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Featured Athlete of the Week: Tyler CarrollSubmitted: 10/16/2017
MINOCQUA - Last December, Tyler Carroll thought his high school football career might be over. But he refused to let that happen and recently capped off a fantastic senior season.

"He's just an incredible athlete, it doesn't matter where you put him, he's going to attempt to make plays and he makes a lot of plays," said Lakeland Union's Head Coach Dan Barutha.

All season long, that's exactly what Carroll did, no matter what position he had to play.

"I just tried to do whatever was best for the team, whether that's put me at receiver, quarterback or running back for the rest of the year, I just did whatever I could for the team," said Carroll.


Carroll played all three of those positions throughout the season due to injuries up and down the Thunderbirds roster. He racked up 17 touchdowns including four against Rhinelander on Friday. But Carroll's biggest obstacle for this year came in the form of a bonfire accident last December.

"To go through what he had to go through, I can't even imagine," said Barutha.

The accident forced Carroll into the hospital for nearly a month with severe burns on his legs. But with a focus on his senior football season, he bounced back.

"Being able to stick his mind to it and battle through the greatest adversity he may ever face in his life, shows truly what his character is and who he is now as a man," said Barutha.

Overcoming that off-field adversity is part of what helped make Carroll so affective on the field during the season.

"With what we were dealing with, we had a great year I feel like. I would've loved to make playoffs. I think we were on a great track for that without the injuries," said Carroll.

And despite the injured T-Birds struggling to just two overall wins this year, Carroll says he'll still enjoy the memories of his final season in black and white.

"Going into the season, I knew what I came out of and what I'm capable of," said Carroll. "So I had nothing to lose the whole season, so I gave it everything I had."

Carroll now turns his attention to hockey season. He and the Thunderbirds can hit the ice for their first practice on November 6.

Story By: Mark Spillane

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 LOCAL SPORTS

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EAGLE RIVER - Lakeland Union Cross Country captured a pair of first place finishes at Saturday's conference championship meet. Kav FitzPatrick won the individual boys title while Ashley Peterson took home the top spot on the girls side.

The T-Birds also won the team championship on the boys side. FitzPatrick crossed the finish line in just under 16 minutes to win the individual title for the second year in a row.

"I'm definitely happy to be back this year and defending my title from last year, so I'm excited about that. I've always wanted to be conference champ and I've been able to do that the last two years so it's always exciting," said FitzPatrick.

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MINOCQUA - A few weeks back, the race for the Northern Lakes conference title looked like it was going to come down to the wire.

But in the end, the Florence Bobcats took home the championship.

Not only did they win the title, they also went undefeated in conference.

"Super exciting! Everyone was so pumped up. We knew we could do it, it was our number one goal to win, but to go 14-0, we haven't done that since 2012, so it was really exciting," said senior Shayla McLain.

Florence played in the tournament hosted by Lakeland Union on Saturday.

Lakeland won the tournament going 8-2 and Florence came in fourth, right at 5-5.

The Bobcats said they liked the bigger competition to help get them ready for the post-season which starts on Tuesday, at Florence against Marion at 6 P.M.

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Friday Night Blitz 10-13-17Submitted: 10/13/2017

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NORTHWOODS - The Antigo Red Robins took down Merrill to finish undefeated in the GNC.

Lakeland Union took on the Hodags at Mike Webster Stadium. Rhinelander beat the T-birds for another conference win to end their season.

Elcho/White Lake lost to Crandon, which means the Cardinals went undefeated in the MONLPC.

Northland Pines hosted L'Anse and beat their Michigan opponents.

Check out all the highlights and other scores from around the area!

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MOSINEE - Mosinee soccer hosted Northland Pines on Thursday.

For the Eagles, it was sophomore Liam Oas who got past the goalie to put Pines up 1-0 in the 60th minute.

"Coach called my name so I stepped up to take it. I saw the keeper leaning to the left so I just slowly walked up to it, looked him in the eye and played it to the right," said Oas.

And 1-0 would be the final score, Northland Pines with the victory.

The Eagles will host Washburn/Bayfield next Thursday to get their post-season started.

Now on the volleyball side, Mosinee came in to their senior night as Great Northern Conference champs.

The Indians locked in that title last weekend at the tournament at Northland Pines when they beat the Eagles in a five-set thriller.

"It feels awesome. It's what we've been working for since my freshman year. My dream finally came together and the whole team bonds so well, it really feels like the perfect dream season," said senior Sophie Kamke.

Mosinee took down Marathon tonight 3-1 to win their senior night and last home game of the regular season.

The Indians start their playoff run next week with a bye on Tuesday and then they play on Thursday at home against the winner of the Logan and Sparta match.

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BIRNAMWOOD - Bernard Holsey didn't always think he would make it to the NFL.

