Bowler/Gresham hosts Elcho/White Lake for successful 'Parents Night' gameSubmitted: 10/24/2016

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BOWLER - Two weeks ago the Bowler/Gresham 8-man football team was forced to cancel its "Parents Night" game.

That's when the Cats turned to another local co-op football program for help.

The Elcho/White Lake Wolverines typically play 11-man football in the Northern Lakes Conference.

But the decision to play one more game on Monday night in the eight-man format was a good one for both teams.

"Along with the parents that have put in their time, the season starts in late July and goes until mid-October and it's an every year thing, so giving them a chance to get recognized, but at the same time we are going to get our kids the chance to get some additional reps and hopefully get something to build on for next year," said White Lake Athletic Director Jake Adams.

The Cats' "Parents Night" game against Valley Christian of Oshkosh was canceled because Valley Christian had only seven players.

White Lake athletic director Jake Adams says another reason he wanted to help is because he knows the difficulties of a co-op program.

"Busing every day for practice, there's just a lot of extra stuff that goes into making sure a co-op works," said Adams. "There's just a lot of communication that really goes into a quality football program especially at a co-op.

The nine Cats players shared a moment with their parents during halftime and the Wolverines picked up their second victory of the season.

Story By: Mark Spillane

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WAUSAU - Here in Northern Wisconsin, a lot of people enjoy biking and hockey. But not too many people have discovered bike polo, a good mixture between the two. A co-ed group down in Wausau plays every Thursday and Sunday and has had a lot of help from the city.

Even with the temperatures starting to drop, bike polo is a great way to get outside.

"Once you get out there, it's pretty easy to get hooked," said bike polo player Tyler Wildman.
Bike polo might seem hard, but it has a simple breakdown.

"It's pretty similar to hockey the way plays are designed where you're basically passing it around trying to set up a good attempt to take a shot at a goal," said Wildman.

Safety is key with this group and they always remember their core setup.

"It's bike on bike, mallet on mallet and body on body," said Wildman.

When the group first started a few years ago, they were playing on tennis courts at Marathon Park. Not an ideal space for the sport.

"Just nets and fencing which is extremely dangerous if you're riding a bike. Catch a handle bar on the fence and you're going to fall," said Wildman.

That's when fellow teammate Seth Carlson decided to reach out to the city of Wausau for support. The court is now at Riverside Park and the city gave them new wooden walls.

"Once he got the ball rolling, they seemed really excited about it. I think mainly because it's a sport that attracts a lot of young people. It's growing in popularity and a lot of our surrounding cities have courts.

Green Bay has a nice court, Milwaukee, Madison both have courts, Minneapolis,' said Wildman.

With the new spot in Wausau, it has brought out players that had never thought of bike polo. Bryanne Bolenbaugh's husband was playing so she decided to join as well.

"I didn't think I'd ever end up playing but then the new court went up and they started trying to invite new people so I thought I'm here anyway, might as well set an example for people coming to watch," said Bolenbaugh.

Bolenbaugh enjoys the competitive, team atmosphere but she also enjoys what this time outside has turned into.

"I like that we can come down here and bring our kids and other people help out with them if we're both playing. It's a nice way to spend our afternoon and it turns into our family time, too," said Bolenbaugh.

The team is always accepting new members. If you would like to join, go to the contact tab on their website, http://leagueofbikepolo.com/contact

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WAUPACA - The Division Two Sectional cross country race was just a stepping stone for the Lakeland Union boys team before going to state next weekend. State isn't the only accomplishment they've had so far this year.

"Eight consecutive conference titles is a huge accomplishment for our team, we were all really excited about that," said Kav FitzPatrick.

For junior Kav FitzPatrick, the eighth consecutive title wasn't a big shock.

"The whole team has been running really well this whole season. We have our top four guys who are all really close together and we're trying to pull that fifth guy up with us," said Kav FitzPatrick.

Head Coach Kevin FitzPatrick, Kav's dad, has kept the team focused all year.

