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WIAC Softball All-Conference Teams, Major Awards Announced

05/16/2023, 3:30pm CDT

From the WIAC --

University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Melissa Dietz was chosen the Kwik Trip Position Player of the Year and Kwik Trip Newcomer of the Year, while UW-La Crosse’s Elise Weinzierl was tabbed the Kwik Trip Pitcher of the Year to lead the individuals chosen to the 2023 All-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Softball Team by the league coaches. In addition, UW-La Crosse’s coaching staff received Kwik Trip Coaching Staff of the Year accolades.

Dietz is the first Pioneer to claim the league’s player of the year plaque since Becky Ahlbrecht in 2000. Dietz ranks second in the WIAC with a .469 batting average, .857 slugging percentage and .523 on-base percentage, fourth with eight home runs, sixth with 12 doubles and eighth with 46 hits. She recorded at least one hit in 26-of-36 contests, including 14 multi-hit performances and two four-hit games (March 19 vs. University of Minnesota Morris and April 7 at UW-Whitewater). Dietz belted multiple home runs in two games and had multiple RBI in nine contests. A Newcomer of the Year is defined as a student-athlete who used her first season of participation in softball this season. Transfers are not eligible unless they didn’t participate in softball at their previous institution.

Weinzierl secured the pitching honor for the second straight season, becoming one of four individuals in WIAC history to accomplish the feat. She ranks second in the conference with 14 wins and 126.1 innings pitched, fourth with a 1.55 earned run average, fifth with 102 strikeouts and seventh with a .234 opponent batting average. Weinzierl recorded a season-best nine strikeouts against UW-Stout on April 22. She allowed one earned run or fewer in 24-of-31 appearances.

Repeat selections on the first team from a season ago included: UW-Eau Claire’s Megan Maruna; UW-La Crosse’s Kyra Lard (Newcomer of the Year) and Jordyn McCormack (Position Player of the Year); UW-Oshkosh’s Sydney Nemetz and Hannah Ritter; UW-Platteville’s Claire Bakkestuen; and UW-River Falls’ Keegan Piton. Ritter, along with UW-Oshkosh’s Maddie Fink (Pitcher of the Year) and UW-Stevens Point’s Maddie Candre (Position Player of the Year) were first team honorees in 2021.

UW-La Crosse’s coaching staff has led the squad to a 28-13 record. The Eagles compiled a 9-5 mark against conference opponents and claimed the WIAC Tournament (presented by Culver’s) title for the fourth time in program history to secure an automatic NCAA bid. Caitlin Wnek is currently serving as UW-La Crosse's acting head coach after Chris Helixon underwent aortic valve replacement surgery on March 31. Wnek is in her fifth season on UW-La Crosse's staff. Assistant coaches include: Ethan Geise, Shandler Herman, Ethan Ringlien, and Ann Smolenski.

An All-Sportsmanship Team was chosen for individuals that displayed exemplary sportsmanship throughout the season. It included one member from each school.

2023 All-WIAC Softball Team
Name, School, Year, Position, Hometown (High School)
Maddy Anderson, Whitewater, Graduate Student, Righthanded Pitcher, Waukesha, Wis. (North)
Kelly Aultman, River Falls, Sophomore, Thirdbase, Plainfield, Ill. (North)
Claire Bakkestuen, Platteville, Senior, Righthanded Pitcher, Forest Lake, Minn. (Forest Lake)
Gabby Buikema, Oshkosh, Senior, Centerfield, Chicago, Ill. (Trinity)
Maddie Candre, Stevens Point, Senior, Centerfield, St. Charles, Ill. (East)
Melissa Dietz, Platteville, Freshman, Thirdbase, Reedsburg, Wis. (Reedsburg)
Maddie Fink, Oshkosh, Senior, Righthanded Pitcher, Stevens Point, Wis. (SPASH)
Chloe Garofalo, Eau Claire, Sophomore, Firstbase, Kenosha, Wis. (Bradford)
Brooke Hock, Whitewater, Freshman, Righthanded Pitcher, Green Bay, Wis. (Preble)
Jesse Klicker, Stevens Point, Sophomore, Shortstop, Spring Grove, Ill. (Richmond-Burton Community)
Taylor Koehler, Whitewater, Freshman, Firstbase, Wauconda, Ill. (Wauconda)
Kiarra Kostroski, Whitewater, Sophomore, Outfield/Catcher, Fort Atkinson, Wis. (Fort Atkinson)
Kyra Lard, La Crosse, Sophomore, Shortstop, McHenry, Ill. (East)
Megan Maruna, Eau Claire, Senior, Secondbase, Oswego, Ill. (Oswego)
Jordyn McCormack, La Crosse, Junior, Thirdbase, Austin, Minn. (Austin)
Sydney Nemetz, Oshkosh, Sophomore, Righthanded Pitcher, Marinette, Wis. (Marinette)
Keegan Piton, River Falls, Junior, Shortstop, Green Bay, Wis. (Preble)
Hannah Ritter, Oshkosh, Senior, Firstbase, Marengo, Ill. (Marengo)
Taylor Roughen, Platteville, Sophomore, Righthanded Pitcher, Lake Mills, Wis. (Lake Mills)
Elise Weinzierl, La Crosse, Junior, Righthanded Pitcher, St. Michael, Minn. (St. Michael-Albertville)
Sophie Wery, Oshkosh, Sophomore, Catcher, Seymour, Wis. (Seymour)
Madi Zerr, Eau Claire, Senior, Lefthanded Pitcher, Bristol, Wis. (Wilmot Union)

