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LUHS coach remembers playing days with late Pat Summitt.Submitted: 06/29/2016

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MINOCQUA - The sports world knows what it lost when former Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt died earlier this week.

It lost a champion, an all-time great, and simply a good person.

She coached at the University of Tennessee for decades, and even impacted players here in northern Wisconsin.


These days, Melissa Ouimette coaches girls basketball at Lakeland Union High School.

But years ago, she was targeted by Summitt at a basketball camp in Indiana.

"She called out my name and I just sat there and froze because I couldn't even believe she knew who I was," said Ouimette.

But the surprise quickly turned into a relationship.

"She asked me if I had forgotten my own name and we kind of laughed for a little bit, and then I went on to be her demonstrator for the camp," said Ouimette.

Ouimette played for one year for the Lady Volunteers. She later transferred to Northwestern to finish out her career. But even in her short time wearing the Tennessee orange jersey, she could see how Summitt built the program from the ground up.

"She took the University of Tennessee from a program that didn't even offer scholarships, had no travel budget, has less than $2,000 in the entire program, and then they became this big national powerhouse that they are today," said Ouimette.

Now that Ouimette is directing her own program, she relies on some of the same strategies that Summitt used to build the the Lady Volunteers into a dynasty.

"I actually run some of her offenses from back when I played even," Ouimette said. "The motion offense, we call it rapids, but we run our press. A lot of the stuff Pat did offensively and defensively, I actually have in my program now," 

Even as time has passed, all of Summitt's players remember her with smiling faces and feel extremely lucky to have known such a great woman.

"Truly a legend. She put girls basketball on the map, and she did it with class," Ouimette said.

A class Ouimette hopes to pass on to her players today.


Story By: Katie Leszcynski

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 LOCAL SPORTS
Last Day of 2016 Brush RunSubmitted: 06/26/2016

CRANDON - Brush Run drivers ended their night Saturday hoping all that rain wouldn't make Sunday a washout.

With nice weather and perfect track conditions, they were able to race another day.

"Most tracks, we wouldn't be able to race on it the next day. But Crandon has a lot of clay, it sucks up a lot of it. The sun came out and the wind, we had a really good wind today, so it dried up the track really fast," said Crandon driver, Keegan Kincaid.

Even though the track was dry enough to race, the aftermath of the rain still added another element for the drivers to overcome.

"We sort of have to figure out the track while we're racing. It becomes pretty tense the first few laps while we're sorting out where the grip is, where it's wet, where it's dry," said driver Arie Luyendyk, Jr.

The day was far from a washout and with that, the 23rd annual Crandon Brush Run is in the books.

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Aqua Devils give quite the showSubmitted: 06/26/2016

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THREE LAKES - When you think of Aqua Devils, you think of Three Lakes. But really, the water skiers come from all around the country.

One of the interesting things about the Aqua Devils Ski Team is that they have skiiers from all over the country. Some come from Utah, California, Arizona, Illinois and many other states which helps the kids meet new people.

"It's just so fun to get out here with people from all over the world and the country and ski together. Do something that we all like," said John Verch.

"Some of my greatest friends that I have are from the ski team and it's cool to have friends from all over the country and from different states. It's a lot of fun," said Sky Blanchard.

With welcoming all ages to join the team, there is a large age gap between some of the skiers. For the younger kids, having an older mentor to look up to can translate into their skiing.

"To help them learn new tricks, because that's how our foundation of our team is going to grow stronger. For when the older kids leave, then they can teach the new young kids how to do it," said Alli Hayes.

Water skiing is not that common of a sport and that can sometimes create an obstacle for learning new tricks. The team doesn't let that stop them.

"It's hard to get training, but since we all come together here and are good at it, we can teach each other and learn off of each other," said Verch.

Not only does the team perform shows for large crowds, they also develop friendships and confidence in themselves to use off the water.

"One of the best experiences of my life. I don't regret joining whatsoever. I've made amazing friends and I've definitely grown as a water skier and it's been amazing," said Hayes.

And for the young kids in the audience, seeing an awesome trick can be the highlight of their summer.
"I've never seen the skis, it turns kind of. That was really cool," said fan, Holden Lersch.

The Aqua Devils are in Three Lakes every Wednesday and Saturday evening in the summer.

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BRADLEY - The Wisconsin River Classic was out on Lake Nokomis searching for bass on Saturday.

Each tournament in the classic brings out the same group of guys.

This forms a friendly camaraderie, but there's a little competitive edge.

"You kind of see the same 10 guys in the top 10 every tournament it seems like. You always want to beat that other guy that is usually in the top 10," said fisherman Andy Dassow.

On top of fishing the whole weekend, the fishermen like to give back to those less fortunate.

