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Lakeland Union and Rhinelander boys state swim meet resultsSubmitted: 02/18/2017

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MADISON - Friday night, Lakeland Union and Rhinelander went down to Madison for the boys Division 2 state swim meet. 

Lakeland Union's Jack Garcia had the best finish of the night for the Northwoods schools. He finished third in the 500 freestyle. Not only did he podium, he also beat his personal record by seven seconds.

"I talked to the guy beforehand that was right next to me and he said 'oh, I want to go a 4:40, a 4:45' and I just thought 'okay, I'll go with you'," said Garcia.

Yes, Garcia was happy with his finish. But he's also only a junior, so he'll be back for more next year.

"It felt really good to swim that well for the end of the year, and I still have another year to improve it even better," said Garcia.

Rhinelander's Nolan Francis was also happy with his times. His best finish was sixth in the 100 yard butterfly with a time of 53.84 seconds.

"It was really a good race. I felt good going in and I was warming up behind the blocks and I just got out there and raced the guy next to me and the race went smooth," said Francis.

Monona Grove dominated the meet. But having such a big school in the same pool didn't intimate the Northwoods swimmers. They knew to simply focus on their own times.

"Not that we don't set our sights for them, it's just they're on a whole different level right now," said Francis.
It also helped that the two smaller schools were there to cheer each other on.

"They always mess around with us and we hang out with them. You get to cheer everyone on, so it's a heck of a lot more fun having them here," said Garcia.




Story By: Katie Leszcynski

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 LOCAL SPORTS

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MOSINEE - Less than 24 hours after Medford boys basketball won its first ever Great Northern Conference Championship the Raiders girls gymnastics team matched that accomplishment.

Medford finished off an undefeated conference season by scoring 116 points Saturday and edging out the Rhinelander Hodags in the GNC small-school division.

Some of the Raiders said the win was a result of a new positive approach this year.

"A lot of the girls had different attitudes this year, very positive compared to when I started gymnastics. It was just awesome to see that," said senior Megan Rudolph.

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ELCHO - The last time the Elcho Hornets won the Northern Lakes Conference, Michael Jordan was still in college and Lynn Dickey was the Packers quarterback.

It was 1984.

But that three decade title drought officially came to an end on Friday.

"Our 8th grade year we went undefeated, so we were kind of like 'yeah when we are seniors, this is the team that is going to make it on the wall again,'" said senior Brenna Denamur.

The Hornets backed up those words by going 12-1this year and rolling to the championship.

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NORTHWOODS - Medford secured the boys Great Northern Conference title, as Elcho locked up the girls Northern Lakes crown.

Plus Rhinelander topped Antigo and Laona-Wabeno clinched the Northern Lakes with a win over Phelps.

Check out all that and more on Friday Night Blitz!

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EAGLE RIVER - Check out highlights from both the boys and girls Northland Pines hockey team.

The girls team took down the Lakeland/Tomahawk co-op, 4-0.

The boys team defeated the Mosinee Indians, 5-3.

Both teams advance on to the next round of the regional tournament.

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ANTIGO - Antigo hockey players know how to win.

They've done so 79 times in the last four years to be exact.

Those victories have earned them four straight conference crowns and three straight sectional finals.

"Being so successful, it's something special," said junior defenseman Matt Winter

"It's so special to look up at the banners in a couple years and know we made our mark every year in one way or another," said senior forward Tyler Husnick. "And it's just gotten a little more special for us as we've gotten older." 

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EAGLE RIVER - Dozens of teams with hundreds of players converged on Dollar Lake over the weekend for the USA Pond Hockey National Championships.

The small lake in Eagle River hosted 24 mini hockey rinks from Friday through Sunday.

The tournament wrapped up Sunday and some players finally skated away as champions.

"We are thrilled, we are thrilled it was a lot of hard work, we had to tweak our team a little bit, and it's indescribable. It took so much hard work and comradery and this is amazing," said Chicago native, Charmia Zigmond.

Zigmond's team won the women's 21 and over bronze championship after losing in the final game each of the last two seasons.

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Regional wrestling resultsSubmitted: 02/12/2017

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NORTHWOODS - High school post season makes its way to the Northwoods. Wrestling regionals took place around the area on Saturday.

Antigo hosted a D2 regional with Lakeland, Mosinee, Tomahawk, Nekoosa/Assumption and Waupaca.

The Northwoods teams, Antigo, Lakeland, Tomahawk and Mosinee took home 20 1st or 2nd place finishes between the 14 different weight classes.

There was another regional meet at Merrill, which was D1.

Alec Kurtz, Alec Bess, and Jacob DeMeyer were some of Rhinelander's 1st place finishers.

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STEVENS POINT - For nearly three hours, teams competed in the boys Division Two Swimming Sectional in Stevens Point on Saturday.

But it all came down to the final race.

"Just crazy, crazy, it's the best I've ever done in my four years here," said Lakeland senior Jacob Hamerla. "It's the first time our school has ever won sectionals, so I'm hyped."

The Lakeland Thunderbirds and River Falls Wildcats fought back and forth for 11 events on Saturday.

Even after the T-Birds won the final relay, they didn't know if they'd won the meet.

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ANTIGO - When Antigo hockey takes to the ice, winning fills their minds. But this season, it's not just about their performance at the rink. Also on their minds is one of their own, Matt Young, who is dealing with a bigger battle off the ice.

On December 8th 2016, Matt Young heard the horrible news.

"Why? Why me? How?" said Young.

He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Immediately after that, his Antigo hockey teammates stepped up and showed that they cared.

"It's just a loving feeling. It's incredible support and love from the entire community," said Young.

On Saturday morning, it wasn't just the hockey guys that came together, but the whole town of Antigo.

"We had two of our hockey moms from the hockey team decide that they wanted to do something for Matt. They thought a floor hockey tournament would be fun because he's a hockey guy and we're a hockey family," said Mary Young, Matt's mom.

That hockey family is what keeps Matt going during his rounds of chemotherapy.

"Matt's been awesome. He has a great attitude, he's never let down over on his cancer or his chemo," said Mary Young.

Young travels to Madison once every two weeks for his treatments. But in between those treatments, hockey still finds a way to keep him going.

"Matt only got to play the first game of this season and then we found out he had cancer and he couldn't play hockey anymore. But he's been part of the team this whole time. He sits on the bench and he's still part of the team and the guys," said Mary Young.

Matt was overwhelmed by the hundreds of people that came out to the Cross Check Cancer event. But he definitely felt the positivity around him. 

"Just love. Love and support," said Matt Young.

The next step for Matt is a set of scans this upcoming week.

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NORTHWOODS - Lakeland girls basketball sealed up a Great Northern Conference championship with a win over Antigo.

The Rhinelander girls easily topped Tomahawk, but the Tomahawk boys lost to Phillips in a non-conference game on the road.

Antigo boys hockey celebrated it's own GNC title with a win over Mosinee, while the Rhinelander hockey team came up short against Ashwaubenon.

Check out all those highlights and other scores and updates on this week's edition Friday Night Blitz!

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