Meet badger freshman Katie Christner! She is from Tinley Park, Ill., and attended Victor J. Andrew High School. The righty batter was a four-year letterwinner and was named first-team all-conference as a sophomore and junior. As a sophomore, junior and senior she was named Southwest Suburban all-conference and Illinois Coach's Association second-team. She earned the Scholar Athlete award all four years. She also earned the Chicago Sun-times all-area honorable mention award during her junior year.
During her senior year she was named Southtown Star all-area, Chicago Tribune all-state honorable mention, Chicago Tribune Scholar Athlete team and Victor J. Andrew Female Athlete of the Year. Her head coach was Jim Holba. She was also a letterwinner in volleyball during her sophomore year. Katie was a National Merit commended student and earned the Community Service Award for over 100 hours of service. She graduated first in her class of 530.
Her parents are Randy and Julie Christner. Her father, Randy played baseball at Cornell and her mother, Julie, played soccer at Walsh University. She has two younger siblings, Kelly and Travis. Her hobbies include hanging out with friends and family, coaching the Grissom Middle School softball team and reading. Her major is currently undecided.
Q: Who or what got you started in softball? A: My dad played baseball in college, so he signed me up to play softball when I was old enough.
Q: At what age did you start playing softball? A: I started playing in a recreation league when I was seven, and I started playing travel softball when I was nine.
Q: If you didn't play softball, which sport would you play? A: Gymnastics
Q: What is your dream job? A: Owning a bakery in Ocean City, N.J. with my sister.
Q: What is your favorite movie? A: She's the Man
Q: Who is your favorite athlete/athletic team? A: Derek Jeter and the Pittsburgh Steelers
Q: Describe your dream vacation A:.Going to Ocean City, New Jersey every summer with my cousins, Brett, Cole and Meagan.
Q: What is your favorite sports/softball memory? A: Winning conference at my high school during sophomore year. We hadn't won a conference title since the mid-eighties.
Q: Do you have any pump up or pre-game music or rituals? A: I like to listen to A Day to Remember and Blink 182 before games.
Q: What is the best part of playing softball at Wisconsin? A: The fact that I know my teammates will always be there for me, no matter what.
Q: Where is your favorite spot on campus? A: The grassy area by Elizabeth Waters that overlooks the lake.
Q: What is your favorite ice cream flavor? A: Chocolate chip cookie dough
Q: What is your favorite Crayola crayon color? A: Sunset orange
Q: What TV show do you wish you could be in? A: One Tree Hill
Q: If you could be any person for a day, who would you be? A: Jenna Dewan (married to Channing Tatum)
Q: If you were stranded on an island and could only have three items with you, what would they be? A: My sister, jugs of water and a boat to get away in (haha)
By Other Contributors on November 30, 2012 11:19 AM
Meet one of the eight new members of the Wisconsin softball team
Meet freshman Badger Macy Oswald! She is from Caseyville, Ill., and attended O'Fallon Township High School. The righty batter was a four-year letterwinner and earned Best Defense all four years. She was named MVP, first-team all-conference, first-team all-area, St. Louis All-Metro, first-team Chicago Tribune All-State and second -team all-state her senior year.
During her senior year, she earned the Best Offense Award. She was named O'Fallon Township Female Athlete of the year (2011-2012) as well as Player of the Week for ESPN Rise Midwest.
She had 12 home runs her junior year, as O'Fallon Township won the 2011 Southwest Conference Championship and Regional Southwest Conference Championship. Oswald's head coach was Kate Walsh.
She was also a four-year letterwinner in volleyball and a member of SADD (students against destructive decisions) and PWP (players with a passion).
Her parents are Michael and Holly Oswald, and she has one younger sister, Mia. Her father, Michael, was a catcher at Chowan College. She enjoys playing volleyball, working out and sketching nature scenes. Her major is currently undecided.
We took a little time for some Q&A with Macy:
Q: Who or what got you started in softball? A: My dad, he played baseball in college
Q: At what age did you start playing softball? A: I was nine years old
Q: If you didn't play softball, which sport would you play? A: Volleyball. I was the libero (defensive specialist) at my high school. I played volleyball from seventh grade until my senior year.
Q: What is your dream job? A: Working with future professional athletes
Q: What is your favorite movie? A: Warrior
Q: Who is your favorite athlete/athletic team? A: St. Louis Cardinals
Q: Describe your dream vacation A:.Going to Hawaii
Q: What is your favorite sports/softball memory? A: My favorite memory would have to be when my high school softball team won regionals four years in a row.
