Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Food For Thought

Hello All,
I have finally made it to the blog (well overdue, I know).  I will admit that Coach gave me some motivation to sign on to read over Em’s post from last week about David.  When we hear stories like David’s or when we experience the pain through someone else as they suffer a loss of somebody near and dear to their heart, I believe it is a wakeup call for most, if not all.  I have found, however, that as I have heard these stories growing up, it is easy to let them affect you for just the time being—not long term.  Just over the past two years, have I finally begun to remember others’ unfortunate stories each and every day that I am here.   Sadly, I used to carry the attitude that my loved ones, and most importantly my family, would be here day in and day out.  I realize today, and every day, how truly lucky I am to lie in bed each night and be able to thank God for allowing my loved ones to remain in my life for one more whole day.
This brings me to a status I came across on Facebook posted by the one and only, Karen Hansen.  I’m sure some of you chuckle or sigh at the fact that I mentioned Facebook, but I am a huge quote person, and I definitely hit the “like” button for her status!  This status read: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  This status can obviously be interpreted in many different ways; it reminded me of several different things.
One of the things that it reminded me of was the people in my life.  I am the person I am and I cannot change whether or not I am accepted for that.  Another one of my favorite quotes to go along with this idea states that “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”  There are other things about life in general that this status can pertain to, but I will jump to explain what it means to me in terms of softball.
While Em has already made this point, allowing ourselves to get flustered because of a weather delay or the wrong kind of sandwich is simply silly.  It may not be the most ideal situation, but there could be much worse situations that we could be presented with.  We cannot control the weather, but we can control our attitude about it.  As long as we have tried out hardest, we cannot control if we get thrown out on a steal or strike out at the plate.  Even though frustration is an acceptable emotion in this situation, we can control if we choose to instead move on and learn from our mistakes.  These are only two of many examples related to softball.  I am plenty guilty of complaining or making comments about little and uncontrollable things, which is why I think it was important to come across a status like Karen’s.  Not to mention, I can’t begin to count how many times my parents have told me to “Control the controllables” (another good reminder).
A couple of weeks ago Jess and Sam presented their leadership lesson.  They closed with the challenge for each of us to fulfill a promise we made.  I have not yet done that, but I am now committing and promising to myself to not complain about the little and unimportant things in life.  What is your promise?  On this note, I will end with the understanding that my post may have been a bit intense, if you will, for some.  However, I think it is good for us all to hear once and a while.
I have a feeling tomorrow we are going to need a broom after we SWEEP River Falls!  See y’all then!

UWEC CC/Track – Outdoor Update

The cool and rainy weather the last two weeks hasn’t slowed the UW - Eau Claire middle distance / distance crew. The past two meets at UW-La Crosse on Friday, April 15th and last Friday, April 22nd at Winona State have seen strong performances on the track from the Blugolds. In La Crosse two weeks ago the distance men and women focused on the 10K. On the men’s side, Charlie Daehler (jr.-Whitefish Bay) and Aric Runzheimer (so.-Kettle Moraine) ran strong finishing 2nd and 4th overall in 31:59 and 32:13. The duo passed through 8K together in 25:49 and separated during the final 3 laps. Charlie made a late surge during the final lap but came up just short of the win finishing less than 2 seconds behind 1st place with a 17 second PR.

The women placed 5 individuals in the top 9 in the 10K at UW-La Crosse. Michelle Brunshidle (so.-St. Croix Central) led the way placing 2nd overall in 39:12 in her first ever 10,000m race. Molly Woodford (sr.-Waukesha South) ran with Michelle until the final lap and finished 4th overall in a PR time of 39:21. Rounding out the top 5 for Eau Claire was Ilse Renner (so.-Green Bay East)-5th, 39:28*PR; Kacey Rindy (jr.-Fennimore)-7th, 39:56 and Teresa Coughlin (jr.-Coon Rapids, MN)-9th, 40:19.

Here’s a link to the complete UW-La Crosse results:

At Winona State this past Friday the Blugold men had several strong performances despite very rainy and windy conditions. In the 800, sophomore Aaron Easker (Wittenberg-Birnamwood) PR’d by over 2 seconds finishing 5th overall in 1:56. Eric Pronschinske (so.-Arcadia) won the 2nd section of the men’s 1500 and finished 8th overall in a PR time of 4:10. Eric closed his final 300m in 45 seconds. Senior Max Renner (Green Bay East) ran his first race of the season placing 4th in the 3,000m Steeplechase in a time of 9:47.

