Softball Veteran Gears Up for New Season
Ann “Wee-Wee” Rogness juggles a killer schedule of classes, sports, and work—and loves every minute of it.
Ann Rogness is a native of Vermillion, Minnesota, a town of little more than 430 people midway between Farmington and Hastings, but at Dakota County Technical College she keeps a big-city schedule.
Rogness, 20, is the only player returning to the softball team from the 2006-07 roster. Known affectionately as Wee-Wee by her friends, family, and teammates, she excelled as a starter last year and brings a ton of experience to the upcoming season.
Before becoming a Blue Knight, Rogness played high-school softball for the Hastings Raiders. The Minnesota Fastpitch Coaches’ Association selected her as an All-Section Player in Section 1AAA in 2006. “I love playing team sports,” she said. “You experience a sense of closeness and completeness that’s hard to find anywhere else.”
A utility player, Rogness prefers taking the field as an outfielder, but also makes her mark as a pitcher and catcher. In softball, utility players are not only skilled at several positions, but are also valued for their batting prowess.
“I’m what’s called a slapper,” said Rogness, who’s known for her lightning speed on the base paths. “I bat left to get a jump on first base—and swing so that I’m already running when I make contact with the ball. The whole point of slap-hitting is to put the ball in play and get on base.”
Seth Smith, the softball squad’s new head coach, is excited about fielding a proven veteran on a roster packed with newcomers. “We are very fortunate to have Ann as a strong leader,” he said. “She’s a role model for all the players on our team.”
Michelle Harrison, who returns for a second season as the team’s assistant coach, reported that Rogness clocked a lot of hours on the mound and behind the plate last year. “We look for Ann to step into a leadership position and pilot the Blue Knights in 2008,” Harrison said. “I have no doubt that she’ll take charge of our incoming athletes both on and off the field.”
Rogness is also winding up her last semester in the Biomedical Equipment Technology program at DCTC and will graduate this spring with her A.A.S. degree. She was initially interested in getting a degree in electrical construction and maintenance technology, but switched programs after discovering that she would be placed on a waiting list.
“My dad found the BMET program and told me to look into it,” Rogness said. “I saw right away that I would still be working with my hands in a field dealing with electronic and electromechanical equipment. I would also be helping people at the same time.”
Steve Bezanson, the college’s BMET instructor, has been working to increase the number of women in his program. He noted that females make up only six to seven percent of the nation’s biomedical equipment workforce.
“I was very happy to steal Ann away from the Electrical Construction program,” Bezanson said. “She’s a great student and has been totally involved in the program. Ann can look forward to bright future in her chosen career.”
Rogness did have second thoughts about one 4-credit course required for her degree. “I was scared to take anatomy and physiology,” she admitted. “But once I got into the class, I found out that I loved it. Learning how the human body works is actually lot of fun.”
Susan Johanson, the office careers instructor who teaches the class, remembers Rogness as a keen student. “Ann saw that anatomy and physiology had an immediate connection to the students in the classroom,” Johanson said. “She realized that she would be learning about herself.”
Rogness mentioned the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, as one place she would like to work after graduation. “I don’t like sitting at a desk,” she said. “As a BMET, I could do field work for an independent service company or original equipment manufacturer. I could also work in-house at a hospital. BMETs frequently monitor medical equipment in the operating room during surgery.”
On top of handling 18 credits and playing college softball, Rogness holds down three jobs. “I’m a student worker in the BMET program,” she said. “I also work at a dog boarding kennel and pet resort in Hastings, and I just started at a fitness center in Apple Valley.”
Rogness truly enjoys her BMET studies and looks forward to putting her education into practice. As for the upcoming softball season, she can’t wait to meet her new teammates and get back on the playing field.
“I like the adrenaline rush that goes with competition,” she said with a bright smile, one too big for her diminutive nickname. “I also love the camaraderie we develop as a team. We’re like a family.”
The Blue Knights practice at the Irish Sports Dome, a premier indoor facility in Rosemount, Minn. Home games are played at Erickson Park, also in Rosemount. The 2008 softball schedule begins at the Rainy River Invitational on March 28 & 29 at the Irish Sports Dome.
Graduates of the Biomedical Equipment Technology program are prepared to inspect, calibrate, maintain, and repair diagnostic, monitoring, therapeutic, and life-saving equipment in hospitals, clinics, and university medical centers. BMETs work in close association with doctors, registered nurses, scientists, health care technicians, and medical administrators.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for BMETs is projected to grow much faster than average in the U.S., increasing 22 percent between 2006 and 2016. Salary.com reports that the mean annual wage nationally for BMETs reached $49,000 as of January 2008. BMETs in the top 10 percent make close to $60,000 a year.