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TOP STORY

Agility, endurance, and power: playing racquetball for sportSubmitted: 10/29/2014

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MERRILL - Racquetball courts can be hard to find in the Northwoods. But, two Northwoods men drive from Rhinelander to Merrill every week just to swing the racquet.

Richard Martin and Al Samz have been playing racquetball for 36 years. While they've seen the sport evolve, one thing hasn't changed.

"It is one of the highest calorie burning sports you can do. That is one of the great things about it. It is an agility sport, it's an endurance sport, it's a power sport and it's a control sport," said Richard Martin.

"It is running, stopping, moving, not so much for me now, but jumping to reach balls. It's just a coordination of all your muscles working together," said Al Samz.

The size and build of the racquet has developed with the sport.

"This is what they started out with 46 years ago. It wasn't even called a racquetball racquet at the time. It was called paddle racquet. The racquets and the strings have developed. As you can see, the change over time is tremendous - the skill, the power level that comes in here," said Martin.

Racquetball is a simple sport that requires a lot of athleticism. All you need is eye protection and a racquet with a wrist thong. The first person to get to 15 points - wins.

"It is similar to tennis. You get two serves. The first one, if it doesn't come back past the service line, is considered a fault, like in tennis but it's not in the box. The second serve has to land in the back 20 feet of the court," said Martin.

You can serve anywhere as long as you hit the front wall and hit the ball again before the second bounce.

Racquetball can seem like an intense sport from the other side of the glass.

"People are sometimes afraid of it. It is kind of extreme. Yes you can get hit. But, it's fast and it uses your reflexes," said Martin.

But, there is always the chance that you will be hit with the ball.

"Top pros can actually serve the ball at 200 mph, which is roughly twice as fast as a professional baseball player can pitch," said Martin.

It is easy to play and your skills are constantly improving.

"Finally the bug caught me. I knew as long as my body held up, I would play racquetball," said Samz.

More people in the US are playing racquetball. People have even adapted it to be played outdoors. There is also a push for racquetball to become an Olympic sport.

"The upcoming part of this whole sport is if kids get involved. I think anyone that tries it is really going to enjoy it. I've never met anyone who hasn't," said Martin.

If you are interested in learning more about racquetball, Riverside Athletic Club in Merrill offers leagues beginning in January. You do not need to be a member of the club to join. They welcome all levels of players.




Story By: Jeanine Ilacqua

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 LOCAL SPORTS
Crandon father and son share the same talentSubmitted: 10/28/2014

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CRANDON - Sophomore Tanner Moris will be the first runner to compete in the high school state cross country meet from Crandon High School.

When the gun goes off and the race starts, he'll hear his Dad, the two time individual track and field national champion at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, cheering.

There will certainly be a lot of pride on his father's face.

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Packers see opportunity to grow on defense Submitted: 10/27/2014

GREEN BAY - The Packers faced a big loss in the big easy last night.

The New Orleans Saints scored 21 unanswered points in the second half.

When it came to defense, the Packers had a tough time making big plays.

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Packers look to find winning identity againSubmitted: 10/27/2014

GREEN BAY - The Packers didn't catch a break with their special plays Sunday night.

Defensive End Julius Pepper couldn't pull in the touchdown grab in the first half.

The kicking team couldn't fall on the onside kick shortly after. However, the team still feels optimistic.

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Badgers Sam Arneson representing Northern Wisconsin Submitted: 10/27/2014

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MADISON - Wisconsin's Senior Tight End, Sam Arneson, plays like a big Badger now, but he doesn't forget where he was born and raised.

"A lot of pride in Merrill, it's a great city," Sam Arneson said. "Just to be able to represent it well and do the best I can for the Badgers now but it's definitely cool."

The Arneson family has lived in Merrill for 30 years. They love their community, and they love seeing their son representing the community.

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Phillips Loggers cross country team hopes for successful state runSubmitted: 10/26/2014

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PHILLIPS - The high school state cross country championship is Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids.

The Phillips Loggers are headed to the state cross country meet for the fourth time in a row. They hope this gives them an advantage before the race even starts.

"Knowing what it's about we have that extra push to really make it there run and have a good race down there to now," said Phillips Cross Country runner, Ellie Lochner.

The Phillips varsity team prides themselves on being pack racers. For instance, the top five at the Athens sectional finished in the top seventeenth.