The Blugold women set nine lifetime PR’s on Friday in Winona. Leading the way was sophomore Ashlyn Mauer (so.-Sheboygan Falls) who won the 5K in a PR time of 17:36, which was 59 seconds ahead of the second place finisher! Freshmen Victoria Janasz (Elk River, MN) and Alana Jenkins (Eau Claire Memorial) also had 5K PR’s finishing 4th and 5th in 19:04 and 19:18. Maria Peloquin (sr.-Prescott) ran a 4 second PR in the 1500m run finishing 5th overall in a time of 4:44. Four other Blugold women broke 5 minutes in the 1500 all in PR times, and they include: Madison Sawyer (so.-Champlin Park, MN)-7th, 4:52; Erica Tiffany (so.-Mounds View, MN)-8th, 4:57; Taylor McMillan (so.-Stoughton)-9th, 4:58 and Jami Riley (fr.-Fairmont, MN)-11th, 4:59. Kelly Palmer (sr.-Chaska, MN) also had a strong performance in the 3,000m steeplechase winning by 20 seconds in a time of 11:34.

Here’s a link to the complete Winona State results:

The Blugolds are competing at three different meets this weekend, which include the St. Mary’s Invite in Winona, MN; the Gina Relays at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, MI and the Drake Relays in Des Moines, IA. Outdoor Conference is next Friday and Saturday, May 6th and 7th at UW-Platteville.

A Week in the Life - Day 2

As promised, I'm following up with Saturday, so here goes.....

Approximately 6:00 a.m. - wake up, have my coffee (you'll see this entry a LOT, as it's the way I start EVERY day - the only variable is the time I get up) Have breakfast, get packed (a full duffle bag of about every possible option for warm clothing - you can never prepare too much for the possibility of cold weather), and finish getting ready to go.

7:45 a.m. - leave the house a little early because we discovered a broken bat yesterday so I need to make a quick stop at our local sporting goods store to get a replacement bat.

8:05 a.m. - arrive on campus to get the bus loaded - but wait! NO BUS!!! You've got to be kidding me! We just confirmed this yesterday - Coach Baker calls the emergency number for the bus company and we're told the bus is at Hwy 53 and Hwy 29 - still 20 minutes away, and we're scheduled to LEAVE at 8:30. I'm NOT happy - we soon find out the driver was told to be here at 8:45 - NO, that is supposed to be NEXT Saturday, not THIS Saturday.

At this point it is raining and some doubt about whether or not we'll be able to play creeps into everyone's minds, but the players know better than to ask me because for one, Oshkosh is 3 1/2 hours away, so just because it's raining here, doesn't mean it's raining there; and two, regardless of the weather, we are always preparing "as if."

The players wait inside the McPhee Center with their bags and the equipment, as I keep my displeasure with the bus situation under control.

8:40 a.m. - the bus finally arrives and the players move to the bus with all their gear faster than they typically run from home to 1st - they know we were supposed to be on the road 10 minutes ago and they joke that we'll need to implement our "flat tire" pregame warmup. Our "flat tire" warmup, as we've named it, is an abbreviated version of our pregame warmup - it is designed (and we have practiced it) so in the event something happens that is out of our control on the way to a road game (like a flat tire), we don't go into panic mode thinking we'll never play well because we didn't get a full warmup.

8:45 a.m. - we are pulling out of the parking lot - the bus driver knew he was late, and we loaded that bus with reckless abandon - hence, only 5 minutes of time has passed since the bus arrived and we are pulling out.

We experienced some heavy mist for a good part of the ride to Oshkosh, but were confident that we were going to get the games in. During the ride, the coaches discuss strategy and our opponent while the players typically sleep, watch a movie, some do homework, and eventually they all eat - we take food with us so they can have a sandwich or whatever else they need/want while we're on the bus. Doing it this way saves us money, and we're able to keep our players in class more because we don't have to leave an hour early just so we can stop and eat along the way. (By the way, today's movie choice - Pirates of the Carribean)

12:00 p.m. - we arrive in Oshkosh at the softball field right on time - the trip is pretty quick on Hwy 29 to Wausau, 39 south to Stevens Point, then Hwy 10 over to the Fox Valley area. All 4 lane - just the way I like it. They players prefer that type of trip as well, as opposed to the Decorah, Iowa, trip, which resulted in more car sickness than I've ever experienced before on a single trip!

Pregame warmup as usual - but everyone had wet socks due to all the rain they had received the night before - oh well, they'd get wet eventually anyway.

2:00 p.m. - game time - we pull off a double header sweep at Oshkosh - always a very difficult feat to win on the road there.

6:00 p.m. - the bus pulls out from the stadium, minus a few players who have elected to ride home with their parents to spend Easter with their families tomorrow. The players and staff who remain on the bus make a stop at Culver's for some food on the go. The ride home will be enjoyable because everyone feels good about what we accomplished today - plus we all know we have an entire day off from work and classes tomorrow - life is good.

