Wisconsin Badgers softball’s trio of central Wisconsin players

Published: May. 19, 2022 at 8:02 PM CDT
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Gainesville, Fla. (WSAW) - Three central Wisconsin players will be donning the Badgers softball jersey when the team opens NCAA tournament play tomorrow.

Lauren Foster, a Wausau native, is the team’s shortstop. Ally Miklesh, a former SPASH player, is the team’s outfielder. Megan Donahue, a Marshfield alum, is the team’s catcher.

But the first connection within the trio started when Miklesh was just 14 years old. She played with Donahue on her dad’s FirePro summer softball team.

“Playing with Ally was always really fun. The moment the ball was hit in the air, I was like ‘Ally’s got it,’” Donahue recalled.

That continued into the season when Miklesh’s Panthers would play Donahue’s Tigers in Wisconsin Valley Conference play.

“You know Marshfield, SPASH. We have a little rivalry, especially in softball. There was always a little bit of banter,” Miklesh said.

Lauren Foster (third from the left on the bottom) and Megan Donahue (third from the left on the...
Lauren Foster (third from the left on the bottom) and Megan Donahue (third from the left on the top) on the FirePro softball team in 2014.(Ally Miklesh | Ally Miklesh)

The relationship between the two continued through high school and graduation. But while Miklesh was a Wisconsin Badgers’ recruit, Donahue planned to go to a junior college to play softball for two seasons. Neither thought there was a chance they would play together again.

Until before the 2020 season, Donahue walked on to the Badgers as a catcher.

Donahue became the third central Wisconsin native on the team, joining Foster, who was born and raised in Wausau for nine years, and Miklesh.

“I wish we had more kids, you know. Three is not enough. We need more kids from Wisconsin to go be a Badger,” Foster said.

In the last two seasons, the Trio has started a combined 189 games, powering the Badgers back to the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in five seasons.

“We take a lot of pride in developing our skills and being as good as other athletes from warmer states,” Donahue said.

The three women are seniors and near the end of their college careers, but they hope the legacy they built continues at home.

“It’s possible that even though you’re from a small town in the middle of Wisconsin, you can still achieve your dreams,” Donahue said.

Dreams that began at 14 years old continue on the big stage as the group looks to keep making central Wisconsin proud.

The team opens NCAA tournament play Friday at 1 pm against Georgia Tech.

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