- Photo Gallery: Shave to Save
Several Badgers lost their hair on Thursday in the hope of helping gain awareness for the patients battling childhood cancer at the American Family Children's Hospital
Eight members of the UW football team put their hair in the hands of patients from the children's hospital, losing their locks in the name of advancing a cure for cancer.
In just over an hour's time, LB Ethan Armstrong, WR Lance Baretz, OL Kyle Costigan, WR Connor Cummins, OL Ryan Groy, WR Chase Hammond, LB Conor O'Neill and TE Jacob Pedersen all walked out of the locker room with new close-cropped cuts.
Here's a look at how the event -- and the hair -- went down:
The week is wrapping up and the Wisconsin women's hockey team is getting prepared to open the season off against Minnesota State. This week has been pretty uneventful, and the team is focused.
The big hype for the team this week is the premier of Scandal on ABC that the team plans to watch together Thursday night. Other than that, practice has been our main concern and preparing ourselves for what is to come and the start of our journey.
For this week, I talked to a few teammates and got their take on the upcoming weekend. This might be a shorter blog post than normal, but shows the emotions of my teammates who are excited and prepared to start climbing the mountain to the top come drop of the puck Friday.
Junior forward Blayre Turnbull has high expectations for her team this weekend, but also for the fans watching and cheering us on.
"The thing I'm most looking forward to this weekend is seeing all of our fans pack the arena," Turnbull said. "It is such a great feeling to be able to come onto the ice and see over 2000 fans in the stands. Hopefully we are able to feed off of their energy and give them a reason to keep on cheering throughout all six periods this weekend."
Junior forward Karley Sylvester was another teammate I spoke with about the game, and she looks forward to starting the season Friday night.
"I am really looking forward to starting the year off strong," Sylvester said. "I know the team has worked extremely hard in the off-season to be as prepared as we can. It is going be a fun to watch our team grow together as a family and accomplish great things along the way."
Another Badger excited to kick off the year is Brittany Ammerman. Fans are familiar with her absence in the lineup last year and she is looking forward to Friday night to resume her career. She enjoyed playing against Team Japan, but is anxious to start the season in hopes of a promising finish for the group.
"It feels great to be back and be contributing to the team on the ice," Ammerman said while discussing the emotions of being back with the team. "Our game against Team Japan allowed our freshman to get their nerves out and feet wet and served the same purpose for me. After not playing for a year, I needed an exhibition game like that to get back into the flow of the game completely. I think this weekend will be a great stepping stone for our team and allow us to learn about ourselves and officially begin our journey together. We have a great group of team players and I am looking forward to seeing how much we have progressed since the Japan game and how much we will progress from this weekend forward."
Brit is excited to be back and we are certainly looking forward to having her contribute to the team's success this season.
One final teammate I caught up with is sophomore forward, Molly Doner. She spent much of the summer working hard alongside her teammates, improving skills and working to build off the previous season.
"I am looking forward to starting this season's journey with my teammates." Doner said. "I spent time this summer working on my speed, quickness and confidence. By deciding to stay in Madison during the summer, I not only had the opportunity to take classes, but also to workout with my teammates whenever I wanted. When I came in last year, I was nervous and played in fear of making a mistake. Now, after a year of competitive play and another summer of hard work, my confidence has increased and I feel like I'm using my speed and playing the way I can to create opportunities."
Doner summed up the attitude of the entire squad heading into this weekend: excited, prepared, and confident. The puck drops at 7 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday at LaBahn Arena. We hope to see a packed building, as this weekend is the beginning of our journey to great things this season.
Thanks for reading, On Wisconsin!
With the Wisconsin football team in the midst of the first of its two bye weeks this season, head coach Gary Andersen instructed the Badgers to step away from football for a bit this weekend. We asked a number of Badgers how they will spend their downtime for this week's issue of Varsity Magazine:WR Jordan Fredrick:
"I'm going to relax and try to get my legs back. I don't have anything planned. It's nice being a Madison boy because I don't have to go too far to see my family. I'm going to try to relax and maybe play a quick round of golf, something relaxing that's not going to wear me out. We all have to get our bodies back, which is the biggest thing."LB Chris Borland:
"I'm going to lay low. We've had a pretty stressful schedule for the last few weeks since camp, so it will be nice to just watch some football on Saturday and sleep in. I have to watch the Northwestern-Ohio State game, I'll watch games around the Big Ten and I have some friends that play at other schools, so hopefully their games will be on TV."TE Jacob Pedersen:
"My brother is coming down from back home. I'm going to try to take him out and get a nice deer. He really likes to hunt, so we're going to go out, spend some time outdoors, have a good time and just relax."WR Jared Abbrederis:
"I'm going to go home and probably go fishing and just relax in the country. It's really good to go back there and have nobody to bother you and just hang out with my family."LB Ethan Armstrong:
"I'm going to head back home to Illinois, get my mom to cook a few meals for me and watch some TV."QB Joel Stave:
"I don't really have any big plans. I'll probably just go home and hang out with my mom and dad for the weekend and just relax."- Ryan Evans
To the credit of coach Gary Andersen, he refuses to harp on the number of injuries the Badgers are dealing with right now. In last week's game at Ohio State, tight end Jacob Pedersen was hoping to play but simply was not ready. In the fourth quarter, the Badgers were without Melvin Gordon, who was on pace for a 100-yard night against a Buckeyes defense determined to stop the run.
