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Eagle River hosts another successful Vintage Snowmobiling DerbySubmitted: 01/15/2017
EAGLE RIVER - More than 700 racers entered in this year's Vintage Snowmobile Derby in Eagle River.

Just 10 got the chance to ride in the Vintage World Championship race.

One of them was Rhinelander's own Justin Ernst.

"It's taken a lot of people to get me here, and I don't know, it's kind of a surreal moment.," said Ernst.

Ernst was the only Northwoods racer in the top ten, and he said he could feel the local support throughout the weekend.


"Top for the WC, is a big deal, and for somebody local to have done it, is a big deal as well," said Ernst. "And a lot of people have come out of the woodwork to congratulate me."

Ernst only races in the vintage derby.

He says the newer sleds in the World Championship derby can be more expensive.

But his favorite part of the weekend isn't the racing. It's actually the atmosphere.

"All the guys, just look around. If anybody here has a problem, somebody is going to come help you. That's what it's all about, we're all friends here.," said Ernst.

On the track, the older sleds provide an extra challenge for racers.

Even though it's physically difficult to handle the rough track at full speed, Ernst says that's not the hardest part.

"A lot of it's mental," said Ernst. "If you're mentally scared, you're not going to go into it with the right head, if you're hesitant, you probably shouldn't be out there."

Ernst finished in second place Sunday in the Vintage World Championship race.

Friday marks day one of the World Championship Derby at the same track in Eagle River.

Story By: Mark Spillane

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 LOCAL SPORTS

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ST. GERMAIN - You won't find a Tough Mudder or a Spartan Race up here in the Northwoods, but you don't really need those when you have the Arctic Warrior.

That's exactly what Little St. Germain Lake offered Saturday.

"We thought 'there aren't many obstacle courses in the winter, so let's do that'," said St. Germain Chamber Event Coordinator Judy Jurries.

The first ever Arctic Warrior hosted nearly 100 competitors for an 8K snowshoe race and an 8K obstacle course race.


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NORTHWOODS - Rhinelander defeated Merrill in boys basketball.

Northland Pines ran all over Tomahawk on the girls side while Lakeland stayed undefeated and topped Medford.

Northland Pines girls hockey also won as the Eagles defeated Waupaca 6-3.

Check out all the highlights and more on Friday Night Blitz!


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ANTIGO - One of the walls at Antigo's "Remington Pool" displays a school record board, where Colin Koss's name is shown not once, not twice, but eight times.

Colin didn't come back to Antigo's meet against Lakeland on Thursday to celebrate his records.
Instead he was there to celebrate his mom.

"I was glad I was wearing goggles, I was a little teary-eyed just because it was a special moment," said Koss.

Colin's mom Michelle was killed in a bicycle accident last March.

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LAMBEAU FIELD - The Packers franchise has thousands of dedicated fans. And when the temperatures drop, you see just how loyal they really are.

"It is actually pretty warm compared to every other game I've been to," said dedicated fan, Ashley Dean.

Fans visiting from different parts of the country got a rude awakening when they saw how cold it would be on Sunday.

"Seeing the numbers versus actually being here, no, we had no idea," said Robert Alford from Las Vegas.

Going to a game in the frozen tundra means you have to be prepared with a few layers.

"I have some under armor leggings and then some Nike cold gear running pants, and then these. And then on top, i have 4 layers underneath the coat," said Alford.

But some opt to leave those layers at home.

"You have more shirtless people for colder games, obviously," said Dean.

Regardless of your wardrobe, it was flat out cold in Green Bay for the Giants game. You have to get creative to stay comfortable.

"You have to be really loud, you have to be interacting with the crowd. You can't just sit there and be cold, you have to do things to make you warmer," said Dean.

No matter what they do to stay warm, fans still knew just how lucky they were to be at historic Lambeau Field for the playoffs.

"It's going to be indescribable; I'm completely excited for it," said Alford.

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RHINELANDER - Rhinelander boys basketball was back in action after having to take a break over the last few weeks due to the whooping cough school closure. The team hosted Medford Saturday afternoon.

The game was be a tight one and go into overtime. Medford won, 64-62.

Here's what Owen White had to say after the game on if that long break had anything to do with the loss.

"We don't want to use that as an excuse but I definitely think defensively we lost some of what we had with communication and we have to get that back. We can't really make the excuse of the break, I know it didn't help but we have to be ready to play defense better than that," said White.

The Hodags plays next Friday at Merrill at 7:15.


