Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Frosh already has history

It was June 8, 2007, and the day for which Kristyn Hansen had worked for four years had finally come ? it was her high school graduation day.

There was just one problem: Hansen was 100 miles away in Madison, at Goodman Diamond. She had led the Union Grove Broncos to the state softball tournament, and the team?s semifinal game was scheduled to begin just after their school?s graduation ceremony.

Hansen and her fellow seniors knew from the first day of school they would not be able to attend both if they were to qualify for the semifinals. Their coach, Dave Magar, devised a solution. With some help, he was able to organize a special ceremony for the seniors.


That Friday afternoon, just hours before their semifinal game, Hansen and four others graduated in the Assembly Chambers at the Capitol. The five seniors wore their caps and gowns and shared the moment with a number of family and friends.

?The [ceremony] was amazing,? Hansen said. ?It was awesome of Mr. Magar to take over and get us in the Capitol, and it was a beautiful ceremony.?

Graduating at the Capitol was just the beginning. That night, Hansen pitched a complete game, allowing only one run and striking out 13, as she led the team to a 2-1 victory in 10 innings.

Union Grove continued to impress in the championship game the next day, defeating Southern Door 5-1. Hansen led the way with another complete game, once again allowing just one run and striking out 13.

?It was a surreal moment,? Hansen said. ?My dream of winning state was accomplished, my dream of coming to Wisconsin was secured ? everything just kind of fell into place after that weekend.?

With Hansen playing on its home diamond, many Wisconsin coaches were able to attend the games. The Badgers had been recruiting Hansen prior to that weekend, but when they saw her perform in the state tournament, they were more than a little impressed.

?Kristyn performed brilliantly,? assistant coach Julie Wright said. ?It was a great moment to watch the thrill of her and how she led her team.?

Later in the summer, Hansen returned to Madison, officially joining the Badgers.

?We offered the spot, and she said ?Yes? on the dime,? Wright said. ?They were all smiles, and we were all smiles, and we knew it would be a great fit.?

According to Hansen, as a Wisconsin native, the Badgers were No. 1 on her list all along. In addition to being impressed with the softball program, Hansen is actually the third member of her family to attend the university.

?I?ve always been a Badger my whole life,? Hansen said. ?My sister and brother went to Madison, and just by that aspect I?ve always wanted to go to Madison.?

Hansen?s sister, Kathryn, who also starred for the Broncos in high school at shortstop, is currently a senior at the University of Wisconsin and has been involved in Kristyn?s transition from high school to the collegiate level.

?[Kathryn] still supports what I do with softball,? the younger Hansen said. ?She?s very encouraging, and it?s very great of her to be behind me when I?m out there on the field.?

For the coaches at Wisconsin, aside from Hansen?s ability on the field, they were most impressed with her leadership qualities and positive attitude. According to Wright, Hansen comes in every day with a smile on her face and sets a great example.

?Kristyn bleeds the red,? Wright said. ?She best represents what a Badger should be.?

Hansen is one of six freshmen on a young Badger team this year with only two seniors. According to Wright, she has projected great leadership qualities despite her class standing.

In the time between winning the state championship in June and earning her first collegiate victory in February, Hansen and Wright agree that she has improved most mentally.

?It?s a lot more disciplined here than in high school,? Hansen said. ?I?ve gotten smarter about [the game] and more mentally tough.?

Hansen also has done a lot of work with pitching coach Kim Martin to develop more pitches in her repertoire and sharpening her existing pitches, making them more consistent. Overall, she has developed a lot more composure as a pitcher, and Wright says she never seems intimidated.

?When Kristyn steps out on that mound, she has a certain look about her, a certain demeanor that projects strength and discipline,? Wright said. ?It says, ?Give me the ball ? I want it.??

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