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Five Hodags headline Northwoods wrestlers advancing to the state tournamentSubmitted: 02/17/2018

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WAUSAU - Last week five Rhinelander wrestlers captured regional championships. On Saturday, all five of those Hodags punched their tickets to the state tournament. Tyler Olson, Jacob DeMeyer and Alec Kurtz won each won their respective weight classes at the Division 1 Wausau West sectional.

Reuben Guzik and Colton Krueger also advanced to state. Olson and Krueger will make their first appearances in Madison. Olson says he's excited to finish his wrestling career with the teammates it started with.

"That's just the greatest experience that I think anybody could ever ask for, knowing that I grew up with these guys. I've wrestled with [Jacob] DeMeyer and [Alec] Kurtz ever since I was pee-wee size, you know kindergarten. This is my 13th year and this is their 13th year," said Olson.

Krueger advanced to the state tournament after a close loss in the sectional final. He says he's not satisfied with just getting there.



"I think all of us have podium potential. Last year I probably would've been more in the mindset of 'I made it, I'm done.' But now that it's my senior year, I'm really gonna give it all I have and make a run at the podium," said Krueger.

In addition to the five Hodags, several other schools will send wrestlers to the state tournament. Brandon Lucht and Korbin Krueger advanced for Antigo in D1.

Lakeland Union's Dejay Nordum, Tate Olson and Jack Scandin all advanced in Division 2.

Story By: Mark Spillane

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 LOCAL SPORTS

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS - The Rhinelander gymnastics team also won big on Saturday. The team took the Great Northern Conference small school's title in Wisconsin Rapids.

They beat out Mosinee, Medford, Chequamegon and Lakeland Union.

Junior Raven Sturtevant took first team all conference after winning the beam competition. And senior Stephanie Keuster also took first team all conference with her floor exercise.

Keuster wasn't able to compete in conference last year because of an injury, but was happy to be back on top.

"It feels good to be back this year. I'm doing a lot better in my routines this year and I'm having more fun this year than I did last year or sophomore year. We did win conference sophomore year, so it's kind of like a repeat from sophomore year to senior year and it feels really good," said Keuster.

Mosinee's Lydia Ruthe took first place in the all around in the small schools division.

And then Antigo's Emma Jansen did the same thing in the big schools division.

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Friday Night Blitz: 2/16/18Submitted: 02/17/2018

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NORTHWOODS - On this week's Friday Night Blitz we have updates from the state swim meet, playoff hockey and crucial basketball games around the area.

BOYS BASKETBALL
Rhinelander: 56 Antigo: 36
Tomahawk: 60 Crandon: 64
Northland Pines: 49 Medford: 76
Chequamegon: 43 Athens: 65
Stratford: 56 Marathon: 62
Rib Lake: 71 Phillips: 59
Abbotsford: 55 Prentice: 57
Wisconsin Rapids: 70 DC Everest: 51
SPASH: 72 Wausau East: 45
Marshfield: 62 Wausau West: 37

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MADISON - The Lakeland Union swimmers took home a fourth place team finish.

Take a look at the recap.

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NORTHWOODS - HOCKEY HIGHLIGHTS:

#3 Antigo defeats #6 De Pere 6-3
#2 Northland Pines takes down #7 Rhinelander 10-0

Rhinelander boys swim team will compete at the state meet Friday night. Hear how they're feeling before the big night.

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CRANDON - Crandon's new football coach is a longtime assistant of former coach Jim Moore, who stepped down after last season.

The Crandon School Board approved the hire of Blaine Obey as the new coach of the Cardinals on Monday night.

Obey served as an assistant to Moore during Moore's three years at Crandon. He also was an assistant on Moore's staff in Rhinelander.

Crandon is coming off an undefeated conference championship run.

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IRON MOUNTAIN, MI - The Olympic dream came true for thousands of athletes competing in PyeongChang right now. 

But for many others who didn't make the cut, they are still competing and trying to make it to the next Olympic Games. 

Some of those athletes were in Iron Mountain, Michigan last weekend at the Giant Pine Mountain Ski Jumping competition.

"It's all about the flying. The feeling in the air, that's the reason why you start ski jumping," said Pashke.

Pius Pashke is a professional ski jumper from Germany. He was one of the dozens of jumpers that competed at the Pine Mountain Continental Cup event last weekend.

The hill in the U.P. is one of his favorites.

"It's more like a flying hill. You're not so high, but you're flying on the hill and on other hills, they're much higher and you're falling down. This is more fun," said Pashke.

