RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander High School volleyball team did something unprecedented for their program last year: win a conference championship.
Their quest to repeat in the Great Northern Conference got off to a good start Tuesday night at the Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium, as the Hodags defeated Lakeland in four games.
Three players had double-digit kills for Rhinelander. The Hodags were forced to rally back from a game one defeat to take the 18-25, 25-15, 25-21, 27-25 victory.
The Thunderbirds used a string of nine straight points to pull ahead and put away the opening game.
"We started out really slow, really tight, being our first game at home, especially some of the younger players. It took us a little too long to get into it and we gave away game one," said Rhinelander coach Paul Mildebrandt after the match.
But then the Hodags got going. Rhinelander eased into an offensive and defensive comfort zone to win game two and reverse the momentum.
"We started reading some of their transitions and their weapons a little bit better," Mildebrandt said.
Rhinelander also used some well-placed serves to their advantage. For the match, the Hodags tallied 14 service aces.
The home team ripped off nine points in a row in game three to take a commanding lead, but the Thunderbirds clawed back to tie it at 21-21. Then, Rhinelander flipped the momentum once again, putting away the final four points.
That surge carried over to game four, when the Hodags won the first five points. But Lakeland mounted another comeback, and claimed a 18-16 lead late in the game. After working their way back to a 22-22 tie, Rhinelander squandered two opportunities to end the match before finally putting Lakeland away.
Brianna Gilbert led the Hodags with 16 kills. Returning first-team all-conference selection Katie Berrell added 14, and Riley Aschenbrenner chipped in with ten.
Before the match, RHS athletic director Brian Paulson welcomed back longtime Hodags coach Kathy Wawrzynowicz in a special ceremony. Wawrzynowicz had been tending to an emotional family illness and death, but has made her way back into the program on a limited basis.
"This summer has been really hard on her. But being part of this volleyball program is part of her healing process," Mildebrandt said.
The Hodags next travel to Beaver Dam for a Saturday invitational. They return to Great Northern Conference action next Tuesday, visiting Northland Pines.
MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker says he hopes President Donald Trump's aggressive negotiating style will get Canadian officials to delay policy changes that will evaporate the demand for Wisconsin milk producers.
Walker said Wednesday that Trump's retaliatory move to impose tariffs on Canadian lumber was aggressive but appreciated.
Dozens of Wisconsin dairy farmers lost a market for their milk after Canada announced plans to change its dairy pricing policy to favor domestic milk.
RHINELANDER - People with developmental disorders can hear plenty of negatives when it comes to succeeding in school. That's why a Northwoods school offers a program to help these students prove the doubters wrong.
Nicolet College offers Jump! Start, which helps people with special needs go to college and prepare for the workforce.
College student Ashley Mathy has Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a condition listed on the autism spectrum.
As a high school senior, she was told she would never make it to college because she would fail.
"You're going to have failures. You're going to have people tell you that you can't do things all the time whether you have a disability or you don't have one. And you just have to prove them wrong because if you don't, then you'll just let failure take you away," said Mathy.
RHINELANDER - Nothing gets the competitive juices flowing like racing to fix a car's fuse box. Nicolet College in Rhinelander hosted 12 Northwoods high schools for some friendly competition with a specific goal in mind.
The competitions varied from auto skills to welding to even cupcake baking. The goal was for students to begin thinking about college.
"Getting to see the inner workings of a vehicle, getting to work and learn at the same time, it makes me think more about college and what I want to do with my future," said Crandon sophomore, Kegan Wilson.
TOMAHAWK - Unless you find yourself in trouble, you don't usually sit down and talk with a cop.
The Tomahawk Police Department held its monthly Coffee with a Cop meeting Wednesday morning.
It gives people the chance to pull up a chair and talk to Chief Al Elvins about their questions or concerns.
Those concerns change with the season.
Warmer weather means kids will be out of school soon and there'll be more foot traffic.
And don't forget about those motorcycles.
"Watch out for the motorcycles. So often they hit a blind spot on us and you don't see them. If you are driving a bike, be aware of your surroundings. Remember that four wheels don't always see your two wheels," said Chief Elvins.
The city's drug takeback will be open all day on Saturday. The department does it twice a year.
You can bring in any over the counter or prescription drugs to the station's drop-off box.
RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander Area Food Pantry hopes you'll sample some of the area's best salads and win some prizes on Saturday.
The pantry is hosting the Garden Fresh Salad Bowl event at Holiday Acres. It's a fundraiser for the pantry, and several local restaurants are participating.
"It should be a very nice event. It's a beautiful setting," said Rhinelander Area Food Pantry Executive Director Guy Hansen. "We've got 12 different restaurants that have contributed salads toward this."
About half of the crowd will win handcrafted door prizes from the Northwoods Turners. The event runs from 11 to 1. Tickets are available at the food pantry, CT's Deli, Forth Floral, and People's State Bank.
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