WISCONSIN DELLS — Portage’s Meghan Witt knows with the end of her final high school season last week, her college softball career is right around the corner.
That didn’t stop the UW-Eau Claire recruit from donning the Warriors’ white, orange and black one final time Tuesday for a pair of games at the Wisconsin Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association All-Star games at Woodside Sports Complex in Wisconsin Dells. Witt, along with Poynette’s Mattie Bredeson, Pardeeville’s Courtney Peterson and Lodi’s Anna Manke, were among 215 of the best players across all five divisions to participate in the event.
“It’s pretty cool to be recognized and have this opportunity to play, but it’s also bittersweet to know that it’s my last time in a Portage uniform,” Witt said.
“It’s definitely been an honor,” Peterson added. “I didn’t even know about this and then being selected, it totally just puts the icing on the cake for senior year.”
The trip to Woodside capped off a long season for both Witt and Bredeson, whose Warriors and Pumas each played in last week’s WIAA state softball tournament. While Witt and Portage were unsuccessful in capturing the Warriors’ first state title since 2005, Bredeson helped lead Poynette to the Division 3 crown, its fourth state championship and first since 2011.
Bredeson, who will play at UW-La Crosse next year, said with a chuckle that she was happy to put on a clean uniform after the emotional roller coaster that was the past week-plus.
“Going to state, you have all that stress on you, and this is pretty much like a free-for-all. Having all these girls that you know are good playing with you, it feels so good to be with these girls,” she said. “I’m lucky to be here and I’m happy I’m here.”
Unlike Witt and Bredeson, Peterson and Manke are unsure of their softball future. Peterson plans to attend UW-Oshkosh and is anticipating trying out for the Titans team. Manke intends to attend Madison Area Technical College for two years before transferring to a four-year college, and may try out for the WolfPack.
For both girls, playing on Friday was a good gauge of their college potential.
“Seeing all these different players, I definitely know I have to continue to keep working, because there are plenty of hardworking athletes out here,” Peterson said. “It definitely allowed me to see what else is out there, to know what I’m going up against, and hopefully I continue to do what I’m doing.”
There were plenty of familiar faces for the foursome on Tuesday, with some former conference foes in attendance. Conference rivals Bredeson and Manke faced off against each other during the second of their two games, while the former was teamed up with Taylor Pache and Samira Arvin from Marshall, a familiar opponent for the Pumas.
“It’s just nice to know that we represent the Capitol Conference well, and we all can come together and play a good game of softball,” Manke said.
“Playing with them, getting to know them, it was so fun getting to know who they really are instead of just softball players,” Bredeson added.
In Division 4/5, Peterson was on the same team as Horicon’s Cassie Laabs, Payton Justman and Angie Laabs. Peterson said it was an honor to play with the Marshaldies trio, who helped Horicon to a Division 4 state title on Saturday.
“I got to get to know them a little bit better, and was able to see how they liked state, something where I watched them play,” Peterson said. “It was cool to be able to be with them.”
Witt didn’t play with any former rivals, but she did get to see some future teammates in Chippewa Falls’ Kaylee Frenette — whom she will room with at Eau Claire — and Whitnall’s Mackenzie Sutton.
“It’s awesome to be in one place,” Witt said. “You always wish that you can see them play throughout the season, but to be here, in the same place, to be able to hang out, talk with them and spend time with each other, is really nice.”
With Tuesday behind them, the four area athletes now turn their attention to the future, but that doesn’t mean they won’t forget their All-Star experiences. Manke said being honored as an All-Star was a great recognition and “it was just nice to know that all my hard work had paid off over the years.”
Bredeson said that she did miss her fellow Pumas playing with her team Tuesday, but it was nice to end with a stress-free game and Witt said that it means a lot to be recognized.
“It’s been so good out here,” Peterson added. “The fields are nice and it’s been a good day, so everything was perfect.”