Q: Do you have any pump up or pre-game music or rituals? A: Listen to my playlist of pump up jams.
Q: What is the best part of playing softball at Wisconsin? A: Putting on the big W and being part of something bigger than myself.
Q: Where is your favorite spot on campus? A: The Lakeshore path. It's a great place to go for a run.
Q: What is your favorite ice cream flavor? A: Cookies and Cream
Q: What is your favorite Crayola crayon color? A: Teal
Q: What TV show do you wish you could be in? A: Gossip Girl
Q: If you could be any person for a day, who would you be? A: Blake Lively
Q: If you were stranded on an island and could only have three items with you, what would they be? A: My best friend, matches and a boat...
By Anna Poulter-Hendrickson on November 29, 2012 9:52 AM
Head coach Yvette Healy writes about celebrating Thanksgiving and the four C's of leadership in this week's Badger Blog.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. There was a lot of cooking in the Healy house the last few weeks. We had the team over for a party a week ago. My husband Shawn and I had fun cooking beef sandwiches and baked pasta for the team and our staff. My four year old daughter Grace got to choose dessert, so we made waffle cone sundae's with the team.
We had a house full of friends come up for the Ohio State football game right after that. It was our second tough overtime game this fall.
Then we hosted Thanksgiving with my family in Madison. Grace and I made a few homemade apple pies and gingerbread cake pops ... both super messy, but fun. Shawn grilled a Cajun turkey outside and I did a turkey and stuffing in the oven. It was sunny and 60 all week for Thanksgiving. We had a blast playing football in the backyard while we cooked. I even got the iPad out and videotaped my nieces and nephews swings with our new Dartfish video analysis app.
We spend the rest of the weekend watching sports, and getting ready for the Holidays. We even did Christmas cookies with Santa on Sunday. We got a great photo with Santa and our daughters Maeve, who's five months old already, and Grace, who's four years old.
We leave this week for our NFCA coach's convention in Orlando, Fla. We're all looking forward to getting some new ideas and drills while finding time to catch up and connect with friends and mentors. Next week will be our last week to workout with our team before they start to prepare for finals, and then its Christmas break.
We had a short chalk talk on leadership yesterday. Jeff Jansen has a ton of great information that we use on team leadership. Wisconsin softball has made great strides the last few years regarding team commitment. I see our athletes dedicating themselves to the team and working extremely hard, especially in the weight room. We're stronger and more fit than ever before. Working hard is a great first step in developing leadership. We spent yesterday talking about the next big stride we need to make internally.
Jeff Jansen talks about the four C's of leadership; Character, Commitment, Confidence and Composure.
We have amazing young women here at the University of Wisconsin. Their character is so impressive, as evidenced by all of the community service and outreach that our student-athletes do. Our commitment to hard work has gone up exponentially too.
Now the jump we need to see revolves around confidence and composure. Our squad has been young the last few years, and we've gone through some growing pains. With age and experience, needs to come more confidence and composure. We challenged our squad to focus on accountability and ownership yesterday.
This season could be a memorable one for the entire Badger softball family if we can translate our character and commitment into confidence and composure as we battle adversity and injuries, face a tough schedule and fight for a Big Ten championship!
By Other Contributors on November 14, 2012 3:13 PM
She was a member of the state champion team in 2010 and her high school team ranked fifth in the nation her junior year. The righty batter was named to the Wisconsin All-Star team as well as Team Wisconsin after graduation and went on to win the state championship.
She was a three-year letterwinner in volleyball and her volleyball team won the state championship her junior year and placed second during her sophomore year. Ashley was a high school teammate of Maria Van Abel. Her major is business/accounting.
We took a little time for some Q&A with Ashley:
Q: Who or what got you started in softball? A: My parents got me involved in softball when I was really young, because I would always play softball in my backyard with my brothers.
Q: At what age did you start playing softball? A: 10
Q: If you didn't play softball, which sport would you play? A: Volleyball
Q: What is your dream job? A: Professional athlete
Q: What is your favorite movie? A: Benchwarmers
Q: Who is your favorite athlete/athletic team? A: Donald Drive/Green Bay Packers
Q: Describe your dream vacation A: Mexico with my family and cousins.
Q: What is your favorite sports/softball memory? A: Winning the Super World Series when I was 12 years old.
Q: Do you have any pump up or pre-game music or rituals? A: Everyone stands in a circle and they each get a chance to do a dance move.
