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October 2012 Archives

A week of giving

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In this today's Badger Blog, head coach Yvette Healy writes about the value of giving back.

Last week the Badger softball team kicked off our off-season with a week of volunteer activities. After practicing 20 hours a week for the first few months of the fall, we've dropped down to eight hours of organized workouts, with six hours of team lifting and conditioning, and two hours of individual skill instruction.

While most teams in the country would be looking forward to more free-time and less team activities, the Badgers chose a different approach. The women's softball team here at Wisconsin decided to plan a week of volunteer activities in the community to show their appreciation for the amazing opportunities and gifts that they receive as student-athletes in the Big Ten. Gratitude and appreciation are key ingredients for happy, fulfilled lives. Perspective and maturity are tough lessons to teach college students.

Our staff has said many times what a special environment we have here at Wisconsin. Although we are a nationally-ranked academic University, with amazing athletics, it's the Midwest values that truly stand out. People at Wisconsin care about each other. This is a school where young people learn how to sacrifice, give-back and share their talents for the greater good. Our athletic department is filled with amazing, well-rounded, impressive young people who care about their community, their families and their teammates.

Our focus in the Wisconsin women's softball program is empowerment. Our goal is to help our young women become leaders on the field, in the classroom, and in their communities. We challenge them to be outstanding, well-rounded young women. We've asked our women's softball team to contribute to our blog this year, writing about activities and events that touch their lives.

Below is a snapshot of what the Badger Softball week of giving looked like:

SUNDAY: Gilda's House-Charity Run

TUESDAY: Leadership seminar with Brian Curtis

TUESDAY: Madison Children's Hospital

THURSDAY: Coach Bo Ryan's Charity Stripe Challenge-Coaches vs. Cancer

THURSDAY: Booking it with Bucky-Reading to local kids

FRIDAY: Kids Day at the Kohl Center-Free kids clinics and autographs

Zach Bohannon: A Minor Setback in Our Journey Towards Success

Junior Zach Bohannon (Marion, Iowa) will be a season-long guest contributor for CBSSports.com. Here is his first blog entry.

By Zach Bohannon

There are seven letters, two words, and one phrase that no athlete, but more specifically, no basketball player, ever wants to hear over his entire career: Torn ACL.

It can bring that player to immediate tears. But as I found out on Saturday, it can bring many of his teammates to tears as well. This is my story from the perspective of a teammate who witnessed the knee of Josh Gasser, the starting point guard for the Wisconsin Badgers, buckle right before his eyes.

The scariest part of the whole play was how routine and seemingly innocent it really was. We were scrimmaging during a typical Saturday morning practice. Josh was on a fast break and planted his left foot. His knee gave out. It was that simple.

121023MBB-3948-Bohannon.jpgAthletes hear all the time, "Play every play like it's your last," but this was one of the moments that made me take a step back and understand what that statement truly meant. I was less than 10 feet behind him trailing the play. I heard the piercing scream come out of his mouth as he crumbled to the ground. I tried to keep him calm and said, "You're fine, take some deep breaths." However, Josh knew, and shot back sharply, "No, I'm not fine!"

Everyone in the gym fell quiet. Nothing could be said. We all saw our athletic trainer and team doctor immediately test out his left knee on the court. We all prayed for the best, though we knew we had no choice but to expect the worst.

As we saw Josh get helped off the floor, none of it seemed real. Josh was the last person you expected this to happen to. Josh seemingly had no kryptonite; he was indestructible to us. Our team tried to put the shock of what we had just seen behind us. After about an hour of more practicing, Coach [Bo] Ryan called us in and told us before we did our final shooting drill we would all have a chance to see Josh before he left for the hospital. As we filed in one by one to the training room, each one of us had a moment to spend with Josh. Many of us hardly said a word; it was a quick good luck with a handshake or a hug for most. It was a very somber moment because we all knew the magnitude of the earthquake that had just shaken our team.

As practice ended and my teammates went their separate ways, we all had a day of grieving for Josh. Not because of the basketball player he is, but more importantly, for who he is as a person and what he represents for our program and for the state of Wisconsin. He truly is, and always will be, the face of our program. I personally was sick to my stomach the rest of the day because Josh is the last kid you would ever want something so devastating to happen to. However, as Josh tweeted (@JPGasser21) on that night, "Wow thanks for the support everyone. Really tough time but I will be okay.. Our team won't skip a beat, trust me. #OnWisconsin."

Throughout the mystery of life, you can think all you want about what could have, should have, or would have been? However, the greatest success stories in sports are of teams and individuals who use adversity to their advantage and come roaring back unified like never before.

Our team started the process of unification on Sunday.

Of course we were all upset and it was hard to imagine playing without Josh, but at that moment, we all realized the past is now behind us and we, as a team, had no choice but to play the ball where it lies. I will be the first to admit that our ball is in the deep rough, but all it takes is one shot to knock us back onto the green. As long as we can keep this hole under control and the damage to a minimum, we will be rewarded on the next drive with the addition of Mike Bruesewitz. Mike, who most fans recall him as "carrot top," was another player lost a few weeks ago when he suffered a seven-inch laceration during practice. At the time of his injury, our team had no idea the severity of it. We are fortunate enough to know that he will be back on the floor battling with us soon.

Our success on the court as a team will not be dictated by a few minor setbacks this season. Josh, the floor general, might be out for the year, but Josh, the leader, will be with us every step of the way on our journey toward success. And I promise you, we will have success.

For all Badger fans out there, do not let your support falter or downgrade the season due to a couple of injuries. As Josh himself said, he will be "OK." He will be back next year, stronger than ever. But the moment is now for Wisconsin basketball. There are five seniors in our locker room who must be sent out the right way.

Yes, we have had a few bumps in the road thus far that have damaged us physically. But the heart and soul of our team will not be touched, regardless of whatever adversity that is thrown our way. Our team has no choice but to continue to get better and stronger each day as one. Our focus is on the present, as shall everyone else's be in their own lives. On, Wisconsin!

The Voice: Timing of crucial injuries tough to take

The_Voice_Matt_Lepay_200.jpgWatch sports long enough, and it can be easy to believe you have seen just about everything.

Then there was last Saturday, when the UW basketball team lost point guard Josh Gasser for the season with a torn ACL. A few hours later, the football team lost starting quarterback Joel Stave.

Never mind the fact the football game ended with a gut-wrenching loss to rival Michigan State. I am just wondering how many major college football and basketball programs lost a QB and a lead guard on the same day?

Before I go any further, it is unlikely any Maryland Terrapins followers will be shedding too many tears, at least when it comes to losing quarterbacks. The Terps have lost four -- count 'em, four -- signal callers this season. Word is the "next man in" will be either a converted linebacker or a converted tight end.

Then there is the case of South Carolina star running back Marcus Lattimore, who came back from a knee injury in 2011. During last Saturday's game with Tennessee, Lattimore hyperextended his right knee, damaging several ligaments. It is not a pretty video.

When these things happen, especially close to home, I find myself getting ticked off at the circumstances. It is a very real question to wonder how Stave and Gasser's injuries will affect the Badgers. But for now, I think about a promising quarterback who is hurt, and very tough junior guard who busted his tail the entire off season, only to find out he won't have a season -- at least this season.

Trust me, I understand there are a lot worse things that can happen to people. Unfortunately, lately, I have had the chance to see a lot of that up close. What I am talking about here is the sometimes cruel nature of sports, and how the fortunes of a team, and more specifically a player, can turn on a dime.

During this open week in the football schedule, coach Bret Bielema, his staff and his players will move forward. Everyone will do his part to support Danny O'Brien and Curt Phillips (think about what he has gone through in his career), and the Badgers will continue to prepare each day for the stretch drive of the regular season. They do so knowing a trip to Indianapolis is still in their hands.

As for basketball, Bo Ryan has proven to be a master of dealing with adversity. He is hardly a rookie at this stuff. His first year as Wisconsin's head man, Ryan lost promising guard Latrell Fleming because of a heart condition, and big man Andreas Helmigk to a knee injury. A couple of years later, Alando Tucker's season was cut short because of a broken foot. Late in the 2007 season, Brian Butch dislocated his elbow. A few years later, Jon Leuer missed half of the Big Ten season because of a broken wrist.

Watch sports long enough and it is wise to understand that sometimes things happen that seem unfair.

A few days ago, Badger fans were excited about an improving football team and its young quarterback. The basketball backers already knew about Josh Gasser, and were eager to see him play the point.

By Saturday night, the mood had changed. Yes, I too am curious at how the two teams will respond. History tells me they will have no shortage of resolve.

But above all else, I just wish the best for the injured players. Yes, they know the risks involved, and now they are going through the lousy part of athletics. I look forward to watching them get back in the arena, so they can once again experience the far more enjoyable side of sports.

All-Access: The Badgers invade Bloomington

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As the Badger women's soccer team prepares for its second-consecutive berth in the Big Ten Women's Soccer Tourmament, follow the 2012 squad as Jeremy Wodajo chronicles the entire trip in his all-access blog.

