Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Notes, highlights, projections for UW athletics in 2023

Badger football, volleyball, cross country, soccer prepare for fall 2023 season
Ahmad Hamid/The Badger Herald

As the summer comes to a close and the weather begins to cool throughout the Midwest, students at the University of Wisconsin will look to sport their pinstripe-laden overalls and Bucky t-shirts during the Badgers’ quest for athletic triumph this fall.

The 2023 semester features a group of teams who hope to ignite excitement across campus, highlighted by conference victories, bowl games and national championships. Multiple squads take the field, court and course in just over a month, including six programs anticipating an eventual championship to punctuate their 2023 campaigns.

Below are team previews on the six teams who will be performing right away as the school year begins.


Football: Where Wisconsin stands ahead of fall season


Despite Wisconsin’s one-score victory and appearance against Oklahoma State in December’s Guaranteed Rate Bowl, Wisconsinites experienced a tumultuous 2022-2023 season at Camp Randall.

After UW athletic director Chris McIntosh relieved coach Paul Chryst, the third-winningest coach in program history, of his duties commanding the sidelines in October, Wisconsin football fanatics endured something uncommon on the Badgers’ fabled gridiron — instability.

Now, with former college athlete and head coach of the University of Cincinnati Luke Fickell inheriting head coaching responsibilities, Wisconsin appears poised to revert to its excellence on the turf. Not to mention, seven new quarterbacks and wide receivers utilized the transfer portal to commit to UW for the fall campaign, so an overhaul in personnel may provide the program with new life as the leaves turn orange and yellow.

Another bright spot revolves around UW’s Derrick Henry-esque running back Braelon Allen. His 11-touchdown, 1,242-yard sophomore season certainly attracted some attention from opposing coaching staffs, but his freshman output illustrated how dangerous the Fond du Lac native could become down the line.

With Fickell’s offensive emphasis oriented toward bolstering the offensive line, Allen’s productivity could surge with quarterbacks Tanner Mordecai, Braedyn Locke or Nick Evers taking snaps under center.

Ultimately, Wisconsin will likely fall short against NFL-feeders Ohio State and Michigan, but with Fickell’s intensity and a shift in philosophy, the Badgers will certainly contend for another Bowl Game this winter.


Following a successful trip to Europe earlier this summer, Wisconsin’s women’s volleyball team will receive recognition as a national powerhouse. With a 2021 National Championship and an Elite Eight appearance this past season under their belts, pundits across the country cannot discredit this group’s continued success.

The Badgers return with both experience and winning culture, highlighted by senior Devyn Robinson and junior Anna Smrek, two star athletes staged on the front line for Wisconsin heading into 2023.

Other pieces return in 2023, as numerous players who made a name for themselves in 2022 led Wisconsin to a nearly flawless 28-4 record, including the likes of outside Sarah Franklin, outside Julia Orzol, setter Izzy Ashburn and libero Gulce Guctekin to name a few.

UW also welcomes Northwestern transfer Temi Thomas-Ailara and Minnesota transfer Carter Booth, two 2022 First-Team All-Big Ten award winners.

The collection of talent within this program is significant, as the nine-time Big Ten champions and head coach Kelly Sheffield make the UW Field House a prime place to visit on campus at the start of the semester.

Recap of Wisconsin’s winter season five most memorable moments


It’s more of the same for head coach Mick Byrne and the men’s cross country team. The crimson and white return a majority of the runners who led UW to a Big Ten Championship, Regional Championship and a sixth place finish at the NCAA Championships last November.

Junior Bob Liking, sophomore Adam Spencer, senior Jack Meijer and redshirt junior Rowen Ellenberg were four of the top five finishers at the NCAA Championships to cap off the season, and they each return this fall to strengthen Byrne’s platoon.

The star who emerged throughout the past year was senior Jackson Sharp, who accumulated accolades in both cross country and track and field. Coming off All-American honors in both seasons in the 2022-23 school year, the redshirt senior is back as the projected top runner for the Badgers, solidifying this group as a top-25 team once again in 2023.


The women’s cross country team featured a senior-heavy roster in 2022, but it still returns a quality number of athletes this fall.

Following a standout 2021 season, senior Shea Ruhly put together another solid year in 2022. The redshirt senior emerged as Wisconsin’s top runner, including a 14th place finish at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional. She will be joined by senior Heidi Heuerman, junior Emma Watcke and junior Leané Willemse as some of the top performers of this group, who look to once again finish in the top half of the Big Ten.

The Badgers host both the Nuttycombe Invitational and the NCAA Great Lakes Regional at the University Ridge Golf Course in just a couple of months.


Offense was hard to come by in 2022 for Wisconsin’s men’s soccer team. The group finished the season with a 6-6-4 record.

They will continue to look to improve that facet of their game as they bring back their goals scored leader, Maxwell Keenan. He will have assistance from fellow teammates Jack Finnegan and Tim Bielic, along with sophomore Mitchell Dryden, the former Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association Player of the Year in 2021, who looks to take on a bigger role this fall.

With a solid foundation, the Badgers are set to bounce back in the 2023 campaign. They welcome a large freshmen class who have the opportunity to guide the red and white to success in the near future.


After a fast start last season, the women’s soccer team hit a rough stretch and dropped out in the first game of the Big Ten Tournament. Despite this reality, an overall 11-5-3 record and third place finish in conference sets up UW well as the school year begins here in 2023.

Senior Emma Jaskaniec, the Midfielder of the Year in the Big Ten, returns for a fifth season accompanied by a young core, including two 2022 All-Big Ten Freshman honorees in Rylee Howard and Liv Curry.

On the defensive end, Erin McKinney returns for a final season to fill the goalkeeper role, coming off a stellar 2022, where she finished with 85 saves and a 0.802 save percentage, making a difference in multiple games for the crimson and white. McKinney, along with the rest of these Badgers, look to make noise at the top of the Big Ten standings and on a national stage by the end of the season.

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