"If you would've asked me, even when I was a senior, if I was going to play professional football, I would've told you 'no'," said Holsey.

After playing at Duke University, he was picked up by the New York Giants in 1996.

But after seven years of playing for four different teams, Holsey left the NFL and later moved to Northern Wisconsin where his wife is from.

And that's when he became a football coach (now the head coach) at Wittenberg-Birnamwood high school.

"I love coaching here," said Holsey.

But one thing he doesn't do is talk much about his time in the league.

"I don't want the kids to feel inferior to me or what my accomplishments were or that they have to live up to my expectations," said Holsey.

But Holsey does have high expectations for his team.

"I'm a tough coach, but I'm definitely one that you can always depend on," said Holsey.

That humble side of him makes an important impact on his players.

"He's a very nice guy, I consider him like a second father, almost. He's been a mentor not only in football, but in life to all of us," said senior Keegan Delforge.

This year is the first time in Holsey's four years that the Chargers have made it to the playoffs, which means a lot to him.

"To see their faces and understand that hard work really does pay off," said Holsey.

The Chargers at Amherst on Friday at 7 P.M. for the last regular-season game.

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CRANDON - "Does it feel good? Well heck yeah it feels good," said Crandon's Head Football Coach Jim Moore.

Moore knows it hasn't always felt this good this late in the season.

"Suring beat us last year, NEP (Northern Elite) beat us last year, Wabeno/Laona beat us last year," said Moore.

But this season, all three of those teams are looking up at the Cardinals. And Crandon is just one win away from completing an undefeated conference season and capturing an MONLPC Small Division championship.

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EAGLE RIVER - Volleyball is in Jacqueline Smith's blood.

"It's been my dream to play volleyball because it's been in my family of course because of my mom who started it," said the Northland Pines sophomore.

Her mom and her head coach, Julie Smith, played for the University of Wisconsin. But that's not where the family's link to the sport stopped. Jacqueline's older sisters Maddie and Lexi dominated the Great Northern Conference from 2013-2016. And Jacqueline is picking up where they left off.

"She's always been surrounded by her siblings so I think it's great, I'm so proud of her because she's doing fantastic without them here," said Julie Smith.


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WIAA will reconsider shot clockSubmitted: 10/08/2017

WISCONSIN - The WIAA announced back in June that there would be a shot clock put in place for varsity basketball starting in the 2019-2020 season.

On Friday, the WIAA released it's board of control meeting notes and said they will reconsider that decision.

They are reconsidering the shot clock after input they received at the fall area meeting.

The shot clock was said to be 35 seconds and for both girls and boys varsity basketball.

It is now pushed up to a meeting on December 1st when they will discuss what the next step should be.

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EAGLE RIVER - Rhinelander's Hope Wissbroecker started her senior season with a goal to lead the conference in several categories. But so far, she's shocking the GNC with an insane number of kills.

"When we need a go-to point, we go to her," said head coach Kathy Wawrzynowicz.

She is a four-year varsity starter for the Hodags and she's having an unbelievable season.

"School stats do mean a lot to me. I check them after every game when they're updated and I'm really wanting to lead in kills," said Wissbroecker.

She's not just leading in kills, she's dominating. Wissbroecker has 221 kills so far this season, which is over 100 more than second place Jaqueline Smith from Northland Pines.

Her skills are also helping the Hodags have a great season as a team.

"We beat Antigo, we beat [Northland] Pines, and we beat Tomahawk. We haven't done that since 2012 since my sister was a senior," said Wissbroecker.

Her sister Taylor also played for Wawrzynowicz when Hope was still in middle school.

"When Taylor was playing, Hope was in the gym with us constantly," said Wawrzynowicz.

Hope has always looked up to Taylor and has tried to play like her as well.

That includes being a great senior leader and helping Rhinelander be undefeated on their home court.

Regardless of the final team record, Hope will never forget her senior season.

"Obviously, she's one of the best players, if not the best player in the conference, hands-down," said Wawrzynowicz.

Wissbroecker says she wants to play college volleyball and has some coaches contacting her, but hasn't made an official decision quite yet.

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EAGLE RIVER - Northland Pines hosted a three-round tournament all day today with all seven GNC teams. There were plenty of matches that went to five-sets.

In the second round of the tourney, one of those five-set games was Mosinee and Northland Pines. Mosinee came out on top after a very hard-fought game. With that win, Mosinee won the Great Northern Conference title.

Rhinelander had to bounce back after a rough start to the day.

"Today we were a little disappointed. I think we got a little bit down after we lost that five-setter to Pines. I think we came out down against Antigo but I was happy to see we were able to pick it up against Lakeland," said Rhinelander head coach Kathy Wawrzynowicz.

The Hodags are undefeated at home and hope to continue that streak on Tuesday night against Medford.


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