Day 3: Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012

3:11 p.m. - The bus pulls into Madison, Wis. After a combined 14 hours and eight minutes of driving, including over 700 miles traveled, the Badgers arrive safely on the UW campus. Now ... the waiting game begins. 

11:38 a.m. - Movie #2: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days....'nuff said.

11:02 a.m.  - After perusing the highway signs for a nearby Panera, we finally landed on one in Fighting Illini country. Although considered enemy territory, Champaign, Ill., was the most reasonable stop for food as we were just over three hours and 30 minutes from home and needed something to hold us over before then.

We also didn't want to take the chance of not hitting any food stops within the next two hours --  so all in all, the 20-minute wait in line was well worth it.

9:19 a.m. - The first movie of the trip back -- Harry Potter: The Deathly Hallows Part II. Seemed like a good watch considering I was only awake for the second half of the flick. 

8:56 a.m. - Everyone is accounted for as we fill the bus and head back toward Madison. Aside from the short-lived rap battles that consumed all of five minutes of the trip off of the Indiana University campus, the exhausted and groggy faces of a few of the players also provided a source of entertainment for all. 

Day 2: Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012

10:04 p.m. - A disappointing way to end the trip in Bloomington, Ind., but the Badgers, along with the entire staff, remain in high spirits as the NCAA Tournament selection show nears.

The players and coaches will spend one more night in the "castle-like" hotel before hitting the road for Madison at 9 a.m. Thursday morning. The team will continue to train as if in season and plan to congregate Monday afternoon as the fate of their season now lies in the decisions made by NCAA Tournament's selection committee.

7:13 p.m. - GAMETIME!!!!IMG_5433_sm.jpg

7:01 p.m. - With plenty of time to rest, the Badgers load the bus and head to Armstrong Stadium. With music blasting toward the back of the bus, the mood seemed confident yet humble, as the players realize they potentially have one more chance to put it all on the line.

2:39 p.m. - After a short break and the opportunity to head back to the room to catch up on their z's, the Badgers rounded up for lunch. Following a brief walk, the group hit the jackpot just two blocks from the hotel, as we found Noodles & Co., and Potbelly Sandwich Shop right next to one another, nestled in between two clothing stores.

The late lunch allowed each group to get in and out with just enough time to head back to the hotel and nap before the 5:55 p.m. team meeting.

12:11 p.m. - After taking a walk down the winding hallway that led to the video room -- which included a stop at the mini-graveyard just outside of the hotel -- the team spent the noon hour watching film.

walk_through_sm.jpg11:09 a.m. - The Badgers pile onto the bus to head to ground zero -- also known as Armstrong Stadium. Before sitting down to briefly watch the No. 4 Minnesota Gophers take on the No. 5 Fighting Illini, the team used an auxiliary field to conduct a quick walk-through in preparation for their quarterfinal match-up.

10:48 a.m. - We are reminded that it is Halloween after walking back from breakfast and seeing nearly every student dressed in everything from cat costumes (whiskers and all) to the biggest human pumpkin I have ever seen.

9:58 a.m. - The 7:30 p.m. match time allowed the team a little extra time to sleep in this morning. Despite the later wake-up call, the team bus driver still needed his beauty sleep so the team explored the campus by foot to find breakfast.

The majority of the Badgers decided on a small bagel shop known as Bloomington Bagel Company (Go figure!), that is well-known for its "east coast" bagels. After a short wait in line, it seemed as though many of the players, and nearly everyone that was present at the shop, decided on some combination of egg, cheese and bacon/sausage/ham, inside of a plain, cinnamon or asiago cheese bagel.

Day 1: Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012

10:41 p.m. - The bus rolls into Bloomington, Ind. UW head coach Paula Wilkins gives the team a short speech regarding the next day's itinerary before excusing them to gather their bags and hit the sack for the night. As we pile onto the 7 x 5 foot elevators, the players stare in awe of the "castle-like" structure of the team hotel, which is nestled in the heart of campus.

Two movies, one dinner stop and six-and-a-half hours of sitting have us all tired and ready for what tomorrow brings -- the 2012 Big Ten Tourney and a potential NCAA Tournament bid.

9:16 p.m. - The rain continues to fall as the second movie draws to a close. The noise on the bus is faint and it seems as though many of the players are either reading up for next week's midterms....or sleeping -- my guess would be the latter.

8:45 p.m. - A quick pit stop to one of the city's nearby gas stations results in a break from the chick flick and a chance for all to stretch their legs before hitting the home stretch of the road trip.

6:12 p.m. - The second installment of the movie portion of the trip began just after the six o'clock hour, as the consensus choice was No

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Strings Attached. The light drizzle that set in just as the bus entered the state of Indiana did not put a damper on the Ashton Kutcher-lovers who were seeing the movie for the umpteenth time, but still laughed at every comical scene.

4:33 p.m. - Just under an hour after crossing the Illinois border, the team makes the first stop of the trip at Sweet Tomatoes. Although the spot is known for its buffet-style menu of sandwiches, salads and soups, the pizza and ice cream stations seemed to garner the most attention.

2:07 p.m. - It did not take long before the first movie request was made. Regardless of the lack of interest from assistant head coach Tim Rosenfeld, who was manning the DVD player, the renowned trilogy and award-winning novel, The Hunger Games, was the first of two flicks played on the winding drive to Hoosierville.

1:52 p.m. - Following the team's noon practice, all 29 members of the Badgers' travel party boarded the Badger Bus and geared up for the 6.5-hour road trip to Bloomington, Ind., for the 2012 Big Ten Women's Soccer Tournament.

Finding Inspiration

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In today's Badger Blog, freshman Staci Roscizewski talks about the experience of visiting the UW Children's Hospital, what she learned and how it inspired her. 

As an incoming freshman on the Wisconsin softball team, I was prepared to grow physically, mentally, and emotionally. I expected to push my limits in the weight room, on the field, and in the classroom. However, one part of being a Badger student-athlete I did not expect was the amazing volunteer opportunities. As a team, I am proud to say that we participate in many volunteer activities on campus and in the Madison community. Personally, one of the most fulfilling activities was visiting the UW Children's Hospital. 
While at the children's hospital, groups of four Badgers went from room to room making casual conversations with patients and their families. Some kids could not wait to tell us about how excited they were to be Aaron Rodgers for Halloween, while others just wanted us to be quiet so they could watch Monsters Inc. Each child had their own way of coping with the stress of what they were going through. It is hard to truly understand what they are experiencing, given not many of us have been in similar situations. The UW softball team felt like anything to make one child's day a little better would be worth the visit. Sometimes, four Badgers could put a smile on a little boy or girl's face. Believe it or not, a single smile from patients would brighten our day more than their own. 
Each child really made me put my own life into perspective. Sometimes when school or softball is stressful and seems unmanageable, I often think about the visit to the children's hospital. The stress and complications of my life does not compare to those of the children in the hospital. I am sure the children we visited would love to have our stresses rather than their own. I will forever have the images of the children we visited in my head when I want to complain about waking up early or writing a paper, because in reality, those are privileges that few of us are fortunate to have. Seeing first hand how such small children can be so strong is truly an inspiration and serve as a constant reminder of just how fortunate we are. Making a visit to the children's hospital was one of the must humbling experiences I have ever had. 
One reoccurring theme throughout the visit that I noticed was lots of family and love. In almost every single room, there were family members there to support their loved ones. Patients' families really appreciated the time that the softball team was spending with their loved ones and made the visit even more worthwhile. Seeing the involvement by not only family members, but also the caring hospital staff was incredible. As soon as we walked in, we all immediately noticed how welcoming and surprisingly cheery the atmosphere was for a hospital. 
As a team, I believe that we benefited from this experience. The unbelievable feeling of happiness was overwhelming when we were able to make a child's day easier. Seeing the unfortunate circumstances of so many beautiful children made us realize how blessed we are to be able to represent the University of Wisconsin as student-athletes. 

After the visit, we collectively decided that more visits were soon to come. Making similar visits to the hospital is something that will create a strong bond within the team that is hard to find among 23 young women. More importantly, it gives hope to children that desperately need someone to put that little smile on their face. I often think about how the children in the hospital look up to the Badgers and idolize our accomplishments, but little do they know it is the Badgers that find inspiration in them. 

Soccer Insider: Stakes rise as regular season comes to a close

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Williams,Kodee12_MichiganState1_sm.jpgWith one weekend left in the regular-season, the Badgers are in a tie for the No. 4 seed with both Minnesota and Illinois. The Gophers downed UW on Sept. 27, while the Badgers outlasted Illinois in their regular-season home finale. All three squads have earned 16 points in conference matches, with the Gophers holding the tie-break in the case that all three win in the final weekend of competition. Either way, the scenarios that are bound to unfold will not hamper UW's chances at a trip to Bloomington, Ind. -- they will only make the journey toward its first Big Ten tourney title in over a decade that much more difficult.

Quick Hits:
Silence of the Lam-Feist
Senior Monica Lam-Feist has tallied a career-high 13 points in 2012, including a pair of scores in UW's 4-2 win over Purdue on Friday, Oct. 19, posting her first multi-goal match of the season. Lam-Feist's quiet demeanor is off-set by her aggressive on-field approach to defending, as well as scoring points. This season, the senior is leading the Badgers in shots (52) and is second in total goals (6).

