have - the choice to play hard every rep and get better, or the choice to dog it and risk losing playing time. Regardless of anything else, the choice is theirs. As is their choice whether or not to do what they need to do during the winter to make themselves better players. I have asked them to ask themselves every morning what they can do as an individual to get better so that the team, in turn, gets better.

We also have talked about how each of our players values the team. I truly believe that if they value the team the way they should, then their daily choices and decisions should be easy to make.

This is a fun group, as have all my teams been at UW Eau Claire. The first-year players are fitting in well and learning a lot every day. I have appreciated the attention they are paying to learning everything they can. They are like sponges and it's rewarding to see them work hard and reap the benefits of their efforts.

Well, I think it's time to take my dog for a swim - he had ACL surgery 4 weeks ago last Friday, and is getting along very well, but has significant atrophy in his left hip, so it's time for some consistent rehab to get that hip back in shape. He's an 8-year-old yellow lab named Bogey, and he acts like he's 2! He LOVES to swim! Can you imagine a lab that DOESN'T love to swim? So it will be easy to "coax" him into the water - not so easy to coax me in though, since the weather is finally cooling off! But the waders will make it a little less painful for me!

Enjoy the evening, and check back soon!

Coach Huntington

Sunday, July 27, 2008

My first blog!

Welcome to the Blugold Fastpitch blog. I'll be adding to this as often as I can to let you know what things are going on in the world of UW Eau Claire and the fastpitch softball team. We are the 2008 NCAA Division III Softball National Champions, and the fall 2008 season is right around the corner. It will be a different team, with the graduation of 4 seniors from the '08 team, and it will be a different season as the defending national champions, but we will approach it with this philosophy: "The challenge is great, but the opportunity is greater." We look forward to the opportunity.

As a point of reference, asst. coach, Robin Baker, and myself will be attending the Midwest Showcase in Ashwaubenon on August 21 and 22, so we look forward to seeing prospective players showcase their skills during those two days.

If you are reading this and will be an incoming freshman at UW Eau Claire this fall and you wish to try out for the team, but have not yet been in contact with me, please contact me ASAP, as there is important eligibility information that you need to know.

I look forward to future posts.

Coach Huntington