By Cara L. Dempski
WISCONSIN DELLS — Glenwood City softball player Natalie Gabbert now has another honor to add to her already-impressive resume: state all-star.
The Hilltopper shortstop played two last high school games as a member of the Wisconsin Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association Division 4/5 team blue last Tuesday at Woodside Sports Complex in Wisconsin Dells. Gabbert was nominated by Glenwood City’s head softball coach, Pete Gaustad, for her accomplishments as a member of his team.
[emember_protected] The 2017 graduate met with her teammates at Chula Vista resort in Wisconsin Dells June 12 and started her day with a 9 a.m. players’ meeting. From there, she went to practice from 10 a.m. until noon, and worked with Team Blue coach Chelsea Rosenow from Chippewa Falls’ McDonell Central High School.
Players from all teams present, which included six Division 1 teams, six Division 2/3 teams and five Division 4/5 teams, were treated to a pizza party for lunch while all-star event staff got everyone checked into the resort and handed out water park passes.
The assembled all-stars and their coaches and families were treated to a banquet at Chula Vista for dinner before heading to a Tommy Bartlett thrill show to end the evening.
Gabbert was up early the next morning, June 13, for breakfast before the first round of games started at 9 a.m. Her team was scheduled to play two other Division 4/5 teams for bragging rights.
The former Topper had some prep work to do before she went to Wisconsin Dells, though. All players are asked to fundraise for charities throughout the state. Gabbert raised $720 for Special Olympics Wisconsin, and earned a pair of mesh shorts, a t-shirt, a hooded sweatshirt, and drawstring backpack for her efforts.
“Her father and I are very honored, very humbled she was nominated,” Gabbert’s mother, Mary, said of she and her husband, Ed, learning of the selection.
A total of 199 seniors from all over Wisconsin were named to the 17 different teams. The WFSCA indicates the all-star teams consist entirely of seniors nominated by their coaches and are selected based on their softball accomplishments throughout their high school softball careers.
Players are placed on teams with their peers, and participate in practice Monday morning before having fun and attending a recognition banquet later that evening.
Gabbert is the first Hilltopper player Gaustad has nominated to be selected for the WFSCA all-star team. She will attend Northern State University starting in 2017, where she will be part of the women’s softball roster.
She is the youngest daughter of Ed and Mary Gabbert, and has an older sister, Nikki.
Gabbert was not available to comment, and Gaustad did not respond to requests for comments. [/emember_protected]