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Featured Athlete of the Week: Owen WhiteSubmitted: 01/15/2018

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RHINELANDER - If you follow Northwoods basketball, you know the name. Rhinelander senior Owen White has accomplished a lot in his high school career, but he recently added another achievement to the list.

"It's my first 1,000 point scorer so it was kind of unique so for him to be able to do that on our home floor, I think made it extra special," said Rhinelander Head Coach Derek Lemmens.

White crossed the milestone on January 5 with 22 points against Tomahawk. He says he was happy, proud and relieved.


"It's obviously really special, it's a big number in high school basketball to get to 1,000, but leading up to the moment I just kind of wanted to get it over with," said White.

White's coaches say his path to the 1,000 point club began long before he was ever in high school.

"When you see a guy like that going up the ranks, and you see them working in middle school, you see them at your camps, you see all the time they're putting in, for them to have those moments is really special," said Lemmens.

Perhaps the best part is how quickly White reached the milestone.

"His freshman, sophomore and junior year he missed games every single year because of injury so to score this early in your senior year knowing you missed games; that's an impressive feat," said Lemmens.

Once White reached the mark, it was back to business as usual. He tallied 21 points and 12 rebounds as the Hodags topped Antigo 66-53 last Friday. The win also showcased the depth that Rhinelander has offensively.

"Everyone on our team can shoot and score," said White. "It just really opens up the game for them and me, because having them out there, I'm able to get it inside more because teams aren't able to come double like they used to."

With more room to work than in the past, White has the freedom to pick his shots.

"We trust him. He's just got to go with his instincts," said Lemmens. "If he wants to take that shot, we're going to trust him. If we think at any time he's taking too many, then we'll let him know."

So far, that trust is paying off in a big way for first-place Rhinelander. White and the Hodags are back on the court Tuesday night to face the Medford Raiders.

Story By: Mark Spillane

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 LOCAL SPORTS

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EAGLE RIVER - Competitors traveled from all around the world for the vintage snowmobile world championships this weekend. When the final race ended in Eagle River, the champion was just a short drive from home. Rhinelander native, Justin Ernst, crossed the line in first place to capture the championship. After the race, Ernst tried to describe his excitement.

"This is the biggest deal in vintage, this is the biggest race, the biggest prize, there's 49 entries and I got the top spot. How can you replace that? It's so awesome," said Ernst.

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NORTHWOODS - Check out the highlights from both the boys and girls Northland Pines hockey games on Saturday!

And see local scores from around the area.

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Friday Night Blitz: 1/12/18Submitted: 01/12/2018

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NORTHWOODS - Rhinelander tops Antigo in a fast-paced GNC boys basketball game.
The Hodags also took the win on the girls side.
Crandon claims the top spot in the NLC with a win over Phelps.
Plus Lakeland cruises past Mosinee in a girls basketball game.
And Phillips boys basketball downs Abbotsford to take a two game lead in the Marawood North.

Check out those highlights plus all the scores from around the area.

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EAGLE RIVER - Austin Ramesh came back to Eagle River this week to get in a few more workouts before heading to southern California for the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

He knows fullbacks don't often get invited. But he plans on making as big of an impact as possible, before the draft.

"First or second grade, you say what you want to do in your life and that's what I said. A lot of people say you can't do it or they say to set a realistic goal and for me, it was," said Ramesh.

That goal lead him to a standout career at Northland Pines, then a jump to Madison to play for the Badgers.

"My best memory was the first time I ran out of the tunnel with my family, that was a pretty emotional game," said Ramesh.

Ramesh started four years for Wisconsin while the Badger won four bowl games, including beating Miami a few weeks ago. But he doesn't want his career to end here.

"I decided right now with my life that I want to try and play in the NFL," said Ramesh.

Getting there could be boosted thanks to an invitation to the collegiate bowl later this month.

"Hopefully they'll use a fullback, if not, I'll try and get on the field maybe as a halfback, a tight end, or something, play a lot of special teams, just try and stand out in practice and in the game," said Ramesh.

Ramesh says it was always his dream to play at Wisconsin. But he has one more dream he wants to check off his list - playing in Green Bay.

Reaching that destination will take even more drive, something a man who spent years running over tacklers has plenty more to spare.

"That would be a dream come true, obviously. I've been watching the Packers my whole life, just like Wisconsin," said Ramesh.

Two things that Austin added was that he feels the best he's ever felt physically right now. And he loves coming home to Land O' Lakes to see everyone.

The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl is Saturday, January 20th at 3:00 P.M. and will be on Fox Sports 1. 

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TOMAHAWK - NEWSWATCH 12 SPORTS SCORES
BOYS BASKETBALL
DC everest: 41 SPASH: 69
Medford: 54 Wausau West: 48
Phelps: 56 White Lake: 41
Elcho: 41 Laona/Wabeno: 70
Merrill: 54 Wisconsin Rapids: 67

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MINOCQUA - Lakeland girls basketball lights up the scoreboard better than almost anyone. The T-Birds fast paced style helped them tally 90 points in Friday's win over Medford. One pair of Thunderbirds combined to score 73 of them.

