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Hodag trap shooters continue to enjoy a successful first year for the programSubmitted: 05/21/2017

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RHINELANDER - The thought of spring sports at Rhinelander high school usually brings to mind baseball, soccer, or maybe tennis. All those teams know what it takes to be successful. But there's been a new �" and loud�" team around the school this year. For the first time in three decades, the Hodags have a trap team.

"I've heard talk about it, but I didn't know if it was going to be 100% sure. When I heard this happened, I was amazed and super happy," said junior Tyler Olson.

Coaches knew there would be some interest in the team when they first met in March, but expectations turned out to be a bit low.


"Actually, when I started this, I was thinking if we got 10 kids, I was going to be doing good," said Head Coach Phil Kriesel. "But we have 29 kids that came out."

Of those 29, not everyone started as an experienced shooter.

"I hadn't really shot a shotgun before, so first coming here I needed a lot of help from the coaches," said junior Erin Drescher.

But Drescher says she's enjoyed the process of getting better.

"It's been fun to see my score improve every week," said Drescher.

Not only is Drescher a new shooter, she's also one of just two girls on the team. That's something she doesn't seem to mind.

"This is seen as such a men's sports, but it's kind of fun, there's no special treatment," said Drescher.

Other shooters, like Olson have been shooting since they were young. He says the team offers a unique opportunity.

"It's good to get used to something different, out of your comfort zone maybe," said Olson.

Like many sports, there are lessons to be learned at the range.

"If you miss a bird, you've got to move on. It's just like when you run into life problems, tough things come to you, but you have to move on from them," said Olson.

As for the future, those low expectations are now a distant memory with bigger numbers on the horizon.

"Early numbers show we could have 20 kids come out of the junior high next year," said Kriesel.

Only five shooters will graduate this spring, which means the Hodags team could grow by 50 percent. The team is fully funded through its own fundraisers and fees. Coaches say they're always looking for business donations. Shooters that average a score of 20 or better will earn a varsity letter. Seniors will also earn a varsity letter this year because it is the inaugural year.

Story By: Mark Spillane

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 LOCAL SPORTS

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BOULDER JUNCTION - The White Deer triathlon in Boulder Junction is offers nearly 20 miles of running, biking, and canoeing. That all sounds challenging enough for the average person. Just imagine if you couldn't see the course in front of you.

"You can't say could've, would've, should've, because bam, it's too late," said visually impaired runner Todd Roepke.

That mindset pushed Roepke to compete in Saturday's triathlon. Finishing a race like that isn't easy for Todd. The 59-year-old Janesville native was born blind. That's where his trainer Brenda Casamento comes in.

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THREE LAKES - The Three Lakes baseball jerseys still say Blue Jays on them. But with the help of some Knights, Three Lakes has found new success in 2017.

"It's worked out really well, we're all getting along, and obviously our record is showing that we're doing good things on the field too," said Phelps senior Sawyer Rosner.

Just last year, Three Lakes won eight conference games, but still only finished in fourth. Phelps on the other hand went winless at 0-14. Now in year one of their co-op, the TLP Blue Jays have a winning formula.

"The rest of my life I can say I was part of a team that won conference, in 2017. It's exciting to think about," said Three Lakes junior Brad Sowinski.

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PRENTICE - Prentice brothers Taylor and Trace Brayton love playing baseball together. They also love to joke with each other, but a few years ago, there wasn't much joking on the Prentice baseball team. The Bucs barely had enough players to field a team, but things have changed since then.

"Our numbers have gone up. I think we had nine [players] my freshman year, and now we're up to 15 and increasing," said Taylor Brayton.

This season the Bucs have won six conference games. That's four more than a year ago and six more than a winless 2015 season. The Brayton brothers are two big reasons for that steady increase.

"They're both just great kids, great leaders. They're quiet leaders. They just let their actions show," said Head Coach Joe Parisi.

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PRENTICE - Edgar outlasted the rain and Prentice on the baseball diamond to earn a win on Monday evening.

Check out the highlights plus a look at the current Marawood Conference standings!

Photo Courtesy: Central Wisconsin Sports

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RHINELANDER - The spring sports season will come to a close here in a few weeks. But for the Rhinelander boys tennis team, they're still finding success late in the season.

The Hodags hosted the Great Northern Conference meet this afternoon. Rhinelander tennis is usually known for its winning ways. That's partly because of their coach, Bob Heideman. He's been with the team for over 30 years.

"He's just so willing to work with players. He goes out of his way to help anyone he can. From the bottom to the top, he's always there working with people and making them an all-around good player," said senior, Logan Wild.

Wild is just one of Rhinelander's three seniors. He was a four-year varsity letterman for the Hodags and is going to miss the team a lot.
"The fact that it's going to be ending is bittersweet. It's nice to end it on our home court and finish out the season strong and hopefully come out with a conference victory," said Wild.

The Great Northern Conference title did in fact go to Rhinelander. Antigo came in second and Medford came in third.