"Our goals were to win a conference championship, get a team to state and get a trophy at state. So we've accomplished two of those goals, we're still looking for the third," said Kevin FitzPatrick.

Those goals and Coach's FitzPatrick's style work well with the team.

"He's a really good guy and he knows what he's doing obviously, eight conference titles and three years in a row of going to state," said junior Jack Garcia.

Coach FitzPatrick has been with the team for almost 30 years, the last ten as head coach. Over that time, he's seen plenty of runners.

"I think what's nice is that we have had families buy into the program. The Bodavis', we've had three Bodavis', we've had three FitzPatrick's, we've had two Anderson's on the team. They understand the culture of the sport and the culture of the team and that makes my job a whole lot easier," said Kevin FitzPatrick.

Kav is one of them that's making his job a lot easier. The teams top runner knew the sectional meet was a big one for him and he wouldn't let a cold keep him down.

"I've been sick the last couple of days but I really wanted to hang with the Medford kid, Trey Ulrich," said Kav FitzPatrick.

He did more than just "hang with the Medford kid".

"Right at the finish I turned on the jets and I went for it. I was able to catch the guy from Oconto Falls that was leading it and I took the championship," said Kav FitzPatrick.

That championship was just a stepping stone. His eyes are more focused on state. 

"We're really focused on next weekend actually at state. This weekend is just doing what we need to get done and taking care of business. We all knew we could make it to state but we just had to run a smart race," said Kav FitzPatrick.

Lakeland Union's girls team finished in first place as well. This will be their first appearance at the state meet since 2006.

For other Northern Wisconsin teams, Rhinelander's Alayna Franson is going to state, along with Pines' Annalise Callaghan and Matt McGill, Trey Ulrich and Franny Siedel from Medford. The meet will be held in Wisconsin Rapids.

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NORTHWOODS - Abbotsford crushed Laona/Wabeno 56-8.

Antigo rolled over Fox Valley Lutheran 56-20.

Marathon defeated Auburndale 26-6.

Rice Lake ran away from Merrill 41-0.

Northern Elite edged out Rib Lake/Prentice 21-14.

Stratford beat Colby 27-7.

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RICE LAKE - On Friday night, Merrill hoped to break a six-game playoff losing streak in its Division 3 Level 1 game at Rice Lake.

Instead, the losing streak hit seven.

Rice Lake sprinted out to a 34-0 lead at the half and shut out the Bluejays 41-0 to end Merrill's season.

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NORTHWOODS - The girls high school volleyball regional playoffs got started Tuesday night.

Several local teams are slotted into the Division 2 Sectional I bracket and squared off on night one.

Merrill was the top seed coming in and hosted Lakeland Union.

Mosinee hosted Tomahawk, while Antigo traveled to Northland Pines.

Finally, Medford played host to Rhinelander.

Check out the highlights and results!

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- Rib Lake Prentice football is using a new playbook this year.

One that doesn't have slant routes or safety blitzes, or X's and O's.

Instead, this playbook has a different equation: E + R = O.

"E + R = O. And that's an equation event plus response equals outcome," said Ohio State Leadership Coach Tim Kight.

Kight is the founder and president of Focus 3, a company dedicated to helping businesses, groups, and even sports teams build positive mentalities.

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Since 1999 when Menominee Indian High School's football program began, they have never had a winning season. Going into their matchup today with Elkhart Lake/Glenbeulah, they were 4-4 and tried to get one last win.

"We could be the first team to get a winning season and that would be pretty cool for the school," said senior Antonio Mahkimetas.

And pretty cool for Menominee Senior, Warren Kakwitch, who was looking forward to his last season.

"I was looking forward to my senior year knowing that we were going to be one of the top teams in the division," said Kakwitch.

The team was moved to 8-man football in 2015 because of low numbers. That switch brought out senior Terrell Waukau.

"When I heard it was faster, I felt more comfortable because that's in my zone of speed," Waukau.
Head coach Chris Clache is also a fan of the different division.

"They've actually enjoyed this almost more than the 11-man game. Just because it is more fast-paced and formations you can change and it's a lot more fun," said Clache.