"That's incredible. In fact, I don't think I've seen that," said Head Coach Melissa Ouimette.

Sophomore Abby Parris tied a school record by scoring 43 points.

"I had no idea, I thought I had like 30 or something, and that was just really cool for me," said Parris.

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RHINELANDER - This weekend, Rhinelander hosted the Hodag Challenge ski meet at the CAVOC ski trail. Sunday was warmer, but on Saturday, the cold temperatures pushed the meet back a few hours. But the cold didn't really bother any of the skiers, they were just happy to be racing.

"We're a winter sport and we ski outside. It's kind of expected that it's going to be cold," said Celest—ź Teichmiller from Lakeland Union.

When the girls race started at 11:00 A.M. on Saturday, Teichmiller wasn't fazed by the negative temperatures. And apparently the hundreds of other skiers weren't either.

"It was a lot warmer than we thought it was going to be," said Teichmiller.

Last year at the same meet, the weather was about the same. And that caused some not so pleasant side effects.

"Last year, there were quite a few injuries with frostbite," said Rhinelander's Alec Lowry.

So this year, organizers made each skier wear a hat. Another change was the course itself.

"There's a lot more rolling hills and it's just one big loop," said Lowry.

The course used to be two laps. Skiers say one lap was much better.

"It's psychologically harder to do two laps. You get done and you come right past the finish and you're like 'I'm only halfway, I can't do more'," said Lowry.

Skiers also enjoyed that Rhinelander kept the staggered start. They said it's better when skiers are more spread out.

"It gives me more time to concentrate on my form and what I'm going to conquer next," said Teichmiller.

And the Hodags knew exactly what they had to conquer throughout the course, since they're the ones that have groomed it all season.

"It's fun to know the course. It's definitely fun to come on and know where the big hills are," said Lowry.

And as a senior, Lowry enjoys seeing his young teammates improving.

"It's fun to see that they're getting better and better each year," said Lowry.

Lakeland Union's Mia Case won the girls event with Ashley Peterson also in the top five. On the boys side, Kieran Mullen came in first with Kav FitzPatrick behind him in fifth place for the T-Birds as well.

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 REGIONAL SPORTS

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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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- - Green Bay Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers could miss the remainder of the season with a broken collarbone.

Rodgers left the game against Minnesota in the first quarter on Sunday, and the Packers announced at halftime that his season is in jeopardy after the injury was diagnosed.

"There is a chance he could miss the remainder of the season," the Packers tweeted.

It's a crushing blow to a team that entered the season with Super Bowl aspirations, optimism based primarily on the right arm of Rodgers.

Despite several key injuries to the secondary, the Packers entered the game Sunday against their NFC North rivals at 4-1 after Rodgers engineered a game-winning touchdown drive to beat the Dallas Cowboys last week.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer's defense has always gotten after Rodgers in these tense matchups, and it happened again in the first quarter when linebacker Anthony Barr drove him into the turf after he got rid of a roll-out pass.

The impact did not appear to be that violent at first glance as Rodgers rolled through the hit. But it became apparent quickly that he was in considerable pain. He writhed on the turf as Packers coach Mike McCarthy argued for a roughing the passer penalty.

As Rodgers walked gingerly to the sideline, he turned to jaw at Barr before entering a tent on the sideline for examination.

Eventually he rode a cart to the locker room for further tests and remained there throughout the first half. He was initially deemed questionable, but the Packers announced after halftime that he would not return to the game.

He was 2 of 4 for 18 yards before leaving, casting a pall over the rivalry that always includes thousands of Packers fans in Minnesota's stadium.

Brett Hundley, the only other quarterback on the Packers roster, stepped in for Rodgers.

A Packers offense without Rodgers under center is not something Green Bay has seen very often. Hundley entered the game having thrown 11 career passes, all coming in the fourth quarters of mop-up duty.

Since becoming the full-time starter in 2008, Rodgers has been remarkably durable. He missed seven games in 2013 with a fractured collarbone, but he has started 132 of the other 134 games during that time period.

Of course, being able to count on a quarterback to take the snaps is nothing new for Green Bay. Since Brett Favre took over for the injured Don Majkowski in the third game of the 1992 season, the Packers have had Favre and Rodgers for all but nine games.


Matt Flynn, Scott Tolzien and Seneca Wallace were forced to fill in while Rodgers was out in 2013. Flynn started once in 2010 when Rodgers sat out with a concussion and again in 2011 when he rested during the regular-season finale with the Packers having clinched the top seed in the NFC playoffs.

Favre never sat at all.

"I hope @AaronRodgers12 is OK!" Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman tweeted. "The league is better when he's healthy. Praying for you."

Hundley's first pass of the game was intercepted by Xavier Rhodes, but he recovered later in the second quarter and was able to step up in the pocket and hit a wide open Davante Adams for a touchdown that tied the game at 7.

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