Movie choice on the bus ride home - Enchanted - which we receive bonus singing from Emily Muller and Ashley Meinen - I couldn't even hear the actual movie because they were bellowing in my ears. By the way, the players all CHOSE to sit at the front of the bus on the ride home. They will never admit it, but they really do LOVE their coaches and just wanted to spend quality time with us on the way home. :)

Second movie option - The Incredibles. I really wanted to watch this movie, but there was so much chatter going on I couldn't hear it, so I finally put in my earphones and watched a video podcast.

10:00 p.m. - arrive back in Eau Claire - exhausted, but happy. Load the food bins in the Pilot, haul the equipment to the storage room, load the dirty uniforms into a big bag to take home.

10:45 p.m. - arrive at home - put one load of uniforms in the washing machine. Have to do laundry at home tonight because the equipment/laundry room won't be open to do the unis before we play again on Monday.

11:30 p.m. - or approximately that time - after a little unwinding with a bit of TV, the eyes won't stay open anymore, so it's off to dreamland.

Easter Sunday up tomorrow. See you then!

Coach H.

Softball Moves up in NFCA Poll

The UW-Eau Claire softball team moved up in the latest National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll, announced April 27.

The week 11 poll has the Blugolds tied for 23rd. A week ago they were 25th.

View Week 11 Poll

Women's Outdoor Track & Field Moves up in Rankings

The UW-Eau Claire women's outdoor track & field team moved up four spots in the latest USTFCCCA top 25 poll.

A week ago, the Blugolds were ranked 22nd but they are now 18th.

In regional rankings, the women are fourth while the men are 10th.

Complete National Rankings

Complete Regional Rankings

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Week in the Life - Day 1

As I sit here at my kitchen table watching the rain come down (at least it's rain rather than snow this time!), I'm reflecting on the past few days and considering what to write about. This invitation to blog has been staring at me, as my student manager, Karen, has used the subtlety of sending me a "reminder" about posting......ok Karen, I get it! :)

The season has presented its share of challenges. The weather has been the most persistent of them all. We've faced our share of adversity - and I don't use that term lightly. So what of the "life lessons" we are learning as we trek through another season of Blugold softball?

So as I sit here, trying to be profound, what keeps coming to mind is doing a series of entries about a "day in the life" or "week in the life" of a Division III softball coach.

So I think I'll go back to last week - I'll just pick Friday as my starting point and we'll go from there.

To start, I'm an assistant athletic director, so my job is not just coaching softball. At this time of year, I'm actually working very hard on getting things ready to go for summer orientation as well as Fall 2011 for the teams to come back to campus and start practices. So I spent a few minutes with the women's hockey coach determining when his team athletics orientation meeting would be held next fall.

Also as an assistant AD, I am in charge of facilitating team evaluations at the end of each season. I use a pretty slick computer program through the University, but I have to enter every email address and name manually (well, I use copy/paste for the email address) :) So I spent a good part of the morning setting up the emails to go out to the spring sport athletes.

After having lunch at my desk, it was time to load equipment into my vehicle to take outside for practice. Another challenge with the ever-changing weather - the equipment spends more than its fair share of time in the back of my Honda Pilot!

So Friday was the day after a double header, but the day before a double header as well - a pretty typical schedule for the spring of 2011, given all the changes the weather has forced upon us. What was the forecast? Cold, windy, and possible rain. Ah, what the heck, practicing outside will make us tougher - plus, there were just things we HAD to do that couldn't be done in the gym. So outside it was.

Now, there are certain things that I will compromise on - how LONG we practice outside is one of them, especially when the wind chill dips into the 30's. So we had a plan of things we needed to do outside where space makes all the difference, and our goal was to be done in 1 hour. Mission accomplished.

After that 1 hour, however, we had not done any hitting. So back into the gym we went. Friday afternoon was Good Friday, so basically the entire student body was gone - no worries in having to chase pick up hoops players out of the gym. Bring the cages down, get the pitching mats out, and away we go for about another hour. At this point in the season, we have done drill after drill after drill - the players have certain drills that are their favorites and certain drills, that although not their favorites, are necessary for them to get better - those are the things we work on inside.

As we start to hit and pitch, the rain comes down in sheets - good decision to come inside when we did.

We're supposed to play the next day in Oshkosh - thankfully they have a tarp to protect the infield. But are we 100% certain at this point that we'll play? Not really - but like most other days, we have to prepare "as if." We have to know for sure by 7:30 a.m. the next day because that's our deadline to cancel the bus so we don't get charged. My assistant coach, Amber Dohlman, made her regular trip to Sam's Club earlier today to get meat, bread, cheese, etc., so we can save money by fixing sandwiches on the bus on the way to the game

Get the gym cleaned up, put up the cages, put the mats away - unless you hear from me, bus leaves at 8:30 a.m.

9:45 p.m. - Oshkosh calls - we should be a go for tomorrow. No need to cancel the bus. Good night.