Goal-oriented
The Badgers are tallying goals at a rapid pace this season. After 18 matches, Wisconsin has eclipsed its entire goal total from 2011. Behind a trio of four-goal outings and a five-goal performance against South Dakota State, the Badgers have 37 goals to date, 11 more than their total output all of last season, with one regular season match to go.

Wisconsin's offensive improvement is largely due to its aggressiveness on the front line. UW is outshooting its opponents 251-206 and are outscoring foes 37-23. 

Believe in who you can become

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In today's Badger Blog, senior catcher Maggie Strange writes about a leadership presentation she attended, what she learned and how she can become a better leader. 

"I believe in who you can become." Brian Curtis

Four years after I began my journey as a Badger, I was given the opportunity to attend an event hosted by Brian Curtis.

Brian, a former soccer coach, writer and father, spoke to some of the student-athletes at the University of Wisconsin. The discussion started off with having to talk to a teammate for forty seconds and to compliment them, tell them positive things. 

Sounds easy right? Could you do it without using filler words, such as "um or like"?

Now, could you look a different teammate in the eyes and tell them two things they need to work on? Oh sure you could if you actually had time to sit down and think about it and really evaluate. 
 
The hardest thing to do as a teammate is to be positive; a great team has great communication. The impact of words that you use affects your coaches, your university and your team. 

Whether you are walking through an airport, down the street or even speaking to a professor, value what you say, what you wear and how you act. Keep your emotions under control. 

Brian presented us with some clips of coaches and players who let their emotions get the best of them, and yea, we all laughed and giggled about it, but Brian made sure we understood the reason that we were watching these. Emotion kills; it gets the best of you. 

One thing that our coaches really preach to our team is to be accountable, Brian said the same thing, be accountable for your emotions and your actions. Nothing is off record and everything you say, counts. 

"Do not underestimate the power of you voice, body or eyes." Brian Curtis

Be proud, sit up straight, look someone in the eyes when being spoken to, be honest. Think to yourself, did I lie today? The question that Brian asked us as a group, some raised their hands and said yes, but when asked what they lied about they couldn't answer. "You don't have to remember a lie." He said. Just be honest with yourself and who are you are talking to or it will come back to haunt you. 

As student athletes, we are placed on a pedestal. Our Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts are under a bird's eye view. Believe it or not what we post online not only reflect who we are but also is never removed from search engines, meaning coaches, employers and fans can see these things anytime they want. 

Brain gave us three rules to remember when posting things online. 

1. Would you stand in the middle of campus and scream it? 
2. Would you put it in an email to your mom and dad?
3. Would you want your future kids to read it?

He also led us through an exercise where he crumpled up a bunch of pieces of paper and threw them in a box that was taped on the floor. Two volunteers, one being myself and the other being a basketball player were then put to the test. We had to walk backwards through this minefield of paper, with people from our team leading us through it. 

As we have done in our softball practices with coach Schneider leading someone through an obstacle course with our eyes closed, I pinpointed Molly's voice and strictly listened to her through this course. The other team had many people yelling and telling my opponent where to step, etc. 

The purpose of this was to figure out whose voice matters. He mentioned that sometimes to be the best leader you have to be quiet. If you listen to too many people at once, its chaos. But, if you listen to just one person to get you through an obstacle, you will be better off. 

With this part of the presentation, he mentioned a few great leaders and coaches. Napoleon for example, would pull up a soldier and have him introduced to the platoon that was headed to war. This was simply to show his soldiers that he cared about them and therefore they would work harder. 

John Wooden was another example, he made his players practice putting their socks on correctly for two hours. 

The reason? To pay attention to the details, because the little things matter. 

You can be a quiet player and still have leadership potential. You just have to be trusted and able to trust, communicate and represent, be smart about your social media, and practice leadership exercises. 

Sometimes your best leaders aren't your best athletes. 

The Voice: Bielema all about finding ways to win

The_Voice_Matt_Lepay_200.jpgLast Saturday the Badgers beat Minnesota for the ninth-straight year, matching the longest winning streak for either team in major college football's oldest rivalry.

It also improved Wisconsin's home winning streak to 21 games, and the victory gives Bret Bielema's teams a 44-3 record at Camp Randall Stadium. The 44 wins on the home turf is the best among FBS teams since 2006.

There is one other note that has gone a bit under the radar. In University of Wisconsin football history, there have been 27 head coaches. With Saturday's result, Bielema has led his teams to more victories than all but one.

I am pretty sure you have heard of the coach who tops the list.

Now in his seventh year as the Badgers' head coach, Bielema's record is 66-21, with a Big Ten mark of 36-16. His winning percentage is top-five among active coaches, ahead of well-known figures such as Mark Richt, Brian Kelly, Les Miles and Nick Saban.

It is dangerous, if not reckless, to compare Bielema's first half-dozen-plus years with Barry Alvarez, whose 118 wins leads the pack at UW. The circumstances were much different. In 1990, Alvarez inherited a mess. In 2006, Bielema moved from being Barry's defensive coordinator to the head man of a program coming off an impressive bowl victory against Auburn.

Still, Bielema inherited a set of expectations, and the pressure that goes with it. The record shows he is handling it quite well, thank you.

Bielema coaches aggressively, and at times does things many would consider outside the box, be it a trick play or his use of timeouts. When those decisions work, observers consider him innovative. When they backfire, observers often have a different description.

This season has a long way to go, with perhaps the best defense Wisconsin will see all year coming to town on Saturday. Yet the fact remains the Badgers are very much in the chase to win a third-straight Big Ten championship, which would be a first in school history.

In August, many already had them at least getting to Indianapolis, if not Pasadena. By the end of September, there was reason to wonder. The offense was scuffling, and Purdue became the new sexy pick to win the division. Now that has changed, and everyone is talking about the improvement going on in Madison.

The offensive line, injuries and all, is coming together. The tight ends and fullbacks are picking up their overall play. Montee Ball (both Mon-tay and Mon-tee) and James White are running with force, and the defense continues to be among the top 20 nationally.

There is enough credit to go around, but since the head man gets the blame when things are going wrong, he probably should get some credit for what is happening now. Bielema saw something on his staff that he believed needed fixing, so he fixed it.

He saw a couple of positions that he believed needed a change in personnel, so there were changes.

The timing of such moves might be out of the norm, but to this point, the returns are encouraging.

We get to find out together how the second half of the conference season will unfold. Maybe the Badgers win out, maybe they lose out, or perhaps they will end up somewhere in between. However it plays out, my guess is Bielema will continue to do things his way, regardless of how -- as he calls it -- the "outside world" reacts.

Can't say I blame him. It seems to be working out OK.

No matter where you stand, the numbers speak loudly. In year seven, Bret Bielema is the second winningest coach in Wisconsin football history. Bielema said Alvarez told him he would be very happy to see his successor move up one more notch.

Only 53 wins to go, right?

Intentionalism in the off-season

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In today's blog, head coach Yvette Healy talks about the importance of intentionalism in off-season work. 

After six weeks of fall practices and games, we're switching gears into our off-season. We were able to train with our student-athletes for 20 hours per week during the fall season. It was great getting to see our freshmen compete and see how our new faces fit in with our returning squad. 

With eight new freshmen, we spent a majority of our time identifying how each new athlete could fit into, and enhance, our current system. Unfortunately, a lot of our freshmen were injured. We had two serious concussions and a few knee and ankle problems that held a few kids back. 

Overall, we're pleased with the athletes we've added, they will certainly help us. We're even more excited about the strides that many of our returning players have made. We've seen some huge physical and athletic changes in our returners. Many have come back in great shape, after spending the summer enhancing their strengths and picking apart their weaknesses. 

We use the term "get-it" with our athletes a lot. Do they understand and value the opportunity in front of them? Are they passionately driven to succeed? Do they have a plan for success? Many student-athletes don't "get-it" right away. Some never get it until after they graduate. Our job as coaches is to expedite the "getting-it" process, so that our athletes mature and get motivated right from the start.

One key element that helps kids understand their role, and motivates them to work toward improvement, is our individual meetings. We just finished 23 individual meetings with our team this week, spending a half hour with each student-athlete reviewing how she did this fall and helping her prioritize what she needs to work on in the off-season. Communication is such a key component of success. We've had conversations with our athletes throughout the fall, pulling them into our offices if they needed guidance, direction, and wake-up calls. For most of them, the fall meetings were just an opportunity to share their insights, and make sure we're on the same page regarding what their roles are, and how to embrace those roles and become great at them.

The new buzz word of this fall has been INTENTIONALISM. If you showed up at any team meetings or practices, you probably heard the word INTENTIONALISM one hundred times. In athletics, we use the word intentionalism to make sure that we have quality practices. We challenge our athletes to know themselves and use each practice as an opportunity to get better at a specific skill. It's quality over quantity. It's practice with a purpose. We make sure they're not just punching a time clock and taking 50 mindless swings, but actually working to improve certain mechanical aspects of their swing with each cut. Intentionalism is the difference between just taking 100 ground balls or taking 100 ground balls and improving angle steps, short hops, back hands, footwork or glove work with each rep. The book "Talent is overrated" talks a lot of intentional practice for elite athletes.

