Varsity - The Official Digital Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics

Varsity - May 15, 2014

Varsity is the free Official Digital Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics, covering Badgers football, basketball, hockey and more each week.

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53 GREG ANDERSON T here may have been a casual mention that she once played catcher. But that happened years ago when Chloe Miller was an eighth grader in Bettendorf, Iowa ― miles and miles from Big Ten softball. So what was it about Miller's makeup and skill set that convinced Wisconsin coach Yvette Healy that she could be the answer behind the plate as a fresh- man despite her limited experience? "We watched her play in high school and she was very competitive," Healy recalled. "I saw her playing shortstop and she was just this real loud, real vocal kid who was running the defense. "We needed someone who has leadership back there and she's got that ability. She said she had a little catching experience and when we heard that, we liked it." So the Badgers ran with it to the extent that the 18-year-old Miller has started all 50 games head- ing into this weekend's NCAA regional in Eugene, Oregon, filling a huge void left by the graduation of Whitney Massey, last year's starting catcher. Along with hitting .299 ― the fourth-highest aver- age on the team behind Mary Massei, Michelle Muel- ler and Maria Van Abel ― she has produced the sec- ond most homers (10) and RBIs (34). Obviously delighted over Miller's emergence at a difficult position, Healy said, "She's been a great ad- dition. She's loose and doesn't get stressed out. She has charisma, which catchers should have. "I look at basketball with Nigel Hayes being the guy with the personality as a freshman. She's our Nigel. If we were to give one person the microphone and send them out, I would hand it to her." That's quite an endorsement given that Hayes, the fabled Ron Burgundy impersonator on UWBadgers. com, was selected as the Sixth Man of the Year in the Big Ten. Miller has been equally valuable to a UW softball team that has won 17 of its last 20 games and is re- turning to the NCAA tournament for a second con- secutive year Not only has she added power ― joining Muel- ler, Massei and Stephanie Peace in balancing out the slappers in the lineup ― but she has managed pitch- ers Cassandra Darrah and Taylor-Paige Stewart. "She's done extremely well and I'm super proud of her ― all of her hard work has really paid off and it shows," said Darrah, a senior from Corydon, Iowa, which is about 200 miles from Bettendorf. "It has been fun to watch her transition from the fall to spring and see how well she has done. I heard all about her when she was being recruited ― this great four-sport athlete from Iowa." Four-sport star Chloe Miller did just about everything in high school – everything expect play catcher, that is. Her quick pick-up of the position is a big reason the Badgers are back in the NCAA tournament. BY MIKE LUCAS • UWBADGERS.COM CATCH QUITE A

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