"A week in the life" continues with Saturday - tomorrow. See you then.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Bus Ride

Hey All,

This is Coach Husted; I'm the volunteer pitching coach this season for the 'golds and since it has been many years since I've coached at the college game; this is my first time riding the bus in a very long time.

Sure I ride the rental car shuttle from some airport to some rental car facility on a regular basis but this is a full on coach bus experience.

Last week was my maiden voyage, a trip to Whitewater that lasted 4 hours maybe. Right now, we are on the way to Oshkosh.

Here is what happens on the bus...

1. A lot of sleep. As I sit here we have 2 AT's sleeping in the row behind me; Jessa has been out cold since we left and I think Amber is also sleeping. I'd nap BUT the reality is that I'd snore and that probably would get me kicked off the bus. My entire goal is to not get kicked off the bus.

2. We watch movies. So far, here has been the movies we've watched in 2 trips. First we watched "The Blind Side" and "Cars" on the way to UWW. I had never seen "Cars" and based on the first part, I'd probably watch the 2nd half if I found it on cable. On the way back we watched something about Harry Potter (I have no clue). This trip we've started with Pirates of the Caribbean.

3. There is also a decent number of kids who use this time to get homework done. Being a student athlete means you have to have great time management skills and so post game homework is often a key part of that time management process for our brilliant athletes.

But here is my favorite part of the bus trip -- getting from the front of the bus to the back of bus for the water closet. It is the ultimate challenge of under, over and past sleeping legs. You have to look for random players sleeping anywhere and with a small pathway to navigate often you have to use creative problem solving to get to the back. Even more fun, on the way back; kids have shifted etc so you may have a different "course" to tackle on the way back.

I have my trusty stopwatch here, maybe Coach and I can do time trials to see who is quickest; actually... she has a lot more experience at this; maybe I don't want to challenge her after all.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Proving Theories...

And we're back!

With the 199th and 200th shut outs in school history, we're back to 21 wins!!! And more importantly, there aren't 21 losses on the other side of the tally to go with them :)

The double header against St. Mary's was, for lack of a more sophisticated word, FUN! We played two mercy rule games where we saw our bats get hot and our confidence build right before the home stretch of the race for conference champions. Coach also introduced what I'm now calling : The Bubblegum Theory

What is the Bubblegum Theory?'s actually pretty simple, but very logical. If you know anything about UWEC softball, you know that food is very, I mean VERY important to our daily functioning. We go through Noni chews like nobody's business and we literally eat Swedish Fish and Red Vines (even though Twizzlers are WAYYYY better) by the bag full! Inbetween games...we scrounge down muffin after muffin, string cheese after string cheese and pray that we can keep the food down long enough to make it through the second game. If you know anything about UWEC softball, I usually fail in that department :)

Anyway...back to the point: The Bubblegum Theory. This theory states that, "If anyone shall hit a ball over the fence, in fair territory, thus resulting in the number of runs as their are persons on base and up to bat, thou shalt receive a piece of Bubblegum." Ammendment #1 was made to this theory in game two. The ammendment stated "If thou are a slapper and keep said inning alive, in which there is a ball hitteth over the fence, thou shalt recieve a piece of bubble gum from Robin." In non philisophical terminolgy: you hit a home run, you get bubblegum. If you're a lefty slapper whose goal is to bunt the ball 4 feet...we'll give you one anyway for scoring on someone else's homerun. And we PROVED that theory.

After hitting 3 home runs in game one, we followed up that performance with 3 more in game 2! The only non slapper to not hit a home run yesterday: Emily Haluska. But she's a former slapper and hitting like .900 this season so we'll probably just give her bubblegum for being so good anyway :)

We scored a grand total 14 out of 17 runs off the home run ball...Boom, roasted. Also proving another Theory: Food is least to softball players who get to run as slowly as please if they hit the ball over the fence!

Until next time,


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Women's Golf Moves up in National Poll

The UW-Eau Claire women's golf team moved up one spot to No. 3 in the latest Golf World/NGCA Division III Coaches’ Poll.

View the Complete Poll

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Softball 25th in Latest NFCA Poll

The UW-Eau Claire softball team dropped two spots to No. 25 in the latest NFCA top 25 poll.

View Week 10 Poll

Women's Outdoor Track & Field 22nd

The UW-Eau Claire women's outdoor track & field team is ranked 22nd in the week three USTFCCCA top 25 poll.

In the Midwest region, the Blugold women are fourth.

Complete National Poll

Regional Rankings

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Weather? or Whether...

Today at the Luncheon we were asked a question on how we deal with the weather changes, delays, cancellations, and reschedules that come with playing a spring outdoor sport in Wisconsin. I answered with, "it's stressful, not knowing where or when or IF you'll play. But somehow, we manage to do it every year and get by while still passing our classes." However, after further review, it's such a silly thing to be stressed about....

