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Wright on the money: Pewaukee native shining

Softball player completes huge college career at St. Thomas

May 19, 2010

She can hit, run, play defense and even skate, and she's a perfect 4.0 student on top of it all.

Finishing up her senior year at the University of St. Thomas (Minn.), Alison Wright's high school and college days have flown by, but not without notice.

She just became the all-time hits leader in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC). This season, she led the MIAC in hitting and helped the Tommies finish 39-7. She hit .462 with 27 runs scored, a home run and 32 RBIs to her credit. Her on base percentage is sizzling at .487, and her fielding percentage is .991 at first base. That marks a smooth transition from right field, where she played as a freshman when she was named Rookie of the Year in the MIAC.

"Alison is really a competitor; one of the toughest kids I've ever coached," said St. Thomas coach John Tschida, widely viewed as one of the best coaches in the country. "She can be down 0-2 (in the count during an at-bat), and when the weekend's over, she's 7-for-9. She's been amazing."

During her prep days at Pewaukee High School, she ran cross country, was the centerpiece of the Pirates softball team four years as the shortstop and she also played hockey - on the boys team.

Recruited by St. Thomas University in softball and hockey, she discarded her skates in favor of softball.

"I went to a couple captains meetings as a freshman and just decided the best thing was to concentrate on academics and play softball," Wright said. "I don't regret the decision not playing hockey on the women's team."

Wright has accomplished all of this despite difficulty just getting out of bed in the morning. She lives daily with Juvenile Discogenic Disorder (JDD), an ailment that causes chronic back pain.

Nonetheless, Wright is also a phenom in the classroom, having been named Academic All-American twice (she's a shoe-in to get a third). Last year, she was named ESPN Academic Athlete of the Year and carries a perfect 4.0 grade point average that dates back to her grammar-school days.

"She's got a resume three pages long," Tschida said. "She's not going to have any troubles being successful after college."

Wright will return to the Lake Country area after she graduates from St. Thomas despite four unforgettable seasons with the Tommies.

"College and playing for St. Thomas has been a great experience," she said. "I've learned so much about the game of softball from coach Tschida, and I've had awesome teammates."

What's next?

"I've been offered a job here in Minnesota, but I'm coming back to Pewaukee for family reasons," Wright said. "My boyfriend goes to Concordia and I want to be close to my family (her parents are Gene and Ann). Hopefully I can find a job when I get back home."

Even as bad as the economy is, few believe she'll be looking for work for long.

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