While the coach believes the overall health of the team is pretty good, this seems to be a very good time for a bye. With some luck, most of the banged-up Badgers will be up and running in time for the Northwestern game a week from Saturday.
That would be a good thing, because in my humble opinion, the league race is far from decided.
Yes, Ohio State has the inside track for the Leaders Division crown. For Wisconsin to advance to the conference title game for the third-straight year, it would need to run the table in Big Ten play and OSU would need to lose twice.
That might be asking a lot, but it is not asking for the impossible.
Don't get me wrong. Ohio State is very good. On Saturday in Columbus, it was the better team, and the Buckeyes won fair and square. However, I am not ready to say the Buckeyes are national title good, at least not yet.
As for the Badgers, I still believe they are very good as well. Not great, but very good.
Last week's game provided the latest example of how just a handful of plays can make the difference between winning and losing. A missed opportunity in the red zone. A chance to force a turnover but not quite finishing the play. A split-second breakdown that results in a big play, or as Andersen might say, a layup. Too many penalties.
Otherwise, one can make a good argument that the game was evenly matched.
Another popular saying in sports comes to mind -- minimizing mistakes is more important than making the spectacular play.
To repeat, I want to be careful not to take anything away from coach Urban Meyer's team. It is very gifted. Braxton Miller is a much improved passer, and there is no shortage of speed on either side of the ball.
That said, the best wide receiver on the field was Jared Abbrederis, and one could make a strong case that the best linebacker was Chris Borland.
Those are just two positions, but my point is the overall gap might not be as wide as some would lead us to believe.
Logic should tell us as much. Wisconsin was error-prone, yet still had a chance to force overtime. The mistakes are obvious. What also should be obvious is the Badgers' ability to keep fighting and stay in games that otherwise could get out of hand.
If Ohio State wins out, so be it. But to this observer, the Buckeyes will have their hands full this week in Evanston (as will the Badgers when they host the Wildcats). There is another tricky game or two in OSU's future, including a late November road trip to Ann Arbor.
The Badgers missed an opportunity last weekend. The good news is there is a long way to go. While helping themselves is priority number one, it is a bit early to dismiss the possibility that the Badgers could get a little outside help along the way.
It seems like every post I write about how exciting a time the team has had; only to trump the last post with the new one...well this time is no different. The UW women's hockey team had nothing short of a fun packed time this past weekend during our team bonding event a few miles out of town.
After the premier of Grey's Anatomy watched by a majority of the team on the big screen in our locker room Thursday night, we had a nice spa recovery day on Friday to prepare us for the harsh battle to come Saturday morning. At 9 a.m. Saturday, the players piled in to cars and headed out to a paintball facility, where we played six games of paintball. Coach Johnson, Paul Hickman, seniors and freshmen were on one team, and the rest of the staff, juniors, and sophomores were on the other. The tournament of six games had a rocky start for the senior and freshman team, as we quickly fell to the other squad in the first speed ball game, and the second that took place in a trenched fort. The third game showed patience from my senior squad however, and we made it a 2-1 game as we captured the castle and held our ground for the three minutes required.
After the third game, Coach Johnson had enough, and headed to the sidelines. He was an asset for our team, but after his departure our team rallied to sweep the final three games. We took the castle again, and defeated the juniors and sophomores in the painful game of double shot elimination. We had a few players with happy triggers, so we went through about ten boxes of paint. Luckily for the senior led team, Paul Hickman carried some extra hoppers so we were never low on ammo.