A few weeks ago I had the privilege to attend the NACSM conference in St. Cloud, Minnesota. NACSM is American College of Sports Medicine, Northland Chapter. They host a conference every year for Kinesiology Majors, like myself, to present research studies, findings and of course, have speakers on several topics. And although I was extremely impressed with the keynote speaker, Dr. Len Kravitz, it was David Carle, a 20 year old from Anchorage, Alaska, who impacted me the most...
David Carle, left his childhood home in Anchorage, Alaska at the age of 15 , and came to Minnesota to pursue a career as a professional hockey player. He completed his high school career at Shattuck, St Mary's Prep school with a National Title in 2008 and a full scholarship to Denver Colorado. Before he started his college hockey career, he was invited to the NHL Hockey Combine where the top 75 players in the US come together and perform in front of pro scouts. He made it through every test and drill, including a #1 finish in the Wingate Test. He was a for sure 2nd, maybe 1st round draft pick, and had his whole life ahead of him. The only thing stopping him was the required EKG. And boy, did it stop him.

Two days after the combine, David got an email saying he needed to see a cardiologist at Mayo Hospital concerning his abnormal EKG. After further testing, David found out, the morning of the NHL draft, that he had Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and was told that he needed to withdraw his name from the draft and that he could never again play about a 180...

The walls of his heart, which are normally between 5-9 mm, were 24mm thick, causing restricted blood flow in his left ventricle and thus, making his heart work harder to allow proper function. This disease, where many times, your first symptom is your last, is genetic. You've maybe heard about it on the news one time or another..recently, Wes Leonard, a high school basketball player at Fennville, hit the game winning shot to end their season with a perfect record and within minutes, collapsed and subsequently died on the court. This was result of the same disease, only David's was caught ahead of time. The Wingate test alone should have killed him. It's a test that takes your heart rate from normal to max (over 200bpm) in almost 30 seconds. But he somehow made it through...and with a 1st place finish none the less...

David now has a "box" for lack of a better word, implanted in his chest to monitor his heart rate. He cannot exercise above 160 bpm, so going from a professional athlete, to nothing more than jogging, was an adjustment both physically and mentally. If his HR gets above 220bpm, the "box" sends a shock of 500 Volts to his chest which he said is a similar feeling to getting kicked in the chest by a horse.

Minus the one misfire where the device was reading incorrectly and shocked him unnecessarily, and a collapse on the court at a practice, this device has kept him alive. And not only alive, but minus his heart, he's perfectly healthy. He considers himself very lucky having caught the disease before it killed him and is still AMAZINGLY positive. Hearing him speak, in a sense, made me feel guilty of what I have. But it also makes me grateful as well.

The university of Denver still honored his full ride scholarship and he's now a student coach there. He was also drafted in NHL by the Toronto Lightening, who picked him in the 7th and final round, so that one day he could tell his grandchildren that he was a pro hockey player, even with this disease.

There is a point to my many words...I promise. We complain about weather. We complain about missing classes. We complain about not having internet on our bus. And sometimes we even complain when there's turkey sandwiches but not PB and J. But, moral of the story, one of these days, we'll still GET to play. David, like many others out there, have no choice...he can't ever play hockey again. He doesn't just miss a game here and there because of WEATHER: He misses every game because there's always the risk of WHETHER or not his heart will stop. So, I think we're pretty lucky, even with the snow still falling in April. Stressing about weather or whether or not we'll be stopping to eat on the way home...even missing a game or even a season because we're minor. Very minor...

David left us all with one remark and it's the one I'll leave with you. "If you have the disease, consider yourself lucky to have found about it while you were still living. If you don't have the disease, consider yourself lucky because now, there is no excuse for you to not push yourself to be the best you can possibly be."

So yeah, our situation isn't ideal...but I'll take this any day over many other things...

Until Next Time...


What's it like to be a Blugold?

What does it take to be a member of the UWEC Blugold Fastpitch team?  Here's a few points that make us the team we are
  • Blugolds persevere through ups and downs.
  • Blugolds are enthusiastic and eager to lace up their cleats.
  • Blugolds stomp it out, to a comfortable tempo, to set the mood of the game.
  • Blugolds cheer for their teammates, preferably from the diaphragm. 
  • Blugolds huddle and sway in call and response chanting, "GAME TIME."
  • Blugolds do their best to have patience with Wisconsin winters...even if it continues into late April.
  • Blugolds value the Blugolds of the past and the emblem on their uniforms.
  • Blugolds balance softball and studies to maintain sanity.
  • Blugolds support one another, on and off the diamond.
  • Blugolds laugh at the fear of grass stains, dirty uniforms, or nasty raspberries.
  • Blugolds strive to take advantage of each opportunity.
  • Blugolds devour Noni chews, Red Vines, and Swedish Fish.
  • Blugolds take care of "bid-ness."
  • Blugolds depend on each other, but are responsible for themselves.
  • Blugolds jump into a cold pool together at 6 am and sprint 16 lines in 60 seconds.
  • Blugolds expect excellence.
  • Blugolds appreciate the privilege to play.
  • Blugolds live to play the game.
  • Blugolds execute.
  • Blugolds love.