Honorable Mention
Meghan Dunning, Whitewater, Junior, Shortstop, Plainfield, Ill. (South)
Marissa Pease, La Crosse, Freshman, Designated Player/Catcher, Mukwonago, Wis. (Mukwonago)
Kaylee Peterson, Stout, Graduate Student, Outfield, Woodbury, Minn. (East Ridge)
Kayli Pfeffer, Stout, Senior, Thirdbase, Racine, Wis. (Union Grove)
Remington Stark, La Crosse, Junior, Righthanded Pitcher, Orfordville, Wis. (Parkview)
Makenna Tkach, Stevens Point, Senior, Righthanded Pitcher, Streator, Ill. (Marquette Academy)
Sara Traxel, Stevens Point, Senior, Rightfield, Oak Creek, Wis. (Oak Creek)
Grace Wickman, Whitewater, Sophomore, Thirdbase, Wausaukee, Wis. (Peshtigo)
Ashley Zygowski, Stevens Point, Freshman, Righthanded Pitcher, Saukville, Wis. (Port Washington)

All-Sportsmanship Team
Keltie Cloud, Stevens Point, Freshman, Utility, Franklin, Wis. (Franklin)
Kendall Drake, Platteville, Junior, Utility, Florence, Ariz. (Florence)
Mallory Hollatz, Whitewater, Senior, Righthanded Pitcher, Lockport, Ill. (Lockport Township)
Ana Iliopoulos, Oshkosh, Senior, Infield/Righthanded Pitcher, Morton Grove, Ill. (Maine East)
Liz Rohl, Stout, Freshman, Thirdbase, Prescott, Wis. (Prescott)
Lindsey Strom, River Falls, Senior, Catcher/Infield, Cottage Grove, Minn. (Park)
Shaelyn Talley, Eau Claire, Senior, Outfield, Wausau, Wis. (West)
Mariah Wick, La Crosse, Senior, Outfield, Onalaska, Wis. (Onalaska)

Kwik Trip Position Player of the Year:  Melissa Dietz of Platteville
Kwik Trip Pitcher of the Year:  Elise Weinzierl of La Crosse
Kwik Trip Newcomer of the Year:  Melissa Dietz of Platteville
Kwik Trip Coaching Staff of the Year:  La Crosse
Judy Kruckman Scholar-Athlete:  Sadie Erickson of Eau Clair

UW-Eau Claire’s Erickson Named Judy Kruckman Softball Scholar-Athlete

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Sadie Erickson has been named the recipient of the 2023 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Judy Kruckman Softball Scholar-Athlete Award.

A senior from Norwood Young America, Minn. (Central), Erickson is majoring in kinesiology-rehab science and sustains a 3.83 grade point average. She secured a spot on the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America Third Team in 2021, and is a three-time member of the WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll. Erickson has been recognized on UW-Eau Claire’s Dean’s List numerous semesters.

A team captain this season, she is a two-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American, securing first team honors in 2021 and second team recognition in 2022. Erickson claimed All-Region first team honors and All-WIAC first team status during the 2021 and 2022 seasons. During the 2022 campaign, she helped the Blugolds claim the WIAC Tournament title. She holds the program career record for slugging percentage, while ranking second in batting average and seventh in home runs. In 2021, Erickson received her team’s Offensive Performer of the Year distinction.

Erickson is a member of University Honors Program, Kinesiology Club and Occupational/Physical Therapy Club, and has assisted with Blugold softball camps and clinics.

Also nominated for this year’s scholar-athlete award were:  UW-La Crosse’s Megan Scheidt (Sr., La Crosse, Wis./Aquinas); UW-Platteville’s Claire Bakkestuen (Sr., Forest Lake, Minn./Forest Lake); UW-River Falls’ Keegan Piton (Jr., Green Bay, Wis./Preble); UW-Stevens Point’s Sara Traxel (Sr., Oak Creek, Wis./Oak Creek); UW-Stout’s Kaylee Peterson (Grad., Woodbury, Minn./East Ridge); and UW-Whitewater’s Krista Sbarra (Sr., West Chicago, Ill./St. Charles East).

The WIAC Scholar-Athlete Award is named after Judy Kruckman who served as Assistant Commissioner for the WIAC from 1996-98. Prior to this appointment, she was Commissioner of the Wisconsin Women's Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WWIAC) from October, 1984 - September, 1996. Kruckman was the women's athletics director at UW-Eau Claire from 1974-84, and one of the original representatives to the WWIAC when it formed in 1971. She was inducted into the WIAC Hall of Fame in 2012.

In order to be nominated for the scholar-athlete award, a student-athlete must have a minimum 3.50 grade point average. In addition, she must be in her last year of competition, or on schedule to graduate this academic year, and have competed for a minimum of two years. The award is based on academic achievements, athletics accomplishments and involvement in other campus activities, organizations and community service projects.

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