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Fiammetta: Don’t despair, cornrows are here

first_imgIn the nature of the most extreme amusement park rides, the University of Wisconsin has had one of the more topsy-turvy athletic seasons in recent memory.There was football’s two-week binge of awesomeness with the stunning upset of previously No. 1, previously undefeated Ohio State, followed by a resounding, nail-biting, “HOLY $#!+ THEY DID IT” road victory over Iowa the very next week. Then there was the Badgers clinching the Big Ten regular season title by way of tiebreaker and earning a Rose Bowl berth.Then there was the actual Rose Bowl, which ended as a two-point loss/brutal crushing of hearts throughout Wisconsin.Men’s basketball followed suit, defeating the Buckeyes yet again in Madison Feb. 12 and advancing to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2008. Yet again, the jubilation of a postseason berth was trounced by the lack of postseason advancement, as Wisconsin’s offense once again went MIA against Butler.I apologize for rummaging up those tear-jerking memories you have likely repressed. I’ll make myself available for counseling.Or, I’ll just tell you that regardless of what you’re thinking or being told, all hope is not lost for you as a Badger fan. No, you do not have to hibernate until the NFL gets itself right and the Packers can go about repeating as national champs. There are several reasons why you should keep your head up as a fan of UW athletics, but here are three that are just ripe for warming your heart and wiping away those tears.Reason #1: Mike Bruesewitz is keeping UW basketball relevantAs of Monday, sophomore forward Mike Bruesewitz has cornrows. Next, he plans on having a mullet. He used to have a bulging, red-orange afro and before that, a buzzcut. He plans on eventually returning to that buzzcut.Got it?Perhaps taking the reins from former Badger J.J. Watt as king of the Madison-area social networking realm, Bruesewitz took to Twitter this weekend to announce his hair cutting plans. Monday, he followed through with a promise.“Twit pics coming today of the cornrows…got mixed reactions most of which have been laughter followed by a what is wrong with you,” Bruesewitz tweeted.Lo and behold, Bruesewitz Tweeted the photos all of Madison was waiting for just a few hours later. The TwitPics were replete with different poses and angles, displaying a whole new “Brueser.”So, while you may still feel crushed from that 61-54 Sweet 16 loss to Butler, you should feel better knowing not only is Bruesewitz quickly becoming the most entertaining athlete on campus, but he’s doing it with cornrows. And then a mullet. And then a buzzcut.Reason #2: Softball is winningThe Wisconsin softball program has absorbed its fair share of criticisms the past few years. After all, the Badgers were 15-40 last year and 3-17 in Big Ten play. Sure, they played their first 28 games on the road, but a .375 winning percentage won’t exactly earn you much sympathy.This season, UW is off to a 15-11 (0-2 Big Ten) start. After a mediocre beginning to its schedule, Wisconsin responded with an eight-game winning streak that was just snapped this past weekend.Now that much-maligned former head coach Chandelle Schulte is gone (she was let go last June) and Yvette Healy has replaced her, the Badgers have responded with excitement and energy. Freshman pitcher Cassandra Darrah has emerged to anchor the pitching staff, beginning the season with a 10-3 record and a 2.18 earned run average, both tops on the team. Senior outfielder Jennifer Krueger, a two-time third-team All-Big Ten selection, has returned to lead the team with a .367 batting average and a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage. Mary Massei, another freshman, is second behind Krueger with a .329 batting average.So if the Major League Baseball season starts too slowly for you, or you’re looking for some winning UW team to brighten your mood, or if you need to see for yourself that the softball team’s actually winning, go check them out. The Badgers open their home season Wednesday afternoon at Goodman Diamond against Illinois-Chicago.Reason #3: Football appears ready to return to topPerhaps that crushing two-point Rose Bowl loss was a good thing. Or perhaps that’s just wishful thinking. Who knows?Regardless, and despite the loss of starting quarterback Scott Tolzien, running back John Clay and defensive end Watt, the Badgers look poised to challenge for a return trip to Pasadena.Sure, former Big 12 power Nebraska is now a member of the Big Ten but even with dual-threat star quarterback Taylor Martinez returning and the Cornhuskers bringing one of the best home field advantages in all of college football, they could be in for a rude awakening.Ohio State figures to enter preseason play atop the Big Ten in the minds of the media and most pollsters, but head coach Jim Tressel, starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor and four other players will be suspended for the Buckeyes’ first five games after yet another scandal rocked Columbus, Ohio. Their absence might not doom OSU, but make no mistake – controversy isn’t exactly what the Ohio State program needs right now.With running backs Montee Ball (who has slimmed down and reportedly improved his speed) and James White back in the fold, continued offensive line depth and the return of former Big Ten Freshman of the Year, linebacker Chris Borland, to the defense, Wisconsin seems primed to avenge its Rose Bowl defeat.So there you have it. Keep your heads up, Badger fans. All hope is not lost for you.Mike is a junior majoring in journalism and communication arts. What’s keeping you upbeat as a Badger fan? Let him know at mfiammetta@badgerherald.com and follow him on Twitter @mikefiammetta.last_img read more

Mancuso is tied for lead in World Cup standings

first_imgJulia Mancuso has moved atop the World Cup overall standings for the first time this season as she bids to become the first American woman to win the title in nearly a quarter-century. But she’s not alone. Renate Goetschl of Austria won her record 17th World Cup super-giant slalom , by more than a second Sunday to join Mancuso at the top of the overall standings. Goetschl, who already had clinched the season’s super-G title, skied the 1.2-mile Prampero course in 1 minute, 18.66 seconds. Nicole Hosp of Austria was second, 1.01 behind, and Mancuso was third, 1.22 back. in Tarvisio, Italy Matt wins second straight: World champion Mario Matt won his second straight World Cup slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, and Benjamin Raich finished second to reclaim the lead in the overall standings. Bode Miller was 23rd in 1:43.89. Also: Raphael Poiree shot clean and won the men’s 12.5-kilometer pursuit race for his third straight World Cup biathlon victoryin Lahti, Finland. … Odd-Bjorn Hjelmeset won the men’s 50-kilometer cross-country race on the final day of the Nordic World Ski Championships in Sapporo, Japan. … Oskar Svard won the 56-mile Vasaloppet cross-country marathon by two seconds in Mora, Sweden. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more