Go ahead and ask a Blugold what it means to them.  Most would say that this is what we are about.  
We are proud to be Blugolds.

- Karen Hansen, Student Manager

Friday, April 15, 2011

Eau Claire Gets Regional Site!

Hello Blugold Fans!

If you don't already know...Eau Claire got selected as one of 8 sites for the NCAA Softball Regionals. We will host 8 teams in a double elimination tournament. The winner of the Regional will go on to Salem for the NCAA National Tournament.

For our team it is a huge motivator. We are playing well right now, but we know that we have to continue to play well so that we get to play in our own Regional! It would mean a lot to us if we got to sleep in our own beds and not miss the last week of classes! Also, it is definite home-field advantage.

For me personally it means a lot to know that we have a chance to win Regionals on our own field. As a freshmen, I was on the team who got to play on Gelein and win a Regional title. It was an amazing experience! After 8 run ruling our first opponent, we got to play the night game vs. Oshkosh. It was PERFECT weather for a night game. Warm, but not hot, and a slight breeze. We had so many fans there to cheer us on! We then got to play St. Thomas, who was highly ranked. We gutted out a victory in 8 innings to play for the Regional title. We then blew away Oshkosh for the title! And the celebration began!

We were so fortunate to have so many fans and parents there supporting us, and I'm hoping we can bring the fans out to support us this year! I am hoping that we continue to play well so that we can play on our field come May 12th!

Sara Baum #10

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Softball Up Two Spots in NFCA Poll

The UW-Eau Claire softball team is ranked 23rd, up two spots from last week, according to the NFCA Division III week nine poll.

The Blugolds jumped two spots after compiling a 5-1 record last week. They went 4-0 in conference play and split with then fifth-ranked Central College (Iowa) Saturday.

View Complete National Rankings

Women's Outdoor Track & Field Moves up in Poll

The UW-Eau Claire women's track & field team moved up six spots in the latest USTFCCCA top 25 poll.

The Blugolds are currently 14th in the latest national rankings.

In regional rankings, the Blugold women are second while the men are eighth.

View Complete National Rankings

View Complete Regional Rankings

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

UWEC CC/Track – Outdoor Update

The outdoor track season is off to a great start for the UW-Eau Claire women’s and men’s track & field teams. The Blugolds have competed in two meets at Wartburg College in Waverly, IA on Saturday, April 2nd and this past Saturday, April 9th at UW-Platteville.

At Wartburg the entire middle distance / distance women’s team competed in the 1500 with several people doubling back in the 800 or 4 x 400 relay. Maria Peloquin (sr.-Prescott) led the way in the 1500 finishing 4th in a personal best time of 4:48.44. Ashlyn Mauer (so.-Sheboygan Falls), Madison Sawyer (so.-Champlin Park) and Jami Riley (fr.-Fairmont, MN) also set personal bests finishing 6th, 10th and 12th with times of 4:53, 4:57 and 5:00.

On the men’s side at Wartburg freshman Matt Scott (Kiel) had an impressive meet running 4:01 in the 1500 to finish 7th and then Matt doubled back in the 800 with a PR time of 1:57 to finish 6th. Jake Zander (sr.-Chippewa Falls McDonell) and Aaron Easker (so.-Wittenberg-Birnamwood) led the way in the 1500 finishing 4th and 5th overall both running times of 3:59.

Here’s a link to the complete Wartburg results:

At Platteville this past weekend the middle distance / distance crew had 10 PR’s on the women’s side and 11 PR’s on the men’s side. Ashlyn Mauer led the way for the women winning the 3000m Steeplechase by 30 seconds in a NCAA Provisional qualifying time of 10:53. This is a 53 second PR and ranks Ashlyn 6th nationally in Division III. In the 800 three women broke 2:20 with Maria Peloquin leading the way with a 2:15 4th place finish. Taylor McMillan (so.-Stoughton) and Jami Riley both ran PR times of 2:17 and 2:19 to finish 7th and 10th overall. In the 1500 Nicole Blahnik (so.-Antigo) ran strong finishing 7th in a PR time of 4:54. Five Blugold women placed in the top 8 in the 5K with Teresa Coughlin (jr.-Coon Rapids, MN) finishing 2nd in a 32” PR time of 18:31. Madison Sawyer, who ran her first 5K on the track, wasn’t far behind Teresa finishing 3rd overall in 18:33. Rounding out the top 5 in the 5K were Michelle Brunshidle (so.-St. Croix Central)-5th, 18:47; Molly Woodford (sr.-Waukesha South)-7th, 18:58; and Kacey Rindy (jr.-Fennimore)-8th, 18:59.