Our staff has taken intentionalism to a different level. On a personal/motivational level, intentionalism helps us fight through the grind. We're entering "the grind" phase of the season. We'll lift and condition five days a week. We will spend a lot of time on the seemingly meaningless, detailed parts of the game. We'll put huge amounts of time and effort into the least glamorous parts of softball. Staying motivated and energized this time of year can be tough. We've challenged our team to be intentional with their workouts. Each time you sprint, it's not just about getting faster; it's an act of sacrifice for your team. Each time you study, it's not just about being smarter, it's a way to help the team achieve their goals by staying focused, staying eligible and eliminating distractions. Each extra cut off the tee if for the greater good of the team. It's about preparing yourself to help the team achieve their goals. This selflessness is noble, it's critical. We can serve our teammates and our university by putting in the extra time and effort to become the best athletes and students we can be. That is true leadership and appreciation in action.

B1G Race: Badgers back in Big Ten Tourney hunt

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Following the Badgers' 3-0 week, UW has now positioned itself to make a move for a top-four seed in the 2012 Big Ten Tournament scheduled to begin later this month in Bloomington, Ind. The Badgers have three regular-season matches left -- all on the road -- against squads who are also in the hunt for the top-eight spots in the tournament field. 
       "To get nine more points is the focus for us moving forward," UW head coach Paula Wilkins said. "There have been momentum building moments in all of the seasons and we've got to use last week as a momentum builder."

Quick Kicks:
Clutch Cara 
Sophomore Cara Walls played the role of savior during the Badgers last two matches, notching game-winning goals against both Northwestern and Illinois. The sophomore is currently tied for third in the Big Ten in game-winning goals (2) and now leads her team in points (17) and goals (8), after tallying 19 points and nine goals in 2011. 

10 is the magic number 
For the fourth-consecutive season the Badgers have eclipsed the 10-win plateau. Following UW's 2-1 double-overtime win over Illinois on Sunday, the Badgers matched their win total from 2011, with three matches left in the regular season. UW has now tallied 10 or more wins in seven of the last 10 years, making an appearance in the NCAA Tournament during five of those 10 double-digit winning seasons. 

The Voice: Battle for the Axe can't be taken for granted

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The_Voice_Matt_Lepay_200.jpgCall me paranoid, but Saturday's Wisconsin-Minnesota football game has me a bit concerned.

The annual Battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe has been a one-sided affair of late. The Badgers have won the previous eight meetings. There have been some blowouts, including last year's 42-13 pounding in Minneapolis, but four of the last eight games have been one-score contests.

The most famous of those close encounters is the 2005 Miracle in the Metrodome, when Jonathan Casillas blocked a punt, and Ben Strickland recovered in the end zone with 30 seconds to play, giving Wisconsin a stunning 38-34 victory.

When one team is dominating another, it is easy to say it isn't much of a rivalry. Such was the case when Iowa had a 20-year run of not losing to Wisconsin. The Badgers busted that streak with a 13-10 decision in 1997.

Given Wisconsin's string of success against the Gophers, the words "isn't much of a rivalry" seem to be popping up again, be it from fans, media or other observers.

Kinda makes me cringe.

When I prepare for a game broadcast, I try to consider what those on the other side might be thinking. Compared to a coach or a player's preparation, what I do is pretty low-level stuff, but it never hurts to put yourself in the other guy's shoes.

In this case, the Gophers have issues. After a 4-0 start, the Gophers have lost two straight games. Last week, things could not have started much worse. A muffed opening kickoff that Northwestern recovered. The Wildcats needed one play to score. On the ensuing kickoff, the Gophers' return man fielded the kick, but promptly lost his footing, giving Minnesota lousy field position.

Eventually they did settle down a bit, but the Cats still won the game 21-13.

Then there is the issue of Coach Jerry Kill's health. After finishing with his media obligations last Saturday, Kill suffered another seizure. He has a history of dealing with seizures. Thankfully, once again, he seems to have recovered quickly.

Keep in mind that, while Kill's situation is unusual, most of his staff has been with him for several years. That includes offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover and defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys. It only makes sense to believe they know what to do, and they know how Kill runs his program. It is hardly ideal, but when Coach Kill needs medical attention, it is logical to believe that the assistants are prepared to handle it.

On the field, the health of quarterback MarQueis Gray is a key storyline. After an injury on Sept. 15, Gray returned to the field last week and made some plays. Listed at 250 pounds, Gray is a dangerous runner, and the statistics indicate he is an improved passer.

However, he suffered another ankle injury in the third quarter.

From what I have seen and heard, all of this seems to have at least some folks expecting the Badgers to keep possession of the Axe without much in the way of drama.

Look, if that is how it plays out, great. I just think assuming such things can be extremely dangerous. Especially in the Big Ten. Especially this year.

If I'm on the other side, I am sick and tired of watching my opponent take the victory lap. If I'm on the other side, you better believe it is a big-time rivalry.

That's because it is. Lopsided in recent years? Yes. But in Wisconsin and in Minnesota, that does not change what this rivalry means.

Never has. Never will.

Freshman spotlight: Nic Veling

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With the start of official practices upon us, UWBadgers.com will introduce to you the newest members of the Wisconsin wrestling team by giving you a look at who they are off the mat.

Previous spotlights:
Jesse Thielke
TJ Ruschell
Rylan Lubeck
Justin Koethe
Isaac Jordan
Parker Hines
Kegan Gennrich
Lenny Bloom

In our final installment we meet Brookfield, Wis., native Nic Veling.

Veling was a four-year varsity member at Brookfield Central before coming aboard for the Badgers. He was the Lancers' captain in both his junior and senior seasons, and was also named the team's MVP in his senior year. He also competed with the Team Wisconsin National Team.

Off the mat, Veling played football and ran cross country in high school, and was honored with the Bob Petruska Award, which is given to the Brookfield Central athlete who best displays leadership, sportsmanship and determination.

Favorites:
Athlete: Jake Varner

Movie: Hot Rod

TV Show: How the Universe was Made

Sports team: Green Bay Packers

Food: Chocolate

Place on campus:
Witte Hall

Vacation spot: Gulf Shores, Alabama

Wrestler: Lee Kemp

Place to wrestle other than the UW Field House:
My basement.


Questions:

Why did you choose the University of Wisconsin?: UW-Madison has a great history of prestigious scholars and athletes.

First started wrestling: 14 years old/8th Grade

Most memorable match: Qualifying for Greco nationals during my last match at the Central Regional Qualifier.

Before each match I...: Imagine what each period of the match will be like.

In off-season training, I worked on: Increasing my foot speed.

Dream as a collegiate wrestler: Become a national champion.

What talent would you like to have?: Shoot a free throw.

Dream job/career: Radiologist

Dream date: Bar Refaeli

One thing I absolutely have to do before I turn 40: Skydive

If I could live anywhere in the world, it would be:
In Montana, between the mountains and the plains.

If I could bring one thing from my hometown, it would be: My super-comfy bed.

Greatest invention of the last 100 years: Cell phone

What is your greatest fear?: Giant spiders

What is your greatest achievement?:
Achieving the rank of Eagle Scout/joining the UW wrestling team.

Which fictional or historical figure would you like to meet?: Albert Einstein

Most famous person I've met: Florence Welch

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?:
Mind reading

If I had a million dollars, I would...: Invest the money for retirement

Person I'd love to trade places with for a day and why: Jordan Burroughs, he has accomplished all of my wrestling goals.

Favorite quote: "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right."

Wish Upon a Badger: James Helmuth

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A couple years ago, inspired by the "Make a Wish" campaign, the UW Athletic Department began its own version with "Wish Upon a Badger." A number of different sports have participated, including men's basketball, women's tennis, football and softball (View all "Wish Upon a Badger" videos).

In cooperation with the American Family Children's Hospital on campus, children are given the opportunity to go behind the scenes with their favorite team, meeting the players and coaches, touring the facilities and hanging out at a practice.

On the Friday before facing UTEP, the Badger football team had the opportunity to host James Helmuth. James has been undergoing treatment since August and is a huge football fan, with his favorite player being Montee Ball.

As you can see in the video, James got to spend the day immersed in Badger football, spending some time in Coach Bielema's office then getting a special present from his favorite player.

Freshman spotlight: Jesse Thielke

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With the start of official practices upon us, UWBadgers.com will introduce to you the newest members of the Wisconsin wrestling team by giving you a look at who they are off the mat.

Previous spotlights:
TJ Ruschell
Rylan Lubeck
Justin Koethe
Isaac Jordan
Parker Hines
Kegan Gennrich
Lenny Bloom

Today we take a look at one of the more highly-touted members of this year's freshman class, Germantown, Wis., native Jesse Thielke.

Thielke comes to the Badgers after taking last year to train in an attempt to qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Thielke just missed qualifying, taking fourth at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in the Greco-Roman competition.