Q: What is the best part of playing softball at Wisconsin? A: It is a great experience overall and I love the team.
Q: Where is your favorite spot on campus? A: Camp Randall
Q: What is your favorite ice cream flavor? A: Chocolate chip cookie dough
Q: What is your favorite Crayola crayon color? A: Pacific blue
Q: What TV show do you wish you could be in? A: Friends, because they always look like they are having fun and they are hilarious.
Q: If you could be any person for a day, who would you be? A: Aaron Rodgers, because it would be amazing to be that talented, and he is a great role model.
Q: If you were stranded on an island and could only have three items with you, what would they be? A: Matches, a tent and a laptop.
Meet freshman Badger Caitlyn Warren! She is from Naperville, Ill., and attended Naperville North high school. The outfielder was a four-year letterwinner and earned academic all-conference all four years. She was named all-city team her freshman, sophomore and junior year. Her sophomore and junior year she was named Daily Herald all-area honorable mention. The righty batter was named honorable mention all-state as well as DVS all-conference sophomore, junior and senior year.
The Naperville North Huskies won the regional championship during her senior year. She also earned the school record for most walks in a season and made all-area second team during her senior year. Throughout high school she volunteered for S.S. Peter and Paul Religious Education.
Her parents are Tim and Lisa Warren. She has one older brother, Alex, one younger brother, Jared, and two younger sisters, Kelsey and Chloe. She enjoys playing with her dogs. Her major is currently undecided. We took a little time for some Q&A with Caitlyn:
Q: Who or what got you started in softball? A: My brothers played baseball and I wanted to be like them, so my mom took me to a tryout for the Naperville Diamonds.
Q: At what age did you start playing softball? A: 10
Q: If you didn't play softball, which sport would you play? A: Gymnastics
Q: What is your dream job? A: Training service dogs to visit children in the hospital.
Q: What is your favorite movie? A: The Proposal
Q: Who is your favorite athlete/athletic team? A: The Cubs
Q: Describe your dream vacation A:.Traveling through Europe
Q: What is your favorite sports/softball memory? A: Getting to play with my little sister, Kelsey, my last travel season.
Q: Do you have any pump up or pre-game music or rituals? A: I listen to music super loud and I always get a good luck text from my Mom and Dad right before I warm up.
Q: What is the best part of playing softball at Wisconsin? A: My teammates.
Q: Where is your favorite spot on campus? A: The lakeshore path
Q: What is your favorite ice cream flavor? A: Cookies n' Cream
Q: What is your favorite Crayola crayon color? A: Hot Magenta
Q: What TV show do you wish you could be in? A: FRIENDS
Q: If you could be any person for a day, who would you be? A: Beyonce
Q: If you were stranded on an island and could only have three items with you, what would they be? A: My teddy bear, my phone and my dog, Cali.
By Anna Poulter-Hendrickson on November 1, 2012 3:35 PM
In today's Badger Blog, senior Kelsey Horton talks about starting a new tradition of volunteering at UW and what participating in the Gilda's Club Run/Walk meant to her.
As the my fellow seniors and I filed into coach Healy's office before the start of what would be our last fall semester as Badger softball players, we were asked how we wanted to be remembered.
We knew what steps needed to be taken on the field to achieve the goals we set out for ourselves but we also looked outside the lines. We wanted to start a new tradition that would stick with this program even after we were long gone. Volunteering and charity work has been a staple within UW softball and something we love committing our time to off the field.
After discussing our options with our coaches we decided that Gilda's Club was a good place to begin a new year of volunteer work. Gilda's Club was named as a tribute to Gilda Radner who died of ovarian cancer in 1989 and is a community support program for people living with cancer, their families and friends. The Gilda's Club here in Madison holds a fundraising 5k walk/run and 10k which has grown tremendously since they first started the event five years ago.
On October 21, we worked as course marshals to encourage the participants, assisted in the lunch provided after the race was over and also helped supervise the kids' bouncy house and play area.
The volunteers were given a brief history describing how Gilda Radner's husband, Gene Wilder, and her cancer psychotherapist, Joanna Bull, founded the club as a means of providing meeting places where men, women and children living with cancer and their families and friends join with others to build emotional and social support as a supplement to their medical care.
This nonprofit organization has helped over 1,400 people in 14 counties in southwest Wisconsin. The volunteers also received a tour of the facilities which included amenities like a recreation room, kids play room, full kitchen and lounge areas where members can relax. As the morning progressed, it was off to work and everyone assumed their positions for the start of the race.