On the men’s side, Thomas Breitbach set a new UW-Eau Claire outdoor school record in the 5K with a time of 14:29. The previous record of 14:39 was set by Mike Monk in 1990. Breitbach’s time is a NCAA Division III provisional qualifying mark and currently ranks him 2nd in the nation. Aaron Easker and Jeremy Kieser (so.-Verona) also had strong performances in the 5K. Easker, in his 5K debut, finished 6th overall in 15:01, and Kieser finished 8th overall in a PR time of 15:05. In the 800 Jake Zander finished 5th in a PR time of 1:55.25, and Alex Adkinson (so.-Whitewater) finished 6th in 1:55.70. Eric Knutson (fr.-Brookfield Central) and Tyler Hart (fr.-Sun Prairie) ran the first Steeplechase of their careers and did well finishing 4th and 7th overall with times of 10:02 and 10:17.

Here’s a link to the complete Platteville results:

Up next for the Blugolds is the Phil Esten Invite at UW-La Crosse this Friday. The following week the team will split up and go to two different meets: the Winona State Invite in Winona, MN and the Kansas Relays at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


We made it. 6 games, in 3 days and with some unfortunate emotions, we made it to our day off. Whew. Its been a tough and trying 72 hours but the Blugolds have once again managed to rally and find a way to get things done. Let's take a look back...

Thursday presented us with our WIAC opener against Stout. With Stout being our I-94 rival, there was more at stake on the double header than just 2 wins. We managed to avenge our uncharacteristic 2009 performance at Stout by sweeping the Blue Devils and start off the season undefeated in conference.

The Blugolds were then put to the test. Physically, mentally and emotionally. Not only did we have classes as usual in the morning along with our rescheduled double header vs. Superior, but one of our teammates lost someone very dear to her heart. It was a loss that hit very close to home for many of us and we had to lean on each other for support. We had to rally together, find a way to start the healing process and dig deep to find the good of the situation. It was a tough and exhausting night to say the least.

Friday afternoon brought us all together once again. Before our pre-game warm up we all took a deep breath, tried to focus on the task at hand and find a way to get 2 wins against a Superior team that has played "spoiler" the last couple years. Not to mention, they have a very relaxed playing style. So, not only did we need to find the energy for ourselves, but we had to bring it for 2 teams.

We showed a lot of heart, getting through those two games with tough defense, pitching and clutch hitting to earn our second sweep of the season and remain undefeated in conference. And with everyone else in the conference sporting at least 1 loss in the WIAC, we were sitting pretty.

Now the true test. Central, IA, the 5th ranked team in the country, was our next opponent. It was our 5-6th games in 3 days, we were exhausted and considering the other circumstances, we had every reason to let these two games slide.

Game one was a battle. We lost to a very, very good team. Even though the score was 11-1, I personally felt like it was closer than the books portrayed. But never the less, our bats were silent, our defense was a little shaky and sometimes, good hitters will beat good pitching. That "blow out" gave us even more reason for us to let game 2 slip away...

Game two was different. We held Central's offense in check. Going into the bottom of the 6th we were down 5-2 and with two outs, we came to life. We had two runners on and we were at the top of the order. Harp walked, and Acker pinch hit and had a grrrrrreat at bat to give us back to back walks. Then it was go time! Sara Baum, Jess Freagon and I had back-to-back-to-back singles to bring the score to 8-5 going into the top of the 7th. Lauren Carlson came in to close the game and got 3 BIG outs to end Central's 23 game winning streak!

We made it. 5-1 in 3 days, a win against a top 5 team, and an undefeated conference record. We battled adversity and everything that was thrown our way. We could finally breathe in between the tears of joy and tears of loss. We grew as a team and as individuals this week. We grew as one single unit fighting for each other every step of the way. I'm so proud of this group of girls, our coaching staff, and our friends and family that help us get through each and every day. As Karen has said, "To be alive is power." Well I'm going to add to is power. And with the love that we showed these last 72 hours, the sky is the limit for us. Remember ladies, God only gives us what he knows we can handle.

Until next time,


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hellooooo WIAC

Who will win the Women's WIAC whilst winter went away and spring has sprung?

Okay, so I am just giddy that the snow has melted and that we can finally play outside.  The Blugolds are finally outdoors, wearing their cleats, and playing in the dirt...just in time for Conference play.

The Blugolds open the conference season against the WIAC today.  We will be heading to Menomonie, WI to face the UW-Stout Blue Devils in a double header at 4 and 6 pm.

We are hoping to continue on with victory, especially after our thrilling win over Luther on Sunday.  We are eager to get rolling into conference season, and will also be facing Central College (non-conference) and UW-Superior this weekend.

Let's take it to 'em, Blugolds.