Prior to that he was a star at Germantown High School for four years where he compiled a near-perfect 185-1 career record and was a four-time Wisconsin state champion - one of only eleven in state history. He was also a two-time Greco-Roman champion at Fargo.

Thielke is a four-time U.S. world junior team member, and took home his first medal at the FILA Junior World Championships - a bronze - in September in the Greco-Roman competition.

Favorites:
Athlete: Aaron Rodgers

Movie: Return of the Jedi

TV show: Fringe

Sports team: Packers

Food: Buffalo wings

Place on campus: Lucky apartments

Vacation spot: Northern Wisconsin

Wrestler: Dennis Hall

Place to wrestler other than the UW Field House: A raised mat with spotlights (lots)


Questions:


Nickname: Honey Badger

Why Wisconsin?: It was a perfect place for me to both succeed and enjoy myself

First started wrestling:
Age seven in second grade

Most memorable match:
State finals senior year

My favorite thing about Wisconsin wrestling is:
The fans

Before each math I...:
Relax

In off-season training, I worked on: Greco-Roman wrestling

The best thing about Madison is: All the friends I already have here

Dream as a collegiate wrestler: Four-time NCAA Champion

My role models are:
Dennis Hall, Lee Kemp, Cael Sanderson

What talent would you like to have?:
Ability to read minds

Secret talent I have:
Master word search solver

Dream date:
Victoria Secret model

One thing I absolutely have to do before I turn 40:
Win multiple world and Olympic titles

If I could bring one thing from my hometown, it would be:
My pets

Greatest invention of the last 100 years: Xbox

What is your greatest fear?: Death

What is your greatest achievement?: Four-time State Champion

Which fictional or historical figure would you like to meet?: George Washington

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?: Flight

If I had a million dollars, I would...: Invest and save

Worst habit: Over-eating

Favorite quote: "Never waste a minute"

Paige-turner: New year brings Adams success

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Following a season in which she tallied one goal and recorded no more than four shots all year, junior Paige Adams has emerged as arguably the most important member of the 2012 Badgers squad. The British Columbia native is currently leading the UW in points (14) and goals (5), and is tied for the lead in assists (4). As Adams goes, so do the Badgers as UW holds a 7-2-0 record when the junior records at least a point. Adams has either scored or assisted on a goal in nine of 14 matches this season, including a crucial penalty-kick goal in a 3-2 double-overtime win against Illinois St. on Sept. 9. 

Quick Kicks:
Know the foe - The Wildcats
Northwestern is 4-8-2 and has yet to record a win in Big Ten play in 2012. They are currently in the midst of a seven-match winless streak, with their last win dating back to Sept. 9, over Yale. Kate Allen is leading the Wildcats in points (15) and goals (6), while Allen and KK Barr are tied for the lead in assists with three.

McClimon Magic
The Badgers are 5-2-0 at the McClimon Soccer Complex this season, a feat UW has not accomplished since 2009. UW holds a 27-14-7 (.622) record at McClimon during the Paula Wilkins era and have recorded shutouts in 14 of its last 19 home matches, including four alone this season. UW is outscoring opponents, 16-8, at home in 2012 after kicking off its season with three-straight shutout victories.

Badgers Give Back: Saturday Heroes visit 4th graders

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Players on Middleton's fourth grade football team received a few special visitors on Monday night--UW football players Tyler Dippel, Bryce Gilbert and Brendan Kelly.

The trio stopped by the team's football practice to show the 11-and-12-year-olds a few moves and inspire them. All defensive linemen, the student-athletes worked primarily with Middleton's defense.

"I think the kids learned more in the 45 minutes that their 'Saturday Heroes' coached them than we have taught them during the last three years," said coach Grant Stousland.

For the Badger student-athletes, it was an opportunity to reminisce on a time before UW Football.

"It brought back a lot of good memories about why I started playing the game of football--for the fun," said Dippel. "We had a great time. The kids were a lot of fun." 


Badgers Give Back: Football

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Players on Middleton's fourth grade football team received a few special visitors on Monday night--Men's Football players Tyler Dippel, Bryce Gilbert and Brendan Kelly.

The trio stopped by the team's football practice to show the eleven- and twelve-year-olds a few moves and inspire them. All defensive linemen, the student-athletes worked primarily with Middleton's defense.

"I think the kids learned more in the 45 minutes that their 'Saturday Heroes' coached them than we have taught them during the last three years," said coach Grant Stousland.

For the Badger student-athletes, it was an opportunity to reminisce on a time before UW Football.

"It brought back a lot of good memories about why I started playing the game of football--for the fun," said Dippel. "We had a great time. The kids were a lot of fun." 

Freshman spotlight: TJ Ruschell

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With the start of official practices just a few days away, UWBadgers.com will introduce to you the newest members of the Wisconsin wrestling team by giving you a look at who they are off the mat. 

Previous spotlights:
Rylan Lubeck
Justin Koethe
Isaac Jordan
Parker Hines
Kegan Gennrich
Lenny Bloom


Today's spotlight freshman's last name should be a familiar one for Badger fans:  Crittendon, Ky., native TJ Ruschell.

TJ Ruschell joins the Badgers from Ryle High School in Union, Ky., and will be trying to emulate the success that his older brother, and current Wisconsin wrestling assistant coach, Kyle had on the mats in Madison. Kyle was a two-time All-American (2009, 2010) for the Badgers during his five year career from 2005-10.

The younger Ruschell is coming off a successful four-year career for the Ryle Raiders. He compiled a superb 209-21 overall record and was a four-time state placer, including a state title in his junior season. Ruschell was also a four-time regional champion. 

Favorites:

Athlete: Joey Votto/Ken Griffey Jr.

Movie: Remember the Titans

TV show: Seinfeld

Sports teams: Cinncinnati Bengals and Reds

Food: Chicken alfredo/skyline chili

Place on campus: Camp Randall Stadium

Wrestler: Kyle Ruschell/Dave Schultz.


Questions:

Nickname: T-Hammer

Why did you choose Wisconsin?: The coaches and the city of Madison.

First started wrestling: 6 or 7 years old in second grade

Most memorable match: State finals

My favorite thing about Wisconsin wrestling is: The "W"

Before each math I...: Listen to music

In off-season training, I worked on: Getting stronger

The best thing about Madison is: State street

Dream as a collegiate wrestler: NCAA champ

My role models are: My brothers and parents

What talent would you like to have?: To be better at baseball

Secret talent I have: I'm a decent golfer

Dream job/career: Engineer or wrestling coach

One thing I absolutely have to do before I turn 40: Skydive

If I could bring one thing from my hometown, it would be: My friends and family

The most unusual thing the average person would not know about me is: I have been coached by both
of my brothers and my dad.

I can't live without: Coffee

Greatest invention of the last 100 years: iPhone

What is your greatest fear?: Failure

What is your greatest accomplishment?: State champion

Which fictional or historical figure would you like to meet?: Benjamin Franklin

Most famous person I've ever met: Ken Griffey Jr.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?: Fly

If I had a million dollars, I would...: Buy a house on the beach

Worst habit: Overthinking 

Person I'd love to trade places with for a day and why: Rory McIlroy, because he's awesome at golf 


Favorite quote: "The pain of regret lasts far longer than the pain of discipline."


The Voice: Why are we putting blame ahead of the game?

The_Voice_Matt_Lepay_200.jpgDon't know about you, but I am still trying to figure out baseball's infield fly rule, and why some fans might cheer when one of their favorite team's own players is injured.

It sure has been an interesting week in the world of fun and games.

Every now and then, fan behavior becomes the focus of attention, and that certainly has been the case in the last seven days.

During the baseball playoffs last Friday, the Atlanta Braves had runners at first and second with one out. The hitter, Andrelton Simmons, lifted a fly ball to shallow left field. Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma ran out to try and make the play, while outfielder Matt Holliday drifted in to do the same. The ball dropped, but umpire Sam Holbrook declared the infield fly rule, meaning the batter is out, and the runners can advance at their own risk.

Fans were irate and littered the field with bottles, cans and other assorted debris. After nearly 20 minutes, the game resumed. The Cardinals won, while Braves fans left the stadium angry -- and because of the actions of some -- looking foolish.

Then last Sunday, while the struggling Kansas City Chiefs were in the process of losing a low-scoring game to Baltimore, much-maligned quarterback Matt Cassel was injured. While opinions vary, it appeared at least some fans at Arrowhead Stadium were cheering at the sight of Cassel not getting up.

How many fans were cheering is very much open to question, but there were enough to send offensive tackle Eric Winston into a postgame rant.

"When you cheer somebody getting knocked out, I don't care who it is. And it just so happened to be Matt Cassel. It's sickening. It's 100 percent sickening," said Winston. "I've been in some rough times on some rough teams -- I've never been more embarrassed in my life to play football."

Strong stuff.

While Winston has stood by his comments, the following day he did point out that he was not referring to everyone in the stadium. "It might have been 7,000. It might have been 700. It's still too many," Winston told reporters.

No doubt fans in both Atlanta and Kansas City are stinging at the national reaction to the actions of some.

Clearly, and yes, sadly, what happened in those stadiums can happen in any number of cities. While the above examples are from professional sporting events, it seems cases of anger in the stands is becoming more and more evident, even during college games.