The MVP of the paintball tournament would have to be sophomore defenseman Courtney Burke. Although junior forward, Blayre Turnbull, pictured above covered in pink paint, took a fair beating and put up a good fight, Courtney got pelted with about 15 paintballs simultaneously from a good 15 feet away. She wobbled a bit and may have fallen to the ground, but she rallied and played on. There was some question of sportsmanship and the twenty-foot surrender rule, but the senior/freshman squad was simply trying to defend the castle, and made a good judgment call in my opinion to win the game. (Sorry Court!)
After a solid two and a half hours of paintball, we headed out to Coach Johnson's for the annual team BBQ. It was a blast as always, and the food was spectacular as Coach is a master-griller, Coach Jackie Friesen is also a great cook, as we all think was Martha Stewart (with organic recipes of course) in her previous life, so there were a wide variety of goodies to choose from. Coach Jackie showed up with a dessert that looked like it hopped off the page of a cooking magazine. It was a combination of homemade gingerbread, homemade whipped cream, and homemade pumpkin pudding, and it was delicious!
The BBQ also is the location of the competitive team volleyball tournament. There are no real rules other than having seniors win, so naturally the seniors (shown above) took the title after defeating the freshmen by a ten point spread in the first game and handily defeating the juniors in the championship, 25-0. The MVP of the volleyball tournament is tough to decide on, but I think it would have to be a tie between senior goaltender Ilana Friedman and myself. Senior Natalie Berg had a mighty serve, and Kelly Jaminski's height was a major asset as well. Alex Rigsby was fantastic all over the grass court, but there is no denying that Ilana and I really stepped up big and helped our team secure the victory.
In a post game interview with Alex Rigsby, she stated she was a bit upset with freshmen officials Sarah Nurse and Sydney McKibbon, as well as head official Courtney Burke, but when asked to comment on their apparent bias during the match, the officials declined to give a quote. Non the less, the seniors stepped up and won the championship, making the Saturday bonding all the more memorable for our class.
Sunday was a relaxing off day for the group, as we took our team picture and many participated in a walk that junior Brittany Ammerman was active and passionate about promoting. It was a walk around the capital that promoted the end of GYN cancers, and was a success!
Also, junior forward Katy Josephs and myself volunteered to help out with the Timberwolves hockey team practice at Madison Ice Arena. It was a collection of players from around the Madison area, and it was a great experience. Both these events were awesome for all involved, and I speak for the group when I say we are always humbled and appreciative when we are able to give back to a community that has always been supportive of our endeavors.
Overall, it was a great weekend, and a great way to head into the week in preparation for Minnesota State. The group is enthusiastic, positive, and excited for what the future holds as we prepare to embark on our journey through the season. The preseason has been great, but now the work begins, and we are ready to go!
Until next time, thanks for reading! On Wisconsin!
Monday night was full of excitement and I want to thank all the fans who came out and supported the Badgers in our first showing of the season. Congratulations to Brittany Ammerman in her first game back since being out for almost the entire season last year, and also to the freshmen Ann Renee Desbiens, Sydney McKibbon, Sarah Nurse, and Mellissa Channell on their first game as Badgers.
The freshies proved to be a solid fit for us from the crease all the way to the offensive zone and we look forward to having them contribute this season. The freshmen were also happy with the way their first game went, and were thrilled with having their first experience finally here.
"It was an amazing feeling being able to put on the Wisconsin jersey and play in my first game," Sydney McKibbon said. "I was surprised stepping out on the ice and seeing all the fans that were there to support us and cheer us on. I was definitely a little nervous at first but once our line settled in it was such a fun game. I can't wait to play next weekend in our first season game against Minnesota State."
McKibbon's good friend, and roommate, freshman defenseman Mellissa Channell had similar emotions.
"Stepping on the ice the first time was incredible," Channell said. "You could feel how high the energy was in the building. The first couple shifts I was a little nervous, but having such a supportive team that feeling went away. Now that I have the first game under my belt I can't wait to get the season going, and begin the journey with the team."
One freshman the fans may not know yet, is Jenny Ryan. However, this is a name you will want to familiarize yourself with as she too is sure to be an asset for us this year on defense. Jenny is set to return to the ice with us soon and is excited for her college career to begin.
"I'm looking forward to putting the jersey on for the first time and feeling the excitement of being with the team," Ryan said. "I'm expecting to be a little bit nervous seeing that I haven't played in a while and this is a little bit different than what I am used to playing, but I think that once I get out there I will be too excited to be nervous and it will be a lot of fun."
I couldn't agree more with Jenny as it will be a lot of fun to have her out there with us and we look forward to the depth that will accompany her as she takes her place back in the line up!
