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Rhinelander football keeps Mike Webster's memory alive with 'Iron Mike'Submitted: 05/20/2018
RHINELANDER - Rhinelander football honors former Hodag and NFL player, Mike Webster multiple times throughout the year. The field is named after him and this weekend, the team trained like he did by having its annual Iron Mike run.

Mike Webster played for the Hodags and then went on to play for the Pittsburgh steelers. His nickname was Iron Mike and the Rhinelander football team honors him by literally training with iron.

"It weighs on you after a while, carrying 45 pounds for a ways," said senior Reuben Guzik.

Webster would train with 45 pound plates, so now Rhinelander does too. Teams of four run a 3k while carrying a 45 pound plate

"The biggest challenge is pushing yourself with your teammates. You don't want to pass a plate onto a teammate for too long, you don't want to tire them out, you want to carry your load for as much as possible," said Guzik.

Junior wide receiver Josh Francisco ran the Iron Mike for the first time this year.

"It was a little easier than I thought I'd be," said Francisco.

The rules are that someone on the four-person team has to carry the plate the entire way. But then when you cross the finish line, you have to all be holding the plate so you finish as a team. The strategy side of things was almost as hard as the physical challenge.

"We'd help him out or just take the plate from him and let him rest and then take turns from there," said Francisco.

Guzik and his team are all done with their high school football careers but they wanted to keep running in the Iron Mike to make it more fun for everyone involved.

"The seniors when we were younger, they did it and it just gets some friendly competition and see who can do it faster," said Guzik.

Guzik's team finished first in the alumni division and Francisco's team finished first for the current players.

Mike Webster is now known as the first former NFL player to be diagnosed with CTE after numerous concussions. The money raised from the run goes to new helmets and other safety equipment to prevent injuries like CTE.




Story By: Katie Leszcynski

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 LOCAL SPORTS

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ANTIGO -

The Rhinelander Hodags boys tennis team clinched the Great Northern Conference on Friday before the meet even started.

The seedings and points tallied during the season made it so Rhinelander won the tournament before they even hit a ball. 

"Some years we've done it easier than others. Freshman year was not easy at all, but every time we've done it, I think the time and effort put in definitely pays off. It's proof to the testament of Coach Heideman and our program, how much work we put in," said senior Markus Johnson.

The Hodags have now won the title seven out of the last eight years.

That means the senior class has won conference all four years.

This season was Head Coach Bob Heideman's 31st year with the team.

Heideman says the countless titles during his time are all because of the commitment of his team.

"The first thing is that I try to scare them as far as how good the competition is going to be; that if they don't work hard, it's not going to come," said Heideman.


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NORTHWOODS - Three Lakes/Phelps topped Laona-Wabeno 6-3 to win the Northern Lakes Conference softball title.

Crandon split a doubleheader with Elcho in baseball, giving the Cardinals their second NLC loss of the season.

Rhinelander upset Tomahawk in Game 1 of a softball doubleheader, but the Hatchets won Game 2 12-2.

Check below for other area scores from Thursday night.

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WOODRUFF -
In some ways, Lakeland Union's trip to the state golf tournament last year came as a surprise.

"Last year, the team came out of nowhere and went to state. Nobody was really watching us as much," said Lakeland sophomore Ansen Nomm.

It was a team with no seniors that didn't even win its own conference.

But in 2018, the T-Birds are the center of attention.

"This year, everyone is looking at us, they're gunning for us, they want to beat us," said Nomm.

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WAUSAU - Wausau East sophomore Cinneidi Comfort feels at home in the net for the Wausau Wolfpack lacrosse team.

"My lowest save percentage was 60%. I think that's a little bit above the average save percentage in the state for girls goalie," said Comfort.

Comfort had up to a 90% save percentage this season. Comfort is the top goalie in the state with 89 saves in only eight games.

"It feels really good because I've worked so hard for it, but it's any other day," said Comfort.

She isn't the only player on the Wolfpack that's playing with a top spot in mind.

Junior Natalia Robinson is second in the state for goals, with 36 goals in eight games. The top scorer has 40 goals in 12 games, so Robinson's on track to become number one.

Robinson started playing lacrosse in sixth grade when she lived in Rhode Island.

"It's so popular down on the east coast, I just fell in love with it. My coaches there were really great and they're great now too," said Robinson.

She moved to Tomahawk a few years later and was happy to see that there was a team for her, even if that meant a 45 minute drive to play.

"It's 100% worth it. Lacrosse is my sport, it's my passion," said Robinson.

Just like Comfort saying it's a regular day, Robinson also wants to downplay the spotlight and get the focus back to her teammates.

"This year, I've been trying to at least keep my goals per game average up to four to five goals per game. Usually after I score four goals in a game, then I try to settle down and get other girls with an assist," said Robinson.

That team-oriented mindset is paying off. The Wolfpack is 7-1 so far and the girls now play their home games at Thom Field for the first time ever.

"We're playing in the stadium, we're getting announced, we're being recognized by the schools, so that feels really good," said Comfort.

The sport of lacrosse is growing fast in Wausau and both Comfort and Robinson hope to see that continue.

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 REGIONAL SPORTS

MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee Bucks have officially announced the hiring of Mike Budenholzer as their new coach.

A person familiar with the search had told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the Milwaukee Bucks have reached an agreement with Budenholzer, the former Atlanta Hawks coach. The Bucks made the official announcement Thursday.

Budenholzer replaces Joe Prunty, the former assistant who went 21-16 in the regular season after replacing the fired Jason Kidd in late January. The Bucks lost to Boston in seven games in the first round of the playoffs.


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GREEN BAY - The Packers will begin training camp on Thursday, July 26, the team announced on Friday.

Prior to their first practice, players will report to Green Bay on Wednesday, July 25, which doubles as the date of the Packers' 2018 shareholders meeting at Lambeau Field.

Additionally, the Packers will hold three public practices (weather permitting) for organized team activities on Tuesday, May 22; Thursday, May 31; and Monday, June 4. All practices are scheduled for 11:30 a.m. CT. at Ray Nitschke Field.

Green Bay will conclude its offseason program with a three-day mandatory minicamp at Nitschke Field June 12-14. Those practices also will be open to the public (weather permitting), though times have not been finalized.

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Nick Foles went back-and-forth with Tom Brady and the defense came through with a turnover when they needed a stop.

The Philadelphia Eagles are Super Bowl champions for the first time in franchise history thanks to a backup quarterback who had another spectacular game and a strip-sack by Brandon Graham after the defense let Brady have his way for most of Sunday night.

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MILWAUKEE (AP) - The Green Bay Packers are promoting director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst to be the team's next general manager, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.

The person requested anonymity because the team has made no formal announcement. Gutekunst would replace Ted Thompson, who is transitioning to a senior advisory role in the front office.

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