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Antigo Football Practice Kicks OffSubmitted: 08/05/2014
Story By Jeanine Ilacqua

Antigo Football Practice Kicks Off
ANTIGO - You could see high school football players practicing across the Northwoods today. Some fans consider the Antigo Red Robins a traditional powerhouse. But this year only 30 kids are out for the sport.

"The kids are good. The coaches are good about getting things in. And, now we're on the field, obviously, you see them practicing. They're doing a heck of a job this year," said Antigo High School Athletic Director Matt Meronk.

Today was the first official practice of the season for the Antigo Red Robins.

"Just install and getting the basics down. This is our foundation for the rest of the season," said Red Robins Head Coach Matt Weberpal.

Antigo athletes hit the gym long before they strap on the pads.

"The weight training that those kids did throughout the off season now they are out with the football. You actually get to see them grow as young men, young individuals. And, it all transpires here from the summer to the fall," says Meronk.

Only 30 kids turned out for football this year. Antigo decided to combine their JV and Varsity teams.

"We are a little bit down but like I always say, quality over quantity," said Weberpal.

Coaches say the team's spirit is great for the upcoming season. The group is working to stay competitive in the Great Northern Conference.

"Some years you get a grade or two that just doesn't have the football athletes in it," said Meronk.

Numbers won't be on the Red Robins mind as they charge onto the field.

"I think it will be a great season. Antigo will have a great team this year. We are going to have fun and compete," says Meronk.

The first game of the season will be August 22. Weberpal says they'll treat the first game like any other. The first game will be against long-time rivals, the Rhinelander Hodags.


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 IN OTHER NEWS

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Minocqua's Ice Golf is an end of season charity tournament coming up on March 3rd.

The tournament raised more than $18,000  last year for charities including the food pantry and Dr. Kate Hospice.

It has become a Northwoods tradition for some people.

"First year we had it, we had only like 35 golfers, now last year we had over 300 golfers," says Albee's owner Randy Albrecht.

If you don't have a group, they'll put into one.

After everyone is done putting, there will be dinner and a raffle.

For tickets and info call: Albee's Yacht Club at 715-356-1366 OR The Thirsty Whale at 715-356-7108.


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Tomahawk native Nick Van Strydonk decided to design a custom racing suit and matching helmet to be auctioned off the last day of the derby.

Wednesday, he lived up to that promise with a larger donation than he ever expected.

"I'm glad I was at work and sitting down in my chair because it was mind blowing," said Van Strydonk.

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"I believe we were just at $5,000," said Van Strydonk.

Strydonk donated $3,000 to the Honor Flight Foundation which will send six veterans on an upcoming flight. He also gave Wounded Warriors $1,000 and $500 to the Tomahawk VFW Post Wednesday.

"It never ceases to amaze me the gratitude and the love that the people of Tomahawk and surrounding A two-time World Snowmobile Derby Champion raced for something bigger than just himself at last month's derby.

Tomahawk native Nick Van Strydonk decided to design a custom racing suit and matching helmet to be auctioned off the last day of the derby.

Wednesday, he lived up to that promise with a larger donation than he ever expected.

"I'm glad I was at work and sitting down in my chair because it was mind blowing," said Van Strydonk.

At this year's derby in Eagle River, Van Strydonk raced in a custom made suit and helmet which he planned to auction off the last day of the derby.

"It was actually a really cool suit and I only wore it once," said Van Strydonk.

He planned to raise enough money to send at least three veterans on the Never Forgotten Honor Flight which is about $1,500 but much like his competition, he blew that goal away.

"I believe we were just at $5,000," said Van Strydonk.

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