There were two Americans competing against some of the hardest competition.

"As long as you feel fast and you're more like a plane.. going out, instead of up, that's generally when you'll have the best jumps," said Nick Mattoon, a professional ski jumper from Eau Claire.

Mattoon started jumping at the age of five.

"It's like competing at home. It feels so good to be back in the US and competing in front of our crowd," said Mattoon.

He now lives in Slovenia and trains all across Europe.

"I'm blessed beyond measure. I've been able to travel to 28 different countries in my life and I'm 22 so that's pretty cool," said Mattoon.

That training has paid off, but not as well as Mattoon would've hoped.

"Myself and A.J., the two people competing for the U.S. today, missed a spot for the Olympics by one person. So we were close, but not close enough." said Mattoon.

But he's not stopping there.

"I'm still dreaming for the Olympics, that's my goal. So we'll see," said Mattoon.

He already has his sights set for Beijing in 2022.

Ski jumping is more popular in Europe. Pius Pashke said the German team has a lot of young people trying out because their team has been so successful over the past few years.

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NORTHWOODS - Tomahawk struck first and poured it on late to top Pacelli 7-3 at home.

Rhinelander overcame a two-goal deficit in the 3rd period to defeat Mosinee in overtime.

Check out those highlights and all your scores in our Tuesday sports recap!

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 REGIONAL SPORTS

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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GREEN BAY - Aaron Rodgers is done for the season.

The Green Bay Packers put their star quarterback on injured reserve Tuesday, a day after they were eliminated from playoff contention.

Rodgers missed seven games after breaking his right collarbone Oct. 15 against Minnesota. He returned on Sunday, but the Packers lost 31-24 at Carolina. Atlanta's win against Tampa Bay on Monday night ended Green Bay's eight-year run of consecutive postseason berths.

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GREEN BAY - Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy says quarterback Aaron Rodgers is getting ready to play against the Carolina Panthers this weekend.

Rodgers was medically cleared to return from a collarbone injury on Tuesday night.

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GREEN BAY (AP) - Aaron Jones' 20-yard touchdown run on his only carry, with 5:59 left in overtime, gave the Green Bay Packers a 26-20 win Sunday over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

With the passing game struggling, Green Bay (6-6) wore down the Buccaneers on the ground. Brett Hundley had runs of 18 and 7 yards on the drive to start overtime.

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NEW YORK - Alabama and Clemson are back on top of the College Football Playoff rankings, the ninth time over the last three seasons that the Crimson Tide and Tigers have held the first two spots in some order.

Alabama was the selection committee's new No. 1 on Tuesday night, with Clemson up two spots to No. 2. Miami and Oklahoma followed, joining the top four for the first time this season. Wisconsin was fifth and Auburn was up to sixth.

Alabama and Clemson have met in the last two national championship games, with each winning one. If they win out, there is good chance they could enter the postseason positioned to make it three straight title game matchups.

The Crimson Tide had been second behind Georgia in the first two selection committee rankings, but the Bulldogs and previously No. 3 Notre Dame were beaten last weekend, opening up the top for changes.

Unbeaten Miami jumped from seventh to third and along with Clemson gave the Atlantic Coast Conference two top-four teams for the first time in the four-year College Football Playoff era.

Oklahoma moved up one spot.

Unbeaten Wisconsin moved up from eighth and is the highest-ranked Big Ten team. Auburn is the highest-ranked team with two losses.

Georgia is seventh and Notre Dame is eighth.

Ohio State is back in the top 10 after an impressive victory against Michigan State, and Penn State is 10th. Southern California at 11th is the highest-ranked Pac-12 team.

UCF climbed to No. 15, making the undefeated Knights the highest-ranked team from a Group of Five conference. The highest-ranked conference champion from outside the Power Five is guaranteed a spot in the New Year's Six bowls.

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NEW YORK - Georgia, Alabama, Notre Dame and Clemson are the top four teams in the first College Football Playoff rankings of the season.

Oklahoma and Ohio State were the next two in the selection committee's initial top 25. The final rankings that will determine the participants in the College Football Playoff semifinals come out Dec. 3.

Over the first three seasons of the playoff, a total of five teams have been ranked in the top four of the initial ranking and gone on to reach the semifinals: Florida State (which was second) in 2014; Clemson (first) and Alabama (fourth) in 2015; and Alabama (first) and Clemson (second) in 2016.

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