The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference has announced its all-time softball team, and two former University of Wisconsin-Superior standouts have been chosen. Sarah Tarasewicz and Erin Kegley will represent the Yellowjackets on the all-time team, which is part of the WIAC Centennial.
The WIAC is announcing an all-time team in each of its championship sports in conjunction with its 100th anniversary, which will be celebrated during the 2012-13 academic year.
“We’ve had a good run with our women’s softball program over the last dozen years and that’s because of the caliber of player that we’ve been able to bring in. Sarah and Erin are two of the best that we’ve had, hands down,” said UWS Athletics Director Steve Nelson. “They were tremendous players for us but were also good students and leaders within the university community. I’m extremely proud to see them both make this team.”
Head coach Roger Plachta echoed the sentiment.
“Both of them were such good, complete players,” Plachta said. “They could hit and they could field, they could do everything. It’s rare when you get a player who just naturally makes players around them better. We had more than one during that time and that’s unusual. A lot of the credit for our success goes to them.”
Tarasewicz, a Hurley native who was enshrined into the UWS Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011, still has her fingerprints all over the WIAC record book. In 2003 she set a record for the most triples in a season with 10. Two years later she hit 14 home runs, the second-biggest number in WIAC history for a single season. Tarasewicz also owns the two highest slugging percentages in conference history — 1.009 in 2003 and .992 in 2005.
All-time, Tarasewicz is second in triples with 21 and is tied for the all-time lead in home runs with 38. Her .926 slugging percentage is also a conference record.
Tarasewicz was a three-time All-WIAC selection, receiving the honor in 2003, 2004 and 2005. She received honorable mention in 2002. The 2004 selection may be the most remarkable. An early injury sidelined Tarasewicz for much of her junior season, but the conference coaches still made her a member of the All-WIAC first team. Following the 2003 season Tarasewicz was named a First Team All-American. More honors would follow in 2005 when Tarasewicz brought home WIAC Player of the Year honors, making her the first Yellowjacket softball player ever to be so named.
Kegley, from Inver Grove Heights, Minn., also has her fair share of appearances in the WIAC record book. Her 71 hits in 2004 remains the fifth-highest single-season total in league history. That same season she batted .490, the eighth-best single-season average in WIAC history and her 205 career hits are 11th-most in WIAC history. Kegley also checks in 10th all-time in RBI with 129, a high number for a leadoff hitter.
A four-time all-WIAC first team choice (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007), Kegley was a Third Team All-American in 2004. Also a superstar for the Yellowjacket women’s hockey team, Kegley is eligible for induction into the UWS Athletic Hall of Fame beginning in 2012.
“When I was hired we came in and quickly changed the attitude and results of our program,” Plachta said. “Players like Sarah and Erin were a huge part of that. I thank them for everything they did for Yellowjacket softball and want them to know that I’m extremely proud of everything they were able to accomplish here.”
All-Time Team members will receive certificates from the conference and it is hoped that most, if not all, of the recipients will be in attendance or represented at the WIAC Centennial Banquet to be held at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison on Aug. 4.
NOTES: The WIAC has also elected to establish a special “legacy” category to recognize those student-athletes and coaches who had extremely accomplished careers but competed during an era(s) when the compilation of statistical data was spotty at best and/or the style of play at that time does not translate for comparative purposes to the stats prevalent in the modern era. The WIAC “Legacy Team” will also be named at a later date. … More information on the activities and events associated with the WIAC Centennial can be accessed via the WIAC website at www.wiacsports.com.
WIAC Softball All-Time Team
Jenna Ahnen, UWLC, 2008-11; Heidi Bergstrom, UWEC, 1997-2000; Suzanne Brion, UW-Stout, 1994-96; Amy Gahl, UWW, 2006-09; Nila Gruenewald, UWO, 1982-85; Emily Howlett, UWRF, 2006-08; Erin Kegley, UW-Superior, 2003-07; Valerie Kerkman, UWW, 1996-99; Casey Leisgang, UWEC, 2005-08; Mallory McKinney, UWEC, 2004-07; Erin O’Connell, UW-Stout, 2002-05; Kelly Rutta, UWSP, 1998-2001; Jill Schoenike, UWEC, 1996-99; Lisa Schueler, UWEC, 1997-2000; Ronessa Stampfli, UWO, 2005-08; Jessica Stang, UWW, 2008-11; Sarah Tarasewicz, UW-Superior, 2002-05; Whitney Tornow, UWO, 2007-10; Dena Zajdel, UWSP, 1995-98; Jamie Ziegel, UWO, 1984, 86-88.
Softball All-Time Co-Coaches
Leslie Huntington (UWEC) (2002-present) and Brenda Volk (UWW) (1999-present)