MERRILL - Earlier this month, the high school wrestling career for Merrill senior Tyler Schmidt ended with a second state championship.
Schmidt successfully defended his Division One 220-pound championship at the state individual tournament in Madison.
Over the last two seasons, Schmidt won nearly 100 matches and lost only one. That includes two victories at the state team tournament the following weekend.
Schmidt's impressive record and skills are among several reasons why the Wisconsin Badgers recruitted him. Schmidt signed with the Badgers last fall.
After winning his second state title - Schmidt was ecstatic as he summed up his senior year.
"Coming into the season, I felt a lot of pressure," Schmidt explains. "Undefeated and won a state championship. I felt I had to do it all over again. Late in the season, I lost. I bounced back from it and learned from my mistakes."
He is also the Newswatch 12 Player of the Year in wrestling for the second straight year.
It's believed Schmidt could red-shirt next year to possibly prepare to compete for the Badgers as a heavyweight.
"I look forward to a lot of fun and hard work," Schmidt adds. "The Badgers have been very nice to me the past few months. I plan on making them happy for five years."
TOMAHAWK - Tomahawk High School sporting events got an attendance boost this winter. At the same time, local charities benefited from the community's generosity.
The school's Varsity Club sponsored six nights of special events, one for each winter sport. The Varsity Club gave out T-shirts printed with team rosters. Meanwhile, fans brought donations for local charities.
"Each kid would walk in and they'd put on their T-shirt," said Varsity Club member Jackie Elliott. "When we got our student section going, they were all together, and you just had this block of white. It was awesome."
RHINELANDER - People lived through detours, dust, and demolition throughout most of 2016 in downtown Rhinelander. Residents won't see that kind of work in 2017, but the city is planning more closures and road work to finish up the Streetscape Project.
Crews will start with the Davenport Street Bridge shutting down for a month in starting April 17. Public Works Director Tim Kingman says some sections of concrete, sidewalk, and asphalt pavement shifted, settled and cracked over the winter.
RHINELANDER - Cracked concrete, twisted rebar, and overgrown trees and bushes don't paint the most ideal picture for a park. But a Rhinelander alderman sees the perfect chance for a peaceful place to enjoy nature.
Alderman Alex Young hopes to turn an old snow dumping dock site into a "pocket park." The site sits where Norway Street runs into the Wisconsin River behind Ripco Credit Union and the DNR Service Center building.
WAUSAU - A contractor fell from a ladder and died at the construction site of the new Hilton Garden Inn in Wausau last week. Now, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the death.
Marathon County Sheriff's Captain Dale Wisnewski said Shane J. Cash, 45, of Wisconsin Rapids was drilling holes in the ceiling on Thursday when he fell from his ladder and died on scene.
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