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Montee Ball performs better at Badger Pro Day

Wisconsin running back Montee Ball made up for his dismal showing at the NFL Scouting Combine with a much-improved audition at the March 6 Badger Pro Day in Madison.

Ball ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds - two-tenths of a second faster than in Indianapolis last month. Ball, who broke the NCAA record for career touchdowns last fall, said he was suffering from a sinus infection at the combine, and that he felt much better on Wednesday.

A number of scouts looked on, including Green Bay Packers General Manager Ted Thompson.

Ball says he'd love to be drafted in the first round next month, but at this point he'll be happy being taken in any round.

Center Travis Frederick also took part in the Badgers Pro Day, along with tackle Ricky Wagner, safety Shelton Johnson, and cornerbacks Marcus Cromartie and Devin Smith.

Packers try out kicker

It's been six years since the Green Bay Packers even considered a kicker other than Mason Crosby. That will change on Monday, March 11, when the Packers give a try-out to free agent Michael Barnard.

Crosby has been the only kicker under contract in Green Bay since he beat out Dave Rayner for the job in 2007. But the 28-year-old Crosby had his worst season in 2012 with a field goal percentage of almost 64, the lowest in the NFL.

With training camp rosters expanding to 90 players, it's possible that Crosby will face his first training camp competition in a while.

The 27-year-old Barnard has played in only one pro game since leaving Division III Fairleigh Dickinson in 2008. That was with the Reading Express of the Indoor Football League in 2012.

Former Jacksonville kicker Mike Hollis is among those who've taught Barnard. Hollis calls him dedicated, passionate and deserving of an opportunity with an NFL team.

Nephew of Santana Dotson joins staff

A familiar name will help the Green Bay Packers look for future stars. Alonzo Dotson, nephew of former Packers defensive lineman Santana Dotson, has been hired to scout out college talent.

Alonzo will be 28 later this month. He was an assistant coach for quality control at the University of Houston for the past two years.

Dotson also played college ball with Oklahoma for three years in the previous decade.

Blugold advance in Division III hockey tournament

UW-Eau Claire advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III men's hockey tournament with a 4-2 home win over St. John's of Minnesota Wednesday night.

The Blugolds came back twice after being down by a goal. Kurt Weston scored twice, and Isaiah Bennis scored the game-winner in the second period, as the Blugolds won in their first national tournament appearance since 1989.

Fourth-ranked Eau Claire improved to 21-5-2 overall. No. 14 St. John's ended its season at 16-8-4.

Eau Claire will now face two-time defending champion St. Norbert on Saturday night on the Green Knights' home ice in De Pere, with a berth in the national Frozen Four at stake.

Eau Claire is 2-1-1 against Saint Norbert this season, but the Green Knights prevailed last weekend when they beat the Blugolds for the NCHA tournament crown.