- Karen Hansen, Student Manager

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Softball Breaks into NFCA Poll

After splitting with fourth-ranked Luther College (Iowa) last weekend, the UW-Eau Claire softball team is now ranked at No. 25 in the latest National Fastpitch Coaches Association Poll.

Luther dropped to 11th in the week eight poll.

The Blugolds recently were ranked at No. 24 in the week six poll while they received votes in last week's poll.

View Complete Week 8 Poll

Women's Outdoor Track & Field Ranked Nationally

In the first USTFCCCA NCAA Division III top 25 national poll for the outdoor season, the UW-Eau Claire women are ranked 20th.

In the regional polls, the women are currently seventh while the men are eighth.

Week One National Poll

Week One Regional Poll

Monday, April 4, 2011

"Chase the Dream"

So I’ve decided to help my friend Karen out on the Blog front. After promising her on spring break that I’d write an entry, I’ve finally held up my end of the deal. And after losing draft one of the blog to a computer malfunction, here’s round two…

Karen has done a great job thus far keeping readers updated on games, stories and highlights so hopefully, I can offer a little different perspective.

I know its cliché, but it honestly feels like just yesterday that we began day one of practice. These last 16 games have flown by. They’ve presented themselves with plenty of challenges, excitement, pressure situations and of course, lots and lots of fun. Maybe it’s because a record of 12-4 is WAYYYYY better than our record of 4-11 at this time last year, but I’m convinced it’s more than a record that defines our team and the fun that we have.

The 2011 Blugolds have already proved to be way different than last year’s group. For one, we started this year off in the Rosemount dome instead of the beach in Florida. And since softball is a game of adaptations, it was only fitting that we start our year off having to adapt to a new playing surface and a few new rules. We were tested right away with St. Thomas and BV and started a new tradition of finding a way to win close games. At this point, our defense was struggling but our offense and pitching were on fire.

By the time we got to Arizona, we couldn’t keep our excitement in. Maintaining our focus was a test during practice, especially with the pigeon incident right before hand, but somehow we managed to get things accomplished. Overall, as a player, I was happy with our performance in the desert and could chat about the games in further detail but I’ll keep it to a final thought. Although I know we could’ve come home 10-0, there’s no doubt in my mind that those close games will continue to help us respond to future losses and with our tough WIAC conference.

Aside from testing our skills, the trip definitely tested our patience. As I’m sure our parents and coaches can attest to, having 20, 18+ year old girls together for about 24 hours a day for an entire week is no easy task. Add in the mix of coaches, parents, buses not arriving on time, 3 mini vans and coach’s “ghetto ride” for transport and you’re pretty much setting yourself up for chaos. Never the less, I’m proud to say that the trip went relatively glitch and drama free and we’re all still speaking to one another! …although I’m pretty sure this is the first year that someone voluntarily left Robin’s van J

When we got back, we found ourselves back in the gym…weird. Frustrating too, but we managed to find a way to continue to prepare for our “weather permitting” game against #4 ranked Luther. After yet another adaptation of having to travel to Iowa instead of a home opener on Gelein, we were prepared. We knew we had to bring our “A” game, but we also knew that they weren’t going to know what hit them once we arrived. Game one started with us coming out on fire scoring two runs and holding them scoreless in the first. In the 2nd inning we found ourselves victim of the “one bad inning” that softball often presents and were in a 5-2 hole. A stellar performance by freshmen pitcher “Ruegy” kept our hopes alive but we couldn’t get the big hit and found ourselves with a tally in the loss column.

Game two was very similar in a lot of respects. We came out and scored right away as the visiting team and then after inning two, were down 5-1. But with some top notch pitcher defense, errorless defense by the rest of us, a homerun by Jess Freagon (my roommate!) and of course a huge GRAND SLAM by Nikki Bromelkamp (MY OTHER ROOMMATE!!!) and we were up 6-5 with 6 outs to go! After that, we couldn’t be stopped. Emma Wishau dominated the next 2 innings, giving up just two singles to a dominating Luther offense, and we had our 12th win of the season. Easier said than done, I know. But there’s much more than we can take from that 2nd game besides the win.

I want to reflect on the emotion after the Luther game. For those who know me, I’m usually not the most serious of people, but I am a very passionate person and every once in a while I have my moments. Yesterday’s win was one of those times where your personal performance or the score of the first game momentarily didn’t matter. We had just come from 4 runs down, against the #4 ranked team in the country, and we acted like it. Smiles were from ear to ear, hugs were all around and our sense of accomplishment and belief was sky high. We knew that we could do it, but we had just proved it. At that moment, looking around at my teammates, it made me realize once again why we all wear the uniform. You could see the unmistakable love and joy in our faces, the look in our eyes that explains why we take the field every day. We play the game we love, and we truly love the game we play.

Until next time,

Emily Muller-#20