The players have noticed a change in their coach which has helped them be more successful on the field.
"I think this year he's a little harder on us and he's pushed us a little more," said Mahkimetas.

That pushing has helped the team grow together and be more disciplined, leading to their 4-4 record going into week 9.

"We have a lot of charisma between each other. Even though we lost a few here and there and a lot last year, we never gave up on each other," said Waukau.

Clache started coaching in 2001 but took last year off. When he came back this fall, he brought with him a refreshed frame of mind.

"I came in the first day and I told them, I expect a lot out of you guys because I knew what type of guys we had and these are good guys and I've pushed them and they've responded well," said Clache.

Not only has the team responded well, but so has the Menominee community.

"We travel well and we've never done that before. We've had pretty large crowds following us to away games and sometimes we're traveling two hours to play a game," said Clache.

Regardless of the final record, Menominee football is headed in the right direction.

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NORTHWOODS - Ashland took down Rhinelander 48-23.

Auburndale topped Tomahawk 24-19 to advance to the playoffs.

Mosinee spoiled Lakeland's playoff hopes with a 28-21 win in overtime.

Crandon dominated Three Lakes/Phelps with a 51-0 victory.

Spencer/Columbus Catholic ran all over Rib Lake/Prentice 43-8.

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RHINELANDER - High school students sometimes struggle with juggling all their academics and extra-curriculars. For Rhinelander senior Gunnar Millot, he has decided to juggle even more. He is the kicker for the football team and also plays on the soccer team.

"I have games Tuesdays and Thursdays for soccer and a game Friday for football. On Monday's I will have soccer practice and leave soccer practice to go to about a half hour of football then go back to soccer practice. Tuesdays is a game and Wednesday is the same thing as Monday, Thursday is just a game and then Friday is football," said Gunnar Millot.

Even though he's still doing well in school, he sometimes struggles with everything that's on his plate.

"Obviously it's hard to keep up with everything and time-manage. It's more that I'm falling behind on sleep than I am on school," said Gunnar.

When he's dealt with injuries or being sore, the athletic trainer has some advice.

"'What can I do to fix this?' And he said, 'don't play two sports'," said Gunnar.

For his coach that knows him as an athlete and his son, he knows Gunnar can handle both sports.
"He's really goal-oriented and the kid knows what he wants and he really doesn't do anything to jeopardize his ultimate goals," said Dan Gunnar.

Coach Millot also knows how these dual-sport athletes can help smaller schools' athletic programs.

"Especially in Northern Wisconsin, there are teams within our own conference where that happens and I think that when you can transfer those skills and you can help another team and your school, go for it," said Dan.

Gunnar sure does go for it when kicking into the uprights. He always knows his personal bests.

"In practice is a 55, in game is a 46," said Gunnar. 
With it being his senior year, Gunnar has his eyes set on college.

"If possible at whatever school I choose, if I can play soccer or football I will try and pursue that," said Gunnar.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Washington, D.C. hosted the Big Ten Media day for 2016-2017 basketball today. The Wisconsin Badgers were the talk of the town all afternoon after receiving some big preseason honors. 

Senior Nigel Hayes was named the preseason Big Ten Player of the Year. And just like in 2014 when Frank Kaminsky received the same award, Hayes isn't too excited about it.

"I really don't like it, it doesn't really mean much. It's not really a real award. It's almost worse than getting a participation ribbon," said Hayes.

"How so?" asked BTN's Dave Revsine. 

"It's saying 'you could be good but maybe you couldn't be good'. All it does is just add another ring to the target on my back being at Wisconsin. But I guess, thank you," said Hayes.

For fellow senior, Zak Showalter, he can't wait to get to practice and get better as a whole team.

"When we come to the court, it's going to be a battle every day. Each guy is going to push the other one to make them better. You know when someone is coming after you, that's a good thing for the team and it's going to make everyone better," said Showalter.

This season will be the first full season for Head Coach Greg Gard. The red and white start on November 30th in an exhibition game against UW-Platteville.

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