Friday Night Blitz: 2/16/18Submitted: 02/17/2018

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NORTHWOODS - On this week's Friday Night Blitz we have updates from the state swim meet, playoff hockey and crucial basketball games around the area.

Rhinelander: 56 Antigo: 36
Tomahawk: 60 Crandon: 64
Northland Pines: 49 Medford: 76
Chequamegon: 43 Athens: 65
Stratford: 56 Marathon: 62
Rib Lake: 71 Phillips: 59
Abbotsford: 55 Prentice: 57
Wisconsin Rapids: 70 DC Everest: 51
SPASH: 72 Wausau East: 45
Marshfield: 62 Wausau West: 37

Lakeland Union: 74 Mosinee: 48
Rhinelander: 59 Antigo: 27
Prentice: 55 Medford: 62
Athens: 48 Abbotsford: 61
Marathon: 69 Tri-County: 49

Northland Pines: 0 Lakeland/Union: 7

Story By: Mark Spillane

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MADISON - The Lakeland Union swimmers took home a fourth place team finish.

Take a look at the recap.

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#3 Antigo defeats #6 De Pere 6-3
#2 Northland Pines takes down #7 Rhinelander 10-0

Rhinelander boys swim team will compete at the state meet Friday night. Hear how they're feeling before the big night.

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CRANDON - Crandon's new football coach is a longtime assistant of former coach Jim Moore, who stepped down after last season.

The Crandon School Board approved the hire of Blaine Obey as the new coach of the Cardinals on Monday night.

Obey served as an assistant to Moore during Moore's three years at Crandon. He also was an assistant on Moore's staff in Rhinelander.

Crandon is coming off an undefeated conference championship run.

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IRON MOUNTAIN, MI - The Olympic dream came true for thousands of athletes competing in PyeongChang right now. 

But for many others who didn't make the cut, they are still competing and trying to make it to the next Olympic Games. 

Some of those athletes were in Iron Mountain, Michigan last weekend at the Giant Pine Mountain Ski Jumping competition.

"It's all about the flying. The feeling in the air, that's the reason why you start ski jumping," said Pashke.

Pius Pashke is a professional ski jumper from Germany. He was one of the dozens of jumpers that competed at the Pine Mountain Continental Cup event last weekend.

The hill in the U.P. is one of his favorites.

"It's more like a flying hill. You're not so high, but you're flying on the hill and on other hills, they're much higher and you're falling down. This is more fun," said Pashke.

There were two Americans competing against some of the hardest competition.

"As long as you feel fast and you're more like a plane.. going out, instead of up, that's generally when you'll have the best jumps," said Nick Mattoon, a professional ski jumper from Eau Claire.

Mattoon started jumping at the age of five.

"It's like competing at home. It feels so good to be back in the US and competing in front of our crowd," said Mattoon.

He now lives in Slovenia and trains all across Europe.

"I'm blessed beyond measure. I've been able to travel to 28 different countries in my life and I'm 22 so that's pretty cool," said Mattoon.

That training has paid off, but not as well as Mattoon would've hoped.

"Myself and A.J., the two people competing for the U.S. today, missed a spot for the Olympics by one person. So we were close, but not close enough." said Mattoon.

But he's not stopping there.

"I'm still dreaming for the Olympics, that's my goal. So we'll see," said Mattoon.

He already has his sights set for Beijing in 2022.

Ski jumping is more popular in Europe. Pius Pashke said the German team has a lot of young people trying out because their team has been so successful over the past few years.

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NORTHWOODS - Tomahawk struck first and poured it on late to top Pacelli 7-3 at home.

Rhinelander overcame a two-goal deficit in the 3rd period to defeat Mosinee in overtime.

Check out those highlights and all your scores in our Tuesday sports recap!

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MINOCQUA - One of the Northwoods most accomplished high school athletes will stay right here in Wisconsin during his college career.

Lakeland Union senior Kav FitzPatrick has committed to run cross country and track for the Wisconsin Badgers.

FitzPatrick is the current WIAA Division 2 cross country state champion.

As a junior he helped the T-Brids win the team cross country championship. He says he's excited to compete for the school he's always rooted for.

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MINOCQUA - "It seems like it was a few weeks ago that I was a freshman on this team swimming with my brother," said Lakeland Union senior swimmer Jack Garcia.

Three years have passed since Garcia was a freshman for the Thunderbirds. Now, as a senior, he leads the T-Birds, not with his brother, but instead with a friend.

"Second grade he told me 'Hey you should go to swim practice' and I was just like 'alright.' I just wanted to hang out with Jack," said Lakeland Union senior swimmer Grant Gibson.

Since then Gibson has gotten to hang out with Jack a lot.

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS - Rhinelander wrestling head coach Paul Ellenbecker leads the Hodags team with a quiet confidence.
"We respect everyone but we don't fear anyone either," said Ellenbecker.

That confidence helped the Hodags capture not one, not two, but five individual regional titles in Wisconsin Rapids on Saturday.

"To get five champs at a tournament like this with the [Wisconsin] Valley [teams] and how we won it too. We dominated the matches, it wasn't really close. We had pins," said Ellenbecker.

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DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY - See how Natalie Decker avoided a few wrecks and raced a damage car to a fifth place finish in the Lucas Oil 200!

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NORTHWOODS - Rhinelander earns five regional wrestling wins, while Lakeland captures another sectional swimming title.

Plus Northland Pines skates to a 4-1 win over Appleton United.

All of those updates here!

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