"Instead of just coming and fishing in a community and then we're gone, we collect non-perishable food from all the anglers that come to the tournament and then we give that to the local food pantry," said tournament director Mike Hofmann.

The fishermen have collected more than 9,000 pounds of food over the last 5 years.

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The need for speedSubmitted: 06/25/2016

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CRANDON - Race drivers like to go fast. This weekend at the Crandon Speedway, they will be able to fill that need for speed.

The 23rd annual Brush Run Off-Road Races have officially begun.

The Brush Run attracts fans of all ages to come out and see cars take the dirt turns at 100 miles an hour.
For Crandon native, Keegan Kincaid, he knows exactly why fans come to the track.

"The atmosphere is what people come for. They can camp here from Thursday to Sunday and just hang out and drink, and it's kind of a party," said Kincaid.

A positive to being a local is that Kincaid has the home court advantage which makes the weekend a little easier.

"To be able to go home and sleep in my own bed at night and be able to wake up and come hang out with my friends throughout the day and have them cheer me on is huge," said Kincaid.

Dave Mullins has been announcing at the Crandon Speedway for quite some time and the fun and excitement still gets his blood pumping.

"Being able to watch what these guys can do with these trucks, you're talking 900 plus hourse power, coming into a 90 degree corner at 100 miles an hour, it's pure adrenaline," said Mullins.

With drivers being all ages, sometimes it's hard to be a mom and have three young sons racing. The nerves start to kick in.

"Your heart pounds constantly, worried about them crashing. But yet, excited at the same time. My main wish is that they finish without crashing," said Sue Shulz, mother to three drivers.

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WAUSAU - A Wausau Child Care camp was a stop for the Packers Tailgate Tour, meant plenty of good fun.

The cheers and excitement reminded Jared Abbrederis of his childhood.

"Growing up I was a huge Packer fan and I know the importance of it and that's why I try to do as much as possible," said Abbrederis.

The Packers wide receiver joined a number of fellow players Jayrone Elliot, and Sam Barrington during the team's annual tailgate tour Tuesday. Packers Superbowl Champions LeRoy Butler, Robert Brooks and Sean Jones also joined the crowd at Wausau Child Care.

"It inspires you to know that I can achieve a goal like that if I put my mind to it," said former Packers Wide Receiver Robert Brooks.

Brooks tied the record for the longest catch from the line of scrimmage. It was a 99 yard catch from Brett Favre. But on this statewide tour, he just feels like everyone else.

"I'm a lifelong learner and I'm a lifelong kid," said Brooks.

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- People traveled to the Badger State Games in Wausau on Saturday and Sunday. The games serve as a meeting point for teams to come together and compete.

Baseball and softball tournaments were up for this weekend.

The games are an organized way for travel teams of all ages around the state to come together on the field.

"It's great for not only the fans but the softball players and the teams themselves and the coaches, for people to come out. We've had a beautiful weekend to come out and enjoy softball together and have a lot of fun," said June Bug Softball Classic Director Paul Dykstra.

The tournaments are about improving skills during the off season but they are also a time to get outside and have some fun with teammates.

"I love my team and I love being out here. We're like 15 brothers on the team and we love playing together. We played our hearts out," said Wisconsin Panthers' Noah Berger (15 and under league from Appleton).

Other games such as lacrosse, basketball, and even pickleball will be played as part of the summer long event.

All games are open to the public to attend.

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NEWTON, IOWA - Eagle River's Paige Decker finished 31st in her NASCAR Xfinity Series debut.

She finished 56 laps down.

Her goal was to qualify and finish the race.

Decker raced for Victor Obaika Racing.

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PHELPS - Hillside Resort celebrated its 25th annual Hank Lesniak Valley of the Giants fishing tournament Saturday.

Hank Lesniak was a muskie fisherman from the Northwoods who passed away in the late 1980s.

The tournament is to honor him, and it is held on Father's Day weekend every year to create more bonding time for families.

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CONOVER - Newswach 12 spent part of the day competing on the water.

We were raising money to help fund pediatric brain research.

The Callie Rohr Memorial Media Canoe Race rounded out the day of races Saturday.

"You know, I feel pretty pumped up," said Newswatch 12's Lane Kimble.

Our first canoe included defending team champion Ben Meyer. His partner? Lane Kimble.

"I have every confidence in him," said Meyer.

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NEWTON, IOWA - The Eagle River native Decker Sisters hoped for a successful night in Iowa.

Paige and Claire tried to qualify for the NASCAR Xfinity race.

Unfortunately, Claire Decker didn't qualify for the race.

She had to qualify on time while Paige qualified on Victor Obaika's owner points.

So even though Paige had the slower time, Claire's time was not fast enough to qualify.

But, Claire had another chance to race tonight.

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