Maybe not to the extent of what we have witnessed in the last week, but for some, going to a game is less about enjoyment and more about venting why so-and-so stinks.

It would be irresponsible to claim that fans are the only ones at fault. The media, of which I am a member, has become less about information and more about stirring the pot -- the louder the better.

A common postgame question in the sports talk/message board/Twitter world/blogosphere crowd is "Who's to blame?"   

If we disagree on something, no matter how minor, it is an OUTRAGE!  

All too often, we specialize in overreaction. By "we" I mean media, as well as fans.

No doubt part of this is because of the high salaries of today's pro athletes, and the big bucks pulled in by college coaches. Mega-million-dollar salaries and higher ticket prices can equal increased expectations. But I tend to believe the bigger reason is simple. We have so many avenues to vent, from talk radio, to reader comments in the online editions of newspapers, and of course, through social media.

Everyone has a voice, and it is open season, 24/7/365.

I would like to believe most fans still love the game more than they love to be angry. While not unprecedented, what happened in Atlanta is still the exception to the rule. Kansas City is known as a terrific sports town, especially when it comes to the Chiefs.

So who's to blame? Maybe a lot us, myself included, can start by looking in the mirror.
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Badger freshmen Kinley McNicoll was named to Top Drawer Soccer's top-100 freshmen list, released Tuesday morning. McNicoll came in at No. 57 and is just one of 12 Big Ten rookies to make the list.

The Ontario native came to UW as part of head coach Paula Wilkins' highly-touted freshmen bunch and has shined since earning the starting nod early on during the 2012 pre-season. McNicoll is one of just four freshmen to start for the Badgers, and has garnered seen action in nearly every minute of all 14 contests this season, posting a goal in Monday night's 2-0 win over Green Bay.

McNicoll is third among all Badgers in points (10) and has shown flashes of experience and grit only seen in someone who has redshirted or is nearing the end of their four-year career.

The freshman has shown aggressiveness, ranking second on UW in shots (26) but has also displayed her unselfishness, notching only 10 shots on goal and tallying four assists this season. 

Freshman spotlight: Rylan Lubeck

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With the start of official practices just a few days away, UWBadgers.com will introduce to you the newest members of the Wisconsin wrestling team by giving you a look at who they are off the mat.

Previous spotlights:

Justin Koethe
Isaac Jordan
Parker Hines
Kegan Gennrich
Lenny Bloom

Today, it's Vesper, Wis., native Rylan Lubeck's turn in the spotlight.

Lubeck comes to Madison after a prolific career on the mats at Lincoln High School. Lubeck was a state champion for the Red Raiders in his senior season, a state runner-up in both his junior and sophomore seasons, a four-time regional champion, and a three-time conference and sectional champion. Lubeck has international experience as well, as he wrestled at the 2010 Cadet Pan American games in Manaus Brazil and for the 2010 Greco World Duals USA All-Star Team.

Lubeck's athletic accomplishments at Lincoln weren't just limited to the mat. He also played football and was an all-conference honorable mention running back. He succeeded in the classroom as well. He was a scholar athlete and on the Wisconsin Wrestling All-State Academic Team in each of his four years of high school, and earned a Presidential Academic Education Award in his freshman and senior years.

Favorites:
Athlete: Calvin Johnson

Movie: Act of Valor

TV Show: SportsCenter

Sports team: Green Bay Packers

Food:
Steak

Vacation spot: Cass Lake, Minn.


Questions:
Why did you choose Wisconsin?: It's my home state

First started wrestling: When I was three and a half years old

Most memorable match: Freshman year of high school in the team state finals against Joe Umlauf

My favorite thing about Wisconsin wrestling is: It's my home state

Before each match I...: Pray

Dream as a collegiate wrestler:
Team and individual national title

My role models are: My dad and uncle

One thing I absolutely have to do before I turn 40: Go hunting in Africa

If I could live anywhere in the world, it would be:
Here

The most unusual thing the average person would not know about me is:
I have three fake teeth

I can't live without: Food

What is your greatest achievement?: State title

Which fictional or historical figure would you like to meet?: Jesus

Most famous person I've met: Lee Kemp

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?: Super speed

If I had a million dollars, I would...:
Invest it

Worst habit: Biting my fingernails

Person I'd love to trade places with for a day and why: My dad, to see how his mind thinks

Freshman spotlight: Justin Koethe

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With the start of official practices just a few days away, UWBadgers.com will introduce to you the newest members of the Wisconsin wrestling team by giving you a look at who they are off the mat.

Previous spotlights:
Isaac Jordan
Parker Hines
Kegan Gennrich
Lenny Bloom

Today, we get to know Coralville, Iowa, native Justin Koethe.

Koethe comes to Madison from Iowa City West High School in Iowa City, Iowa, where he was a four-time state placer for the Trojans. Koethe was a three-time FILA Cadet Nationals champion, as well as the 2009 Cadet National freestyle champion and second place finisher in Greco-Roman. He was also a five-time All-American in Fargo at Junior Nationals.

Favorites:

Athlete: Jordan Burroughs

TV Show: Skins

Sports team: Wisconsin wrestling

Food: Chinese

Vacation spot: Texas

Place to wrestle other than the UW Field House: Fargo


Questions:


Why did you choose the University of Wisconsin?: Because it has a great campus, I love the wrestling, the coaches and the team.

First started wrestling: 2nd Grade

Most memorable match: 2009 Freestyle Fargo Finals

My favorite thing about Wisconsin wrestling is: Barry Davis

Before each match I...: Get warm and clear my mind

In off-season training, I worked on: Speed and outside shots

Dream as a collegiate wrestler: Multiple NCAA titles

My role models are: My dad

What talent would you like to be able to have?: To be able to dance

Secret talent I have: Annoying my father

One thing I absolutely have to do before I turn 40: See the ocean

If I could live anywhere in the world, it would be: Paris, France

If I could bring one thing from my hometown, it would be:
My bed

I can't live without: My phone

Greatest invention of the last 100 years: iPod or Xbox

What is your greatest fear?:
Not being able to wrestle anymore due to an injury

What is your greatest achievement?: Getting a scholarship to Wisconsin

Most famous person I've met: Jeremy Hellickson, pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays

If you could have one super power, what would it be?: Flight

If I had a million dollars, I would...: Buy a nice house and car and pay them off

Person I'd love to trade places with for a day and why: Eminem, to see how he lives his life.

What is the link between the best shooters in UW women's basketball history?

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The answer is not technique or physical attributes. They came from different eras and have a variety of heights and body types.

No, the answer is....they are 'nearly' all from small towns.

Of the top-five 3-point shooters in UW's career category, four of the five are from towns of less than 5,000 people. 

At No. 1 is fabled shooter, Jolene Anderson who was from tiny Port Wing, Wis. (pop. 250); No. 2 is Katie Voigt of metropolitan Woodruff, Wis. (pop. now 4,918); at No. 4 is Stephanie Rich, who grew up on a farm outside Crawfordsville, Iowa (pop. 327 at its peak in 1999); and fifth is Dolly Rademaker of Thorp, Wis. (pop. 1,753).

The exception coming in at No. 3 is Kyle Black (Rechlicz), who was a gym rat from Indianapolis and now is head women's basketball coach at Milwaukee.

This common link made these players excel for a very good reason. In a small town, you invent your own fun and to these athletes, the most fun was shooting hoops.

I know this because I am from a small town, and that was a passion of mine, too, until the ankles gave out and I turned to golf instead. In a small town, there is a hoop in nearly every driveway (or on the barn for Stephanie), and a game of H.O.R.S.E. is easily generated.

I bring this to your attention because Rademaker is going to be honored next week for that shooting prowess among other talents. She will be inducted into the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame on Oct. 13 in Madison. The four-year letterwinner from 1990-94 played in 111 games as a Badger, averaging 7.4 points per game. She is the first UW player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame since girls' were included in 2010.

Dolly was an all-state guard and Miss Wisconsin Basketball award winner that drew the attention of a lot of college recruiters. But she wanted to play for her home state school and found a place in the varsity lineup almost from the beginning.

As a senior in high school, she averaged 28.7 points per game. With the tougher defenses in college, that figure dropped considerably, but not the accuracy. Dolly still owns the school record for best 3-point shooting percentage in a season hitting 43.8 percent of her shots (63-144) in 1993-94. She also has the fourth-best 3-point percentage in a season at 40.5 in 1990-91.

More than the stats, Dolly also made her mark in the classroom where she earned Academic All-Big Ten honors three years. She graduated with a degree in physical therapy and works as a therapist in Menomonie, Wis., where I am sure she is teaching that deadly stop-and-pop shot to her three children - Brock, Shelby and Brody.

Congratulations to Dolly Rademaker Thornton on this wonderful honor. It shows that being from a small town doesn't prevent one from dreaming big and accomplishing those goals and even making it to a Hall of Fame!

NOTE: Dolly Rademaker is just the ninth girl player and the first UW-Madison player in the WBCA Hall of Fame. Click here for full listing.