The team had a great showing all around, especially considering we only had two practices against our belt to prepare for a team we have never seen before. We were moving the puck well, communicating with one another, and accomplished our team goal of playing together for a solid 60 minutes. The team was happy with our first performance, but also will use this as a learning tool as we prepare to kick off our WCHA season next weekend against Minnesota State.
With the motivation of the regular season in mind, we went right back at it Tuesday, competing in a high level practice to try and simulate a game weekend in our typical schedule. We had a good on ice session with the coaches and then hit the weight room to improve our fitness and agility off the ice. Wednesday will be used as a recovery day. Some hot and cold tub contrast, and the ladies are looking forward to reopening the sauna that is an always a good place to relax and socialize.
This week will finish off with us back on the ice Thursday and Friday, and then we will head out for a team bonding activity Saturday. The team bonding this year is paintball...with a competitive group like the one we have, I am anxious to see how it goes. The coaches also participate in this activity and it's always fun when Coach Johnson starts firing paintballs at you like Rambo! The paintball activity is one we have done in the past and is a fun change of pace from our typical on ice endeavors.
Following paintball, we will have our annual team BBQ. This is a much anticipated event, especially for the seniors since the volleyball tournament that takes place each year is always won by the senior class (not saying its rigged or anything). The BBQ is a fun time to hang out, relax, eat some good food, and cheer on the Badger football team as they take on the Ohio State Buckeyes.
This weekend is a nice way to close out the preseason before we hit it hard next week in preparation for Minnesota State. We have a hard working group, with various assets across the board, and are anxious to start the season together. We have a long journey ahead of us, but the positivity and mentality of our group thus far is looking to be a major bonus as we head into the year. Thank you to all the fans who have supported us, and those who came out Monday to cheer us on. We kick off the regular season on Friday, October 4th at 7 p.m. against the Mavericks and hope all who can make it will come out to support us on our journey. Thanks for reading.
Freshman WR Robert Wheelwright came to Wisconsin this fall with quite the football pedigree. His older brother, Ernie, starred as a receiver for Minnesota from 2004-07 and his grandfather, also named Ernie, was a running back in the 1960s for the New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints. Having grown up around football, Wheelwright is well-suited for his trial by fire at receiver as a true freshman in the Badgers' lineup, which will continue this Saturday in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, against No. 4 Ohio State.
What's it going to be like to be able to go home and play in Columbus?
"It's going to be a great experience, especially to be able to do it with a different team, with a different program, and be able to go back and try to beat my hometown team."
After growing up in Ohio, what made you decide to come to Wisconsin?
"It felt more like home here and I needed to grow up and mature on my own without having family around."
With a brother that played at Minnesota, is there any smack talk between you two now that you're a Badger?
"A little bit. He's here to support me, but when we play the Gophers he said he'd have his Wisconsin shirt on but will have his Minnesota Gophers shirt on underneath. We go back and forth like that, but he's more than likely a Wisconsin fan now."
What have you learned from your brother and grandfather and their football careers?
"I tried to learn everything that I could from them. Everything that they were good at they tried to teach me, and I tried to better myself off of their experiences in the (NFL) and in college football. I learned to take it one day at time, better myself and have a no days off mentality."
As a true freshman, what has it been like to learn and develop in front of 80,000 people every week?
"It has been a challenge, but as you go on, you have people here to help you. Your coaches and teammates are here to help you and so far that has been a great experience. They motivate me and they teach me the good values of being a great receiver."
Which teammates have you learned the most from so far?
"I've learned a lot from Jared Abbrederis, Kenzel Doe and Connor Cummins. They have all helped me in difference aspects of the game. They're all like my big mentors. They've taught be to have confidence, be consistent when I'm on the field and to play out here in front of 80,000 people like you would if it were Little League or if you were playing in front of your family and friends."
- Ryan Evans
It has become one of the Big Ten's more entertaining rivalries, enhanced because both teams have been championship caliber of late. In fact, in the last eight years, either Wisconsin or Ohio State has won the league title.
Taking it a step further, in the last 20 years, the Buckeyes and the Badgers rank 1-2 in the conference for number of victories.
It is the mark of a true, hotly-contested series. Add to it both programs have loyal, vocal fan bases that don't seem to care for one another, and you have the makings for good theatre.
But these days, there is a little twist. Former UW coach Bret Bielema did not see eye-to-eye with OSU's Urban Meyer. In a highly-competitive business, that will happen. However, there is a much different relationship between Gary Andersen and the Buckeyes boss.