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Lakeland Union boys cross country team wins SectionalsSubmitted: 10/25/2014

TOMAHAWK - Fall sports will wrap up soon.

That means playoff season is here.

And area cross country teams competed in sectionals Saturday.

Schools like Tomahawk, Northland Pines, and Antigo were joined by teams out of the area such as Oconto Falls, Fox Valley Lutheran, and Marinette.

But it was the Lakeland Union boys team that dominated them all.

They won the sectional by a wide margin.

Coaches say it was a long time coming for the T-Birds.

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Mosinee moves on in high school football playoffsSubmitted: 10/24/2014

MOSINEE - The Mosinee Indians were one of the few Northwoods teams that hosted a playoff game Friday.

They played the Onalaska Hilltoppers.

And this one was a defensive struggle early.

But Mosinee was the first to break the scoring draught.

The handoff goes to Kelvin Lassa.

And he hammers it up the middle to give the Indians a 6 point lead.

But Mosinee was looking for more.

They go for two.

QB Landon Stepan keeps it on the draw.

But he is stopped well short.

Next possession for Onalaska, they drive it down the field.

And they tie it on the bootleg pass to receiver Tyler Hughes.

Tie game now.

But Mosinee comes out on top in the end.

They win a close one 28-26.

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 REGIONAL SPORTS
Packers hope to become more versatile Submitted: 10/27/2014

GREEN BAY - You could look at the Packers loss last night in eight minutes.

The game went from a tie to a three touchdown deficit during that second half stretch.

Coach Mike McCarthy says the team needs to become more versatile. They also need to avoid mistakes.

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Wisconsin Stomps Maryland 52-7Submitted: 10/25/2014

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MADISON - Wisconsin beat Maryland 52-7 on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium.

This team has clearly taken a major step after that tough loss at Northwestern.

"Those kids the way that they look at themselves in the mirror," said Head Coach, Gary Anderson. "We all did the same thing as coaches and we came back and we decided that we were going to get better."

The Badger defense shined today holding a team that averages 35 points a game to just 7.

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Green Bay offense finding its stride Submitted: 10/20/2014

GREEN BAY - The Packers can score pretty quickly.

They were up 21-0 after their first three possessions to start the game Sunday.

Green Bay averages more than 28 points a game.

That ranks second behind the Indianapolis Colts.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers thinks the offensive success start after changes a few weeks ago.

"Being very efficient, that started in the Chicago game," Rodgers said. "Seven plays with 38 points. I would guess the plays weren't extremely high, we had a lot of point production."

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Packers look to continue growthSubmitted: 10/20/2014

GREEN BAY - The Packers didn't let Cam Newton and the zone read dominate their defense Sunday.

The Carolina Panthers only scored three points in the first half.

The Packers coaching staff thinks the team showed what can happen when they win on the line of scrimmage

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Packers defense steps up Submitted: 10/20/2014

GREEN BAY - Cam Newton didn't run all over the Packers Sunday.

The Panthers quarterback had 240 yards of offense against Green Bay.

The defense also sacked Newton three times.

Coach Mike McCarthy believes they executed their defensive plan well.

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The Green Bay Defense Has a Goal Submitted: 10/19/2014

GREEN BAY - Green Bay looked unstoppable in the first quarter of Sunday's game against Carolina.

They put up 21 points quickly and the defense did its job. When both sides of the ball are clicking, the Packers soar.

"The defense is playing I would say kind of more like the 2010 season," said Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. "They are really shutting teams down, we're starting fast. We had 21 first quarter points. We are making them pretty one dimensional which we wanted to do especially the way Cam ran the ball last week."

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Badgers unanimous Big Ten basketball favoriteSubmitted: 10/16/2014

CHICAGO - The Wisconsin Badgers will head into this basketball season as the unanimous Big Ten favorite.

Every voting member of the conference media picked the Badgers to win the Big Ten at conference media days in Chicago.

The media selected Wisconsin senior Frank Kaminsky as its preseason player of the year.

The Badgers return four starters to a team that went 30-8 and reached its first Final Four since 2000.

Michigan State and Ohio State completed the top three preseason favorites.

Kaminsky is joined by fellow Badger Sam Dekker on the preseason All-Big Ten first team.

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