 Most UW Career 3-Point Goals

 1. Jolene Anderson        248         2004-08

 2. Katie Voigt                234         1993-98

 3. Kyle Black                191         1998-02

 4. Stephanie Rich          182         2002-05

  5. Dolly Rademaker       173         1990-94

 

Author Tamara Flarup was the long-time Director of Women's Sports Information at Wisconsin from 1977-2001, and today continues to work in the athletics program as the Director of Website Services and home blogger for women's basketball. She was the sports information contact during Dolly's reign.


Freshman spotlight: Isaac Jordan

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With the start of official practices just under two weeks away, UWBadgers.com will introduce to you the newest members of the Wisconsin wrestling team by giving you a look at who they are off the mat.

Past spotlights:

Parker Hines
Kegan Gennrich
Lenny Bloom

Today we meet Isaac Jordan, who is looking to continue his family's impressive legacy at Wisconsin.

Isaac Jordan is the latest member of the Jordan family to wrestle for the Badgers. His father, Jim, was a two-time national champion, and three-time All-American, at Wisconsin in the 1980s, and still holds the all-time program record for wins in a career (156). His uncle, Jeff, was a two-time All-American for the Badgers in the 1980s as well, and his older brother, Ben, earned All-America honors last season to close out his UW career.

But, Isaac is certainly an accomplished wrestler in his own right. He was a three-time Ohio state champion at Graham High School in St. Paris, Ohio, and put together an impressive 154-9 career record. That mark included an unblemished 43-0 senior season, a season in which he was ranked among the top high school wrestlers nationally.

FAVORITES

Athlete: Aaron Rodgers

Movie: Lawless

TV show: Friends

Sports team: Green Bay Packers

Food: Pizza

Place on campus:
Camp Randall Stadium

Vacation spot:
The beach

Wrestler: Kyle Ruschell

Place to wrestle other than the UW Field House:
Iowa


QUESTIONS

Nickname?:
Zeke

Why did you choose Wisconsin?: The tradition

First started wrestling:
5 years old

In off-season training I worked on:
Riding

The best thing about Madison is:
The food

Dream as a collegiate wrestler:
NCAA champion

My role models are: My grandpa and dad

Dream date: Alex Morgan

One thing I absolutely have to do before I turn 40: Skydiving

If I could live anywhere in the world, it would be:
East coast

If I could bring one thing from my hometown, it would be: Crabill's hamburgers

I can't live without:
iPod

What is your greatest fear?: Brandon Weber (teammate)

Which fictional or historical figure would you like to meet?: Abraham Lincoln

Most famous person I've met: Dave Chappelle

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?:
Flying

If I had a million dollars, I would...: Buy a car

Zach Bohannon's Twitter crusade to reach Obama

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VIP_waiting_room_blog2.jpgThe Wisconsin men's basketball team didn't end up playing basketball with President Barack Obama Thursday (they still might down the road), but it wasn't for lack of effort by junior Zach Bohannon.

The Badgers did end up getting a private meet-and-greet with the president before Obama addressed a crowd on campus.

While connections from freshman George Marshall sealed the deal to meet Obama, Bohannon's full-court press via Twitter got the ball rolling. Here is a sampling of some of Bohannon's nearly 100 Tweets aimed at Obama and his staff.


FB Insider: History says Badgers far from finished

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It's no secret that Camp Randall Stadium provides some very friendly confines for the Wisconsin football team. The Badgers are 42-3 at home since Bret Bielema took the helm in 2006.

With that in mind, it will feel good for the Badgers to return home Saturday after suffering a tough loss on the road at Nebraska last week.

Beyond the fact that UW loses so rarely at home -- the Badgers are 21-3 in Big Ten games at Camp Randall under Bielema -- history says that last week's setback won't derail Wisconsin's league title aspirations.

In the previous five seasons in which the Badgers lost their first Big Ten road game, UW went on to post a combined record of 24-7 after suffering that initial road loss.

That includes a 5-1 mark last season and a 7-0  record in 2010 after losing conference road openers at Michigan State.

Wisconsin has won 18 Big Ten games since the start of the 2010 season, tying with the Spartans for the most league wins of any conference team over that span.

In other words, don't write these Badgers off just yet.

Late Arrival: Richard impressive in goal

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First appeared in Varsity

Genevieve Richard began the season out of the running for the starting GK position at UW. Richard was selected to join the Canadian National Team at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in late August, missing most of preseason camp. 

Richard returned to Madison to find the Badgers sitting in the top-25 and riding a five-game home win streak. Following a 1-2-0 stretch, the junior was inserted into the starting GK role, making her first in-game appearance on the road against Ohio State. 

The Quebec native did not disappoint, tallying six saves and posting UW's first road shutout of 2012. 


Quick Hits:
Early Bird Gets the Worm: UW holds a 60 percent chance of winning the match when scoring first and are 6-0-0 in game's where they have accomplished just that this season. The Badgers are 5-0-0 when leading at the half and 2-1-1 when tied heading into the intermission.

Goal-oriented: After 12 matches, Wisconsin has recorded nearly 90 percent of its entire goal total from 2011. Behind a pair of four-goal outings and a five-goal performance against South Dakota State, the Badgers have 23 goals to date, just three shy of their 2011 total of 26 goals. Wisconsin's offensive improvement is largely due to its aggressiveness on the front line. UW is outshooting its opponents 159-150 and is outscoring foes 23-15.

Happy October!

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In today's Badger Blog, head coach Yvette Healy talks about the fall, Badger Olympics and the hard work everyone is putting in on and off the field.

Happy October! The fall is flying by here in Madison. The trees are changing colors and we've already played six of our eight fall games. We're 6-0 so far, pitching one perfect game, and one no-hitter. Even with all 23 student-athletes on our squad earning playing time this fall, we're hitting almost .400 as a team. It's hard to believe that we only have two weeks left to practice. We've taken a creative approach with our team this fall. With eight new freshmen, our staff has placed a priority on leadership and competition. We're fostering leadership through team chalk-talks, weekly meetings, senior goals and constant communication. Our staff has really enjoyed getting to know each of our student-athletes better, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and coming up with individualized plans to help maximize each athlete's potential.

The most exciting part to witness this fall is the infusion of competition. Coach Schneider created a Badger Olympics program to reinforce that competitive spirit every day. It's been fun and insightful seeing the old and new players battle it out on the "tough mudder" obstacle course, push-up challenge, juggling, distance throw and speed tests. The intensity at practice has really improved with the addition of more softball challenge drills.

This spring season will certainly test our mental toughness as a program. After finishing the past two years with a 77 and 52 RPI, and back-to-back 30 win seasons, we're pleased to have the program moving in the right direction. Yet we'll have to make another leap this year to steal a few top 25 wins, contend for a Big Ten championship and compete in the NCAA tournament. We amped up our schedule to face more ranked teams earlier in the season. With ten weekends on the road this spring, we'll need every bit of leadership and competitive training to succeed.    

The Voice: Badgers keep finding time to give back

The_Voice_Matt_Lepay_200.jpgThere is classroom work and study table. There are position meetings, team meetings, video sessions and practices. There is travel, which can include long flights and bus rides.

Then there are the games, with packed arenas, stadiums, and perhaps up to a few million more fans viewing every play.

A college athlete signs up for all of this. So do the coaches.

Yet, at the University of Wisconsin, the 800 or so student-athletes and coaches make time to give back to the community. For the past several years, it was thought to be a safe guess that UW student-athletes donated some 1,500 hours a year to community service projects.

Turns out the number was more than double that.

Last year, Badgers players and coaches engaged in more than 3,600 hours of community service, ranging from hospital visits and trips to schools to promote reading to projects such as Habitat for Humanity.

"It's really remarkable, with all of their busy schedules, with classes, practices, games and so on, that they make the time to do all of this," UW Associate Athletic Director for External Relations Justin Doherty said.

Yet they do it eagerly.

"Our student-athletes are just amazing with the kids," says Doherty. "The hospital visits, with reading. They have become kids themselves again."

Now the process of connecting with UW Athletics is easier. The department recently launched a new platform called "Badgers Give Back." The goal is to better serve fans and the Madison community.

Organizations can make a request online via the "Badgers Give Back" page at UWBadgers.com.

"It (the request) goes through compliance," explains Doherty. "It goes through our community relations coordinator (Kayla Gross). The process is easy now. We feel good about it, and we feel good that we can communicate what we do."

Coaches spend countless hours trying to figure out how to win the next game. Nobody understands that any better than UW Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez. Yet, he knows the importance of reaching out to the community, and he wants every team on campus to embrace the concept.

"We've tried to take this to our players. We have to give back, too," Alvarez said. "It is not just about our fans giving to us. It is about us giving back to the community. All of our student-athletes buy into that. We know we are an important part of this city, and we want to make sure we give back."

And they have. And they will continue to give back.

In recent years, certain stories have gained a fair amount of attention, such as former Badgers quarterback Scott Tolzien's relationship with a young man who has battled cancer.

While he played basketball at Wisconsin, Michael Flowers also became friends with a young man going through a rough stretch.

Those are just two examples of countless stories where a fan can see a student-athlete away from the athletic arena.