A few Badgers signed up to run the race including Stephanie Peace and Cassandra Darrah. The participants stood at the start line and were able to hear stories from a few cancer survivors whose families had joined Gilda's Club. They described how a teenage son, who at first felt like he had no one to talk to about the devastating news of his mother's diagnosis, found a support group who welcomed him with open arms. This along, with many other stories, fueled the runners as they took off from the start line and remained present in their minds throughout the race.
The experience stuck with our Badger volunteers but hit home especially for Mary Massei who is a thyroid cancer survivor. While speaking with Mary after the race, she said that she had not expected her time spent volunteering to be emotional but after hearing the history and stories from survivors like her, she wishes she had also found a support group like those at Gilda's Club.
Her family and friends were there for her throughout her whole battle which was not an easy task; the people at Gilda's provide a welcoming environment away from the emotionally charged health care setting where people can simply be themselves. During the tour of the club, Mary was browsing the library and found a book that piqued her interest. She describes it as a guide to dealing with the memory of enduring cancer and treatment even after it is all over. Mary has been cancer free for one year and four months, but says there is still so much to work on within herself.
Mary volunteered as a course marshal and felt the impact of what Gilda's Run was all about as the participants ran by. Our course marshals directed the runners with no idea of whether the people running by were survivors, friends of survivors, or people who had simply heard about the race.
It all just puts it in perspective, the resilience and determination people have within themselves. We are so thankful to have heard the inspiring stories of so many strong people and to have witnessed so much generosity. We are honored to have been a part of raising over $50,000 from over 1,000 volunteers and participants for this remarkable organization.
This is the start of a new tradition for the Badger softball team.
Meet freshman Badger Kelsey Kleist! She is from Plymouth, Minn. and attended Wayzata High School. The catcher was a four-year letterwinner and a two-time first-team all-conference selection. She made first-team all-state her junior year, was named team captain and first-team all-section her senior year, and led her team in batting average and RBI. Kelsey was also a letterwinner is basketball. She participated in marching band, mock trial, photography and Spanish club. Her parents are Scott and RaNae Kleist and she has one younger brother, Konnor. Number 33's hobbies include photography, basketball and music and her major is undecided.
We took a little time for some Q&A with Kelsey:
Q: Who or what got you started in softball? A: My parents signed me up for all sorts of sports as a little kid, and softball is the sport that stuck.
Q: At what age did you start playing softball? A: I started playing at about the age of six, when I participated in t-ball, and I worked my way up to fastpitch.
Q: If you didn't play softball, which sport would you play? A: I would definitely play basketball.
Q: What is your dream job? A: To be a photographer for National Geographic, and travel the world taking pictures of wildlife.
Q: What is your favorite movie? A: Grease, such a classic.
Q: Who is your favorite athlete/athletic team? A: Joe Mauer from the Minnesota Twins. He's a lefty batter and a catcher! We were meant to be!
Q: Describe your dream vacation A: To travel with my family and my camera to the Australian outback.
Q: What is your favorite sports/softball memory? A: Beating our high school rival at their home field, in extra innings my junior year. Such a small victory, but it was the most exciting game I've ever played in.
Q: Do you have any pump up or pre-game music or rituals? A: No doubt, Eminem's song Lose Yourself. I thought the song was so cool in like fifth grade, and have been listening to it before every game since.
Q: What is the best part of playing softball at Wisconsin? A: Spending time with the team! Being surrounded by such talented and fun girls has made the transition into college so much easier.
Q: Where is you favorite spot on campus? A: My dorm! It's also nice to come back to Dejope to study, sleep and eat.
Q: What is your favorite ice cream flavor? A: Peppermint bon bon
Q: What is your favorite Crayola crayon color? A: Red, of course!
Q: What TV show do you wish you could be in? A: Seinfeld, the show about nothing. I would love to hangout with George, Jerry, Elaine and Kramer!
Q: If you could be any person for a day, who would you be? A: I would want to be the President of the United States, just to hangout in the White House.
Q: If you were stranded on an island and could only have three items with you, what would they be? A: I would bring my camera bag, (loaded with solar battery packs) a Sudoku puzzle book, and a good beach chair.
By Anna Poulter-Hendrickson on October 31, 2012 4:22 PM
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:
By Anna Poulter-Hendrickson on October 30, 2012 9:09 AM
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.
By Anna Poulter-Hendrickson on October 24, 2012 1:41 PM
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.