Rhinelander Girl's Tennis is Aiming for Another Conference TitleSubmitted: 08/22/2016

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RHINELANDER - The 2016 Rhinelander girl's tennis players are used to having success, having won six conference championships in a row.

That means they've won every Great Northern Conference title since joining the league in 2010.

And this year's squad has more championship experience than most.

"In a typical year, we usually have two to three seniors, and this is an unusual year because we have seven," said Rhinelander Head Tennis Coach Bob Heideman.

Some players feel the boost in experience has led to more leadership on the squad, and it's a benefit they welcome with open arms.

"Going from having three people leading the team to trying to decide how to separate the seven that we have, I think it's really helping our team," said Rhinelander Senior Kristina Jacobson.

But with so many strong senior players on the roster, Heideman says finding a role for everyone can be difficult.

"The seven will play varsity, will they play at the position that they want is another question," said Heideman.
But so far the players are embracing their new roles on the team.

"I was on the singles team the past three years," said Rhinelander Senior Katie Krueger. "And I loved singles but this summer coach took me and Hannah aside and said 'you guys are going to play doubles.' And I think we were both really excited to switch it up."

Although it's been more than half a decade since another team won the Great Northern Conference, this year's Hodag players understand lucky number 7 won't come easily.

"I want to work hard and make sure the team is working hard because it's not just given to us, and we definitely play some tough competition throughout the conference, and there's people that want to knock us off throughout the conference as we go for number seven," said Rhinelander Senior Ali Schickert.

The Hodags have started the year 5 and 0, and their confidence moving forward is soaring.

"I don't doubt it," said Krueger. "I really think we are going to go for our 7th in a row."

The Hodags are hoping to build on that success against Medford on Tuesday.

Story By: Mark Spillane

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Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


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EAGLE RIVER - All weekend long, anglers went musky fishing in Eagle River for the 31st National Championship Musky Open.

The cooler weather Sunday afternoon made for better fishing weather.

Usually the heat at the end of the summer changes things out on the water.

Warmer temps not only force fish deeper, it can also be hazardous to the fish's health.

"You catch a fish, fight it to fatigue and then you release it into the warm water with not much oxygen and then they might look like they swim away but they could end up being dead the next day, so there's delayed mortality," said angler Dave Vollmer.

All the rain the Northwoods saw on Saturday made conditions a little tricky.

There were nearly 1300 people signed up for the tournament.

"Yesterday was pretty brutal. It rained really hard almost all day long. We did get some action so that was pretty good. Today is a lot nicer so at least now we can focus a little more on other areas we didn't get a chance to get to yesterday," said fisherman Mike Maretti.

The open is the largest amateur musky tournament in the U-S and it takes place over seven lake families.

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17-year-old Kaden Woodie recognizes the strength it takes to drive a UTV, but also knows the challenge of the ATV's.

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One of the hardest parts of off-road driving are the jumps and landings. Being physically fit and the right positioning plays a major role.

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Even though the driving is tough, the friends and family made at the track makes it worth it.

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"You talk to people, they knew who Gordy Schofield was," said Antigo athletic director Matt Meronk. "So he's a legend not only in Antigo but around the state of Wisconsin."

Nearly three decades later, that famous name still wanders up and down the Red Robins' sideline.

Except these days it's Gordy's grandson Tom running the show.

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"We like to look at it as a great opportunity to be teammates here in the fall and then compete in your other sports," said head coach Mark Krommenacker.

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"Three years ago, when our current senior class were freshmen, we had 17 boys come out for football," said Phillips head coach Steve Precour.

The lack of players forced the Loggers to go to a junior varsity schedule for the 2014 season.
They even played an eight-man game against Birchwood.

The loss of that entire varsity schedule came with a list of challenges, like forcing both rosters onto the JV squad and finding playing time for everyone.

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"He's one of the best ever in the Olympics," said runner Richard Olson.

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