I can tell you from personal experience that the athletes and the coaches enjoy using their platform accordingly, and often are very touched by the people they meet.

During the games it is easy to get excited when the Badgers win, or frustrated win they lose. But it is good to know that there is a lot more to UW student-athletes than where their teams are in the conference standings or national polls.

With the "Badgers Give Back" initiative, it now is a more efficient process for those efforts to continue.

Freshman spotlight: Parker Hines

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With the start of official practices just under two weeks away, UWBadgers.com will introduce to you the newest members of the Wisconsin wrestling team by giving you a look at who they are off the mat. Today, it's Ellsworth, Wis., native Parker Hines' turn under the spotlight.

Previous spotlights:
Kegan Gennrich
Lenny Bloom

Parker Hines comes to Madison from Ellsworth, Wis., where he wrestled four seasons at Ellsworth High School. Hines was a Division 2 state champion and put up a near perfect 38-1 record in his senior season for the Panthers. Hines was a two-time state finalist, and a three-time state qualifier in high school, and helped Ellsworth capture the team state championship in his junior season. He also played football as an offensive lineman and was named the Middle Border Conference Most Valuable Player as well as all-state honorable mention at his position.

Favorites:

Athlete: Jordan Burroughs

Movie:
Never back down

TV Show: That 70s Show

Sports team:
Green Bay Packers

Food: Fruit

Place on campus:
Lakeshore

Vacation spot:
Florida

Place to wrestle other than the UW Field House:
Ellsworth wrestling room


Questions:


Why did you choose Wisconsin?: It's the best campus in Wisconsin and it has strong traditions and history

First started wrestling:
Kindergarten

Most memorable match:
Junior year of high school at regionals, I escaped and took my opponent down to win in seven seconds.

My favorite thing about Wisconsin wrestling is: The tradition

Before each match I...: Break a sweat

In off-season training, I worked on:
Riding technique

Dream as a collegiate wrestler: Become an All-American

My role models are:
Chad Stelt and Hayden Hauschault

What talent would you like to have?:
To be able to play the piano, the guitar, and sing

Secret talent I have: Great dancer

Dream job/career: Actuary

Dream date:
Jullian Hough

One thing I absolutely have to do before I turn 40:
Skydive

If I could live anywhere in the world, it would be: The Midwest

If I could bring one thing from my hometown, it would be: Rush River

The most unusual thing the average person would not know about me is:
I'm single

I can't live without: My iPod

Greatest invention of the last 100 years: iPod

What is your greatest achievement?: State champ

Which fictional or historical figure would you like to meet?:
Winston Churchill

Most famous person I've met: Jack Radabaugh

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?: Mind reader

If I had a million dollars, I would...:
Not have student loans

Person I'd love to trade places with for a day and why: Bill Gates, so I could buy some cars, houses, toys, etc.

Favorite quote: "One day your life will flash before your eyes, make sure it's worth watching."



Five Badgers begin NBA camps, all with new addresses

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With the men's hoops season looming and Wisconsin fans in anticipation of yet another season of Badger basketball, a handful of former UW hoopsters are beginning their journey at the next level.

NBA training camp officially tipped off Tuesday, and all five former Badgers in the NBA are suiting up with new squads in 2012-13.

Devin Harris - Atlanta Hawks
2011-12 Stats: 11.3 PPG, 5.0 APG, 1.0 SPG 
Harris begins the 2012-13 season with his fourth NBA team and will be expected to take over the reins at the point following the abrupt trade of all-star Joe Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets. The 2004 Big Ten Player of the Year joins a relatively young roster that includes only seven players with five or more years of NBA experience but has the luxury of one of the more explosive front courts in the entire NBA with Josh Smith and Al Horford at the forward and center positions, respectively. Harris is no stranger to the spotlight and will be asked to anchor a squad that has been on the brink of reaching the Eastern Conference Finals each of the past three seasons.
VIDEO: Harris at Hawks' media day

Alando Tucker - Milwaukee Bucks
2011-12 Stats: 14.5 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 1.7 APG (Texas Legends -NBDL)
After eclipsing Michael Finley as UW's all-time leading scorer and earning AP First-Team All-American and Big Ten Player of the Year honors in 2007, Tucker entered the NBA Draft and was selected 29th overall by the Phoenix Suns. The Illinois native signed with one other NBA squad (Minnesota T'Wolves) before bouncing around various NBDL and overseas franchises. Tucker will now begin his NBA journey with the Milwaukee Bucks, where he will aim to make an impression on a team that has been plagued by inexperience at the small forward position in recent years.

Greg Stiemsma - Minnesota T'Wolves
2011-12 Stats: 2.9 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.6 BPG
The T'Wolves were a force last season, nearly making the playoffs for the first time since 2003. Steisma begins a new chapter with Minnesota in 2012 after earning his way onto the Boston Celtics roster last year, and earning valuable minutes and the respect of the coaching staff and teammates, including future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett. The Randolph, Wisconsin, natives' persistent mindset paid off with a free agent offer sheet from the T'Wolves who will expect Stiemsma to bring the same defensive intensity and shot-blocking ability that made him a fan-favorite in Boston.
VIDEO: 1-on-1 with Stiemsma

Jon Leuer - Cleveland Cavaliers
2011-12 Stats: 4.7 PPG, 2.6 RPG, .508 FG PCT.
After being drafted by the Bucks in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft and spending the lockout-shortened 2012 NBA season in Milwaukee, Leuer will begin his sophomore campaign with the rebuilding Cleveland Cavaliers. Leuer showed flashes of stardom in his rookie season, appearing in 46 of 60 games played and tallying season-highs of 19 points (Chicago - 1/27/12) and nine rebounds (L.A. Clippers - 1/27/12), and will be expected to play a vital role on a young, yet resurging Cavs squad that is led by 2012 Rookie of Year, Kyrie Irving, at the point guard position.

Brian Butch - Utah Jazz
2011-12 Stats: 15.3 PPG, 9.8 RPG (Bakersfield Jam-NBDL)
After a stint with the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2012 Summer League, Butch's resilience has landed him a spot on the Jazz's NBA training camp roster. The Polar Bear last spent time in the NBA during the 2010-11 season, signing a 10-day contract with the Denver Nuggets. Butch is battling back from the latest in a long line of injuries and looking to make the final roster on a Jazz team that has just one other NBA veteran (Al Jefferson) taller than 6-feet-10.

Ten additional former Badgers have signed contracts to play professionally overseas for the 2012-13 season. 

Badgers Playing Professionally Overseas
PLAYER LOCATION TEAM
Jason Chappell Austria Xion Dukes Klosterneuburg
Trevon Hughes Lithuania Pieno Zvaigzdes
Zach Morley Germany Alba Berlin
Keaton Nankivil Germany Ratiopharm Ulm
Ray Nixon Japan Shiga Lakestars
Kirk Penney Turkey TED Kolejliler Ankara
Kammron Taylor   Germany    Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg     
Jordan Taylor Italy Virtus Roma
Mike Wilkinson Russia Unics Kazan
Rob Wilson Cyprus Ydra Asfalistiki ENAD

Freshman spotlight: Kegan Gennrich

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With the start of official practices just under two weeks away, UWBadgers.com will introduce to you the newest members of the Wisconsin wrestling team by giving you a look at who they are off the mat. Next up: Hortonville, Wis., native Kegan Gennrich.

Previous spotlights:

Gennrich comes to the Badgers from Hortonville High School, where he was a state champion in his senior season and put together a stellar 148-25 record over four years for the Polar Bears. Kegan also finished third at state in both his sophomore and junior seasons, was the 2012 Post-Crescent All-Area Athlete of the Year and a 2012 FloNational All-American. Off the mat, Gennrich also played football in high school and was named all-conference in his senior season.

Favorites:

Athlete: LeBron James

Movie: The Sandlot

TV show: Workaholics

Sports team: Wisconsin Badgers

Food: Pizza

Place on campus: Memorial Union

Vacation spot: Cabin in Rhinelander, Wis.

Wrestler: Jordan Burroughs

Place to wrestle other than the UW Field House: Kohl Center


Questions

Why did you choose Wisconsin?: Strong wrestling program and I love the atmosphere in Madison.

First started wrestling: 4 years old

Most memorable match: State finals my senior year of high school

My favorite thing about Wisconsin Wrestling: The great teammates

Before each match I...: Pace a lot

In off-season training, I worked on: Hand fighting

Dream as a collegiate wrestler: NCAA Champion

What talent would you like to have: To be able to sing

Dream job/career: Rapper

Dream date: Mila Kunis

If I could live anywhere in the world, it would be: On the beach in California

If I could bring one thing from my hometown, it would be: The Twist (local ice cream place)

I can't live without: Naps, video games, music

Greatest invention of the last 100 years: Xbox

What is your greatest fear?: Spiders

What is your greatest achievement?: Wisconsin state champion and Post Crescent Athlete of the Year

Which fictional or historical figure would you like to meet?: Batman

Most famous person I've met: Greg Jennings

If I had a million dollars, I would...: Buy a very large house

 

ON WISCONSIN