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RHINELANDER - More than a dozen ski teams with roughly 270 skiers are competing in the Hodag Challenge this weekend.

The Rhinelander event is hosted by the Northwoods Nordic Ski club.

On day one of the event, skiers competed by starting in 15-second intervals.

Kieran Mullen of Lakeland posted the fastest boys time of 11:35.

On the girls side, Isabel Saey of Peak Nordic had the top time of 13:19.

The teams will compete in pursuit-style races tomorrow in day two of the event.

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NORTHWOODS - Highlights in this week's edition of Friday Night Blitz:

Lakeland boys basketball hosted Mosinee.

Elcho boys and girls basketball traveled to Northland Pines for the non-conference matchup.

Tomahawk boys basketball took on Antigo.

Then check in with some area scores from across the Northwoods and Central Wisconsin.

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 REGIONAL SPORTS

GREEN BAY - Receiver Jordy Nelson will miss the Green Bay Packers' divisional round playoff game on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys because of injured ribs.

Coach Mike McCarthy said on Friday that Nelson would not be medically cleared to take part in the team's final practice on Saturday, and that the medical staff determined that Nelson would not be ready for the game.

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IOWA CITY, IA - With a possible trip to the Big Ten championship game at stake, Nebraska fell flat.

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THREE LAKES - Wisconsin Badger basketball fans know their team plays old-school, fundamental hoops.

It's something of a lost art, but high school coaches hope to bring it back.

So Monday former Badger basketball standout Brian Butch offered to help, teaching kids in Three Lakes the skills he focused on as a kid.

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GREEN BAY - The Packers completed their second week of organized team activities this past week.

Green Bay is using some new drills too.

That's because the wide receiving squad has a new coach.

Luke Getsy is using bricks, Nerf balls, and juggling as tools for drills.

The Packers wide receiving core struggled last year.

Randall Cobb thinks the new mentality will help.

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GREEN BAY - The 2016 NFL Draft wrapped up Saturday.

The Green Bay Packers added seven players to their team:

Round one: Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA
Round two: Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana
Round three: Kyler Fackrell, LB Utah St.
Round four: Blake Martinez, LB, Stanford; Dean Lowry, DE, Northwestern
Round five: Trevor Davis, WR, California
Round six: Kyle Murphy, OT, Stanford

The smallest player out of the group stands at 6'1"

Thompson says adding bulk was one of their goals.

"There are things you'd like to add to your team," says General Manager Ted Thompson. "Athletic ability, size, that sort of thing. We do think we were able to do that [Saturday]. You don't have to be big to play in the NFL, but it helps, and we were able to get some bigs on both sides of the ball."

It takes a lot of planning and focus to draft well, but Ted says the process is still far from over.

"It's easy to sit here and proclaim 'okay, everything's good,'" says Thompson. "Quite frankly, everything is just getting started. We've got an extraordinary amount of work and people to talk to and things to see over the course of the next 24-48 hours to get to the point where you start winding up the roster from the draft itself."

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MILWAUKEE - Adeiny Hechavarria had four hits, including one of four Miami solo home runs, to help the Marlins beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-5 on Saturday night.

Giancarlo Stanton, Derek Dietrich and Marcell Ozuna also homered as Miami won its seventh consecutive game. It is the longest winning streak for Miami since it won seven consecutive games May 1-7, 2012. The Marlins are 12-11, the first time they have been over .500 since being 64-63 on Aug. 22, 2014.

Wei-Yin Chen (2-1) allowed three runs with two walks and four strikeouts one night after the team took a combined no-hitter into the ninth inning.

David Phelps pitched the ninth for his first save of the season.

Milwaukee starter Chase Anderson (1-3) had his third consecutive subpar outing, allowing six runs in just 4 1/3 innings.

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MILWAUKEE - Maikel Franco homered twice and Aaron Nola pitched seven strong innings as the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 5-2 on Friday night.

The Phillies snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Brewers.

Franco hit a two-run home run in the fifth to give Philadelphia a 4-1 lead. He blasted a solo shot over the Brewers bullpen in left in the seventh to stake the Phillies to a four-run lead.

Nola (1-2) allowed four hits and retired 11 consecutive batters at one point and 16 of 17 to close out his outing.

Milwaukee starter Zach Davies (0-2) surrendered four runs and nine hits over six innings.

The Brewers took a 1-0 lead in the first on Chris Carter's run-scoring single. The Phillies tied the game in the fourth on Darin Ruf's RBI single.

The Brewers added a run in the ninth on consecutive doubles by Carter and Aaron Hill.

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