The 2009-2010 UW-Richland Roadrunner women’s basketball team ended this season on a high note. They achieved second place in the Wisconsin Junior College Athletic Association (WJCAA) tournament finals, surpassing last season’s achievement which was one that inspired many of the players to return to the courts this year.
Usually at the freshman-sophomore campus, there are more first-year players. This year, as the season ended, the team was comprised of five sophomores and two freshmen.
“We had a great season last year,” said Amanda Bloedow, Ithaca, a sophomore and one of the four members who shares team captain duties.
Not only did the team win often last year, they also made it to the WJCAA tournament where they lost by only one point in semi-finals. The success and enthusiasm from last year inspired many of the athletes to stay with the Roadrunner team this year.
“It was nice to have so many returners,” Bloedow said.
The Roadrunner women ended their 2009-2010 season this year with a 13-7 record overall.
Early on, this season wasn’t as bright as the last, Bloedow said.
“The start of the season was frustrating. We weren’t playing well,” she said. “The best was since starting up the season after the holiday break. e came out strong and it raised our hopes about what a team can be. Earning state runner-up honors was satisfying.”
Bloedow herself earned All Tournament team honors.
Bloedow loves sports. As an Ithaca High School student, she played basketball, softball and volleyball. An athletic trainer she knew talked with her about his work and, though she was undecided about a major, Bloedow started her UW-Richland education with the possibility of an athletic training career in mind. As she investigated further, she decided that a better choice would be to go into her mother’s line of work, nursing, and that’s what she plans to pursue.
Career plans aren’t the only changes she’s experienced. During her two years on the Roadrunner basketball team, former rivals became teammates.
“I played against some of the team—Kassy, Megan, Sandy—in high school. Now, we’re friends. And I like it that (through basketball) I got to meet new
Bloedow credits Coach Craig Kreger, now in his seventh season with the Roadrunners, for his work building the team. “He lets us know how to fix things, and he doesn’t play favorites,” she said.
Having played with the other sophomores for two seasons, she’s familiar with their strengths and style.
“Jessica Parker (Westby) keeps things lively. She works hard and has improved from last year. Jessie Erdmann (La Crescent, MN) is an excellent ball handler who controls the floor and brings up the ball. She’s steady and keeps her head in the game. Kassy Lisney (La Farge) is a good ball handler, scrappy and tough. And Nicole Bielefeldt (Mondovi) is a very physical player and a good shooter,” Bloedow said.
As for the first-year Roadrunners, “Megan Pitzer (Wauzeka) is versatile, aggressive and a good ball handler. Sandy Check (Wauzeka) is scrappy. She gets steals and rebounds, and she’s a strong defensive player,” Bloedow said.
“I love the game of basketball,” Bloedow said. “It’s taught me some important lessons. Be a team player. Keep cool when things don’t go well. And from basketball I’ve gained valuable social interactions and new friends.”
From time to talk with teammates during road trips to moments of success on the court, Bloedow said, “I’ll leave with good memories.”
While she and the other players know well the challenges of juggling school, work and basketball, overall it’s a source of satisfaction.
Her advice for next year’s new freshmen? “You only have two years. If you like the game—go for it.”