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VILAS COUNTY -
When starting a marathon, you're thinking about if you've prepared enough, about your muscles and hydration.


The water station at mile seven has been sponsored by Trig's ever since the marathon first started.

"21 years, very proudly to say," said volunteer Terry Tryggeseth.

Handing people water, Gatorade and other hydration only lasts a matter of seconds. But since they've done it for so long, the group sees some familiar faces.

"And they recognize us so that's kind of neat. And be able to cheer them on and say 'Hey, I remember you from last year or the year before!'" said Tryggeseth.

The group wears costumes every year to keep the runners going.

"Mile 7, a piece of heaven," said Tryggeseth.

And that seventh mile catches runners at the perfect time.

"I think at mile seven, they're still in a pretty good mood," said Tryggeseth.

There was one couple that really stuck with Tryggeseth.

"Years ago, there was a gentleman, him and his wife used to run. She was blind and he would run [with her] and they ran the entire marathon," said Tryggeseth.

Bottom line, the group of cheerleaders enjoy the simple, yet necessary, act of handing out water.

"We're just here having fun and we're proud to cheer on our community," said Tryggeseth.

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NORTHWOODS - According to the DNR's winter index, last winter was the sixth mildest in the last 60 years. That could mean a rise in the deer population as a whole. To see what the overall deer population might look like, the DNR will collar and study fawns in southwestern Wisconsin in the coming weeks.

DNR Deer and Elk Research Scientist Dan Storm says the study is similar to the one used in Sawyer County just a few years ago.

"Fawn survival, it varied depending on how severe the preceding winter was. That was a big factor. Out of all those predators we could identify, the number one predator there was black bears," said Storm.

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 REGIONAL SPORTS

GREEN BAY - The Packers 2017 preseason opponents were announced Monday.

The Pack will face the Eagles, Redskins, Broncos, and Rams.

Green Bay will host the Eagles to start the preseason before traveling to play Washington and Denver on the road.

Then the Pack will conclude the preaseason with another home game against the Rams.

Exact dates and times will be announced in the near future.

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BUFFALO, NY - Top-seeded Villanova was bounced from the NCAA Tournament by eighth-seeded Wisconsin, which overcame foul trouble for two of its stars in the second half Saturday to upset the defending champions 65-62 in the East region.

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MADISON - MADISON, Wis. (AP) Senior guard Bronson Koenig scored 17 points in his final home game, combining with D'Mitrik Trice to give No. 22 Wisconsin's offense a second-half boost in a 66-49 victory over Minnesota on Sunday.

The Badgers (23-8, 12-6 Big Ten) secured the second seed in the conference tournament and got a sorely needed confidence boost to end the regular season after having lost five of their previous six games.

Nate Mason had 17 points for Minnesota (23-8, 11-7). The Golden Gophers had won eight straight.

Koenig hit five 3s in the second half, including baskets on three straight possessions with less than 3 minutes left. Trice had a four-point play after getting fouled on a 3-pointer with 12:24 left, before hitting a layup about 20 seconds later.

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MADISON - MADISON, Wis. (AP) " Nigel Hayes scored 14 of his 21 points in the second half, Ethan Happ had 20 points and No. 11 Wisconsin beat No. 23 Maryland 71-60 in a choppy, foul-filled game on Sunday.

The Badgers (22-5, 11-3) overcame 27 points from Terrapins guard Melo Trimble to snap a two-game losing streak and stay in a tie atop the Big Ten with Purdue.

Bronson Koenig scored all nine of his points in the second half, giving the Badgers a lift with his jump shot after the senior missed a game with a left calf injury. Wisconsin shot 51 percent in the second half.

Wisconsin pulled away slowly, turning a six-point halftime deficit into a 12-point edge with 3 minutes to go in a game that lacked flow because of frequent whistles.

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MADISON - Bryant McIntosh scored 25 points, and defensive-minded Northwestern beat No. 7 Wisconsin 66-59 on Sunday, securing an important win for the school's bid to make its first-ever NCAA Tournament.

Dererk Pardon added 11 for the Wildcats (19-6, 8-4), who confounded the Big Ten-leading Badgers by doubling dominant big man Ethan Happ.

Nigel Hayes scored nine of his 13 points in the second half for the Badgers (21-4, 10-2), who had their eight-game winning streak snapped.

The Badgers didn't let up despite falling behind by 10 with 1 minute left, closing to 60-55 with less than 15 seconds after Zak Showalter hit two foul shots.

But McIntosh followed with two free throws with 42 seconds left, and Wisconsin ran out of time.


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ATLANTA, GA - The Atlanta Falcons are headed to their second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history after routing the Green Bay Packers 44-21 in the NFC championship game.

Matt Ryan threw for four touchdowns, including a 73-yard catch and run for a highlight-reel score by star receiver Julio Jones. The defense played just as crucial a role in containing quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' offense.

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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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