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Four T-Birds sign National Letters of IntentSubmitted: 04/25/2018

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MINOCQUA - Few schools in the Northwoods can say they've matched Lakeland Union's athletic success in recent years.

On Wednesday four athletes that have played major roles in that success signed letters of intent to compete in college.

"It's nice to just know where I'm going," said Lakeland senior Grant Gibson.

Gibson, Jack Garcia, Kailey Godfrey, and Kav FitzPatrick officially signed letters of intent to compete in college.

Gibson owns two individual school swimming records and was a part of two relay records. He'll head to St. Norbert College where he'll be a part of the first season ever for the school's swim program.



"I get to be the start of a big program, and just try to tear up the record board, and I can break those while they're still young," said Gibson.

Fellow swimmer Jack Garcia also owns several Lakeland records, and tallied four podium finishes at state this year.

He's set to swim at UW-Milwaukee, where he'll compete against his brother Nick, who swims for UW-Green Bay.

"It's a lot of fun swimming with him [at Lakeland Union]. It will be a lot more competitive this time around," said Jack Garcia. "We'll definitely be texting each other back and forth before the meet, having a lot of fun."

The swimmers aren't the only ones moving on to the next level.

Coming off just two years of golf experience with the Lakeland boys team, Kailey Godfrey will play for the women's team at St. Cloud State University.

She says her trip to state with the T-Birds last year gave her a big advantage.

"Going to state definitely built my resume, so college coaches would look at me, and the experience of playing in those bigger tournaments will help me next year, in playing division-two golf," said Godfrey.

But Wednesday's gathering celebrated another accomplishment, as Kav FitzPatrick was recognized as a WIAA Scholar Athlete.

"After my siblings were both so close, it's another accomplishment I'm so proud of," said FitzPatrick.

FitzPatrick was chosen as one of just 16 male athletes across the state to receive the honor.

He's a multi-time state champion in cross-country and track that also excels in the classroom.

But like he often does, FitzPatrick deflected credit to his coaches, his teachers and his teammates.

"I wish it was something that I could celebrate with them as well, because they've helped me certainly on the athletic side, but [also] academically," said FitzPatrick.

FitzPatrick signed his letter of intent to run cross country and track for UW-Madison.

Story By: Mark Spillane

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 LOCAL SPORTS

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EAGLE RIVER - Gabby Herfindahl checked another item off her to-do list for the last few weeks of her senior year.

The Northland Pines senior made it official today that she will run track at St. Cloud State.

Herfindahl decided on St. Cloud State because of its campus and its coaching staff for the track team.

Last year she was selected as the runner of the year for the Great Northern Conference.

Herfindahl usually finishes up front for Northland Pines in her sprinting events. She'll plan on doing the same as a Husky next year.

"They don't have any pole vaulters right now so I'll be their first one, or only one as of right now and that's kind of cool. I have time marks I have to hit so that's a big thing I'm going to work on. But I'll definitely stick to sprinting and pole vaulting," said Herfindahl.

Herfindahl was also a great hockey player for the Eagles. She is planning on playing for the intramural team at St. Cloud State.

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RHINELANDER - Rhinelander toppled Newman Catholic on Tuesday 10-0 behind two goals each from Kenedy Van Zile, Anna Sturzl, Izzy Haverkampf and Alayna Franson.

Rhinelander baseball and softball both swept doubleheaders at the Wood Side Sports Complex in Mauston.

Rhinelander boys tennis defeated Lakeland Union 6-1.

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RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander softball program knows how much it would benefit from a softball complex.

Last week, the Hodags moved closer to potentially getting one.

"The benefits of having two fields together [are] huge," said Rhinelander High School Softball Coach D.J. DeMeyer.

If DeMeyer gets his way, the Hodags will have two fields side-by-side.

"Both varsity and JV can practice and then we can try things and not have to go across town to get some other players to be able to work things out," said DeMeyer.

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STEVENS POINT - The indoor golf area at SentryWorld in Stevens Point is usually busy between November and March. But this year, it's been a little different.

"The month of April especially has been incredibly busy here in our indoor practice facility," said Director of Golf, Danny Rainbow.

SentryWorld doesn't just have a driving range and putting green. They also added a golf simulator about a year ago.

"It picks up my slice really well so I think it's pretty accurate actually," said golfer Ben Long. "I've got a long way to go before it actually helps my game, but any time you can get out and get some extra swings in before you hit the course, it's very helpful."

The simulator has about 20 courses to pick from. One of those picks is SentryWorld's actual course.

This year, a different group started coming in.

"We've had several area high school teams and university teams as well coming to practice on the indoor facilities," said Rainbow.

Luckily for some, it is just practice before the real deal out on the greens in a few weeks.

"Just to get out and hang out with family and friends, to spend time, whether it's indoor or outdoor, just to have that option is really nice," said Long.

SentryWorld is open to the public, there is no membership fee to use the facility.

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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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