Actually, Andersen and Meyer are good friends and former co-workers. When Meyer was the head man at Utah, Andersen was the defensive line coach. The year they were together, the Utes went 12-0.
Granted, going undefeated is a good way to get along, but both Meyer and Andresen have made it very clear there is much respect and personal admiration between the two men.
It reminds me of the relationship basketball coach Bo Ryan has enjoyed with his Ohio State counterpart, Thad Matta. (For that matter, of much lesser importance, our broadcast team gets along extremely well with the Ohio State radio crew. Knowing that, I am sure you will sleep much better tonight.)
Sure, every one of these coaches is a fierce competitor, and when the teams square off, each wants his squad to beat the daylights out of the opponent. But each is careful to make it about the players, not coach versus coach.
So, knowing that Andersen and Meyer are buds, does that alter your view of this rivalry? Does it lesson the hype? Does it make it any less enjoyable?
Nah, didn't think so. It is still Ohio State. Be honest -- you don't like the Buckeyes -- and they are not fond of the Badgers.
Understandable. Think about some of the recent meetings. It was 10 years ago when Matt Schabert connected with Lee Evans for the game-winning touchdown toss at Camp Randall Stadium. Good ol' 56 Jerk. That was the name of the play, with Evans running an out and up past star defensive back Chris Gamble.
Three years ago, there was David Gilreath's opening haymaker, a 97-yard kickoff return that sent the home crowd into a frenzy. Actually, the crowd had been in a frenzy for hours. The return ramped it up another notch -- or three.
Ohio State has had its moments too, especially recently. Last November Curt Phillips engineered a clutch scoring drive in the final minute of regulation, only to see the Buckeyes win in overtime. Two years ago was even worse, when a Russell Wilson-led rally was washed out by Braxton Miller's 40-yard strike to Devin Smith.
This Saturday night, I have the feeling it will be another close game. If that is the case, perhaps it is the Badgers turn to land the final blow.
Whatever happens, Andersen and Meyer will remain friends. At some point in the offseason, they likely will get together.
Friends and rivals. While not exactly a new concept, it is a change of pace in this series.
It is just another interesting storyline in what has become a much-talked about matchup between two very good football programs, and two very good coaches.
Hey followers! It was a big weekend for the Wisconsin women's hockey team, full of excitement and activity. We were introduced on the football field Saturday as the football guys took on and defeated Purdue, and were joined by Team Japan, our opponent for the game Monday.
I also had the privilege of sitting on the patio with a few fans from the Children's Hospital. This was an amazing experience. I am always humbled when meeting these young kids who take on life with such courage. They were so full of life and happy to be there watching the game and cheering the Badgers on, despite the battles many of them face on a daily basis in their own lives. These kids are such and inspiration and it was a great experience for me to get to know them. I want to thank them for coming out and supporting Badger athletics and wish them luck and the best as they continue on the road to lead healthy lives.
There was another exciting moment at the Badger game this weekend for those who did not attend. Army Captain Jane Renee "JR" Lund has been stationed in southern Afghanistan for the last several months, but was able to return home sooner than her anticipated October arrival and surprise her daughter Bella on the field during an intermission. This reunion was one that brought fans to their feet, roaring praise and applaud from the student section, and left several people in joyful tears (including myself). It was a beautiful reunion to witness, and I want to thank Captain Jane Renee for her service. It was an emotional reunion on the field, and one that touched the hearts of many as we stood by watching. I am grateful for Captain Lund and all she has done to serve our country, and wish her and her daughter nothing but the best as they catch up on life that has passed while she was away.
Along with these exciting moments, the Badgers took the ice for our first two official practices of the season. It was great to finally be able to kick off the year. The tempo was high, faces were smiling, and the coaches put us right to work. We went over a number of things to prepare us for the game against Japan, and it was great to get back into the swing of things after a long summer of training and conditioning. Monday night we will see just what our summer training has done as we gear up to face Japan in our first match of the 2013-14 season. I encourage all those who have time to come out and support us, admission is free, and it is sure to be a great experience as playing a national team is not something that happens often! I hope all had a great weekend, perhaps just as exciting as that of the Wisconsin women's hockey team, and we hope to see you out at LaBahn as we take on Team Japan! Check the blog in the days following the game as I will have a post filled with after thoughts and reactions to our first game as a team!
Until then, thanks for reading and On Wisconsin!
A graphical look at the Badgers' 41-10 win over Purdue as UW opened the Big Ten season with a victory and ran its win streak in the series to eight straight games: